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Case against fire starter returned to tribal court

FLAGSTAFF – A federal appeals court has ruled that a woman who started part of the largest wildfire in Arizona history must exhaust remedies in a tribal court.

Valinda Jo Elliott was lost on White Mountain Apache land for two days in 2002 when she started a blaze to get the attention of a television news helicopter. That fire merged into the Rodeo-Chediski fire.

She wasn’t criminally prosecuted, but the tribe brought a civil case against her.

After she tried unsuccessfully to have the case dismissed in tribal courts, she turned to a federal district court.

That court held that Elliott must exhaust her tribal court remedies and dismissed the case without prejudice.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling Thursday.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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