The 71-year-old rancher has become the focus of a legal effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Spokane, which is asking a federal judge to sanction Riley for “trespass, encroachment, damages” and make him pay the legal costs incurred by forcing Riley to abide by the rules on ground purchased by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers some 53 years ago.
“The government just has too many employees and too much money,” said Riley’s nephew, Chad Lindgren, who works Riley’s River Ranch. “They are not going to back down. They are not going to give in unless we make them give in.”
And, he noted, the yearslong dispute is being funded by taxpayers: “We are basically paying those people to be a pain in our ass.”
Head ’em up, move ’em out.
There has been a lot of talk since the Trump administration has taken over about where to locate the national headquarters of some of the nation’s federal land agencies. One land agency, the Bureau of Land Management, controls 11 percent of the nation’s lands, but 99 percent of that land is in the West.
Fully 85 percent of the land in Nevada is controlled by those federal land agencies, the highest percentage of any state, with 66 percent of the state lying under the purview of the BLM, while the rest of the public land is controlled by agencies such as the Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Reclamation.
“Woody initially hired Special Agent Dan Love sometime in 2005. Even though Love was an inexperienced field agent Woody hand-picked and assigned Love as the lead case agent on the joint undercover investigation (code-named Cerberus Action) conducted by the Bureau of Land Management and the FBI.”
William C. Woody is a long-time employee of the Department of Interior (DOI) and during President Obama’s first term was Director of Law Enforcement for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Woody headed up that division during the execution of Operation Cerberus Action, the 2009 federal sting that led to the deaths of 4 men in the Four Corners region. Two years following the deadly debacle, Woody was moved to the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife, where he also served as head of law enforcement. But interestingly, during the much-touted ‘reorganization’ of the Interior Department and its agencies, in April of 2017, Woody was reassigned to again take over law enforcement operations at the BLM.
A string of exercises in federal overreach all but destroyed westerners’ trust in the BLM. But Dan Love, the BLM SAC behind Operation Cerberus, the Bundy Ranch raid, and whose name is connected with numerous other crimes and debacles, became the face of government at its worst.
The #GoogleDanLove social media hashtag was not invented by Twitter or Facebook, it was created by Americans familiar with the extreme and sometimes lethal actions of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who felt compelled to make the truth known about the agency’s abusive and dangerous Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Dan Love. A string of exercises in federal overreach, such as the prosecution of the Dwight and Steven Hammond on terrorism charges; Operation Cerberus, which lead to the deaths of several men in the Four Corners region; the burning of ranches and cattle in Oregon, the failed Bundy Ranch raid, and the confrontation outside of John Day, Oregon that ended in the murder of Arizona rancher, LaVoy Finicum, all but destroyed westerners’ trust in the BLM. But Dan Love, the BLM SAC behind Operation Cerberus, the Bundy Ranch raid, and whose name is connected with numerous other crimes and debacles, became the face of government at its worst. And now, when you Google Dan Love, you will see his career at the BLM–which ended only last year after public outcry and stinging embarrassment to the agency–summarized in a list of scandals and wanton acts of degeneracy.
Lifelong Southern Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, recently cleared of federal charges and freed from jail after nearly two years, has turned his sights on state and county government.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Clark County District Court, Bundy claimed that former President Barack Obama’s late 2016 establishment of the Gold Butte National Monument, which occurred while the rancher was in federal custody, was “as illegal as it is unlawful” and would preclude him from continuing to function on his land “and destroy the petitioner’s livelihood.”
Bureau of Land Management officials in Las Vegas postponed discussion of the monument at its meetings this month until the Trump administration decides on possible changes to the Obama-era land designation.
“Recognizing that the land is not owned by the United States of America, (Bundy) has avoided erroneously giving money to an entity which does not actually own the land and has been careful not to give money erroneously to a stranger to the land,” according to the rancher’s lawsuit. “Thus, there is an actual, significant legal controversy of great consequence not only to petitioner in terms of as to whom has ownership and jurisdiction of the land but to People of Nevada and Clark county, the rightful owners of Nevada land.”
