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.