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Press Release

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Conviction for Assault of an Oglala Sioux Department of Public Safety Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announces that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the district court in appeal no. 14-3888, United States of America, appellee, v. Justin Janis, appellant. 

Janis was convicted in federal district court in Rapid City of assault of a federal officer of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) Department of Public Safety.  Janis appealed his conviction, arguing that the district court should not have ruled that Oglala Sioux Tribe public safety officers are federal officers, and that it should not have instructed his jury that the officer Janis assaulted was a federal officer at the time of the assault. 

In today’s published opinion, the federal court of appeals held that there was overwhelming evidence that the victim OST officer was a federal officer.  In addition, prior to trial, Janis had agreed in writing that the OST officer was a federal officer, and that stipulation was entered into evidence as an exhibit for the jury. 

Janis was sentenced to four months in prison and two years of supervised release.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rich prosecuted the case at trial, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kelderman handled the appeal for the government.

Updated January 21, 2016