Federal Judge, Gloria Navarro’s dismissal of the Bundy Ranch trial last December was attributed in large part to explosive revelations of misconduct, and ethical and legal violations in a letter written by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agent Larry ‘Clint’ Wooten, to Deputy Attorney General Andrew D. Goldsmith, the National Criminal Discovery Coordinator. The descriptions of unprofessionalism, sexism, and conspiratorial motives in the letter were so shocking that they tanked the federal prosecution’s case. The 18-page letter also contains damning accounts of unconscionable behavior and acts perpetrated by BLM Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Dan Love, which have been largely overlooked by media.
“Cliven Bundy was accused of conspiracy against the government,” reported the Western Livestock Journal in a January 8 article on the Bundy ruling. “Instead,” it noted, “the Bundy trial showed it was the government that was conspiring against him.” That charge does not exaggerate in the least the gravity of the government’s wrongdoing in the case.
During her ruling of a mistrial on December 20, Judge Navarro spent nearly 45 minutes reading from the bench, details of the federal misconduct, that she found to be so outrageous and flagrant. A central component of that misconduct concerned the government’s willful withholding of thousands of pages of evidence that supported the Bundys’ defense, and to which the defendants were legally entitled.
The lead prosecutor in the Nevada standoff case against Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and a fourth alleged ringleader told a jury in his opening statement last month that the case centered on the need to respect the rule of law.
Five weeks later, it was the prosecution team’s abuse of the rule of law that sunk the case, leading to a judge’s declaration Wednesday of a mistrial.
U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro methodically listed the prosecution’s six separate violations of the Brady law, which requires turning over evidence potentially favorable to the defense. The judge further ruled that each violation was willful.
If ever there was a time when federal prosecutors needed to make sure they acted with complete integrity it was in the high-stakes Bundy case, legal observers say. The defendants already held a deep suspicion of the government and had successfully rallied followers to their cause.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepped into the Bundy prosecution after Wednesday’s mistrial, ordering a third-party examination of the case in light of the latest government snafu.
“The attorney general takes this issue very seriously and has personally directed that an expert in the [Justice Department’s] discovery obligations be deployed to examine the case and advise as to the next steps,” said Ian D. Prior, the department’s principal deputy director of public affairs, in a late Wednesday statement.
The decision to intervene came after Chief U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial over the government’s “willful failure to disclose information” to the defense, saying it would have been “impossible” for the four co-defendants to receive a fair trial.
In identifying the Misdeeds of Government, it requires a diligent search of available information. However, often that research produces some interesting results. That is the situation with this article, since it begins with events surrounding the arrest of Dave Bundy (The Bundy Affair – #12 – Dave Bundy’s Two Citations), on April 6, 2014, and ends with the declaration of Mistrial on Decembers 20, 2017. However, in that span of time, over three and a half years, the following events played out.
Dave Bundy was pulled over on Nevada State Highway 170, a road that goes from Interstate 15, near the road to the Bundy Ranch, to Bunkerville. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had attempted to close the highway.
Dave got into a dispute with the BLM and was arrested and charged with two citations (explained in the linked article above). It is this arrest that begins this series of events. First, we have, from the National Park Service “DIRECTOR’S ORDER #9: LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM”, which, on page 2, explains when and where arrests may be made.
I received in the mail, with no return address, an 18 page email that I had heard about. However, the details in what I had heard were minimal, at best. But, having the whole 18 pages, I find that the initial, or original email was only 17 pages.
In an undated email from Larry Wooten to Andrew D. Goldsmith, Associate Deputy Attorney General, National Criminal Discovery Coordinator, Wooten writes of many misdeeds in the entire Gold Butte Impound Operation, that being the operation that unfolded near Bunkerville, Nevada, back in early April 2014.
In a cover email, the eighteenth page, to Steven Myhre, United States Attorney for the Nevada District, in a forwarded email, the 17 page emails is included for a total of 18 pages. Wooten explains in the cover email that his superiors, his chain of command, would not deal with what he had presented to them. I’m not quite sure why he sent it to Myhre, since Myhre is implicated in the information, along with any others.
Prosecutors shared it last week with defense lawyers for Bundy, his two sons and co-defendant Ryan Payne as they were in the midst of their conspiracy trial, but it’s not part of the public court record.
The memo prompted Cliven Bundy’s lawyer to file a motion early Monday to dismiss the case, already in disarray over concerns raised previously about the government’s failure to promptly share evidence with the defense.
The judge sent the jury home for more than a week as she tries to sort out the claims and prosecutors scramble to save their case.
