Arbitration, Criminal, Indian Law and Water Rights Decisions - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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Arbitration, Criminal, Indian Law and Water Rights Decisions

In US v. Strickland, No. 08-30091, the Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's child pornography sentence, holding that defendant's prior Maryland conviction for child abuse was a predicate offense relating to sexual abuse of a minor under 18 U.S.C. section 2252A(b)(1) and (2) resulting in an increased statutory minimum and maximum sentence, because the docket sheet for the Maryland conviction established that the predicate offense was for sexual abuse of a child.

US v. Bell, No. 05-16154, concerned an action by the U.S. against the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District (TCID) alleging a violation of the federal government's water rights.  The court of appeals affirmed in part the district court's ruling that the government under the Settlement Act could pursue any claim for past excess diversions from the bodies of water at issue, and denying prejudgment interest, holding that 1) the U.S. properly brought the action under the Settlement Act; 2) the district court's order did not conflict with prior Nevada state court decrees; and 3) the district court did not err in finding TCID liable under the Settlement Act for its violations of operating criteria and procedures imposed by the Secretary of the Interior.  However, the court vacated in part, on the ground that the district court needed to explain the basis in the record for its legal or equitable award of "water interest," that is, water over the amount wrongfully diverted each year.

Pokorny v. Quixtar, Inc., No. 08-15880, involved a class action claiming that defendants operated an illegal pyramid scheme in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and California Business and Professions Code section 17200.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of defendants' motion to dismiss or to compel arbitration, on the ground that the arbitration provisions of defendant's agreements with its product distributors were unconscionable under California law.

Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians v. Schwarzenegger, No. 08-55809, concerned the State of California's appeal from the district court's holding that the state violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which provided that a state must negotiate in good faith with its resident Native American tribes to reach compacts concerning casino-style gaming on Native American lands.  The court affirmed, holding that the state's repeated insistence that a tribe pay a portion of its net revenues into the state's general fund constituted an attempt by the state to impose a tax on the tribe in violation of 25 U.S.C. section 2710(d)(4).

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