The federal court will soon summon 1,000 prospective jurors for the second conspiracy trial stemming from the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They’ll be asked to complete written jury questionnaires that are due back to the court by Jan. 25.
The trial for seven remaining defendants is set for Feb. 14.
The court must decide whether new misdemeanor charges filed against the defendants will be heard by a jury or the judge.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said legally, the defendants facing Class B misdemeanors – including trespass, destruction or removal of government property and tampering with vehicles and equipment – don’t have a right to a trial by jury. Those charges typically go before the court.
Defense lawyers for the seven defendants set for trial next month expect to argue that a jury consider all the charges – the misdemeanor charges as well as the felony charges of conspiring to prevent employees from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management from carrying out their work at the refuge and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.
The court could, however, have a jury deliberate on the federal charges, and the judge could hear testimony on the misdemeanor charges during the jury’s deliberations.
Marcus Mumford, Ammon Bundy’s lawyer who U.S. marshals tackled and stunned with a Taser gun in federal court on the day his client was acquitted, returned to the same courtroom Friday to appear in his own criminal case.
His attorney, Michael Levine, entered a not guilty plea on Mumford’s behalf to charges of failing to comply with the lawful direction of a federal police officer and impeding or disrupting official government duties, both misdemeanors. The maximum penalty for each offense is 30 days in custody and a $5,000 fine.
Mumford was arrested Oct. 27 shortly after the judge announced the jury’s verdict acquitting Bundy and six co-defendants of conspiring to stop federal employees from doing their work at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Bundy and armed followers took over the refuge Jan. 2, 2016.
Deputy marshals tackled Mumford as he questioned the government’s authority to continue to hold Bundy on federal charges pending in Nevada and demanded to see paperwork to back it up.
“What happened here is an unprecedented attack on the defense bar,” Levine said after the brief hearing Friday.
He called the use of a stun gun and Mumford’s arrest “outrageous,” saying Mumford was doing nothing more than engaging in zealous advocacy for his client.
There is a word for what President Obama did this past week in declaring Gold Butte a national monument: dictatorial.
In just more than a year Obama has unilaterally declared off-limits to productive economic uses 1 million acres of Nevada land — first the 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument straddling the border between Lincoln and Nye counties and now the 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument in rural northeast Clark County.
This brings Obama’s total protected acreage to 550 million — more than any predecessor and twice that set aside by Teddy Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act of 1906 — though much of Obama’s designations are underwater.
Early European explorers also hunted in this area, as did Mormon pioneers and miners who settled in Gold Butte, and that tradition has continued into the modern era. Every year hunters travel to Gold Butte in pursuit of Gambel’s quail, chukar partridge, bighorn sheep and even mule deer. Trappers also ply their trade, and anglers pass through on their way to remote corners of Lake Mead.
Today, however, sportsmen are wondering whether they will be able to continue to enjoy the hunting, camping and other outdoor opportunities Gold Butte has long offered visitors. They also are concerned about the future of wildlife water developments that have been installed in the last half century. I suppose it depends on how literally present and future land managers take the wording contained in the president’s proclamation.
“Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish the jurisdiction of the state of Nevada, including its jurisdiction and authority with respect to fish and wildlife management, including hunting and fishing.” Also, the proclamation states it doesn’t preclude the renewal, maintenance or replacement of “wildlife water catchments … that are located within the monument.”
WASHINGTON — Angered over President Barack Obama’s protection of public lands, two Nevada lawmakers filed legislation Wednesday that would prevent executive action to expand or designate national monuments without congressional approval.
U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, both R-Nev., filed the bills in the Senate and House to “stop these unilateral federal land grabs” regardless of which political office holds the White House.
The lawmakers have titled their bill the Nevada Land Sovereignty Act.
The man in this photo is Daniel P. Love — Daniel P. Love was the Bureau Of Land Management’s Special Agent In Charge of rounding up Rancher Cliven Bundy’s Cattle beginning in March 2014.
