December 04, 2010

Brown wouldn't extradite Banks

Dennis Banks was the co-founder and a leader of AIM when it occupied Wounded Knee in 1973. Here's what California governor Jerry Brown did after the occupation.

Jerry Brown's finest hour

By Charles NicholsBanks was acquitted of any wrongdoing at Wounded Knee but was convicted of incitement to riot and assault due to his activities at Custer. Here is where Jerry Brown comes into the picture.

Banks eventually fled to California where Jerry Brown refused to extradite him back to South Dakota (and Oregon). Criminal extraditions were and are usually rubber stamped by governors. Up until 1987 a governor of a state could not be compelled to extradite a fugitive. The first time the question had gone before the US Supreme Court in 1861 the Court ruled in favor of the governor of a state to refuse extradition. In 1987, the Court held that a governor could be compelled to extradite via a Federal writ of mandamus stating that the prior Supreme Court ruling was "...the product of another time."

Regardless, this was after Brown left office. Despite much criticism throughout his governorship, Brown refused to extradite. He went so far as to grant Banks a California pardon which left him free to obtain an associates degree from UC Davis and eventually teach at a Native American school here. When Brown left office Banks was granted asylum by the Onondaga Nation in New York. In 1985 Banks surrendered to the South Dakota authorities and served 18 months.

Banks found refuge here in California from 1976 to 1983 thanks to Jerry Brown. AIM, like so many activist groups in the 1960s found supporters from the leftist student radicals and hippie movements. Jerry Brown had enough baggage. He gained nothing by taking Banks on his back. By refusing to extradite Banks, Brown was accused of turning California into an asylum for criminals, not a good moniker for a state that prefers to elect law and order politicians.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see AIM's Misdeeds Too "Complex" to Cover? and Debate Over Wounded Knee.

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