Another trial in the Bunkerville standoff case opens Monday in Las Vegas, but instead of trying a new set of defendants, prosecutors will launch their second attempt to win convictions against four men accused of conspiring against the government with rancher Cliven Bundy.
The retrial follows a mistrial in April, when jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against the first batch of defendants in the three-part case. Prosecutors eventually plan to try 17 men on charges resulting from the April 2014 armed standoff between individual rights activists and Bureau of Land Management agents, who came to Bunkerville to seize Bundy’s cattle from public land.
The hung jury did not come as a surprise to local court observers, who previously have said that the trial against the first group hinged on ideological issues that typically are not litigated inside a courtroom. In a 2 million-population metropolitan area built in the middle of a desert, federal jury pools draw people from rural and urban areas — with different political views, policy priorities and perceptions of law enforcement.
It is that time of year again, when counties in Nevada and across the West squat on the street corner with their tin alms cups extended anxiously awaiting the tinkling sound of a few coins from the federal till — otherwise known as Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT).
Since 1977 Congress has parsimoniously paid out pennies on the acre to local governments to make up for the land the federal government controls but on which it pays no local property taxes. Since 85 percent of Nevada land is controlled by various federal agencies that is a lot of property tax to forgo.
Just a few weeks ago the Trump administration budget for this year proposed limiting PILT funding to an average of the most recent 10 years or about $397 million, but this past week in Pahrump Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke announced at a meeting with various Nevada officials that the PILT largesse this year will be $464.6 million, a 6 percent increase over the previous year. The about-face was roundly ignored.
A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Eric Lee Flores to two years of probation, including five months of home detention, for his role in the January 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Flores, 23, was the second defendant to plead guilty on June 9, 2016, admitting he conspired to impede federal employees from carrying out their work at the federal wildlife sanctuary in Harney County through intimidation, threat or force.
But is a novel video tutorial the best way? The jury is still out.
There’s something of a formula to the first morning of jury duty. It might involve a refresher on differences between civil and criminal cases, a little bit of shuffling between rooms, and a lot of waiting around in a generously named “Jury Lounge.” But in one federal district, the customary civics lessons for jurors have been given a twist to alert them to the hidden biases they might bring into the courtroom.The source is an 11-minute video — believed to be the first of its kind — that since March has been shown to every prospective juror in the two federal courthouses, in Seattle and Tacoma, that serve the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
The shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum on a snowy Oregon highway on Jan. 26, 2016, was one of those instant American dramas in which every photo, every eyewitness account and every millisecond of video become forensic evidence in a public debate over whether someone deserved to die at the hands of police.
In classic fashion, two sides examined the same evidence and saw two different things. To the government, Finicum, 55, was reaching for a loaded gun in his jacket after speeding away from a traffic stop, and the shooting by Oregon State Police troopers was justified.
To thousands of antigovernment activists across the country, the Arizona rancher was a folk hero who became a martyr when, in their view, he was ambushed — shot in the back without a gun in his hand — by overaggressive law enforcement officials who were trying to crush the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
But when it came to one mysterious piece of evidence in the case, the two sides were bothered by the same question: Where did the bullet hole in the roof of Finicum’s truck come from?
An indictment accusing an FBI agent of lying to hide that he fired two shots at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum and missed caps an 18-month investigation that began with Oregon sheriff’s detectives who followed “where the evidence led,” their commander said Wednesday.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson credited his investigators for their tenaciousness and said he was “disappointed and angry” that the FBI agent’s alleged deceit and actions “damage the integrity of the entire law enforcement profession.”
The pursuit of criminal charges against an FBI agent for allegedly lying about firing his gun at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum in January 2016 is a rare occurrence.
Only a fraction of the FBI’s agents have ever faced prosecution for alleged malfeasance on the job. Currently, the FBI employs about 13,000 agents.
Among those convicted in the past few years are a Los Angeles-area agent who stole drug money to pay for cars and plastic surgery; an agent who fed his drug addiction by stealing heroin seized as evidence; and a high-ranking agent who perjured himself about his dealings with a Boston gangster.
An FBI agent has been indicted on federal accusations that he lied about firing at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum last year as police arrested the leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation.
The agent will face allegations of making a false statement with intent to obstruct justice, according to sources familiar with the case.
