News and Press Releases

James Vielle Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on August 8, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, JAMES VIELLE, a 22-year-old resident of Browning, appeared for sentencing. VIELLE was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 41 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 3 years

VIELLE was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to assault of a federal officer.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura B. Weiss, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On October 18, 2010, VIELLE assaulted a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) officer while she was engaged in her official duties inside the jail in Browning. The assault was captured on three different surveillance cameras.

At approximately 10:00 p.m. on the night of the assault, the officer approached the cell containing VIELLE and his cell mate to give VIELLE his medication. VIELLE asked the officer if he could dump his trash. The officer pulled the garbage can from the hallway closer to the cell door. VIELLE emptied his trash and the officer gave him the medication. As the officer started to close the cell door, VIELLE suddenly punched her in the left side of her face and began trying to overpower her. The officer remembers screaming for help from another officer, at which point the other officer came running down the hallway to help. VIELLE retreated back to his cell, at which point the door was closed and locked.

The entire incident was captured on jail surveillance tapes. When VIELLE was interviewed, he admitted to striking the officer in an attempt to overpower her, take her keys, and escape from the jail.

The officer was treated for her injuries at Indian Health Services in Browning. The treating physician indicated that the officer suffered bodily injury in the form of a "near full thickness laceration below the left eye to mid-cheek with bleeding and swelling around the left eye."

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that VIELLE will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, VIELLE does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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