(Mot for Group Visits – ECF No. 1497)
Attorneys cannot meet with defendants as a group…
Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen denied Eric Parker’s motion (ECF No. 1497) to facilitate open air group meetings between defendants and their legal counsel. Citing lack of communication with the US Marshals Service, Leen determined that the request was not specific enough for the Court to be able to assess whether or not the request is reasonable. Absent a special request, the facilities at Henderson Detention Center do not provide for an environment where multiple attorneys can meet with multiple defendants. Specifically, the meeting rooms are small and defendants and counsel can only communicate through a glass wall. Subsequently, showing digital evidence (of which most in this case is) becomes problematic.
One has to wonder if the Court isn’t putting the horse before the cart. First six defendants face potential life sentences; there is little wiggle room for critical analysis of whether or not it is reasonable for them to meet with their attorneys. Second, the case is complex. that designation carries huge implications. The docket, as of today, has nearly 1600 entries (unusual if not extraordinary). Additionally, with the “complex” designation the right to a speedy trial vaporizes. The Government plans to call 60 or more witnesses. Finally, the case is in a constant state of uncertainty. For example, just days before jury selection, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story about ethics violations on the part of The Bundy Ranch Tyrant. Consequent, it is paramount that the six defendants in the Tier 3 Bundy Ranch trial have access to their legal counsel as a group.
Legal Counsel Access Denied
The Court’s position is absurd to the extent that defendants must jump through procedural hoops to meet with counsel. The Court could assess whether or not the request is unreasonable and then make a subsequent determination. Instead, the prudent pursuit of justice take a back seat to the Court’s elevated opinion of self.