The indictment stems from a more than year-long investigation by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice. The agent will be identified when he’s summoned to appear in U.S. District Court in Portland at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
PAHRUMP — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke didn’t stop at any national monuments during his first official visit to Nevada, but he promised to return for a tour of Gold Butte and Basin and Range before the end of July.
During an event in Pahrump on Monday, Zinke said he wants to see the two Nevada monuments from the ground and talk to stakeholders before he decides whether the designations should be reduced, rescinded or left intact.
He said he doesn’t have any “preconceived ideas” about the two Obama-era monuments, though he indicated that his recent recommendations on Bears Ears National Monument in Utah provide a blueprint for what might happen here.
“You’re free to think what you choose, but your conduct crossed the line,” the judge said. “I need to be sure you won’t take it upon yourself to answer that type of call again. … You need to put this chapter behind you. You need to respect the law, whether you agree with it or not.”The judge said she considered that Stanek entered a guilty plea early to a federal conspiracy charge last year and that he didn’t withdraw his plea after occupation leaders who went to trial were acquitted last fall. The fact that he heeded the FBI’s request that he and others leave the refuge the night of Jan. 26, 2016, after the arrests of Ammon Bundy and others leaders, also worked in his favor, the judge said.
“On the other hand, you were part of the problem,” Brown told Stanek.
Laxalt on Friday joined a 10-state coalition of attorneys general in filing the brief in the federal District Court of San Francisco. The brief urges the court to dismiss a California-based challenge to the federal government’s January executive order pertaining to sanctuary cities.
The case is an opportunity to remedy the threat that California’s “sanctuary cities” pose to Nevada safety, Laxalt’s office said.
“Sanctuary cities in California endanger Nevadans, especially given their close proximity to us,” Laxalt said. “In some cases these cities refuse federal requests to temporarily detain illegal aliens with violent criminal histories and instead release these felons into communities that — under federal law — they have no right to be in.
protest last year. The organizers of the Rainbow Family gathering have obtained no permit for their event and, according to Capitol Press, are already have an impact on the environment of the Preserve.
The Rainbow Family Gathering in Oregon should make federal government hypocrisy undeniably evident. Many who are angry at this double standard are saying that there is no difference between this event and the rancher protest that occurred last year. However, there is one big difference, and it’s this difference that is the reason for the federal government’s double standard.
While it still technically remains legal to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled over, searched, arrested, subjected to all manner of surveillance, treated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at and killed.
This same rule does not apply to government agents, however, who are armed to the hilt and rarely given more than a slap on the wrists for using their weapons to shoot and kill American citizens.
According to the Washington Post, “1 in 13 people killed by guns are killed by police.”
Just recently, for example, a Minnesota jury acquitted a police officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile, a school cafeteria supervisor, during a routine traffic stop merely because Castile disclosed that he had a gun in his possession, for which he had a lawful conceal-and-carry permit. That’s all it took for police to shoot Castile four times as he was reaching for his license and registration. Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter witnessed the entire exchange.
The U.S. Forest Service acknowledged there isn’t much it can do about a “Rainbow Family” gathering expected to bring thousands of counter-culture types to the Malheur National Forest in Eastern Oregon over the next two weeks.
The organizers don’t have a permit, and the Forest Service’s response to that has angered area residents such as rancher Loren Stout, who lives near the gathering spot and has a federal grazing permit on land adjacent to it.
He said the Forest Service would punish ranchers if they ignored permit requirements and tapped a spring for drinking water like the Rainbow Family has done. Stout said it took him two years to get a National Environmental Policy Act permit to drill an exploratory mining hole.
“People are furious over this,” Stout said. “Not because it’s a friggin’ bunch of hippies, it’s the different standards.”
Geoffrey Stanek, who pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy last year in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, should not face a sentence longer than the one-year probation given to three co-defendants who were allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, his lawyer argues.
Stanek, 27, wasn’t at the refuge takeover from the start and didn’t stay until the end, like co-defendants Sean and Sandra Anderson who were among the last holdouts before their Feb. 11, 2016 surrender. The Anderson couple and co-defendant Dylan Anderson avoided a trial by pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge of trespass this winter and were sentenced to one year of probation.
By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian/OregonLive | June 23, 2016 Wesley Kjar, described as one of Ammon Bundy’s personal bodyguards, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal conspiracy charge stemming from the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. “I agreed […]
Federal prosecutors said they smashed the structure of one of the country’s most ruthless criminal organizations with a racketeering indictment against 23 members of the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, who were arrested Friday in Nevada, Hawaii and California.
