Reies López Tijerina

Tijerina Manacled Enroute to Federal Court

June 1969
Monday June 9, 1969

Monday June 9, 1969, I consulted with Howard Graves of the Associated Press and he gave me a piece of newsprint with the name of FBI Agents on it, "pls call FBI agent Cary Carlton 247-1555 Bill Folkner Forrest Putman." The FBI requested to look at my photographs. I told them that I would let them see my photographs and they could present a legal request (subpoena) for the photographs they wanted. They said I would receive a subpoena and they selected about 75 photographs surrounding the sign burning incidents.

I took a full copy of 26 proof sheets to Reyes Tijerina at the Alianza headquarters. The proof sheets were quickly passed around among followers. Reyes Hugh Tijerina and Frankie Archibeque pulled me aside and told me that I could not let the photographs be published or to fall into the hands of the court. I said that the photographs would be published because several news outlets still wanted to see them. Reyes Hugh Tijerina and Archibeque demanded that I give them the negatives. They maneuvered me into a corner of an office about 20 feet from the entrance. I felt a great deal of pressure being applied and knew I had to get out of their territory quickly. I left the set of proof sheets for Reies Tijerina, so he could pick the 150 pictures I had promised him as part of the agreement for me to travel with him. I told Reyes Hugh Tijerina and Archibeque that I did not have the negatives with me, that I had a ride waiting for me and left.
I was later told by State Policeman Robert Gilliland that on that night, Archibeque died of a heroin overdose.
I had State Policeman Gilliland hold my negatives in the vault at State Police district headquarters to protect them from burglary, arson or theft. I got them on several occasions to make prints and after awhile, I did not return them to the safety of the vault.
From June 16-17, 1969, a bond revocation hearing was held in United States District Court. The United States Attorney was Victor R. Ortega and his assistant was Michael P. Watkins. Tijerina's lawyer was William Kunstler. I was subpoenaed to testify by both the prosecution and defense. I testified and was on witness stand for two hours. Defense attorney William Kunstler attacked me for about an hour and a half and was stopped by Judge Bratton when he started asking about the chemical make up of the film developer.
On June 31, 1969, a United States Commissioner's hearing was held for Reyes Hugh Tijerina Jr. I was subpoenaed by Attorney John R. Cooney who represented Reyes Jr.
On July 1, 1969, I was on the stand at United States Commissioner's hearing as a defense witness. My testimony was that I had not seen or photographed Reyes Hugh Tijerina Jr. committing any act that I thought violated the law. I testified that I had not seen or photographed Reyes Jr. doing anything other than offering verbal and moral support to Patsy Tijerina until after Evans had arrested Reies Lopez Tijerina and Reyes Jr. stepped in to try to make a "citizens arrest" of Evans. That is when Evans had arrested Reyes Jr. and he was taken into custody by State Police officers.
Gilliland told me that in July, there had been a meeting in a bar between several Alianza members including Reyes Hugh Tijerina Jr. in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Reyes Jr. reportedly threatened me by supposedly telling the others that I could not be allowed to testify because the photographs were damaging to their case.
In United States of America vs. Reies Lopez Tijerina, the United States Supreme Court, No. 1505, refused to hear the case that there was no confidential privilege as claimed by Tijerina. Tijerina claimed such a confidential privilege with a news reporter (photographer) under the first amendment, with me saying that I could not testify by showing the photographs I had taken. I never had made any agreement to do anything other than report what I observed. I had not been made aware, by either Tijerina or the United States Attorney that the question affected me, as the alleged confidant, was working its way through the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, Nos. 10031 - 10035. I learned of my participation in the case only after the Supreme Court refused to hear the claim.
Reies Lopez Tijerina trial
September 22, 1969
On September 22, 1969, the Reies Lopez Tijerina trial starts.
On September 25, 1969, I testify under direct examination and was on the witness stand as the last witness before the government rests.
On September 27, 1969, I testify as a rebuttal witness. Reies Lopez Tijerina was found guilty, convicted on three counts in Federal District Court.
He was sentenced to three years in prison and served two years. While in federal prison he was diagnosed with cancer in his throat. Surgery was performed on the right side of his neck.
In November of 1969, Newsweek magazine contacted my father, while I was studying in New York City at the New York Institute of Photography. Newsweek wanted to buy a photograph of Reies Lopez Tijerina to illustrate a story.
Newsweek, December 15, 1969, published a photograph of Reies Lopez Tijerina with Brown Berets, one of whom is holding a shotgun, to illustrate a story about the Presbyterian church giving some land to the Alianza in a land swap deal with the National Forest Service.
On Monday, January 5, 1970, Reies Lopez Tijerina was sentenced from one to five years and from two to ten years in the State of New Mexico District Court, for the 1967 Terrera Amarilla courthouse raid. I photographed him as he was led away after his court appearance.
February 16, 1970, the United States v. Patsy Ann Tijerina's trial starts on two charges of destruction of government property which involved the burning of National Forest Service signs in Gallinia and Coyote, New Mexico. The Assistant United States Attorney was Michael P. Watkins. The defense Attorney was Peter Adang assisted by Thomas E. Davis. I was subpoenaed to testify by both the prosecution and defense.
On February 17, 1970, I testify under direct examination and was on the witness stand as the last witness before the government rests.
I was recalled and testified as a rebuttal witness to point out that Patsy Tijerina seemed capable of reading. The defense had put on evidence that she could not read because she had a limited IQ of about 69. I had seen her select a number of tourist pamphlets from a rack at the Congressional hotel, including some that had no pictures. I had photographs of her in front of the Supreme Court building showing her holding some of these pamphlets. I also testified that on the airplane ride home she seemed to read an article in a woman's magazine.
Patsy is convicted and sentenced to three years in prison which was suspended and placed on three years of probation.