Interior head to stop in Nevada hometown of standoff family

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was expected to make a stop Sunday in the hometown of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher accused of organizing an armed standoff three years ago that forced federal agents to end a roundup of his cattle.

Zinke’s planned stop in Bunkerville, Nevada — about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas — is part of his tour of national monuments being scrutinized by the Trump administration.

Trump announced the review of 27 monuments in May, saying the designations imposed by previous presidents amounted to a massive federal land grab. Monument designations protect federal land from energy development and other activities.

Zinke plans the stop in Bunkerville ahead of visits Monday to the nearby Gold Butte and Basin and Range national monuments, which cover a combined 1,500 square miles (3,885 sq. kilometers) — more than twice the size of Delaware.

Gold Butte is the grazing area at the center of the cattle round-up and armed standoff in April 2014 involving Bundy and federal land management agents.

Continue reading

PLF files amicus brief in Clean Water Act case

Today Pacific Legal Foundation asked the Ninth Circuit to accept an amicus brief, written on behalf ofMike and Chantell Sackett, as well as John Duarte and Duarte Nursery, supporting the defendant in United States v. Joseph David Robertson. The issue we comment upon involves how the courts should apply the Supreme Court’s Rapanos decision. Since PLF argued and won Rapanos, it makes eminent sense for PLF to explain why the government unfairly applied Rapanos to Mr. Robertson in making its case against him for discharging (read: polluting) into “waters of the United States.”

Continue reading

Prosecutors in Bunkerville Retrial Rely on Deception

The chaotic events of “Bundy standoff” near Bunkerville, Nevada on April 12, 2014 were captured on hundreds of cameras.  There is video from almost every angle (including from multiple surveillance aircraft flying above).  The feds occupied the high ground (despite what they claim in court) and were filming by dash-cams, body cams and handheld cameras.  Nevada Highway Patrol had two (2) vehicles positioned on the all-important northbound bridge of I-15 with dash-cams rolling continuously.  The standoff may have been one of the most well-recorded spontaneous crowd events in history.

Continue reading

Fatal Funnel in Bunkerville Standoff?

The prosecution of four defendants in the Bunkerville Retrial continued Thursday.

Eric Parker, Scott Drexler, Steven Stewart and Ricky Lovlein sat in a Las Vegas courtroom and watched the Bureau of Land Management Rangers talk about the Standoff in April 2014.

Ranger Edwin Whitteaker was the ultimate prosecution witness. He was polite and using all the right buzzwords. He talked about the 2nd amendment being everyone’s right and defending the Constitution … until that day in the wash.

Continue reading

Greg Burleson: Life in Prison for Facebook Posts

By far the longest sentence handed down thus far in any of the “Bundy” cases was given to Arizona militia man Greg Burleson on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.  Burleson looked sunken, shaggy and disheveled as he sat in a wheelchair in yellow jail clothes in his Las Vegas, Nevada sentencing hearing.  He suffers from seizures and has become blind during the past two years.

Nonetheless, Nevada’s Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro sentenced Burleson (who is 53 but now appears much older) to spend 68 years in federal prison for his relatively minor role in the April 12, 2014 Bunkerville standoff roughly 80 miles north of Las Vegas.  Burleson was convicted of assaulting federal officers, threatening federal officers, extortion, using a firearm in crimes of violence, and related offenses.  Unlike inmates at some state levels (who can be paroled after a few years), federal inmates must serve at least 85 percent of their time.  Burleson was also sentenced to pay $1.5 million in “restitution” (supposedly to compensate the government for costs of impounding 400 of Cliven Bundy’s cattle in 2014.)  Navarro ordered Burleson to pay $25 per quarter toward restitution while he is in prison.

Continue reading

Bundy supporter Burleson sentenced to 68 years in prison

Gregory Burleson, a member of Arizona militia groups who participated in the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville, was sentenced Wednesday to more than 68 years in federal prison.

Burleson, 53, was photographed with a long gun during the standoff, moving around the sandy wash where federal agents were headquartered. The Bureau of Land Management was in Bunkerville to carry out a court order to round up rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle from public lands. The operation was unsuccessful after hundreds of protesters, many armed, descended on the small rancher town in southwest Nevada.

Continue reading

Review of Nevada’s national monuments chills legislator

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is expected in Nevada soon to review two national monuments here, but the Democratic congressman who represents the area said he feels left out of the process.

At a press conference in Las Vegas on Friday, Rep. Ruben Kihuen called it “highly disrespectful” for Zinke not to tell him about his upcoming visit or respond to a letter the congressman sent to Zinke’s office a week ago about the ongoing national monuments review.

President Donald Trump has ordered Zinke to scrutinize 22 monuments created by presidential decree since Jan. 1, 1996, to determine if the designations should be scaled back or eliminated to allow more public use and economic development. Five marine national monuments in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are also under review.

During a June 26 stop in Pahrump, Zinke promised to return to Nevada in July to talk to local stakeholders and tour Gold Butte and Basin and Range national monuments before he decides whether they should be reduced, rescinded or left intact.

Continue reading

Thomas Mitchell: Bundy case judge trying to prevent jury nullification

The retrial of four defendants in the 2014 Bunkerville standoff at the Bundy ranch got underway this past week in Las Vegas, and this time the prosecution and the judge seem determined to avoid another mistrial due to a hung jury by eviscerating defense arguments.

Federal Judge Gloria Navarro granted a prosecution motion to bar presentation of evidence “supporting jury nullification.”

