BURNS CHRONICLES ARCHIVED (21-30)

Burns Chronicles No 21 – The Public’s Right to Know

Burns Chronicles No 21
The Public’s Right to Know

not news

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
May 16, 2016

 

We all know that when there is an alleged violation of one’s rights, the freedom of the accused, while somewhat curtailed, is usually respected, and this is known as part of due process. Absent due process, judicial behavior often falls into arbitrary decision-making, biased juries, and the rail-roading of political undesirables, straight into prison. Lack of judicial transparency is usually a clear sign that whatever vestiges of a republican form of government may still be there is waning, and quickly; should the public’s right to know not be reinvigorated, then posterity will likely never know true freedom.

A Person accused of a crime, according to the Sixth Amendment, has a right “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” against him, “to be confronted with the witnesses against him“, and, “to have compulsory process for obtaining Witnesses in his favor“.

The government, of course, has the right to search with a warrant, and the subpoena power to compel witnesses. Clearly, they have a right to know.

The accused has the power of the subpoena, to compel witnesses on his behalf. He also has a right to discovery, to see what the plaintiff has, in the form of proof, and to introduce evidence on his behalf.

Historically, trials were public. Often crime scenes were photographed by news reporters/cameramen, often with victims still in place. Reporters were given all but the most critical investigative results, and all of this was to assure the public that there really was a crime in their community. Witnesses told what they saw, to investigators (public and private), other people, and the press. Those charged and arrested were able to talk to anybody and often did press interviews from jail. If they were released from custody, they could speak as freely as any other person. Thus, the public was always aware of the accused’s explanation of events.

When the matter went to trial the courtroom was open, so long as the observers behaved, and the press had every opportunity to report on all aspects of the case, including evidence and testimony. For the most part, all of the facts were laid out to the public, by one means or another, even before the trial began.

When the trial was over, regardless of the outcome, the community was fully aware of what had occurred, what the government did to bring justice, and whether the person that had been accused was vindicated of the charges, or convicted.

So, let’s look at what a trial really is. The first element is comprised of the facts of the matter. This includes evidence, recordings, writings, photographs, and the testimony of witnesses. However, that is just the beginning.

Years ago, going through some old law books, I ran across a rather interesting passage in an enactment from Utah. It struck me that it was closer to innocent until proven guilty than our current judicial process. In speaking of the trial, it said that the Indictment was on trial, not the accused (notice the difference between the usage of “accused” verses “defendant”. The accused is one who has had the finger of criminal activity pointed at him. The defendant, however, is, by implication, presumed guilty and has to prove his innocence. In the former (accused), the Indictment is on trial. The Indictment is sort of a story of a crime, and the story has to be proven to find guilt. If the story is not true (proven), then the accused is not guilty. However, in the latter, the defendant is on trial and has to prove that he is innocent. If he can’t prove his innocence, then he is guilty.

Now, back to the trial and its second element. We are not talking procedure, such as opening statements, the testimony and submission of evidence, and then the closing statement. Instead, we need to look at what is done with the facts of the case. For the most part, the facts are not arguable, themselves, though there may be some facts that seem to contradict others. However, what is occurring in those three mentioned stages of the trial (opening, trial, closing), we have nothing more than each side doing his best to present those facts, arguing as to just what they seem to prove. Their objective is to convince the jury, and the public, that those facts prove the case of their respective side of the trial.

This allowed the community to evaluate all aspects from the crime, through the administration of justice. With that in mind, the public would also know whether the government was serving the people, or had become an administrative functionary of the government, itself, endeavoring, if possible, to assure the government’s desired outcome, rather than justice. They were, though without legal authority, the final decisions as to whether justice was served, or not. As with the OJ Simpson trial, though the majority of the public disagreed with the verdict, they still accepted the outcome.

It is in those instances where the court pursues the end desired by the government, rather than the end of true justice for the community, that must be of concern to all of us.

