January 9, 2018 by hotminnie
A federal judge in Nevada Monday dismissed the criminal indictment against the Bundy family and one of their key supporters, dealing federal prosecutors and federal land management agencies an embarrassing rebuke.
U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro ruled that federal prosecutors improperly withheld key information from the defense, and she dismissed the charges with prejudice. That effectively ends the government’s case against family patriarch Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, and U.S. Army veteran and militia leader Ryan Payne.
“The day has changed,” said Brett Whipple, Cliven Bundy’s lawyer. “There will be a new standard for the government’s treatment of evidence and requirements of due process. The federal government is out of touch with the local needs is what this really comes down to,” Whipple said.
Technically, prosecutors could appeal Navarro’s ruling, but they realistically face a difficult path if they choose to pursue charges against the four men.
The Bunkerville standoff began in spring 2014 when the Bureau of Land Management obtained a court order to round up and impound Cliven Bundy’s cattle, which were grazing on the public land next to his family’s ranch. For two decades, the elder Bundy refused to pay grazing fees. He owes the BLM more than $1 million in unpaid fees and fines.
The case raises questions about the BLM’s ability to effectively manage more than 150 million acres of grazing leases across the American West, including 14 million acres in Oregon. It was closely watched by environmentalists, cattle ranchers and anti-government activists.
And it’s the second sweeping victory for the Bundys and shocking defeat for the U.S. Justice Department; brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy had already been acquitted for their role leading the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon, in 2016.
The Bundys and their followers contend the Constitution prohibits the federal government from owning land. Members of various militia and so-called patriot groups that have followed the case said the judge’s ruling is vindication for their long-held beliefs.
“This is huge,” said Ken Medenbach, a 23-year veteran of the sovereign-citizen movement who was acquitted by the Oregon jury for his role in the Malheur occupation. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government the power to own land in the states.”
Medenbach described the outcome of the Nevada case as example of the corruption of the federal government — and of divine intervention.
“There’s a higher power in control,” he said. “Federal land is going to go back to the states. Abortion is going to stop, same-sex marriage is going to stop. Otherwise God is going to destroy this country.”