For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2007
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Michael Kuzma, Esq.
COURTS DENY LEONARD PELTIER ACCESS TO THOUSANDS OF PAGES OF LONG-HIDDEN FBI
In two separate decisions rendered this month, United States District Judge
Donovan W. Frank and a threejudge panel for the United States Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit refused to order the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) to release thousands of pages of documents relating to
Both Judge Frank and the Appeals Court upheld claims by the FBI
that release of the sought-after information would, among other things,
cause serious damage to the national security of the United States and the
war on transnational terrorism.
In 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
declared that, "Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge
Reservation and in its prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The
government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are
undisputed." Nevertheless, Judge Frank found that any evidence of prior FBI
misconduct was "irrelevant."
Michael Kuzma, attorney for Leonard Peltier in both cases brought under the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) said that, "The Courts are unwilling to
dispense justice when it comes to Leonard Peltier."
Kuzma went on to state, "How can anyone claim that Leonard Peltier received
a fair trial in 1977 when the government withheld and continues to withhold
thousands and thousands of pages of FBI documents?"
Barry A. Bachrach, who served as co-counsel with Kuzma, indicated that he
was, "disappointed, but not surprised that the Courts elected to summarily
uphold the decision by the FBI to keep the documents hidden on dubious
national security grounds." Bachrach went on to ask, "How can FBI documents
generated over three decades ago possibly pose a threat to the national
security of the United States?"
Judge Frank's decision will be appealed to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Peltier attorneys have 30 days to file a
Notice of Appeal.
Leonard Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM),
was convicted in Fargo, North Dakota, on April 18, 1977 for the shooting
deaths of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams at the Pine
Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on June 26, 1975.
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee @
Phone: 915 - 533-6655 Email:
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Questions and comments may be sent to