Review-Journal asks judge to unseal Bundy docs, hearings

Two days after federal judge suggested the possibility of a mistrial in the Bunkerville standoff case, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and a group of Nevada newspapers asked to unseal trial documents discussed behind closed courtroom doors.

‘There is insufficient basis to maintain certain motions and transcripts under seal in this case and to continue to close hearings to the public,” the motion filed Wednesday evening states. “Sealing documents and closing hearings is inimical to this Country’s and this Court’s long tradition of open trials, guaranteed by both the First Amendment and common law — a right of access that is always important, but particularly critical in this case.”

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Thomas Mitchell: What to do about wild horses? Part 2

In his newly published book, “Wild Horse Country,” writer David Philipps offers his suggestion for what to do about the overpopulation of wild horses in the West, which are overgrazing the open range: “The solution is mountain lions.”

Realizing that this will leave horse-huggers aghast and cause cattle and sheep ranchers to gasp, Philipps forges ahead, “For decades, the BLM has said the wild horse has ‘no natural predators.’ … But the same people who have long dismissed using predators to control horses as impossible have never made an attempt to understand it. They have likely been too busy rounding up and storing horses. If they took the time to look into the idea of mountain lions, they would see that research on the ground contradicts the conventional wisdom.”

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Inmate escape attempt in Pahrump prompts response

An inmate’s attempted escape from the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) facility along East Mesquite Avenue on Saturday prompted the response from Nye County sheriff’s deputies, authorities said.

CCA officials contacted the sheriff’s office regarding the escape attempt from the facility, also known as the Nevada Southern Detention Center, at approximately 12 p.m., a news release reported.

The release noted that sheriff’s office staff responded and set up a perimeter while CCA staff conducted a facility-wide headcount.

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Judge releases 4 more Bunkerville standoff defendants

Last week, Cliven Bundy’s lawyer, Bret Whipple, said his client turned down U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro’s conditions of release because he believed he was innocent and would not accept restrictions on his freedom. He also said Cliven Bundy did not want others jailed in connection with the standoff.

Now that two more of his sons who were charged in the Bunkerville case have been let out of jail, and none of the standoff defendants awaiting trial remains behind bars, Whipple plans to discuss with his client the possibility of being with family for the holidays.

“I’m going to encourage him to allow me to help him,” Whipple said. “But at the end of the day, Cliven is a very principled man, and he follows his own principles, and I respect that.”

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Interior secretary recommends shrinking Gold Butte

Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke on Tuesday recommended shrinking the boundaries of Gold Butte National Monument in a move that distressed conservationists, who have fought for years to protect the land near Mesquite. Zinke’s report came one day after the president slashed the size of two national monuments in Utah, a move that has already sparked a lawsuit.
Compared to the wholesale changes the president approved in Utah, any adjustments to Gold Butte are expected to be minor. But Zinke’s recommendations, although similar to a leaked draft in September, carry a symbolic weight for the area. They signal a major reversal of public lands policy that comes almost exactly one year after President Obama designated the nearly 300,000 acres that start about 10 miles from the site of the 2014 Bundy standoff.

“We will fight it in court,” Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity wrote in an email. “And we will win.”

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Southern Nevada District Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement is being revived for the first time since 2014.

LAS VEGAS – The Bureau of Land Management requests public input for a Revised Draft Southern Nevada District Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. 

The BLM has determined that a Revised Draft RMP/EIS should be developed and an opportunity for public input is needed to gather additional information on the areas of renewable energy, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, lands with wilderness characteristics, land tenure adjustments (land disposals), Gold Butte National Monument, and socio-economics. 

Opportunity to provide input is offered from now until February 2, 2018. During this period, the BLM will conduct public meetings to present information and provide for the opportunity for public input. The Revised Draft RMP/EIS will incorporate substantive comments received from the initial Draft RMP/EIS and information received from the public input period and meetings. 

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Oregon refuge occupier Jon Ritzheimer: ‘I am extremely sorry for this entire mess’

Jon Ritzheimer, a military veteran who led and recruited others to the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and must spend another 12 months in a residential re-entry program, a federal judge ordered Thursday.

Ritzheimer, dressed in a blue suit and tie with a band of military medals from his two tours of Marine Corps Reserve duty in Iraq pinned to his jacket, apologized to the judge and those impacted by the 41-day occupation of the federal bird sanctuary in Harney County.

“I did read through the victim reports, and I do believe people were genuinely afraid,” he said. “It absolutely was not my intent for anyone to feel that way…I am extremely sorry for this entire mess.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel urged U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown to sentence Ritzheimer to two years in prison, citing his leadership and “aggravating” role in the occupation.

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Nevada rancher refuses judge’s offer of release during trial

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal judge offered to release a rancher and states’ rights figure from custody during his trial on charges involving an armed standoff that stopped a government cattle roundup three years ago in Nevada.

But Cliven Bundy refused to leave jail while others are still behind bars awaiting trial in the case.

Bundy, 71, didn’t state his reason in court Wednesday. But his wife, Carol Bundy, noted in a courthouse hallway that two other sons, Mel and David Bundy, are approaching two years in federal detention.

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Thomas Mitchell: The strange Bunkerville case has further twists

The twists and turns in the Bunkerville standoff trial defy logic.

