Tribal rights upheld in federal appeals court in "Cigarette Tax Case" - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tribal rights upheld in federal appeals court in "Cigarette Tax Case"

YAKIMA, Wash.  - A member of the Yakama tribe says tribal rights have been reaffirmed in a federal appeals court decision in a cigarette tax case.

Harry Smiskin and his son Kato were charged with smuggling tobacco after more than 4,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes were seized in 2004 at his home at Wapato. They could have faced five years in prison if convicted.

At the trial the judge ruled that under an 1855 treaty, Yakama tribal members don't have to notify the state when transporting goods to market.

The federal government appealed but lost in a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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