The Greek philosopher Plato was credited with saying, “Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.”
Well, since longtime Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his sons, and his other compatriots have shown they indeed possesses a strong sense of principles and proper justice, perhaps a little justice in the life of the American state is possible—which is no small thing in an age of nearly universal tyranny and injustice.
This welcome ray of light became apparent in Las Vegas on Dec. 20 when U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the current high-profile proceedings involving Cliven, his sons Ryan and Ammon, and Ryan Payne.
This prompted members of the Bundy family and dozens of their supporters to leave the courthouse on that Tuesday in a state of elation, even with the presence of protesters who, holding signs that read, “Keep your Bundy hands off public lands,” appeared to be paid agitators for billionaire leftist revolutionary George Soros, as one protestor basically admitted.
Back in the spring of 2014, the above-named four defendants—who’ve become emblematic of the plight of Western ranchers resisting heavy-handed federal land controls—were accompanied by other Bundy siblings, and by scores of supporters from across the nation, all of whom gathered near Cliven’s ranch in Clark County, in southern Nevada, to exercise their First and Second Amendment rights.
On that basis, these brave souls, some of whom were armed in an open-carry state, protested the actions of well-armed Bureau of Land Management agents, FBI agents (including SWAT units) and contractors, when these officials showed up, set up shop, and finally moved to impound Cliven’s cattle over flimsy allegations of unpaid grazing fees on public lands. The impoundment attempt, on April 12, 2014, was unsuccessful, however.
But while the government retreated that day after a lengthy and often tense standoff, a 16-count federal indictment was eventually handed down. Cliven, Ammon and the two Ryans were among nearly 20 initially indicted in this now-legendary federal case, which hasn’t gone particularly well for prosecutors ever since the first of several planned trials started in February of 2017.
Thus, the government, despite spending millions of dollars, has seen its case steadily deflate to the point where, as of now, the only things that remain, according to a legal observer, are for Judge Navarro to receive briefs from the prosecution and the defense by 5 p.m. Dec. 29 (when a hearing may take place). Those briefs will consist of arguments to enable the judge to decide whether or not to fully dismiss the case.
The mistrial happened around 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time Dec. 20, as “Navarro told the jury to ‘go home . . . it’s over,’” recounted Roger Roots, a legal expert and author who has observed virtually every trial proceeding firsthand.
He said that after Judge Navarro reviews the briefs, an open hearing will be convened at 9 a.m. on Jan. 8, according to the court schedule as of this writing. If she rules for dismissal Jan. 8 “without prejudice,” the indictment remains in force and federal prosecutors technically could reset the trial of Cliven and the three others, reportedly on or around Feb. 26. But if she rules for dismissal “with prejudice,” then the indictment is dissolved, according to Roots.
Roots said a dissolved indictment would mean the government would have to go to the trouble and expense of convening a new grand jury in order to seek a new indictment—which would be “double jeopardy” and therefore a probable constitutional violation.
And while Roots said the government conceivably could appeal the mistrial ruling to the Ninth Circuit, at this point he does not believe the government would jump through all the necessary hoops for a new indictment.
Notably, what helped make the mistrial a reality was Navarro’s findings (reached during hearings on exculpatory evidence that the government has been withholding) that the prosecution had committed several Brady v Maryland violations—including not disclosing to the defense the existence of surveillance cameras, including those trained at the Bundy homestead.
Also included is not disclosing the fact that concealed snipers were stationed around the area at the time of the 2014 standoff; not disclosing the existence of maps of the snipers’ positions; and, among other things, not disclosing threat-assessment reports which include government admissions that Cliven and company are not dangerous people.
Notably, family patriarch Cliven, as a matter of principle, stayed in prison despite a recent hearing in which the court allowed him to leave jail under house arrest. He has been jailed since early 2016 and has suffered from health problems.
Cliven based his decision on the fact that a few remaining defendants—which had included his sons Mel and Dave until they, too, were granted house arrest—are still in jail awaiting a final trial that’s been scheduled to take place sometime next year. Moreover, Ryan and Ammon Bundy, as well as Ryan Payne, all were recently released under house-arrest rulings, after an equally grueling amount of time behind bars.
During a recent on-the-air interview, Cliven’s daughter-in-law Briana, who’s Mel’s wife, told Free Speech Zone host Jim Lambley of KSDZ-FM “The Twister” out of Nebraska that in the almost two years that Cliven has been behind bars, several more grandchildren of his were born. Yet Cliven, despite such a strong emotional attachment to his large family, still chose to remain in jail to honor the others still imprisoned.
On a Dec. 20 appearance on the same radio show, Briana added, “Over 3,300 hundred pages of evidence that could’ve helped the defense have been withheld and have been turned over to the defense in the last two weeks . . . . It was absolutely intentional and she [Judge Navarro] said she believes it was intentional because of what they withheld.”
Briana, who understands that even one, let alone several Brady violations, normally would be expected to lead to a full dismissal of the case right away (rather than carrying on with more hearings) added, however, that the Bundy siblings all are wearing electronic ankle bracelets and cannot leave their house-arrest locations before 7 a.m. and must return by 7 p.m., even while they are prohibited from congregating during Christmastime.
“But we’re still winning here,” Briana went on to tell KSDZ host Jim Lambley, while adding that even though a dismissal was hoped-for, rather than a mistrial, the upside is that any further proceedings will provide an opportunity to expose even more evidence that the government has withheld.
Lambley replied: “The government is just digging a deeper hole for themselves; the government is the false accuser here, that’s all there is to it.”
Mr. Roots, who’s cautiously optimistic about the remainder of this case, said that given the mistrial ruling, the few defendants still behind bars have a dramatically improved chance of never going to trial.
“Cliven won’t go home until this case is all the way over,” Roots remarked, moved by Cliven’s ironclad principles.
This article was originally published at The Truth Hound
H/t reader squodgy.
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