Judge Takes Herrera Appeal Under Advisement

After an hour of testimony Friday morning, District Judge John Fenn has taken under advisement an appeal by Clayvin Herrera, a Crow tribal member convicted in April of illegally killing an elk on the Bighorn National Forest.

A jury found Herrera guilty in Sheridan County's circuit court of charges that he killed the elk out of season in January 2014. He was fined over $8,000, received a suspended sentence and lost his hunting privileges for three years.

Herrera has petitioned the district court to overturn his conviction. He's seeking to have the judge reverse a ruling by Circuit Court Judge Shelley Cundiff that didn't allow his attorney to enter testimony regarding an 1868 treaty right that essentially allows members of the Crow Tribe to hunt in Wyoming without a license. Herrera's attorney, Kyle Anne Gray, argued Friday that Cundiff also wrongly concluded that the court was bound by a prior court decision involving a similar matter.

Prosecuting Attorney Christopher LaRosa said Cundiff's action was proper. During the trial in April, he argued that the treaty hunting rights were temporary and ended when Wyoming became a state. Also during Friday's hearing, he argued the issue of occupation which, he said, is part of the treaty. He said the Bighorn National Forest has been occupied by the federal government for more than 100 years. Fenn has the option of overturning Herrera's conviction, upholding it or remanding the case back to circuit court for a new trial. If the case doesn't get overturned or remanded back to circuit court, Herrera can still appeal his conviction to the Wyoming Supreme Court.