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 to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as part of an armed political protest against federal power,” said Kjar, 32, dressed in a black suit, as he stood before U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown. Witnesses told authorities that Kjar provided “armed personal security to Ammon Bundy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said. Kjar, who said he lives in Salt […]
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.
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.”
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
A New Hampshire man who, in 2014, gathered his guns and drove across the country to join rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed stand against federal authorities was sentenced Wednesday to 87 months in prison.
Gerald DeLemus, a former Marine sergeant who co-chaired his state’s Veterans for Trump campaign, told the court in a tearful, 10-minute statement that no matter how long a sentence he received, he would do it all over again.
“But I would leave my guns at home,” he said.
District Judge William Kephart has been accused of violating professional ethics codes by giving an on-camera interview last year about a case that was pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.
The case was that of Kirstin Lobato, who in 2006 was convicted of killing and cutting off the penis of Duran Bailey, a 44-year-old homeless man.
Lobato, who is serving a lengthy prison sentence for the brutal 2001 killing, has been fighting for years to overturn her conviction. She has drawn support from state and national criminal justice advocates who say new forensic testing that was unavailable a decade ago could prove her innocence.
The retrial in the first Bunkerville standoff case is scheduled to open with jury selection July 10.
A mistrial was declared in the case in April, after jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against six defendants. Federal prosecutors decided this month to retry four of the men, who are accused of providing the firepower in a mass assault against federal agents. The agents were in Bunkerville to seize rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle after decades of unpaid grazing fees.
Initially, the retrial was scheduled to open June 26. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro on Thursday postponed the start date due to potential attorney and juror conflicts the week of Independence Day. The defendants who will stand trial are Montana resident Ricky Lovelien and Idaho residents Scott Drexler, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – Protecting Americans from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, is the focus of a bill introduced Wednesday in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
The Due Process Guarantee Act is also sponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz , T-Texas, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Chris Coons, D-Del.
“America should never waver in vigilantly pursuing those who would commit, or plot to commit, acts of treason against our country,” Lee said. “But the federal government should not be allowed to indefinitely imprison any American on the mere accusation of treason without affording them the due process guaranteed by our Constitution.
In a previous article, “Freedom of the Press #13 – Sojourn to Sacramento“, I explained that Federal Magistrate Brennan (Sacramento) intended for me to receive diesel therapy, and that I would provide insight into just why he chose that route. It was an expected response based upon the information that he had been provided, regarding the Sealed Order Granting Government’s Request for Arrest Warrant as to Gary Hunt and Order Sealing Arrest Warrant (ECF #2017).
This Sealed Order was obviously prepared by the US Shyster’s Office. Their intention was to punish me, as they have most of the others in the Oregon and Nevada indictments, based upon contrived accusations.
Taxpayers already have spent over $1 million to provide legal representation for the 19 men accused of participating in the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville.
As of last week, the federal government had paid $1,028,154.30 to defense lawyers, investigators, paralegals and others who have played a role in defending those accused of staging a mass assault on federal agents who, in April 2014, tried to seize rancher Cliven Bundy’s cows from public lands.
The cattle seizure operation was met with pushback by the Bundy family and loosely organized militia groups who traveled from across the West to protest what they viewed as improper federal overreach.
EUGENE – Public lands occupier Kenneth Medenbach wound up before a judge again Monday and admitted that he violated the condition of his probation for a 2016 illegal camping conviction by going, of all places, back to federal court.
But this federal court happened to be in Nevada, and it featured co-defendants of the Bundy family, kindred spirits who have earned national attention for fighting federal ownership of public land.
Medenbach’s lawyer Matthew Schindler said he had never in his career heard of a defendant accused of a probation violation for going to court.
To put proper perspective on recent ongoing events leading up to my jurisdiction hearing in Portland, Oregon, on May 9, 2017, we must go back to the Order (ECF #1901) to show cause why I should not be held in contempt of Court. That Order demanded my appearance to answer the allegations made by the government. It was specific to the show cause and had nothing to do with jurisdiction. Had I appeared, it could easily be argued by the Court that my appearance was a submission to jurisdiction. Now, as strange as it might seem, unless jurisdictional questions are raised at the outset, the Court can properly assume jurisdiction. My research indicates that this was firmly established as early as 1856 (Dredd Scott v Sandford, 60 US 393 (1856)). Matters of jurisdiction were not the object of the hearing, and may not necessarily be heard.
A federal judge Tuesday directed prosecutors to lay out their case in writing to support their argument that California resident Gary Hunt knowingly violated a court protective order by posting the names of informants who helped the FBI during the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown also asked the government to address the “efficacy” of pursuing a contempt of court ruling, considering that Hunt already has spent seven days in jail and some of the FBI informants’ names came out during the course of two federal conspiracy trials stemming from the 41-day refuge occupation last year.
Ammon Bundy’s lawyer Marcus Mumford called a judge’s push to revoke his ability to practice law in federal court in Oregon a “serious and stigmatizing” sanction and unwarranted.