The 12-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, accuses the bikers of a laundry list of violent crimes committed over the past 12 years. It includes the 2011 murder of a rival Hells Angel gang member at the Sparks Nugget Hotel &Casino — a crime described Friday as part of a broader criminal conspiracy that involved a coordinated cover-up and threats of retaliation against gang members who cooperated with law enforcement.
I don’t think that you can find a better example of how It Matters How You Stand than newly elected City Council Woman Michele Fiore. Her conservative values, respect, and support for the United States Constitution as it defines the structure and government roles of our Constitutional Republic, are hard to find in City, County, State or Federal Politics anywhere today.
Tuesday 6-14-2017, Michelle, secured her position as City Council Women for Ward 6, Las Vegas, Nevada. Her victory was not easy, as the last minute smear campaign, reduced her early voting 8 points lead to an only 1 point victory. The win on election night was estimated to as close as 150-200 actual votes.
U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown said she was struggling to find “clear and convincing” evidence that Oregon refuge occupier Jason Patrick would follow court-imposed conditions if released from custody before sentencing.
Though prosecutors’ did not object to Patrick’s motion for release Friday, Brown said she was troubled by his past record: Patrick’s “insolent and disrespectful” behavior in court during trial, the three times he was late and then spoke back to the judge at trial, his difficulty gaining entry to the courthouse because of his lack of any personal photo ID, his prior pronouncement that he would rather sit in jail than wear a electronic anklet for GPS monitoring, and his underlying federal conspiracy conviction.
“This is a man who does not respect the authority of the United States courts or federal law generally,” Brown said. “This is a man who chooses which rules he wants to follow.”
Although an outside company exerting influence on local police may not seem compatible with good governance, there are hidden advantages to insurers’ monitoring police departments and suggesting improvements. For one, insurance companies are apolitical. “I think the debates about policing have become so fraught and so inflammatory,” Rappaport told me. “To have this big, well-heeled institution saying, ‘We’re not interested in that debate, we just want to get those numbers down’—it can make reform more palatable because it takes the electricity out.”
Cash-strapped cities, meanwhile, can benefit from the services offered by liability insurers, from police training sessions and applicant screening to data-driven insights gleaned from the insurer’s work with other municipalities. In Irwindale, there were biweekly meetings with an outside risk manager; hundreds of hours of training sessions for police officers on topics like sexual harassment and use of force; and outside reviews of all internal-affairs investigations. The department had 18 months to clean up its act in order to keep its coverage. “I’ve never seen such a thing in my whole career,” Miranda said. “I’m going on 27 years.”
When was the last time that the common Cause uttered Cliven Bundy, Dwight Hammond, Steven Hammond, Pubic Land policy? What happened to the other defendants in Nevada and those convicted in Oregon? What happened to the focus that brought thousands together in their respective support to the Cause? Have these all been abandoned?
Some of those who have been staunch supporters of the elements of the Cause objected to what happened on Memorial Day weekend. They are accused of creating division. There are near relentless attacks on those who have steadfastly supported the original Cause, many from as early as April 2014. Though until that weekend, had uttered no objection to those who chose to add the prisoner abuse issue to the agenda.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – A debate is raging in the inbox of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior about whether President Donald Trump should keep the scenic, ecologically fragile and artifact-rich Gold Butte area in southern Nevada as a national monument.
Comments ranging from “I hope this area will remain protected” to “shut down this monument designation” have been posted in recent weeks about the future of the rugged and arid rangeland covering about 470 square miles (1,217 square kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas.
Many messages are unsigned. Some only mention Gold Butte among the 27 national monuments under Trump administration review, including the vast Basin and Range region covering 1,100 square miles (2,849 square kilometers) of central Nevada. About half of the 109,000 public comments as of Friday referred to Bears Ears monument in Utah.
Oregon refuge occupier Jason Patrick, who offered to be taken into custody just over two months ago after he was convicted of felony and misdemeanor charges, is asking to be released, pending his sentencing this fall.
“I think he’s just tired of being at the local jail,” his defense lawyer Andrew Kohlmetz said Friday.
Patrick, 45, this time will abide by the conditions set for release, including electronic monitoring and home detention at his mother’s residence in Washington state, his lawyer said.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
-The Sixth Amendment