Bryan Hyde Perspectives: The Bunkerville trial, what a modern lynching looks like

OPINION – Our news cycle was dominated this past week by the birth announcement of a destructive, tantrum-prone love child sired by masked socialist activists and their national socialist counterparts.

While the public’s attention is focused on whether this little monster looks more like its mother or its father, a very real injustice is taking place just out of view.

The highly publicized, and sometimes blatantly distorted, narrative of events at Bundy Ranch three years ago made the Bundys a household name. No matter which version you choose to believe, it’s safe to say that what happened at Bunkerville was likely the most significant act of armed civil disobedience in the past 150 years.

Continue reading

Reporters sue feds for info on FBI’s Bundy ranch infiltration with fake film crew

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a lawsuit Monday against the Justice Department and FBI in an effort to pry loose documents related to the FBI’s prior impersonation of documentary filmmakers.

The FBI has admitted to sending undercover agents to Nevada in 2014 to act as a film crew and interview supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy amid an armed standoff with the federal government.

Footage shot for the fake documentary was later used by the government during criminal trials of some of those involved in the standoff.
The reporter’s committee sought through Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain FBI records regarding the bogus film crew as well as any records on the bureau’s use of the tactic dating back to 2010. The lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia comes after the committee said the FBI has failed to act on the FOIA requests.

Continue reading

Jury in Bunkerville standoff case to resume deliberations Monday

After more than two days of deliberation, jurors are expected to return Monday in the retrial of four men facing federal charges in the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville.

On Tuesday, the panel of six women and six men started deliberating the charges against Idaho men Steven Stewart, Scott Drexler and Eric Parker, and Montana resident Ricky Lovelien. Jurors were sent home at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday and are expected to resume deliberations Monday morning, defense attorneys said.

During closing arguments this week, prosecutors pointed to social media posts in which the men discussed the activities in the rural Nevada town, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. On a video played for jurors, rancher Cliven Bundy spoke to a crowd outside his ranch, encouraging his followers to do what they needed to do to retrieve his cattle from the Bureau of Land Management.

Continue reading

Oregon refuge occupier Darryl Thorn taken into custody amid concerns over suicidal threats

A judge Wednesday revoked Oregon refuge occupier Darryl Thorn’s release and sent him to jail immediately to undergo a mental health evaluation, concerned about repeated threats he made to his girlfriend that he was going to hang himself or commit “suicide by cop.”

Thorn, who was convicted of federal conspiracy, possession of a firearm in a federal facility, trespass and other charges at a trial this year, suffered an “emotional crisis” after moving to the small eastern Oregon town of Monument, his defense lawyer said.

Thorn, 32, moved there from Spokane in late June on the promise of a job and a residence, only to have both fall through, said Jay Nelson, Thorn’s third defense lawyer in the case. He ended up living in an RV park and searching for odd jobs while his girlfriend often was away traveling for her job in road construction.

Continue reading

Drama Closes US Trial: Bundy Case Defense Lawyers Stay Mute

LAS VEGAS (AP) — In a dramatic end to a contentious trial, defense attorneys declined Tuesday to make closing arguments on behalf of four men accused of wielding assault weapons against federal agents in a 2014 standoff near Nevada anti-government figure Cliven Bundy’s ranch.

The move left defendants Eric Parker, Steven Stewart and Ricky Lovelien of Montana and Oklahoma essentially mute in answer to 10 felony charges including conspiracy, weapon possession and assault on a federal officer.

Defendant Scott Drexler of Idaho testified in his defense on Monday.

Parker testified last week, but Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ordered him off the witness stand and struck his testimony from the record for what she said was a deliberate failure to keep his testimony within bounds of rules she set to keep the focus on what the defendants saw and did during the confrontation, not what they felt or why they acted.

Continue reading

Defense attorneys withold closing arguments in Bunkerville retrial

Defense attorneys sat silently Tuesday, rather than give closing arguments for the four men facing a retrial in the Bundy Ranch standoff.

Hamstrung throughout the trial by a judge’s decision to limit the witnesses they could call, the questions they could ask and the testimony their clients could give, the lawyers made the final decision, a statement of sorts, after discussing the option with the defendants — Eric Parker, Scott Drexler, Steven Stewart and Ricky Lovelien — during a lunch break.

“It was a strategic decision,” said lawyer Jess Marchese, who represents Parker. “We thought we gained more by not giving a closing argument than the government giving a rebuttal.”

Continue reading

Defense waives closing arguments; jurors begin deliberations in Bundy Ranch standoff trial

Defendants waived closing arguments Tuesday in the Bundy Ranch standoff trial in Las Vegas, ending a monthlong legal battle with a clear protest about court proceedings.

Lawyers for the four men charged in the 2014 clash among federal agents, militia members and cattle ranchers took the unusual step of resting their cases without a final address to the jury.

“The message is simple,” Las Vegas lawyer Shawn Perez said Tuesday afternoon. “You silenced us the entire trial … there’s nothing more to say.”

The move was part of a strategy to deprive federal prosecutors of an opportunity to make rebuttal arguments and to end the case while it was in the hands of the defense, said Perez, who represents defendant Richard Lovelien of Oklahoma.

Continue reading

Man charged in anti-government bomb plot in Oklahoma City

The FBI has arrested an Oklahoma man on charges that he tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb, acting out of a hatred for the U.S. government and an admiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mc­Veigh, according to court papers.