The Utah-based lawyer has asked U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman for more time to respond.
Mumford also wants a full transcript of last fall’s refuge occupation trial to challenge what Mosman called Mumford’s repeated failures or refusals to observe court rulings, highlighted in about 545 pages of excerpts from the trial transcript.
Mumford was supposed to file his response to Mosman by Thursday, but instead filed an 11-page memo asking for at least 45 more days, noting the gravity of Mosman’s action and that it could significantly undermine his career.
He argued that many of the challenges he raised during Bundy’s trial resulted from U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown’s rulings that limited the scope of his questions in response to objections raised by prosecutors.
Twelve unsure people
The verdict form in the first Bunkerville standoff trial suggested confusion and indecision among jurors on the two conspiracy charges.
Jurors marked “not guilty” on the first two conspiracy counts, and then subsequently crossed out the check marks before submitting the verdict form to the court. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the case on Monday, after jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against the six men on trial.
Jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict against any of the men on the first two conspiracy charges, but they convicted Arizona resident Gregory Burleson of eight other counts and Idaho resident Todd Engel of two. The jury hung on all 10 counts against the four other defendants.
The conspiracy charges represented the central dispute of the trial. During deliberations, jurors asked the judge multiple times to clarify her legal instructions on those two charges.
By Jenny Wilson Las Vegas Review-Journal April 25, 2017 – 5:12 pm Ryan Bundy, a son of embattled rancher Cliven Bundy who is incarcerated pending trial on conspiracy charges, has sued the federal government. In a lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for Nevada in Las Vegas, Bundy challenges the constitutionality of prison policies and alleges deprivation of rights after he was punished for refusing to obey those policies. Bundy was transferred to prison in Nevada last fall after he was acquitted of conspiring to stage an armed takeover of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon. He is […]
One question is hanging over the federal courthouse in the wake of Monday’s mistrial: What happens next? Federal prosecutors still have not decided whether to retry the defendants. Taxpayers already have been saddled with significant costs, which only will balloon in a repeat trial. And the remaining 11 defendants who have been in prison for over a year do not want to wait any longer for their day in court.
That is why some defense attorneys who represent the second group of defendants, charged as “leaders” of the armed protests in Bunkerville, are hoping that if prosecutors decide to retry any or all of the men in the first group, they will do so by combining them with the second group.
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 defence.
Now, this sets the stage for Jurisdiction. Any criminal proceedings must be in “the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” Could it be any less for, say, a violation of a Court issued Protective Order? Especially, if that Protective Order only subjects a few, fully described people, in its mandate? The Order:
An agreement between two or more persons to engage jointly in an unlawfulor criminal act, or an act that is innocent in itself but becomes unlawful whendone by the combination of actors. — Legal definition of conspiracy
The feds have a poor batting average of late in proving conspiracy.
A federal judge declared a mistrial Monday in the first Bunkerville standoff case, which targeted six men accused of conspiring with rancher Cliven Bundy to derail a court-ordered cattle seizure in 2014.
The mistrial — an anticlimactic end to a highly anticipated trial — was declared hours after the jury convicted two men of some of the 10 counts in the superseding indictment.
In returning the guilty verdicts, which still stand, jurors informed the court they were “hopelessly deadlocked” on the remaining counts and defendants. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro sent them back to the deliberation room in a last-ditch effort to encourage them to reach a more complete verdict.
LAS VEGAS – A federal jury in Las Vegas signaled trouble deliberating conspiracy charges Thursday before ending work for the week in the trial of six men who brought assault-style weapons to a standoff with government agents near Cliven Bundy’s ranch in April 2014.
Jurors adjourned shortly before 12:30 p.m. without a verdict and decided to return Monday, after Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro told the eight women and four men that they are allowed to set their own schedule.
In my previous article, “Freedom of the Press #13 – Sojourn to Sacramento“, I mentioned the telephonic hearing held on Thursday, April 6, leading to my release, just a few hours later. Prior to the hearing, it was set in stone, by Magistrate Brennan, in Sacramento, that I would not arrive in Portland until April 25. This fits the schedule for “diesel therapy” (where the run you all over the country, in a sense, punishing you for being accused of a criminal act), which would take me to Oklahoma, then to Pahrump, Nevada, and then on to Portland over a period of twenty-five days. The hearing, however, forestalled that tour of the West. What led up to that hearing is the subject of this article.
BUNKERVILLE, Nev. — Carol Bundy sits alone in the living room of her family’s home, restlessly awaiting word that a federal jury is ready to render its verdict on the fate of “the custom and culture of the West; the cowboy way of life.”
Outside the front window, a sprinkler splashes water onto a small square of grass. Inside, a washing machine with worn bearings grinds through another load.
It’s hard to imagine this pastoral setting, past the concrete walkway and on the other side of a wagon-wheel entry gate, as the staging ground of what nearly became the 21st century’s first range war.