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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Justin Hanley Bright Wings Sentenced In U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on May 29, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JUSTIN HANLEY BRIGHT WINGS, a 27-year-old resident of Lodge Grass and an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe of Indians, was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 41 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 3 years

BRIGHT WINGS was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

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

On June 9, 2012, at approximately noon, BRIGHT WINGS was driving a vehicle with five passengers, one of whom was his 11-month-old son. BRIGHT WINGS was drunk while driving and lost control of the vehicle on a highway. The crime occurred within the exterior boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation.

The vehicle rolled several times and ended up in an irrigation ditch. BRIGHT WINGS's 11-month-old son suffered an epidural hematoma in his head (blood leaking into a layer of the tissue covering the brain) as a result of the wreck. The child was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital in Billings where he was treated.

BRIGHT WINGS's blood was drawn shortly after the crash and analyzed. The lab report indicated that his BAC approximately 1 hour after the crash was 0.318. Using back-extrapolation calculations to estimate the BAC at the time of the crash, the FBI lab report estimated that BRIGHT WINGS's BAC at the time of the crash would have been approximately 0.34 (with a possible range of 0.33 to 0.35).

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BRIGHT WINGS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BRIGHT WINGS 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 a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Updated January 14, 2015