The memo comes from Larry Wooten, who had been the lead case agent and investigator for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management after the tense confrontation outside the patriarch’s ranch near Bunkerville. Wooten also testified before a federal grand jury that returned indictments against the Bundys. He said he was removed from the investigation last February after he complained to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
LAS VEGAS — Prosecutors in the Bundy trial must provide information by noon Saturday on all armed federal officers who did surveillance outside the Bundy ranch and any cameras capturing images of the Bundy home between March 1 and April 12, 2014, a judge ordered Wednesday.
The information must be turned over to the defense.
It could help Cliven Bundy, sons Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy and co-defendant Ryan Payne challenge the allegation that they used “deceit and deception” to encourage supporters to come to the ranch by saying the house was surrounded, federal snipers were outside the home and the family felt isolated.
Defense lawyers said they learned for the first time on Tuesday of two federal officers dressed in camouflage and armed with AR-15 rifles posted outside the Bundy residence at night.
That information was contained in a written report that they received from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in preparation for Wednesday’s hearing on disputed discovery evidence.
“Wouldn’t it be important for the defense to know FBI agents are overlooking the Bundy residence with an AR-15?” asked Brenda Weksler, one of Payne’s defense lawyers. “How do we not have this until yesterday?”
Todd Engel is one of the Bunkerville defendants that will face Judge Gloria Navarro in a sentencing hearing.
Out of a 16-count indictment, Engel was charged with 10 counts and convicted of 2 counts after his trial earlier this year.
These are the least serious of all the charges, and do not carry enhancements or mandatory minimum sentencing.
Greg Burleson was also convicted during the same trial, though he was convicted of 8 of 10 charges, including enhancements.
A federal jury is set to begin hearing opening statements Tuesday in the trial of four defendants in the Bunkerville standoff.
There are six women and six men on the jury and there are four alternates, three men, and a woman.
The judge said the trial is expected to take four months. A number of potential jurors were dismissed because they could not take four months out of their lives to devote to the trial. How many people can or are willing to? Is it a jury of their peers?
On trial is rancher Cliven Bundy, 71, sons Ammon Bundy, 42, and Ryan Bundy, 45, and a self-styled militia member Ryan Payne, 34, who showed up to protest the confiscation of Bundy’s cattle by the BLM. They are charged with conspiracy, extortion and various firearm charges. They have all been jailed for going on two years.
Cliven Bundy, lead defendant in a case stemming from a 2014 standoff with federal agents and the 71-year-old patriarch of a family with roots in the southeastern Nevada desert since the state was founded more than 150 years ago, won’t let his lawyer buy him a suit for trial.
Instead of the standard slacks, button-down shirt and tie that incarcerated male defendants often don while facing a jury, the recalcitrant rancher plans to wear a jail-issued blue jumpsuit and orange flip-flops when he faces potential jurors for the first time on Monday morning.
“He is so principled that he’s going to do what he’s going to do, which is tell the truth and tell it as he sees it, and he’s not worried about the consequences, other than the people around him,” his lawyer, Bret Whipple, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. “He refuses to put on civilian clothing because it would be misleading the jury, because he is who he is.”
Bundy, his two sons Ryan and Ammon and independent militia leader Ryan Payne have been locked up without bail in a federal holding facility for nearly two years. They face the potential of decades behind bars if convicted of conspiracy and other charges related to the armed standoff.
The Trial of the Century has gotten a little bit smaller.
Currently, 6 men are expected to be tried in the Bunkerville Standoff trial expected to begin jury selection on October 30th. Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, as well as Ryan Payne are ready. Eric Parker and Scott Drexler are scheduled for their third trial, after two previous trials this year resulting in acquittals and deadlocked verdicts.
But Parker and Drexler have been offered plea agreements by the government that will allow them to close the book on this chapter of their lives.
Five months after Kathryn Steinle was slain on San Francisco’s waterfront, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management promoted the law enforcement ranger whose unsecured stolen gun was used to kill her, according to an internal BLM email obtained by KQED.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented Mexican national, is expected to go on trial in San Francisco next week on a charge of murder in Steinle’s killing. Conservative lawmakers have seized on Garcia Zarate’s history of deportations and illegal re-entry into the U.S. — plus San Francisco’s policy that ignored a detention request from immigration authorities — to fuel a political assault on so-called sanctuary cities.