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Robert J. Ghost Bear v. South Dakota Department of Corrections

August 16, 2011

ROBERT J. GHOST BEAR,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeffrey L. VIKEN United States District Judge

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

On June 21, 2011, Mr. Ghost Bear, pro se, filed a complaint alleging Count 1: retaliation to a victim, witness, or informant; and Count 2: tampering with a victim, witness, or informant. (Docket 1). He also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket 4). Mr. Ghost Bear has a case pending in the District of South Dakota. See Ghost Bear v. Weber, et. al, CIV. 09-5094-JLV. That litigation seeks legal redress for claims of violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, et seq. Id. Mr. Ghost Bear is represented by Attorney Richard L. Johnson in that case. (CIV. 09-5094-JLV, Docket 72).

The current complaint focuses on allegations of misconduct by the South Dakota Department of Corrections personnel on June 9, 2011. (Docket 1). Mr. Ghost Bear alleges the defendants took possession of or destroyed his legal paperwork with the intent to commit the public offense of retaliation of a victim, witness or informant, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1513, and threatened his life if he continued to pursue his § 1983 case, with the intent to commit the public offense of tampering with a victim, witness, or informant, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512. Id.

Federal law makes it a crime to tamper with a witness, victim or informant. 18 U.S.C. § 1512(a)(2) provides:

Whoever uses physical force or the threat of physical force against any person, or attempts to do so, with intent to--

(A) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;

(B) cause or induce any person to--(i) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding;

(ii) alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the integrity or availability of the object for use in an official proceeding;

(iii) evade legal process summoning that person to appear as a witness, or to produce a record, document, or other object, in an official proceeding; or

(iv) be absent from an official proceeding to which that person has been summoned by legal process; or

(C) hinder, delay, or prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer or judge of the United States of information relating to the commission or possible commission of a Federal offense or a violation of conditions of probation, supervised release, parole, or release pending judicial proceedings; shall be punished as provided in [this section].

Section 1512(c) provides:

Whoever corruptly--

(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object's integrity or ...


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