U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Dakota
(605) 330-4400
May 7, 2015

Chicago Man Sentenced for Criminal Trespass

Acting United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that a Chicago, Illinois, man charged with Criminal Trespass pled guilty to and was sentenced on April 28, 2015, by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno.

Steven Nichols, age 44, was sentenced to 12 months in custody, one year of supervised release, a $25 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and ordered to not re-enter the lands of Todd County and the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation.

In the summer of 2011, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Attorney General petitioned the tribal court to bar Nichols, a non-Indian, from entering the lands of the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. On June 10, 2011, he was served with notice of the proceedings. On September 22, 2011, the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court entered an Emergency Writ of Exclusion barring him from entering the lands of the Rosebud reservation, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council voted to exclude the Defendant from the reservation. On September 23, 2011, a tribal law enforcement officer served him with the exclusionary order and escorted him off of the reservation.

Tribal law enforcement officers later learned that Nichols had re-entered the reservation. On September 9, 2012, officers apprehended him and again transported him off of the reservation. On January 30, 2013, officers learned Nichols was staying at a residence within the reservation, and upon searching the residence, found him hiding in a crawl space. He was arrested on federal criminal trespass charges and transported off of the reservation and into federal custody.

On March 14, 2014, Nichols was in a car near Two Strike, when a tribal patrol officer encountered him driving towards St. Francis, located within the Rosebud reservation. By being on the reservation, the Defendant defied orders to leave that were previously communicated to him. Nichols was convicted of criminal trespass and sentenced to nine months custody on September 30, 2014.

Nichols was placed at the Work Release Program in Winner on December 11, 2014. On January 16, 2015, Nichols was on a furlough and trespassed onto the Rosebud reservation. Nichols went to a home in St. Francis, and the occupant of the home called the police and Nichols was detained by law enforcement.

Nichols has repeatedly trespassed on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation and, since 2013, this is his fourth conviction or Criminal Trespass in federal court. This conviction resulted in the statutory maximum of 12 months in custody.

The investigation was conducted by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Maher.

Nichols was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service to complete his sentence.

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