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Feds ask for rehearing in Arizona case of man's Indian status

PHOENIX -- Federal prosecutors are asking an appeals court to take another look at a decision that significantly reduced an Arizona man's sentence on assault and firearms charges.

A panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals had overturned eight of nine convictions for Damien Zepeda, along with much of his 90-year sentence. The court said prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zepeda's bloodline derived from an American Indian tribe recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

That question is part of a test that determines federal jurisdiction over crimes on reservation land that involve American Indians.

Prosecutors filed for a rehearing this week. They argued the ruling doesn't conform to case law in the 9th Circuit.

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