Why it should be of concern is that we are the source of authority (We the People) of the government. It is We that are to be served by government rather than us serving the government. Should we venture too far away from that concept, we will find that the government’s control over our daily lives will always be subject to the government’s approval.

Just a few decades ago, with the exception of occasional photographs depicting elements of a crime, or an occasional audio recording, evidence in the trial was very limited.

More recently, however, we find that the government has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of man-hours, in building a monumental case. The evidence is often beyond the comprehension of most to understand its magnitude. However, the government is constantly evaluating what they have gathered, and by the time arrests might be made, they have been able to process 95%+ of the evidence.

Then comes discovery, the right retained by the accused to have access to what the government is using to prosecute them. It is often well after the arrest, based upon the one-sided evaluation of the evidence, that the accused finally gets to begin to review the mountain of data, though it often comes piecemeal, and though the government had months in advance to prepare their case, the defendant must begin a process that, also, could take months to process. Of course, before he can fully understand what the government has to support their accusations against him, the right to a speedy trial (70 days) is long-gone before he has been able to digest just what that mountain contains.

Two recent examples of the magnitude of the evidence acquired by the government might be noteworthy.

In the case of William Wolf, we find that the government, from an article about the discovery, had acquired 524 pages of written discovery and 17 DVD’s.  The lowest capacity of a standard DVD is 4.7 gigabytes.  It is safe to calculate that each DVD could hold 6 hours of video or 72 hours of audio, or all 17 DVDs could hold 102 hours of video (2 1/2 work weeks), 1224 hours of audio (over 30 work weeks), or a combination thereof.

A much more recent example is the case out of Burns, Oregon, United States of America v. Ammon Bundy, et al. As of April 20, 2016, in a “JOINT STATUS REPORT REGARDING DISCOVERY“, the government gives us a then current indication of the magnitude of evidence:

To date, the government has produced eleven volumes of discovery that comprise approximately 25,000 Bates [numbered] pages, 58,570 files, and over 360 gigabytes of data [over 76 DVDs]. The government continues to produce discovery in multiple formats including .pdf, text files, tiffs, load files, and natives.

Of course, there are 26 defendants in this case, but each of their respective attorneys need to go through the entire mountain, or arrange to have it commercially indexed to see which pieces affect their client.

Now, in both instances, the question arises as to whether there is any exculpatory evidence. Exculpatory evidence is evidence that might prove the innocence of the accused. The government is reluctant to turn over anything that might weaken their case. After all, their purpose is to win, regardless of innocence or guilt. And, since there is no requirement that the government must turn over everything, unless the accused has reason to believe that there is something in evidence that he hasn’t been provided, he cannot generalize and ask for all that was not voluntarily given.

Surely, we have all hear of the KGB (the Russian Committee for State Security), and the Stasi (East German Ministry for State Security). They were secretive law enforcement organizations that made sure that the will of the leaders was properly applied. Their means included secret agents, informants, false accusations (perjury), and, most significantly, denying the public from knowing anything they chose not to admit to. This left the public to always believe that the government was doing a fine job, except those few dissidents who would soon find themselves on trial, perhaps for the rest of their lives.

However, the American right to a speedy and public trial precludes such practices — or does it?  Newspapers and other news sources are controlled, and can only publish that which is approved by the government. This creates what is commonly referred to as a “police state”.

It is the opposite of what the Framers gave us, and we have shed blood for, to retain that form of government. Our Liberty is a consequence of those efforts, far more than any other objects, except life and property. All are to be protected by the government that was created by the Constitution, and is therefore bound to that Founding Document that provides for an open and honest government.

As we advance in technology, such as the ease of recording audio, video, or both; the Internet, where everything you have said, under any circumstances; and the proliferation of informants and undercover agents (See Vortex – The threat that keeps us apart), we enter a realm whereby those standards of justice from the past can either be adhered to, or ignored, by those whose purpose is to administer justice on our behalf. However, if our judicial system abrogates that responsibility, choosing instead to assure that the government will almost always prevail against us, then we are nothing less than in a police state mentality that supported the KGB and the Stasi, except in name only.

