by Daveda Gruber:
On Dec. 20, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the high-status Bundy case.
After a long battle all charges against rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and another man were dismissed by a federal judge on Monday. I believe it was about time.
In her decision to dismiss all charges against the Nevada rancher and three others, Navarro mentioned “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct.”
It was the latest dramatic occurrence of the Nevada rancher. It served as a repudiation of the federal government.
In violation of the federal Brady rule, Navarro accused prosecutors of willfully withholding evidence from Bundy’s lawyers.
The Brady rule is named after the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case known as Brady vs Maryland, holds that failure to disclose such evidence violates a defendant’s right to due process.
Judge Andrew Napolitano said, “In this case the failures to comply with Brady were exquisite, extraordinary. The judge exercised tremendous patience.”
The Bundy standoff of 2014 started long before that.
In the early 1990s, the U.S. government limited grazing rights on federal lands in order to protect the desert tortoise habitat. In 1993, the 71-year-old Bundy, in protest, refused to renew his permit for cattle grazing, and continued grazing his livestock on these public lands.
Bundy didn’t recognize the authority of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the sovereign state of Nevada.
Federal courts sided with the BLM, and Bundy didn’t seem to have a legal chance. The rancher and the government continued this dispute for 20 years. Bundy ended up owing over $1 million in fees and fines.
In 2014 officials planned to capture and impound cattle trespassing on government land. Protesters, many armed, tried to block the authorities. This led to a standoff. They even shut down a portion of I-15, the main interstate highway running through Southern Nevada.
In fear for the general safety, officials announced they would return Bundy’s cattle and suspend the roundup.
Bundy continued to graze his cattle and not pay fees. He and his fellow protesters were heroes to some, but criminals to the federal government.
Bundy with others seen as leaders of the standoff. This included his sons Ammon and Ryan. They were charged with numerous felonies, including conspiracy, assault on a federal officer and using a firearm in a violent crime. These charges led them to face many years in prison.
The Bundy case which finally began in late October, 2017, ended two months later with Navarro angry. The feds were humiliated and Bundy seemed vindicated.
Navarro had suspended the trial earlier and warned of a mistrial when prosecutors released information after a discovery deadline.
The government was late in handing over more than 3,300 pages of documents. Some defense requests for information that ultimately came to light had been ridiculed by prosecutors as “fantastical” and a “fishing expedition.”
Napolitano said, “Either the government lied or (it’s actions were) so grossly negligent as to be tantamount to lying. This happened over and over again.”
I’m glad that the case seems to be over. The government needs to stay within the law. Under President Trump, it will.