Weeks into the federal trial of 71-year-old rancher Cliven Bundy, two of this sons and self-styled militia man from Montana, the judge has decided that all of the defendants should be released from jail to what amounts to house arrest. Ryan Bundy was so released at the beginning of the trial but the judge refused to do the same for the others.

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Supporters greet Ammon Bundy in Las Vegas after his release

Ammon Bundy, on trial with his rancher father Cliven Bundy, was released from jail Thursday morning.

A crowd of about 50 supporters and family members, including Ammon Bundy’s wife and six children, cheered and hugged him as he walked out of the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas.

His brother, Ryan, another defendant facing a jury on charges connected with the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville, was among those in the crowd. The two hugged briefly before Ammon Bundy spoke with reporters.

“Freedom is important,” he said, wearing a blue-and-white plaid shirt, bluejeans and orange sandals. “It’s important because of our families. It’s important because of the great things we enjoy every day as Americans. America has always been an example of freedom, an example of family, an example of what’s good in this world. And really all my family has ever tried to do is just promote that.”

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Bundy Trial – The Prosecution Opens It’s Case

The Bundy trial continues into its next phase in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cliven Bundy, with sons Ryan and Ammon, and their co-defendant Ryan Payne, face felony charges that could result in over 100 years in prison for each.

Directly after opening statements, the prosecution “opened” its case against the Bundy’s and Payne. The prosecution will be in charge of much of the narrative in the next month or two until they “rest” their case. They will be calling the witnesses who are most favorable to the governments theory; usually government employees of the BLM, FBI and other law enforcement agencies. The defendants will be allowed to cross-examine the governments witnesses. The Bundy’s and Payne will have their turn to “open” their case after the government has “rested” theirs.

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Judge was rude, security over the top in Oregon occupation trial, defense lawyers say

Several defense attorneys from the first Oregon refuge occupation trial have written memos supporting Ammon Bundy’s lawyer in his fight with the federal court over his behavior during and at the end of the trial when he was tackled by federal marshals and stunned with a Taser.

The attorneys praised Marcus Mumford for his demeanor, said he didn’t have enough time to prepare for the trial but was a zealous advocate for his client. Some wrote that U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown was especially tough on Mumford, and there was longstanding animosity between Mumford and the marshals before the physical confrontation.

Mumford faced criminal charges after deputy marshals tackled him in the courtroom and took him into custody following the announcement of not guilty verdicts on Oct. 27, 2016, but prosecutors later dropped them. Mumford had shouted at the judge, argued for Ammon Bundy’s release and demanded to see a detention order from Nevada.

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Thomas Mitchell: Constitution stretched to the breaking point

If words can mean anything anyone says they mean, then words are meaningless. That is what the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has done with the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

The appellate court overturned a federal judge who found that the Commerce Clause does not give Congress the power under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to regulate a species that exists only within the boundaries of one state and has no commercial value whatsoever — specifically the Utah prairie dog.

Nevada has joined with Utah and 21 other states to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to strike the circuit court ruling, saying that if the ruling stands “then Congress has virtually limitless authority, and the Tenth Amendment is a dead letter,” as well as the concept of federalism. (prairiedogamicusbrief)

If Nevada is to have any control over any economic activity within its borders, which include numerous endangered and threatened species, it is vital that the high court reverse this Constitution-rendering exercise in legerdemain.

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Former inmate shares life behind bars with Cliven Bundy

“Tell me about this standoff.”

And with that, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy found a biographer behind bars.

Bundy had invited a fellow inmate to sit down at a table with him. They chatted about farming, raising cattle, growing melons and grandchildren.

Soon, they were walking regular laps together around the inside of a large unit that housed 94 bunk beds between concrete cinderblock walls about 60 miles west of Las Vegas.

And when the time seemed right, inmate Michael Stickler broached the subject of why the Bundy patriarch was in custody at the Southern Nevada Detention Center in Pahrump.

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Cliven Bundy Sues DOJ and FBI Over Prosecutorial Abuse!

Complaint Meant to Force AG Sessions To Review and Dismiss Charges

(Washington, D.C., November 10, 2017). Today, Larry Klayman, the founder of both Judicial Watch and now Freedom Watch, announced a lawsuit filed in his private capacity on behalf of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who stood up to government tyranny under the Obama administration. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Case No. 1:17-cv-02429) against Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray in their official capacities, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Inspector General (IG) over their failure to conduct an investigation into the bad faith and gross prosecutorial abuse by federal prosecutors and the destruction and hiding of material exculpatory evidence by the DOJ, FBI and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the ongoing criminal prosecution.

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Trial of the Century – Summarizing the Week

     Cliven Bundy, sons Ammon Bundy, and Ryan Bundy, and co-defendant Ryan Payne are accused of conspiring to block federal agents from enforcing court orders when the BLM tried to confiscate Cliven Bundy’s cattle.  The cattle were on public land where the ranch had grazing and water rights since the late 1800’s. The government’s actions resulted in the deaths of approximately 100 head of cattle and the destruction of the Bundy’s livestock watering system built throughout the last century. 

     The four defendants have been incarcerated since January of 2016.   They were each charged with 10 felonies.  Each man could be sentenced to more than a hundred years in prison for their involvement while resisting the confiscation.  The men are brought to court in shackles and each man has had a significant weight loss since their incarceration.  All their motions for pretrial releases have been denied.

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