Bundy Ranch standoff trial ends with zero guilty verdicts
August 22, 2017
A federal jury in Las Vegas did not return any guilty verdicts Tuesday against four men accused of taking up arms against federal agents during the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014.
Jurors dealt government prosecutors a stinging defeat in the case when, after four days of deliberations, they returned not-guilty verdicts on the most serious charges and deadlocked on a handful of others.
Richard Lovelien of Oklahoma and Steven Stewart of Idaho were acquitted on all counts and walked out of court Tuesday night free after spending more than a year in prison.
“Both Ricky and I were teary-eyed,” Las Vegas defense lawyer Shawn Perez said of the verdict, “I was shaking … I have gotten not-guilty verdicts before, but this was really special to me.”
Two other defendants, Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler, both of Idaho, were acquitted on the most serious charges of conspiracy and extortion, but jurors failed to reach unanimous verdicts on weapons and assault charges.
Both men could be allowed to go free after a detention hearing scheduled Wednesday morning. The court ordered both defendants to be released to a halfway house until Wednesday’s hearing.
“(Parker) is getting released as we speak,” Las Vegas defense lawyer Jess Marchese said Tuesday night. “He’s ecstatic.”
After the jury’s decision, U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro called for the hearing without any motions from the defense, Marchese said. “We didn’t bring it up,” he said.
Federal prosecutors had little to say about the verdicts.
…The men were being retried on conspiracy, extortion, assault and obstruction charges for helping Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy fend off a government roundup of his cattle in what became known as the Battle of Bunkerville…
A jury in April deadlocked on charges against the four men. It convicted two other defendants on multiple counts. But it could not agree on conspiracy charges — a key component of the government’s case — against any of the six.
The government launched its second prosecution last month. The case climaxed Aug. 11 when Navarro abruptly ended court by ordering Parker off the stand and striking his testimony from the record as jurors watched.
(Of note here: The judge pretrial had severely restricted the defense on defendent rights of explanation while taking the stand in their own defense, especially any on 1st Amendment rights to have their side of an issue heard in their own defense, 2nd Amendment comments, or rights of state ownership over federal ownership in land control. The same restrictions were NOT made against the BLM Federal attornies in the case so that they were able to paint the entire operation in a better federal light.)
The defendant was attempting to tell jurors what he saw during the standoff over a barrage of objections from prosecutors. Navarro ruled Parker violated court orders by discussing prohibited topics. Parker returned to the defense table and started crying while Navarro dismissed the jurors.
Marchese said jurors told him Tuesday the incident was a factor in their verdicts.
“That weighed heavily in their decision,” Marchese said. “They wanted to hear him speak. It was very bothersome to them. They felt like they weren’t getting the whole story.”
Marchese said jurors were sympathetic to the defendants and their inability to mount a cogent defense in light of restrictions that prevented them from talking about why they participated in the standoff and what they were thinking while they were there.
Read the complete article HERE.
On March 27, 2014, 145,604 acres of federal land in Clark County were temporarily closed for the “capture, impound, and removal of trespass cattle” in a fee nonpayment going back to 1993. Bundy contended that the land was STATE not federal land and that his family had used that grazing land for a very long time without having to pay a fee to the federal government. BLM officials and law enforcement rangers began a roundup of such livestock on April 5, and an arrest was made the next day.
During the few days of the confrontation, actions mostly on the federal BLM side were greatly exaggerated and threatening from use of SWAT to militarized BLM agents. Fires said to have been set by Bundy were eventually put out but audio/video suggested that it was federal interference that was responsible for the wildfire. FAA ended up restricting and setting up a No-Fly Zone and cell service was cut to the area. This was considered to be the first time, generally speaking, that social media and citizen began documenting and factually investigating reports on incidents via online sites counter to what was heard on MSM news. MSM refused to discuss or discussed in a pro-federal rights way thereby censoring what the public could hear and was called out for their censorship.
In the first ever show of citizen solidarity over federal overreach, on April 12, 2014, a group of protesters, some of them armed, advanced on what the BLM described as a “cattle gather.” Sheriff Doug Gillespie negotiated with Bundy and newly confirmed BLM director Neil Kornze, who elected to release the cattle and de-escalate the situation. As of the end of 2015, Cliven Bundy continued to graze his cattle on Federal land and had not paid the fees.
Very Interesting Interview on the Meaning of What Happened and
Citizen Reporting vs Big Government Media
As we saw during the last eight years of government, executive agencies can and will get out of control in order to press forward on an agenda sent down directly from the President. The regulations, overreach of power of federal vs state, and disregard for the constitutional rights of citizens in ownership was horrifying to say the least. It brought home with clarity how corruption of any or all the branches of our federal and state governments can affect every citizen whether on purpose or through poorly written laws.
When President Trump was campaigning, one of his key points was just such empowerment on the part of the federal agencies and their strong-arm tactics. To date in the first months of his term, he and congress have walked back many of the most egregious of the “regulations” which agencies may have had good reasons for requesting but which they did not have the authority as presented in our laws to construct nor enforce.
The ONLY branch of government given specific task to make laws is congress. Presidential executive orders can be overridden and are not considered permanent laws though they can be renewed or removed. Judicial is NOT supposed to make laws though on at least one occasion to the detriment of the country, they have done so.
In the constitution, the federal government was given limited powers by branch and EVERY act or consideration beyond those powers were considered to be within the rights of states. However, for a very long time these truths have been eroded and until the last eight years were done slowly. During the Obama era, between collusion or “back room deals” between members of congress, there was a great deal of indecisiveness and ceding of power to the president that should not have occurred.
As the Bundy case has shown us. Citizens are vulnerable and subject to the whims of government despite our rights to own or operate property within this country. It is a right that the constitution did address but in general terms. Our 2nd Amendment rights are just as important to be able to define how we can defend ourselves, our families, and our properties as much from an out-of-control federal or state government as from thieves in the night.
Hopefully, things will change.