As explained above, the intent of the Framers, has demonstrated by our judicial heritage back through centuries in England, is to allow the public to judge the process, for the sake of both their community and justice, then it would make sense that ALL information obtained by the prosecution be made publically available, without redaction. This would aid both the accuser and the accused, as anybody in the public realm who might have knowledge of something germane to the case, could come forward and offer what evidence they might have that would be beneficial to the ends of justice.

This would be particularly true with regard to the incidents in both Oregon earlier this year, and Nevada back in 2014, where hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures have been taken and where recorded conversations, or other testimony might shed light on the truth.

The government, however, chooses to hide behind a wall of secrecy. For instance, the Las Vegas Review Journal (LVRJ) has filed a Motion to Intervene with the Nevada Court to have the Discovery available to the public, via news media.

However, what is addressed in the LVRJ Motion doesn’t touch on the real problem.

If the government is able to suppress the information that they will use to try to convict the defendants in both Oregon and Washington, then they are approaching those tactics necessary for the KGB and Stasi to achieve their ends.

The government doesn’t want anybody but the defendants to see how the evidence was gathered. They argue that it is for the safety of the witnesses, though in both states, only the government has demonstrated a propensity for violence (See Burns Chronicles No 2 – Ambush and The Bundy Affair – #11 – “Violence Begets Non-Violence”). Perhaps it is their tactics, maybe well beyond what most Americans might deem to be acceptable. Perhaps it is the number of informants and agents that they injected into the events. But, if the government has their way, we will never know. And they will have achieved a major gain in moving into a complete police state, which is supposed to be guarded against by the foresight of the Framers when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

So, it is not just the defendants that are, so far, denied information critical for them to evaluate the charges against them, It is also a denial of the right of the people to know just how the government operates and whether it is seeking justice or persecution.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Scott Brown says:

    Good article. On the issue of exculpatory evidence though look at United States Attorneys Manual 9-5.000 – Issues Related To Trials And Other Court Proceedings.

    Constitutional obligation to ensure a fair trial and disclose material exculpatory and impeachment evidence. Government disclosure of material exculpatory and impeachment evidence is part of the constitutional guarantee to a fair trial. Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963); Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 154 (1972). The law requires the disclosure of exculpatory and impeachment evidence when such evidence is material to guilt or punishment. Brady, 373 U.S. at 87; Giglio, 405 U.S. at 154. Because they are Constitutional obligations, Brady and Giglio evidence must be disclosed regardless of whether the defendant makes a request for exculpatory or impeachment evidence. Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419, 432-33 (1995). Neither the Constitution nor this policy, however, creates a general discovery right for trial preparation or plea negotiations. U.S. v. Ruiz, 536 U.S. 622, 629 (2002); Weatherford v. Bursey, 429 U.S. 545, 559 (1977).

    It’s our job to demand the servants follow the law and of course they use every tactic to withhold anything useful to accused.

    Keep up your good work Brother.
    Scott in North Carolina State

  2. […] another article (The Public’s Right to Know), we looked at a policy that we would normally consider being the secret police practices that we […]

  3. […] another article (The Public’s Right to Know), we looked at a policy that we would normally consider being the secret police practices that we […]

  4. […] Outpost of Freedom » Blog Archive » Burns Chronicles No 21 – The Public’s Right to Know says: May 23, 2016 at 7:13 am […]

     

Burns Chronicles No 22 – OathKeepers vs. Militia – Part III

Burns Chronicles No 22
OathKeepers vs. Militia – Part III

wolf sheep 04 OK

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
May 22, 2016

Just over two years ago, I wrote two articles, Oathkeepers vs. Militia and Oath Keepers vs. Militia – Part II. Those articles were associated with the events that were happening at the Bundy Ranch, in Nevada. I had no intention of writing a series regarding the subject, though more recent events, in and around Burns, Oregon, have compelled me to do so.

