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Federal judge issues restraining order in tribal dispute

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jun 18 2014 10:03:00 PM CDT
SACRAMENTO -

After months of tribal dispute surrounding Rolling Hills Casino that prompted a lawsuit from the State of California, a federal judge Wednesday evening issued a temporary restraining order against the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians.

The order remains in effect in advance of a hearing set for June 30th. It says that tribal members are barred from attempting to disrupt casino operations, from having armed guards within 100 yards of the property and from having any firearms on tribal properties.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the State of California claimed the presence of armed guards and so-called tribal police at the casino during a recent standoff posed an "imminent threat to health and public safety."  It said that threat was a violation of a gaming compact between the state and the tribe that was approved in 1999.

Tehama County Sheriff's deputies were brought in to keep the peace, racking up tens-of-thousands of dollars in overtime and pulling deputies off other critical assignments.

In her ruling Wednesday evening, federal judge Kimberly Mueller said the taxing of Sheriff's office resources "poses a threat to the public health, safety and welfare."

The ruling also says the state "made a strong showing" that it is likely to prevail on its argument that the tribe violated its gaming compact with the state due to the threat posed by the ongoing standoff.

However, the judge made no final ruling on that matter, instead allowing time for both sides to prepare a case for a hearing on June 30th.

If the judge were to rule that the tribe violated its compact with the state, the compact could be nullified, effectively shutting the casino down.