Madison — The U.S. is entering a period when its commitment to religious liberty is being tested, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told an audience Wednesday at an event sponsored by a Catholic lawyers’ organization.
Alito used his own words from his dissent in the Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage case, telling the gathering he had predicted opposition to the decision would be used to “vilify those who disagree, and treat them as bigots.”
“We are seeing this is coming to pass,” he said, then mentioned Bob Dylan’s famous song lyric, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown often warned defendants, defense lawyers and spectators that she wouldn’t tolerate outbursts or laughter in the courtroom during the conspiracy trials against the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
One man, often hunched over a small pad of paper and scribbling with a pencil in the back row, paid close attention to fill the void.
Scott Klatt would take notes on the witnesses or exchanges in court, quickly draw a brief scene, add a caption and some dialogue. Then he’d post his “Bundy Court Sketches” on Twitter and Facebook, providing plenty of laughs long after court recessed.
A Nevada Highway Patrol sergeant who responded to the 2014 protests in Bunkerville testified Monday that he was “jealous” of one of Cliven Bundy’s supporters because the man carried a radio that broadcast police scanner activity better than a state-issued device.
“Our radios weren’t that clear. I was kind of jealous because his was better than ours,” Sgt. Shannon Selena told jurors Monday.
He was referring to Gregory Burleson, one of six men in the first group of a three-part federal trial against Bundy and 16 others accused of conspiring to block federal agents from rounding up the rancher’s cows. The jury seated for the first trial has heard hours of testimony about law enforcement’s assessment of the general threat level during the April 2014 standoff, but Monday marked the first time a government witness singled out a defendant for his role in the protests.
Special federal prosecutors assigned to the criminal case against Ammon Bundy’s lawyer filed a motion Monday to dismiss all the charges against Marcus Mumford.
The motion comes more than three weeks after a judge dropped one of three charges against Mumford and ruled that he would decide the remaining two charges after a trial.
It also comes on the first business day after a federal jury in Portland found four remaining defendants guilty on a variety of chargesstemming from the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
When I was in the Army, I had to obey the orders that were given to me, by my superiors. That obligation ceased nearly fifty years ago.
Since that time, I have only taken “orders” from my employer or supervisor, though I have given “orders” to subordinates, as a part of my supervisory responsibilities in various positions I have held.
I have also given “orders” for food or other purchases, as I don’t expect waitresses or clerks to be mind readers.
In all of the above instances, there has been a relationship predicated on the fact that there was some implied obligation by virtue of the relationship, fiduciary or voluntary, between the “orderer” and the “orderee“. Yes, I made those two words up, but I suppose that all reading this will get the point being made.
Some defendants in Nevada, Oregon prosecutions claim 1st Amendment press protection
A flurry of dramatic property and civil rights-related trials is taking place across the western U.S. in federal courts, in which defendants, including independent media representatives, are charged with up to 17 crimes each, from trespass to terrorism.
All the accused had confronted or ignored law-enforcement officers in group protests in either 2014’s Bunkerville, Nevada, confrontation or 2016’s similar standoff in Harney County, Oregon. Both showdowns were responses to perceived overreach of federal bureaucracies – chiefly the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Here’s what people are saying after the mixed verdicts Friday in the second Oregon standoff trial.
The jury found two of four defendants — Jason Patrick and Darryl Thorn — guilty of conspiracy in the 2016 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and acquitted two others — Duane Ehmer and Jake Ryan — on the conspiracy charge
But the jury found Ehmer and Ryan guilty of willfully damaging the refuge and found Thorn guilty of possessing a gun at a federal facility. Patrick and Ryan were acquitted on the gun charge.
A federal jury Friday delivered a split verdict in the second Oregon standoff trial, finding two defendants guilty of conspiracy in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge but acquitting two others of the same charge.
The jury found Jason Patrick, described by prosecutors as one of the organizers of the armed occupation, and Darryl Thorn, who worked on security details, guilty of conspiring to prevent federal workers from doing their jobs at the refuge through intimidation, threat or force. The other two men on trial, Duane Ehmer and Jake Ryan, were found not guilty.
A jury returned guilty verdicts Friday on at least one felony charge against each of the last four defendants in the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge – a victory for prosecutors who took a devastating blow at the first trial.
Defense lawyers immediately decried the convictions of the more minor players as a miscarriage of justice when the ringleaders got off last fall.
Oregon’s U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said he was in constant communication with federal Justice officials in Washington, D.C. during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, through the development of the prosecution case and on charging decisions.
“Anytime there’s a case of national significance, we consult with main Justice,” Williams said.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A medical complaint by a defendant with a history of health problems briefly interrupted a trial Thursday in Las Vegas for six men accused of wielding guns during a 2014 armed standoff between followers of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal agents.
An attorney for Gregory Burleson rose suddenly during testimony and told Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro that Burleson needed immediate attention.
Attorneys and spectators in the courtroom said Burleson became pale and his hands were shaking when the judge called a two-hour break.
Las Vegas 8 News Now reports on Dennis Michael Lynch’s testimony at the Bundy Ranch Standoff trial today 3-8-17
Las Vegas, Nevada — Dennis Michael Lynch, known better as ‘DML’, took the stand today as a witness in the first of three trials set to take place in relation to the standoff between the Bundy family, their supporters, and the federal government.