Jerry Drake Varnell was arrested shortly after an attempt early Saturday morning to detonate a fake bomb packed into what he believed was a stolen cargo van outside a bank in Oklahoma City, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. He was charged with attempted destruction of a building by means of an explosive.

According to the complaint, over the course of a months-long undercover investigation by the FBI, Varnell made repeated statements about the extent of his hatred of the federal government.

Continue reading

Judge’s rulings lead to tense moments in Bundy case in Vegas

Restrictions placed by a federal judge on what defendants can say about being at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in April 2014 are leading to tense moments in the Las Vegas retrial of four men accused of wielding assault-style weapons to stop federal agents from rounding up cattle belonging to the anti-government figure.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro refused Monday to order a mistrial sought by the defense attorney for Eric Parker, a defendant who Navarro ordered off the witness stand last week before telling the jury to disregard his testimony.

Such a dramatic step involving a defendant in the presence of a jury is unusual and might draw scrutiny from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, said Robert Draskovich, a Las Vegas lawyer who said he had never heard of such a move in more than two decades practicing in federal courts. Draskovich is not involved in the Bundy case.

Continue reading

It Matters How You Stand, Does that define what you are standing for?

The concept of God Given (Natural) Rights and Freedoms is the foundation of our United States Constitution and the ability to exercise them within the concept of Liberty. But whats the difference between Freedom and Liberty?

Freedom is a singular act of any individual to exercise their Natural Rights. Liberty is the pursuit of the conceptional practice of Exercising Freedoms while allowing for and respecting those same rights exercised also by others. It includes providing a method of resolution when those same freedoms may conflict with those of others.

Continue reading

Bullying and suicide: The connection is not as simple as it may seem

Bullying, as many people know, can be a tremendously painful experience for a young person. The point has been driven home over the last decade by stories about teens like Phoebe Prince or Amanda Todd, who killed themselves after experiencing bullying.

Recently, the parents of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye filed a federal lawsuit against the Cincinnati public schools, alleging that their son committed suicide because the school covered up and failed to prevent a culture of bullying.

All 50 states have some kind of antibullying law, and schools are increasingly being called upon to implement bullying prevention programs.

Bullying and suicide are both significant public health concerns for children and adolescents. As a scholar with expertise in youth violence and bullying, I’ve done considerable research to understand the link between bullying and suicide. Although there certainly is a connection between the two, research highlights the complexity of the relationship.

Continue reading

Newspaper column : Rural groundwater grab gets federal court hearing by Thomas Mitchell

Three years ago several counties and groups filed lawsuits in federal court seeking to block the water grab, claiming the federal land agencies had failed to properly evaluate the environmental damage and follow the law. The lawsuits claimed the Interior Department and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in approving the groundwater project.

This past week in a Las Vegas courtroom federal Judge Andrew Gordon heard nearly two hours of oral arguments from both sides seeking summary judgment.

Continue reading

Thomas Mitchell : Bunkerville defendant kicked off the witness stand by judge for, well, defending himself

The judge in the trial of four defendants in the 2014 Bunkerville standoff with BLM agents attempting to confiscate rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle has made it clear she will not allow a defense based on First or Second Amendment rights or claims that BLM misbehavior provoked the protest.

On Thursday she cut short the testimony of defendant Eric Parker after he tried to mention in his defense testimony a “First Amendment area” the BLM had set up to isolate protesters — an area that Gov. Brian Sandoval said “tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution” — and attempted to mention where a BLM sniper was positioned.

Continue reading

When Prisoners Are a ‘Revenue Opportunity’

Prisoners in Pahrump, Nevada’s CoreCivic operated Federal Detention Center, who have been in other facilities previously with remote Video Chat ability, may feel differently in spite of the cost. Not having it, except for locally at the facility, means families must travel to the southern Nevada desert just to see them on Video.

Continue reading

DeLemus moved from Nevada to federal prison at Fort Devens

Jerry DeLemus, the 62-year-old Rochester man serving a six-year prison term for his role in Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff in 2014 has been permanently moved to the federal prison at Fort Devens in Ayer, Mass., his wife said.

Former state Rep. Susan DeLemus said she hasn’t spoken to her husband for nine days while he’s been “quarantined” and processed since his move from a Nevada prison to Devens, 90 minutes from their home.

“Never in my life would I ever think I would be happy my husband was in a prison of any kind, but I am happy he will be in Devens permanently now so I can see him,” Mrs. DeLemus said during a telephone interview.

Continue reading

Judge cuts defendant’s testimony short in Bunkerville retrial

A federal judge in Las Vegas cut short the testimony of an Idaho gun enthusiast in the middle of his Bunkerville standoff retrial Thursday.

Eric Parker was photographed in April 2014 pointing a long gun through a barrier on an Interstate 15 overpass that overlooked a sandy ditch where protesters had gathered to face Bureau of Land Management agents.

Prosecutors first objected to Parker’s testimony about 20 minutes after he took the stand and uttered the words “First Amendment.”

Before the start of the second trial for Parker, a married father of two, and three other men, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro barred the defense from referencing constitutional rights to freely assemble and to bear arms. She also prohibited mention of alleged misconduct or excessive force by law enforcement.

Continue reading