What we are discussing is to what level members of OathKeepers cooperated with government officials, both local and federal, in Burns, Oregon. Beyond simple cooperation, did they also provide misinformation to both sides to heighten anxiety — on both sides?

To better understand this concept we need to revisit a story I did back in 1994. Michael Hill, an Ohio Unorganized Militia Chaplin, was shot to death on a roadside while returning from a patriot meeting. Hill was alone in his car and was being followed by friends. A police officer pulled Hill over and Hill complied, pulling to the side of the road. The police car pulled over behind him, and the friends pulled over behind the police car. While the friends were still present, they heard gunshots and fled the scene. Shortly thereafter, two additional officers arrived. Based upon my research, one of these officers fired additional shots into Hill’s nearly dead body.

What led to the heightened anxiety on the part of the police, and the situation that cost Hill his life was, in part, a notice put out by the BATF, in late April 1995, shortly after the Oklahoma City Bombing. The incident just described above occurred on June 28, 1995.

REQUEST NATIONAL BROADCAST
FM: BUREAU OF ALCOHOL TOBACCO AND FIREARMS,
WASHINGTON DC

TO: ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
SUBJ: WARNING TO ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL:

ATF INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION SUGGESTS THAT THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING MAY HAVE HEIGHTENED PARANOIA LEVELS AMONG VARIOUS MILITIA GROUPS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES.

INFORMATION SUGGESTS THAT THIS BOMBING MAY BE SEEN AS A “STAGED TERRORIST ATTACK” BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS PART OF AN OVERALL PLAN TO DECLARE MARITAL[sic] LAW AND SUSPEND THE CONSTITUTION. IN ADDITION, MANY OF THESE MEMBERS FEEL THAT AN ATTACK ON THEM IS IMMINENT AND HAVE ALREADY GONE INTO ALERT STATUS.

THESE GROUPS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO MOBILIZE AND ARM THEMSELVES FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBSTRUCTING LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST OTHER MILITIA MEMBERS. DUE TO THIS, ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL ARE WARNED TO TAKE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN CONTACTING ANY KNOWN MILITIA MEMBERS OR AFFILIATES.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THIS WARNING, OR TO PROVIDE ANY FURTHER INTELLIGENCE REGARDING THE CONTENT OF THIS MESSAGE, PLEASE CONTACT THE ATF ENFORCEMENT OPERATIONS CENTER AT 1-800-659-6242 OR
RESPOND VIA NLETS

My Preliminary Report on the Death of Michael Hill explains the circumstances and why I came to the conclusion that the anxiety created by the BATF “Warning” was a contributing factor to the overly aggressive law enforcement action.

Within the context of the potential consequences of heightened fear, or anxiety, let’s look at just how that likely played a role in the recent events in Oregon.

Brandon Rappolla, an OathKeeper, was with Brandon Curtiss in November 2015, and, like Curtiss, indicated that he supported Harney County Sheriff David Ward, in whatever decision he made and did not support Ammon Bundy. However, in a January 9, 2016 Reuters News Article, Rappolla, even though he stated that he still didn’t support Ammon’s operation, gave him a “small roll of bills”. Since not publically supporting Ammon, this material support may have been intended to assure continued communications with Ammon.

Within a few days of the occupation of the Refuge, Joe Rice, Pacific Patriot Network and head of the Josephine County OathKeepers, reported to a Sheriff’s Deputy that Ammon’s people had “crew served weapons” (machine guns) and plenty of ammunition. That was certainly reported up the chain. This could explain why the purported original plan to raid the Refuge was abandoned by the feds.

So, by the end of the first week of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, OathKeeper members cozied up to Ammon Bundy and his people, while they publically expressed that they did not support the operation,  and simultaneously provided intelligence  to law enforcement (however incorrect) regarding the armament of those in the Refuge.  Of course, this  report to the Sheriff and his deputies surely had the effect of creating some apprehension (fear) on the part of law enforcement, including the FBI.