In April, the first of three scheduled trials for the 17 Bunkerville defendants — charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy, extortion, assault and impeding federal officers — ended in a mistrial. The jury found only two of six people on trial guilty of some charges but deadlocked on the others.

Continue reading

Lawyers give opening statements in Bunkerville standoff retrial

Prosecutors and defense attorneys gave opening statements Monday in the retrial against four Bunkerville standoff defendants, and presented a new batch of jurors with a question that has hung over the federal courthouse all year.

Was the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville the result of a coordinated assault or a mass protest?

The jury heard arguments to support both scenarios when lawyers spoke Monday in front of a packed federal courtroom in which Eric Parker, Steven Stewart, Scott Drexler and Ricky Lovelien are being retried. A mistrial was declared in April after the first jury deadlocked on all counts against those four men.

Continue reading

Opening statements begin Monday in Bunkerville standoff retrial

The first jury for the retrial was nearly all-female, but after extensive arguments between the prosecution and defense last week, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro restructured the jury to replace three of the women with three men. Minority representation on the jury did not change.

Defense attorneys had rebutted the government’s claims with accusations that prosecutors tried to knock males off the jury. It was not apparent from last week’s arguments what fueled the gender dispute. Both sides had the opportunity to talk to the first jury after the mistrial in April, so it is possible that those conversations revealed patterns among demographic groups.

Continue reading

Rallies support defendants in Bunkerville standoff case

Hundreds of supporters turned out at a Las Vegas event Saturday night supporting the defendants facing trial in the Bunkerville standoff case.

They gathered at Rainbow Gardens to hear speeches from Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, members of the Bundy family and even Roger Stone, an on-and-off adviser for President Donald Trump.

A trial in the Bunkerville standoff case opens Monday at the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse, but instead of trying a new set of defendants, prosecutors will begin their second attempt to convict four men accused of conspiring against the government with rancher Cliven Bundy.

The retrial comes after an April mistrial, when jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against the first group of defendants in the three-part case. Prosecutors eventually plan to try 17 men on charges stemming from the April 2014 armed standoff between individual rights activists and Bureau of Land Management agents, who came to Bunkerville to seize Bundy’s cattle from public land over unpaid grazing fees.

The overarching theme at Saturday event: The “mainstream media” hasn’t given the Bundy family a voice.

Continue reading

AG Sessions: ‘I’m not taking sides’ in Bundy case

Meanwhile, Roger Stone — the longtime on-and-off adviser to Trump — is scheduled to speak at a pro-Bundy rally in Las Vegas this weekend to raise money for the rancher’s legal defense fund.

“The Bundy Ranch case hasn’t gotten the proper coverage it deserves and what’s more outrageous is the Govt’s conduct towards 17 men arrested at a Rally in support of the Bundy family,” Stone said in an emailed statement.

The event is scheduled for Saturday evening at the Rainbow Gardens of Las Vegas, is described in a promotional YouTube video as “a benefit for the Patriots who stood up for the natural rights of all Americans currently serving time as political prisoners under the corruption of federal bureaucracies.

Continue reading

Gary Hunt : Liberty or Laws? Justice or Despotism?

When the colonies severed their allegiance to England, in 1776, through the adoption of the Constitution in 1789, they had to have some form of law upon which to deal with matters, both criminal and civil.  To do so, they adopted the Common Law of England, as it existed on July 4, 1776.  This, then, became the foundation of laws upon which both the federal government and state governments began the process of developing their judicial systems.

What is important to understand is that the laws that they adopted were concerned with Justice.  For example, though Webster’s 1828 dictionary has no definition of “judicial”, an adjective, it does have one for that body that is responsible for that function of government, the Judiciary:

JUDI’CIARY, n.  That branch of government which is concerned in the trial and determination of controversies between parties, and of criminal prosecutions; the system of courts of justice in a government.  An independent judiciary is the firmest bulwark of freedom.

Through our history, there have been legal scholars who stand well above the current lot, in that their concern for justice was paramount in their considerations, and the subject of much of their scholarly writings.

Continue reading

Retrial begins for four Bundy supporters from 2014 armed standoff

ury selection began Monday for a retrial of four men accused of conspiring against the government when they joined an armed protest with Cliven Bundy on his Nevada ranch in 2014.

Eric Parker, Scott Drexler, Steven Stewart and Ricky Lovelien were present during a tense confrontation in Bunkerville between Bureau of Land Management agents who were trying to seize cattle from Bundy.

The case centers around constitutional issues including free speech and land and gun rights. The U.S. attorney’s office for the state of Nevada would not comment on pending litigation.

The retrial follows a mistrial that occurred this past April when jurors couldn’t decide on the first group of defendants in a three-tier case.

Continue reading

Jury selection crucial in Bunkerville standoff retrial

Another trial in the Bunkerville standoff case opens Monday in Las Vegas, but instead of trying a new set of defendants, prosecutors will launch their second attempt to win convictions against four men accused of conspiring against the government with rancher Cliven Bundy.

The retrial follows a mistrial in April, when jurors deadlocked on 50 of the 60 counts against the first batch of defendants in the three-part case. Prosecutors eventually plan to try 17 men on charges resulting from the April 2014 armed standoff between individual rights activists and Bureau of Land Management agents, who came to Bunkerville to seize Bundy’s cattle from public land.

The hung jury did not come as a surprise to local court observers, who previously have said that the trial against the first group hinged on ideological issues that typically are not litigated inside a courtroom. In a 2 million-population metropolitan area built in the middle of a desert, federal jury pools draw people from rural and urban areas — with different political views, policy priorities and perceptions of law enforcement.

Continue reading