Judge: Cayugas can't sell untaxed cigarettes

By: The Citizen staff report

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 4:02 PM EST
The Cayuga Indian Nation of New York will not get its seized cigarettes back, and it must stop selling untaxed cigarettes to non-Indian customers at its Union Springs and Seneca Falls stores, a judge ruled Wednesday.
State Supreme Court Judge Kenneth Fisher issued a pair of decisions that favored the district attorney offices of Cayuga and Seneca counties in their prosecution of the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York over untaxed cigarettes.

The nation had earlier secured a preliminary injunction from the state Appellate Division that prevented the counties from moving forward on their prosecutions of the cases until it could make a final decision on the case.

But Fisher, who signed the original search warrants in the case and declared the counties' actions lawful a couple of weeks later, said the appeals court's injunction merely preserved the status quo at the time it was issued. And the Cayugas were not selling untaxed cigarettes at time; in fact, the stores were closed.

Fisher also noted that the Appellate Division gave no indication in its written orders which way it was leaning in terms of the merits of the case.

For more on this story, see Thursday's edition of The Citizen.