Before SAG Daniel P. Love made his way to Bunkerville Nevada to use violence while violating the Civil Rights of Cliven Bundy and his family, Love had already gained the reputation of being overly aggressive and stepping outside the limit of his authority as a BLM employee.
In this video you will hear Senator Orrin Hatch speaking to then Attorney General Eric Holder about an overly aggressive BLM/FBI operation that ended with 3 people committing suicide — in particular a prominent Family Physician, Dr. Jame Redd of Blanding Utah. The SAG’s of that operation were BLM – Daniel P. Love and FBI – Greg Bretzing; you may recall Bretzing was in charge during the Malhuer Refuge occupation and responsible for agents who fired at LaVoy Finicum and then tried to cover it up. Bretzing has since retired.
One of the 17 defendants in the Cliven Bundy case wants a federal jury to visit the spot where the armed standoff unfolded in 2014 between supporters of the Nevada rancher and federal agents who impounded his cattle.
The request appears in a motion filed last week by defense attorney Jess Marchese, who represents Eric Parker. Federal prosecutors have not yet responded to the motion, which argues that while pictures and video are available, they do not illustrate the “sheer enormity” of the site or show every part of the area.
“Personally seeing the actual road, wash, and general terrain would remedy the issue,” the motion says.
As they prepare for a second trial stemming from the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, prosecutors want the court to reconsider and let refuge employees and Harney County residents testify about the fears they felt as a result of the armed seizure of the refuge.
Defendants, in turn, want the court to allow them to use the principle of adverse possession – staking claim to a property to declare it as their own – as a defense to the new misdemeanor trespass charge they face.
The defendants also will ask a judge to restrict prosecutors from parading dozens of firearms into the courtroom during trial if the firearms haven’t been traced specifically to the defendants charged, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
There are a lot of US Supreme Court decisions on the subject of “pioneer rights”, or settlers’ rights of “possession” or “occupancy” and “use”. The case that specifically refers to “pioneer rights” is Lamb v Davenport, 85 US 307 (1873).
Arguello v United States, 59 US 539 (1855), refers to a “cattle range” held in possession for 50 years (from prior to the Mexican cession to the US) as sufficient evidence of ownership. Essentially, pioneer rights are equivalent to “possessory” or “occupancy” rights that typically have the sanction of State or Territorial legislation, or; local laws, customs and decisions of the courts; or “aboriginal” title” or “possessory” or “occupancy” rights dating from a time prior to US acquisition through “treaty” (ie. Gudalupe-Hidalgo, 1848, or the Oregon-Northwest Treaty with Great Britain, 1846). This same possessory or occupancy right of “actual settlers” gives the settler a “color of title” which has been referred to as the “preference” right. The preference is the preferred right to acquire the government’s “legal title” when the land occupied or in the possession and use of the pioneer is eventually opened to settlement. (See Frisbie v Whitney, 76 US 187 (1869)). This pioneer right of possession and preference gives the occupant the right to sell his improvements as well as his possessory title, and such ownership will “relate back” to the first pioneer’s date of settlement.
But as I related a couple of months ago the law has never been challenged on the basis of its constitutionality.
Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution reads: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States …”
The question is whether Congress has the power to abdicate that power and turn it over to the president, as it did with the Antiquities Act of 1906.
A few dozen people, most of whom were family members or friends of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, staged a quiet rally Saturday at the state Route 170 access to the Gold Butte land falling under the monument declaration near Bundy’s home.
The demonstrators rang out the year under cloudy skies as they held signs that decried Obama’s authority to restrict access and called on President-elect Donald Trump for help, but throughout the morning hours they primarily visited with each other while watching an occasional vehicle pass.
“We’re proving that the Bundys couldn’t have had a conspiracy, because we’re never organized enough to conspire against anybody,” Carol Bundy, the wife of Cliven, joked in reference to the criminal charges filed against her husband and sons after a violent encounter with federal officers in April 2014.
