Defendants in Rapid City murder say arrest was illegal

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The latest on the prosecution of Maricelo Garcia, accused of fatally shooting Clinton Farlee at a Rapid City home on Oct. 4. CRIME DETAILS

June 5, 2018

The man and woman implicated in the Oct. 4, 2017 killing of Clinton Farlee, were back in court Tuesday, raising Fourth Amendment concerns about their arrests.

Maricelo Garcia, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, and Cierra Walks, 19, is charged with accessory to murder.

Lawyers for Garcia and alleged accomplice Cierra Walks argued before 7th Circuit Court Judge Jane Pfeifle that Garcia’s and Walks’ arrests violated their constitutional rights protecting them from unreasonable search and seizure.

Garcia and Walks were arrested on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Oct. 6, 2017. The arrest was made by Pennington County sheriff’s deputies, who were also deputy U.S. Marshals working as part of the Black Hills Fugitive Task Force.

The lawyers allege that the deputies did not have legal authority to perform arrests on Indian land.

They also raised questions on whether the races of the accused were considered in accordance with Oglala Sioux Tribal laws. The Oglala Sioux Tribe exercises sovereign authority over the Pine Ridge Reservation. Tribal laws prescribe different handling of arrests depending on whether the accused is a tribal member. Garcia is not Native American. Walks is Native American, but her tribal membership is not clear.

They also argued that the arrest was conducted with the consent and cooperation of Oglala Sioux Tribal authorities.

Walks’ lawyer also questioned whether her charge of being an accessory to murder is a violent crime.

Attorneys for the State argued that at the time of the arrest, the sheriff’s deputies were acting as deputy U.S. Marshals. U.S. Marshals have the authority to arrest in other jurisdictions, provided they have custody of the state warrant.

March 14, 2018

In an unusual move, lawyers for Maricelo Garcia and his alleged accomplice, Cierra Walks, have made a motion for a joinder of defendants, which will allow Garcia and Walks to be tried together. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for April 25.

After questions were raised about the legality of the arrest of Garcia on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, prosecutors are still collecting documentation regarding jurisdictional issues.

Garcia's attorney alleged in February that Garcia's arrest was conducted improperly. He alleges officers did not have jurisdiction on the reservation and made a motion for a hearing on the legality of the arrest. No date has been set for that hearing pending collection of the documentation.

Garcia was arrested in October 2017 after the fatal shooting of Clinton Farlee. He is charged with first-degree murder.


Feb. 14, 2018

The defense of Maricelo Garcia is arguing that Garcia's arrest was conducted illegally.

Garcia was arrested in October 2017 in connection with the fatal shooting of Clinton Farlee. He's charged with first-degree murder.

According to prosecutors, Garcia and Cierra Walks - a woman accused of being an accessory - were captured on the Pine Ridge Reservation by federal and tribal agencies, along with the Black Hills Fugitive Task Force. The task force is primarily made up of members of the U.S. Marshals Service and the Pennington County Sheriff's Office.

Garcia's attorney argues that there were no tribal authorities present at the time of the arrest, which brings up jurisdiction issues. Currently, federal law enforcement do not have the authority to apprehend a criminal suspect who flees to a South Dakota Indian reservation aft er allegedly committing a crime in the state. U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem wants to change that. DETAILS

The defense wants evidence from the state of who actually made the arrest.

If the judge agrees that the arrest was conducted illegally, any evidence and testimony collected since then would violate Garcia's Fourth Amendment rights, which protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.

No ruling was made Wednesday. A status hearing will be held on March 14.


Nov. 2, 2017

Maricelo Garcia, 21 is accused of first-degree murder in the Oct. 4 shooting of Clinton Farlee, 20 in Rapid City. He appeared at the Pennington County Courthouse for an arraignment hearing Thursday.

Garcia pleaded not guilty to the crime, which carries a maximum penalty of death.

Garcia and Cierra Walks, 19, were wanted for the homicide before being captured in Porcupine on Oct. 6. Walks is accused of being an accessory to the crime of first-degree murder.

Garcia will appear in court again on Nov. 30 for a non-evidentiary motions hearing.

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