United States v. Williams, CR73-5118.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
Citation372 F. Supp. 65
Decision Date28 February 1974
PartiesUNITED STATES v. David Ross WILLIAMS.
Docket NumberCR73-5118.

372 F. Supp. 65

UNITED STATES
v.
David Ross WILLIAMS.

CR73-5118.

United States District Court, D. South Dakota.

February 28, 1974.


Edward Carpenter, Asst. U.S. Atty., Joseph M. Butler, Horace Jackson, Rapid City, S.D., for plaintiff.

Joseph Beeler, Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee, Sioux Falls, S.D., for defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BOGUE, District Judge.

The defendant has made a motion to suppress certain evidence that was seized at the United States roadblock on the Big Foot Trail leading to the village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. An evidentiary hearing was held on November 7 and 8, 1973.

On Sunday, April 29, 1973, about 2:00 p. m., the defendant was proceeding down the Big Foot Trail in the direction of Wounded Knee. He was routinely stopped at the government roadblock there. At that point he was not free to leave. Mr. Williams was removed from his car and informed that his car was to be searched. Mr. Williams expressly refused to consent to such a search. Furthermore, the defendant was not "under arrest" at this time by the testimony of F.B.I. agents at the roadblock. The contents of the defendant's car were completely removed and spread out on

372 F. Supp. 66
the highway. His possessions were completely searched which resulted in the discovery of a small amount of marijuana in a small nylon bag. At that point Mr. Williams was placed under arrest and charged with possession of marijuana pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 844(a)

There is no question in this Court's mind but that the evidence established that there was a serious law enforcement problem in the Wounded Knee area. An armed band, composed of members of the American Indian Movement, had taken over the whole village on February 27, 1973 and for a period forcibly held hostages. This same organization had been just recently involved in an incident at Custer, South Dakota where several police officers were injured and a Courthouse burned. Not only the take over, but the continuing occupation of the village was accomplished with gunfire, road blockades, and other various military-type fortifications. F.B.I. agents testified about their being shot at from inside Wounded Knee. Threats were also made by various residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation that they would attempt to form their own band and to storm the insurgents holding the village of Wounded Knee. Attempts were made by the United States Government to persuade the occupiers of the village to release it, but they failed. Regardless of the roadblocks, supplies continued to reach the occupying forces in Wounded Knee. The United States' evidence establishes a need for the F.B.I. and Marshal Service to blockade the area to keep innocent people from being injured and to end the occupation of the village. Clearly this was no peaceful demonstration.

These facts establish the legality of the government roadblock on the Big Foot Trail. The government certainly had an interest in preventing guns and ammunition and other supplies from flowing to the insurgents. The government certainly had a substantial interest in what can only be called an insurrection. As the Supreme Court said in Cunningham v. Neagle, 135 U.S. 1, 10 S.Ct. 658, 34 L.Ed. 55:

"We hold it to be an incontrovertible principle that the government of the United States may, by means of physical force, exercised through its official agents, execute on every foot of American soil the powers and functions that belong to it. This necessarily involves the power to command obedience to its laws, and hence power to keep the peace to that extent." 135 U.S. 1, 60, 10 S.Ct. 658, 667.

In addition, 18 U.S.C. § 3052 provides that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and members thereof, may "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the...

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5 practice notes
  • Richard T., In re
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 19 Septiembre 1986
    ...868, 719 P.2d 242; compare People v. Glover (1979) 93 Cal.App.3d 376, 155 Cal.Rptr. 592 and United States v. Williams (D.S.D.1974) 372 F.Supp. 65.) Nor do we believe the menace of drunk driving conjures up a special emergency comparable to the danger of an airliner hijacking, the rationale ......
  • U.S. v. Mason, No. 74-1813
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 21 Noviembre 1975
    ...408 (1971) (upholding welfare home visits because, Inter alia, recipient has right to refuse entrance); United States v. Williams, 372 F.Supp. 65, 67-68 (D.S.D.1974). Similarly, the scope of searches have been limited based on the justification for the search. Compare Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S......
  • Edmond & Palmer v. Goldsmith, No. 98-4124
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 7 Julio 1999
    ...(4th Cir. 1998), aff'd (so far as pertinent), 166 F.3d 243, 245 (4th Cir. 1999) (en banc) (per curiam); United States v. Williams, 372 F. Supp. 65 (D. S. Dak. 1974); Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 183 (1949) (Jackson, J., dissenting); 4 Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure: A Treat......
  • U.S. v. Casper, Nos. 76-1182
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 22 Septiembre 1976
    ...appeal dismissed, 510 F.2d 808 (8th Cir. 1975); United States v. Red Feather, 392 F.Supp. 916 (D.S.D.1975); United States v. Williams, 372 F.Supp. 65 (D.S.D.1973) (hearing on Motion to Suppress); and numerous 3 Based upon the evidence included in the stipulated record, the trial court concl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Richard T., In re
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 19 Septiembre 1986
    ...868, 719 P.2d 242; compare People v. Glover (1979) 93 Cal.App.3d 376, 155 Cal.Rptr. 592 and United States v. Williams (D.S.D.1974) 372 F.Supp. 65.) Nor do we believe the menace of drunk driving conjures up a special emergency comparable to the danger of an airliner hijacking, the rationale ......
  • U.S. v. Mason, No. 74-1813
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 21 Noviembre 1975
    ...408 (1971) (upholding welfare home visits because, Inter alia, recipient has right to refuse entrance); United States v. Williams, 372 F.Supp. 65, 67-68 (D.S.D.1974). Similarly, the scope of searches have been limited based on the justification for the search. Compare Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S......
  • Edmond & Palmer v. Goldsmith, No. 98-4124
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 7 Julio 1999
    ...(4th Cir. 1998), aff'd (so far as pertinent), 166 F.3d 243, 245 (4th Cir. 1999) (en banc) (per curiam); United States v. Williams, 372 F. Supp. 65 (D. S. Dak. 1974); Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 183 (1949) (Jackson, J., dissenting); 4 Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure: A Treat......
  • U.S. v. Casper, Nos. 76-1182
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 22 Septiembre 1976
    ...appeal dismissed, 510 F.2d 808 (8th Cir. 1975); United States v. Red Feather, 392 F.Supp. 916 (D.S.D.1975); United States v. Williams, 372 F.Supp. 65 (D.S.D.1973) (hearing on Motion to Suppress); and numerous 3 Based upon the evidence included in the stipulated record, the trial court concl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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