Mr. Obama has repeatedly abused his authority under the Antiquities Act to declare vast new national monuments, including on the high seas. This week’s monument designations have been strongly opposed by state officials and GOP congressional leaders, including the unanimous delegation from Utah.
Trump Can Reverse Obama’s Last-Minute Land Grab
The White House is trying to lock up millions of acres, but no president can bind his successor.
“Utah is saddened by this announcement today. It is alien to the desires of the overwhelming majority of Utahns. It’s also alien to the desires of the overwhelming number of Native Americans who live in this area, who will use this area, who approached us on how they wanted to function on this land. None of those desires are going to be accomplished by a monument designation.
“It is sad that there are special interest groups that feel that they are empowered, that feel that they can get the President to bend to their every will. Unfortunately, with today’s announcement, maybe there is some truth to that.
“Mr. President, I want you to know that we are saddened by this abuse of the Antiquities Act. It is sad that this entire process has been done in secrecy and in shadows. And Mr. President, I want you to know as Utahns, we will use every tool at our disposal to do the right thing—whether it be legislative action, judicial action, even executive action—because what we have seen so far is a poor procedure. It’s a poor policy and it reflects poorly on your legacy. As Utahns, we will fight to right this wrong.”
Chairman Bishop added:
“The announcement perpetuates two egregious lies. The first being that the size of the monument parallels the Public Lands Initiative. That is not true. The administration is grasping at arguments to justify a lame duck administration’s efforts to do things contrary to the will of the people who live in San Juan County. The second lie is in the creation of a faux commission to give management authority to Native Americans. This is a diversion. The Utah delegation wants to give management authority to Native Americans; the administration can’t. Only Congress can legally do so. This administration over-promised, failed to deliver, and is now trying to hide its ineptitude.”
Just days after a federal judge denied one Oregon standoff defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea, co-defendant Jon Ritzheimer Friday filed his own motion to rescind his guilty plea.
Jon Ritzheimer, who had entered a guilty plea on Aug. 15 to the federal charge of conspiracy stemming from the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, now argues that he’s innocent of the allegation.
A new court-appointed defense lawyer for Ritzheimer argues that Ritzheimer acknowledged he used force, threats or intimidation to take over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but the object of his actions was not to impede federal employees, as was argued at the fall trial of co-defendants Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and five others.
Special Report’s panel discussed the midnight monument designation by the Obama Administration.
Former Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore intends to run for Las Vegas City Council in 2017, she confirmed to the Review-Journal on Thursday.
Fiore, a Republican with a knack for grabbing national headlines, will be gunning for the Ward 6 seat currently occupied by Steve Ross.
Ross has held the seat since 2005, but is term-limited. Fiore will be running against Ross’ wife, Kelli Ross, who previously announced her intent to run, as well as Clark County School Board Trustee Chris Garvey, who confirmed to the Review-Journal this month her intentions to run.
Fiore said she’s been mulling a city council run since the summer.
“We’ve been talking about it for a while,” Fiore said. “I think it’s just a natural progression. Since Ward 6 overlaps my assembly district, it just makes sense.”
I have some questions for Mark McConnell concerning his role as an informant and if that role includes threatening me while I’m having dinner – says Ritzheimer. If this guy is still on the payroll I think I have a right to know, especially if he is going to approach me with a weapon and challenge me to a fight. Is he following me around Phoenix in an ongoing FBI effort to implicate me in some kind of wrong-doing or is he just harassing me because he enjoys being a bully? He’ll be under oath and I look forward to finally being able to ask this guy some questions …
Susie Hammond closely tracked the Bundy trial in Portland.
She hoped it would help people learn about her family’s battle with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, “where people who didn’t live in Burns, Oregon would see what’s going on way out here in the weeds.”
