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MAJ_ELEISHA_HAYES.JPGA lawsuit challenging a proposed tribal casino in Amador County has been shifted to federal court in Sacramento, and away from a Washington, D.C.-based court.

In an 11-page decision Thursday, U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer sided with the Interior Department officials who wanted the lawsuit relocated to California.

The lawsuit, filed by Nicolas Villa, Jr., challenges the decision of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to acquire in trust land in Amador County for Indian gaming purposes.Villa alleges that Interior should not have acquired the land nor recognized the Ione Band of Miwok Indians as a "restored tribe" under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Villa, in essence, leads what he calls the true Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California.

Collyer concluded, among other things, that "The Eastern District of California is located much closer to Villa's home and is perfectly capable of deciding this case carefully and fairly."

PHOTO CREDIT: Slot machines at the San Pablo casino of the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians in 2006. The Sacramento Bee/ Michael A. Jones


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