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October 27, 2005

Eleventh Circuit affirms 135 year sentence

At the end of a lengthy per curiam opinion in US v. York, No. 04-12354 (11th Cir. Oct. 27, 2005) (available here), the 11th Circuit today rejected various challenges to the imposition of a sentence that totaled 1,620 months' imprisonment.  The "district court sentenced York to the statutory maximum prison term on each count of conviction," and the facts supporting this sentence are more noteworthy than the legal issues in the case.  Here are some of the factual highlights:

Dwight D. York is the leader of the United Nation of Nuwaubian Moors, a religious ministry/Native American tribe that has existed in some form since the 1960s.  Over the years, the Nuwaubian organization’s official philosophy (as well as its name) has changed several times, alternatively finding its basis in Islamic, Hebrew, ancient Egyptian, Yamasee Indian, and various other cultures and religions....

At trial, there was substantial evidence that under York's leadership, the Nuwaubians' lifestyle was highly restricted.  York had many "wives" who served his business and personal needs.  York's followers were expected to abide by his rules or risk punishment or expulsion from the Nuwaubian organization.

October 27, 2005 at 05:07 PM | Permalink


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