The trial offered a window into the obstacles ranchers face, she said. Arrogant federal bureaucracies that brush aside local voices, break promises and ignore or impose rules because they can.
“Bundy helped draw attention to these problems,” she said. “I was hoping something positive was going to come out of this that would make it possible for private property owners and public administration to be able to get along and be productive.”
That hasn’t happened, she acknowledged.
Hammond Ranches is in the middle of appealing the land bureau’s refusal in 2014 to renew the company’s 10-year grazing permit.
The time is now to rise up and let our voices be heard. The Government has once again abused us with their overreaching power. It is our duty and obligation to STAND UP and get the attention of OUR elected officials. If you enjoy Gold Butte, camping, picnics, 4-wheeling, hunting, fishing and just enjoying this Public Land please come out and let your voices be heard. They will soon shut down access to this land that many of us have enjoyed Freely for many years with our friends and family!!!
Bring your family, neighbors and friends. Bring your Flags, signs and voices and let us stand as WE THE PEOPLE in a Peaceful Protest. IT MATTERS HOW YOU STAND!!!!
Jon Ritzheimer had put out a call for more people to come to the Refuge, shortly after the occupation on January 2, 2016. Many people who supported the effort being made by Ammon Bundy and the others resent that message.
On January 3, Will Kullman contacted Maureen Peltier (SSG Moe). Peltier was one of those who had passed the message on. His first contact with Peltier shows that he was from Lake Stevens, Washington and that he was Founder of “Kullman Combat Organization”.
Calling it a classic example of “buyer’s remorse,” a federal judge Wednesday denied Oregon standoff defendant Ryan Payne’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a conspiracy charge stemming from the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown, in a 32-page ruling, found that Payne’s guilty plea in the Oregon refuge occupation case was not contingent on a plea agreement reached in his federal prosecution in Nevada, as his defense lawyer had argued.
“Although Payne apparently desired to enter into agreements that would resolve both this case and the case against him in the District of Nevada, the plea agreement and guilty plea in this case were, as noted, explicitly independent of any contemplated or anticipated agreement in the District of Nevada,” Brown wrote, citing statements by a prosecutor made during Payne’s plea hearing before her in July.
Payne entered the plea in the Oregon case in July based on a global offer pending in the Nevada case, his lawyer wrote in his motion. When an agreement in the Nevada case wasn’t reached, Payne, 33, asked to withdraw the plea and seek a jury trial in Oregon, his assistant federal public defender, Rich Federico, wrote.
Payne, one of the 26 people indicted on a conspiracy charge in the seizure of the eastern Oregon wildlife refuge, sought to withdraw his guilty plea two weeks before a federal jury acquitted Ammon Bundy and six co-defendants of the Malheur conspiracy and weapons charges.
In southeast Nevada lies a landscape of contrast and transition, where dramatically chiseled red sandstone, twisting canyons, and tree-clad mountains punctuate flat stretches of the Mojave Desert. This remote and rugged desert landscape is known as Gold Butte.
The Gold Butte area contains an extraordinary variety of diverse and irreplaceable scientific, historic, and prehistoric resources, including vital plant and wildlife habitat, significant geological formations, rare fossils, important sites from the history of Native Americans, and remnants of our Western mining and ranching heritage. The landscape reveals a story of thousands of years of human interaction with this harsh environment and provides a rare glimpse into the lives of Nevada’s first inhabitants, the rich and varied indigenous cultures that followed, and the eventual arrival of Euro-American settlers. Canyons and intricate rock formations are a stunning backdrop to the area’s famously beautiful rock art, and the desert provides critical habitat for the threatened Mojave desert tortoise.
President Barack Obama stepped into a swirling land-use controversy in Nevada on Wednesday and declared a swath of desert known as Gold Butte a national monument.
The declaration places 300,000 acres of land under the protection of the Bureau of Land Management. Obama used the Antiquities Act to shelter land between Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon.