Utah leaders issue resolution to undo decades of federal monuments injustices

On Jan. 26, 2017 the Utah House Rules Committee passed both resolution, H.C.R. 11 urging President Trump to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation, and H.C.R. 12 Resolution Urging Federal Legislation to Reduce or Modify the Boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Both resolutions passed six to two. H.C.R 11 was introduced by Speaker of the Utah House of Representative, Greg Hughes, with witness support from all three San Juan County Commissioners: Rebecca Benally, Phil Lyman, and Bruce Adams.

Rep. Michael E. Noel presented H.C.R. 12. This was written in cooperation with Kane and Garfield County elected officials. Commissioner Leland Pollack, Sterling Brown of the Farm Bureau, and Matt Anderson of Sutherland Institute also gave testimony.

Continue reading

Crowd of 500, including some Oregon standoff defendants, salute Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum

JOHN DAY — Caravans of trucks with American flags and “Don’t Tread on Me” banners rolled into town over several days to gather Saturday night for a conclave that was part memorial, part reunion and part religious revival.

A crowd of more than 500 people grew still as Jeanette Finicum took the microphone.

“They silenced one man’s voice,” she said, speaking of husband Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, an Arizona rancher shot and killed by police as he and others occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were traveling north to this eastern Oregon town of about 1,700.

Continue reading

FBI agent testifies about arrest of Oregon standoff defendant Darryl Thorn at Redmond Super 8 Motel

On Friday, FBI Special Agent Troy Nicoll testified about the arrest.

Nicoll was riding in an FBI surveillance van that pulled up to the front of the motel when the agents got word Thorn was in the lobby about 9:05 a.m. on Feb. 11, the day that the final four holdouts at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge surrendered to authorities after a 41-day occupation.

“Darryl?” Nicoll asked as he approached Thorn in the continental breakfast area. Five other agents entered the lobby as well.

Continue reading

Lawsuit accuses PACER of milking the public for cash in exchange for access

The federally run online court document access system known as PACER now finds itself listed on a federal docket. Its overseer, the US government, is a defendant in a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the service of overcharging the public.

The suit, brought by three nonprofits on Thursday, claims millions of dollars generated from a recent 25-percent increase in page fees are being illegally spent by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO). The cost for access is 10 cents per page and up to $3 a document. Judicial opinions are free. This isn’t likely to break the bank for some, but to others it adds up and can preclude access to public records. The National Consumer Law Center, the Alliance for Justice, and the National Veterans Legal Services Program also claim in the lawsuit that these fees are illegal because the government is charging more than necessary to keep the PACER system afloat (as is required by Congress).

Continue reading

Prosecutors seek to restrict defense at upcoming Bundy trial in Las Vegas

Anticipating a battle in the upcoming trial against six associates of rancher Cliven Bundy, federal prosecutors this week asked a judge to prohibit defense attorneys from referencing a wide range of material that is central to defense strategy in the case.

The six men scheduled to stand trial next month are considered the least culpable of the 18 charged in what authorities call a “massive, unprecedented assault on law enforcement officers” who in 2014 tried to remove Bundy’s cattle from public land in Bunkerville following a decades-long dispute over grazing fees. The antagonistic rancher rallied armed supporters, and a high-stakes standoff ensued.

The six requests in the sweeping motion filed late Tuesday include one asking that defense attorneys be prohibited from arguing that the federal government does not or should not own the land from which Bureau of Land Management agents tried to seize cattle. That includes mentions of ownership of the Gold Butte range and its recent designation as a national monument.

Continue reading

Defense attorneys in Bundy case respond to prosecution request to block some testimony

Defense attorneys who represent associates of rancher Cliven Bundy responded swiftly this week to a government motion that aimed to block testimony about a wide range of topics in the upcoming trial against the people charged as gunmen in the 2014 standoff in Bunkerville.

The six alleged gunmen, who are scheduled to stand trial next month in Las Vegas, are considered the least culpable of the 18 people indicted last year.

Continue reading

Misdemeanor charges against second round of Oregon standoff defendants will go before a judge, not jury

The misdemeanor charges filed against the second round of Oregon standoff defendants will be tried before a judge, U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown has ruled.

Since the charges of trespass, tampering with vehicles or equipment and destruction of property are Class B misdemeanors and considered petty offenses, the defendants don’t have a right to a jury trial.

Further, the judge cited the “significant uncertainty in the law,” as to whether she has discretion to permit a jury trial for such offenses.

“Simply put, the Court declines to exercise discretion to take an action when it is not at all clear that the Court has such discretion in the first place,” Brown wrote in her ruling.

Continue reading

CoA Institute Sues BLM for Shielding Information on Expansion of Federal Lands

Washington, D.C. – Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) today sued the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) to obtain access to records about the agency’s acquisition of land in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Last year, the BLM asked Congress for nearly $90 million for new purchases, even though the agency already is responsible for about 250 million acres of federally-owned land. Americans deserve to understand how and why the BLM wants to increase its control over land that could otherwise be used for private or state purposes.

To shed light on the BLM’s land deals and ensure that the agency is responsibly managing its resources, CoA Institute submitted a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request on August 10, 2016 seeking purchase agreements, appraisals, and related communications. Nearly six months later, the agency has failed to issue a final determination on CoA Institute’s request or produce responsive records as required by FOIA.

Continue reading

Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum’s widow returns to Oregon a year after he was shot

A year ago, Jeanette Finicum was watching her daughter’s basketball game at Fredonia High School when she overheard something about a shooting in Oregon.

She had just returned to Arizona from a weekend visit with her husband at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where Robert “LaVoy” Finicum had become the spokesman for the armed takeover.

She grabbed her cellphone, dialed her husband’s number but didn’t get an answer. A short time later, she got a call from Lisa Bundy, the wife of refuge occupation leader Ammon Bundy.

“She told me LaVoy had been killed,” Jeanette Finicum recalled this week. “It was horrific. They stopped the game. His mother and father and brother, my daughter were all there.”

Continue reading

Excessive force, improper police procedures led to LaVoy Finicum’s death, lawsuit will claim

A federal civil rights lawsuit in the death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum will allege that Oregon State Police and the FBI used excessive force in a confrontation that could have ended peacefully, the Finicum family’s lawyer says.

The family also will contend that improper police procedures and lack of communication between state police and FBI agents at the scene contributed to Finicum’s shooting death, said attorney Brian Claypool.

The Jan. 26, 2016 police stop of Finicum, 54, a leader of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, was an “unnecessary escalation,” Claypool said.

Continue reading

Prosecutors In Nevada Beg Trial Judge To Protect The BLM From Scrutiny During Bundy Trial

Prosecutors in Las Vegas filed a Motion In Limine late Tuesday in the case of The United States vs Cliven Bundy et al — in hopes that Nevada District Court Judge Gloria Navarro – will allow the Government to “cover-up” any wrong doing agents in the Bureau Of Land Management – who conducted the Bundy cattle impoundment in April of 2014 – may have committed.
“It’s a shocking blatant attempt by the Government to cover-up the brutal conduct of BLM agents that caused a near catastrophe in Bunkerville, Nevada during the impoundment of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle,” says a defense attorney representing one of the defendants in the case.

The motion is a draconian attempt at best to “protect” government agents from being exposed to further scrutiny during the upcoming Nevada trials in which they will be under-oath to tell the truth.

Continue reading

Chaffetz Introduces Land Management Bills “It’s time to get rid of the BLM and US Forest Service police”

“It’s time to get rid of the BLM and US Forest Service police. If there is a problem your local sheriff is the first and best line of defense. By restoring local control in law enforcement, we enable federal agencies and county sheriffs to each focus on their respective core missions.

“The long overdue disposal of excess federal lands will free up resources for the federal government while providing much-needed opportunities for economic development in struggling rural communities.”

Continue reading

Burns Chronicles No  55 Marshall Spring & Ben

Marshall Sawyer Spring served as a Marine in Iraq with one of the defendants. He received a Purple Heart, but his honor stopped there. His and Ben’s betrayal, of patriots and fellow Marines, as informants includes not only informing, but goes well beyond, as you will see.

Spring and his partner, known only as “Ben”, live in Loveland, Colorado. Spring is a “Marshal” appointed such by Bruce Doucette, self-appointed”United States Superior Court Judge”. This would, according to the “appointment”, make Spring’s title “Marshal Marshall Spring”.  Doucette arranged to meet Spring and “Ben” in Burns, to set up a Common Law Grand Jury. Spring and Ben’s visit to Burns coincides with the two FBI form 1023 (CHS Reporting Document) reports, and it is quite apparent that the reports are tracking Doucette as much as they are the events in Burns.

Continue reading

Michael Emry pleads guilty in federal court to possession of a machine gun

Michael Emry pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to possessing a fully automatic .50-caliber machine gun that he brought to Oregon in a van loaned to him by Ammon Bundy, one of the leaders in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Prosecutors will recommend he spend two and a half years in prison, under the negotiated plea deal. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on April 6 in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

The 54-year-old, according to a federal prosecutor, admitted he stole the machine gun from a man in Idaho, obliterated its serial number and traveled with it from Idaho to Oregon in December 2015 in Bundy’s van. He, Bundy, Ryan Payne and other militants stayed in a house in Burns at that time, according to the prosecutor.

Continue reading

RJ asks appeals court to overturn order sealing documents in Bundy case

Describing the government’s case against Bunkerville cattle rancher Cliven Bundy as one of “extreme public importance,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal and other media outlets Friday asked a federal appeals court to overturn a sweeping ruling that blocks public access to nearly all of the evidence gathered in the lengthy investigation.

Lawyers for the Review-Journal, the Associated Press and Battle Born Media filed the request with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco after a U.S. District Court ruling last month upheld a broad seal of documents that are ordinarily part of the public record.

“The concerns of the media are that they’re effectively locked out of a lot of the case,” Review-Journal attorney Maggie McLetchie said. “The protective order in the case is so broad that it cloaks almost everything the government does or hands over in discovery with secrecy.”

Continue reading