Lynch was kept on the witness stand all day on Wednesday. He answered numerous questions from the U.S. attorney after the jury was shown a long list of the video clips DML captured during the event that took place in Bunkerville, NV on April, 12, 2014.
DML, who at the time was a regular guest on The Kelly File (Fox News Channel), was filming the events in Nevada for an upcoming segment to air on Megyn Kelly’s show.
A media cameraman who tried, unsuccessfully, to mediate the Bunkerville standoff gave hours of testimony Wednesday while federal prosecutors played shaky, handheld footage that provided a more dynamic view of the protests than anything previously disclosed on dashcam recordings.
The government called Dennis Michael Lynch as a witness after they fought ferociously earlier in the week to keep the footage he captured out of court.
Defense attorneys Monday had tried to use some of the videos to rebut a federal agent’s testimony, and prosecutors’ decision to call Lynch reflected a strategic attempt to control the narrative as they continue to present their case against six men accused of conspiring with rancher Cliven Bundy.
Defense lawyers Wednesday vigorously challenged misdemeanor charges against four defendants accused in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as the judge prodded a prosecutor to make his case against each by citing specific evidence and exhibits.
The defense argued that the federal regulation involving trespass at a national wildlife refuge is vague, that defendants never received formal notice they were trespassing and that no evidence exists that the four saw trespassing signs on the property.
Prosecutors urged jurors to use common sense and consider the “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” to find four defendants who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last winter guilty of conspiring to prevent federal workers from doing their jobs through intimidation, threat or force.
“At its core, this case is about four defendants who went too far,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said Tuesday.
He reminded the jury that no formal agreement is necessary to prove the conspiracy charge.
The manager of the Malheur National Wildife Refuge and its former fish biologist returned to the witness stand Tuesday morning in the government’s rebuttal to testify about the fears they felt just before and during the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Refuge manager Chad Karges, who was aware Ammon Bundy and followers were in the Burns area in late November and December 2015, said he placed loaded guns at every door of his home “just because of the threats I had seen” involving Bundy and his standoff with federal agents in Bunkerville, Nevada in 2014.
After Christmas 2015, Karges told his kids and grandkids not to venture into Burns.
A downtown Las Vegas courtroom provided scenes as wild as a Western movie Monday when federal prosecutors and defense attorneys battled over nearly every piece of evidence presented in the trial against six of rancher Cliven Bundy’s supporters.
Defense attorneys tried to block a government witness from testifying. A prosecutor invoked an evidence rule that led even the judge to flip open a legal handbook. A juror made a wisecrack that caused one lawyer to raise concerns of potential bias.
Bruce “B.J.” Soper, a founding member of the Pacific Patriots Network, testified Monday that he heard Ammon Bundy propose taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in a hard stand during a brief meeting in a Burns home on Dec. 29, 2015.
But in contrast to refuge occupier Blaine Cooper’s testimony for the government, Soper said no logistics were discussed. He said Jason Patrick, Jon Ritzheimer, Ryan Payne and others were present but they never talked about how Bundy planned to accomplish the takeover. There was no discussion about refuge employees and no final decision was made during the 10- to 15-minute meeting, Soper said.
None of the four defendants in the second trial of Oregon refuge occupiers are gung-ho to take the witness stand – a big change from the first trial.
That decision has helped moved this trial along at a much faster clip. Closing arguments are tentatively set for Tuesday, the ninth day of trial, so the case could go to the jury early this week.
In the first case, four of the seven defendants took the stand to explain to jurors themselves why they went to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last winter.
Prosecutors trying the case against six of rancher Cliven Bundy’s supporters played hours of video footage this week that gave the public a peek into the minds of federal law enforcement officers as the 2014 confrontation with armed protesters unfolded in Bunkerville.
When Bureau of Land Management Agent Mark Brunk testified early in the week, prosecutors played dash cam footage that recorded him uttering an expletive, followed by, “You come find me and you’re gonna have hell to pay.”
The government has persistently suggested that I have “aided and abetted” the defendants by exposing informants that were paid by the government to spy on the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during January 2016. That is only one of the elements that needs to exist before the Court can find me in contempt of court for non-compliance with the Order to remove all prohibited material from my website and any other website.
The other elements include whether I am subject to the Court’s Protective Order, and, if so, do I fall within the jurisdiction of the Court. Currently, the Court has an outstanding Order that I appear and show cause why I should not be held in contempt of court.
Ryan Bundy, who previously accused federal authorities of violating the Constitution when they seized his father’s cattle, now claims he has been denied his right to a speedy trial.
In a motion filed late Wednesday, Bundy asks a federal judge to dismiss his 16-count indictment on threats, extortion and related charges stemming from the 2014 armed standoff near his family ranch in Bunkerville. Prosecutors are trying the first of three groups of people charged in the case, and Bundy is in the second trial group.
A federal judge Thursday dismissed one of the jurors seated for the trial against six men accused of conspiring with rancher Cliven Bundy.
The woman, identified only as “juror 12,” was dismissed late Thursday after U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro noticed her falling asleep on several occasions during testimony. The jury includes four alternates, so the case will not be affected by the juror’s dismissal.