So, was anything done by the OathKeepers that heightened the apprehension (fear) in the minds of the occupiers? Let’s look what OathKeepers had to say  on January 5, 2016, just three days after the patriots settled in at the OK Jan 5Refuge. OathKeepers posted the following statement on their Facebook page and the OathKeepers website.

“Oath Keepers has received very credible information from an active duty source within the special operations community that at least one SOD-X unit under the command of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has been tasked for this standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Reserve and moved to the area. Given this, we should expect that other special operations assets, such as Delta Force… And we should expect the presence of the infamous FBI HRT (which were present at both Ruby Ridge and Waco).”

So, those in the Refuge went on alert, preparing for the worst, but determined to fire back, if fired upon. Can we doubt that there was a bit of apprehension (fear), especially considering the named opposing forces?

So, now, both sides were in a state of increased anxiety. Those inside of the Refuge were willing to negotiate, and wanted someone with legal authority to respond to the “Redress of Grievances” that they had provided to all interested parties who wished a copy, including Sheriff Ward and the FBI.

On the other side, the FBI and the Sheriff took what appeared to be a passive stand, allowing those inside to travel freely, eventually encouraging a degree of complacency, which was quite apparent on January 26 when they encountered the ambush on US Highway 395, which resulted in the murder of LaVoy Finicum.

However, we have only touched the surface of things. It was apparent that Sheriff Ward, probably acting under the instruction of the FBI, tried to talk those inside the Refuge into leaving, even offering safe conduct to another county or the state line. There is no doubt that the government wanted the focus taken off the Refuge lands, and there is equally no doubt that the occupiers knew that holding the land would guarantee attention to address their concerns over federal land practices.

On January 24, 2016, Jason VanTatenhove, Todd Engle, and Stewart Rhodes called LaVoy Finicum to discuss the situation, in a recorded broadcast (mp3 – 15:21). Their discussion began with the subject Constitutional Sheriffs, but led into a discussion of Sheriff Ward’s failure to perform his job, thereby leaving that responsibility to the people, themselves. The failure being the Sheriff’s unwillingness to intercede in the federal re-arrest of Dwight and Steven Hammond.

Jason seemed to support the actions of those in the Refuge, though he suggests that it should only be tried where there is already a Constitutional Sheriff. Stewart appeared to agree, (and I paraphrase) that LaVoy must find the right county, with the right Sheriff, before he should do something like this.

Stewart then expressed concern for what might be coming to the Refuge, in terms of government force being used against the occupiers — suggesting that the women and children should be removed. He follows up by saying that he believes the government might “drop the hammer”, suggested again, that they should leave Harney County. He continues to suggest that they move, even to a private ranch in Harney County. It appears that Stewart’s objective was to get them to move off of the Refuge, which is exactly what the government wanted to happen. He also says that Idaho III% and PPN are doing an excellent job in handling the field (in Burns only), which shows the close working relationship between PPN, Idaho III%, and OathKeepers. LaVoy said very little, and it seemed that that this was just Stewart’s show.

According to the OathKeepers article, the next conversation with LaVoy, was shortly after the above radio show aired.

After that show, there was another private call (mp3 – 13:40) to LaVoy, from Jason, Todd, and Stewart. Stewart was very direct in suggesting that those in the Refuge make a “lateral move” to a strong county. This, of course, would be exactly what the government wanted — get them off of the Refuge in order to arrest them. He tells LaVoy that the government is getting ready to “move on [them]”. So, was Stewart in the loop with the feds, or was he simply trying to scare LaVoy? Now, this is the second time that the OathKeepers have told those in the Refuge that they were going to be facing the feds, eminently. Todd explains that even the day before, when he was at the Refuge, that he told them that they had to move out, that force would be coming. Todd then assured LaVoy that some “seriously armed dudes” would be there to aid them. We must wonder where those “seriously armed dudes” were, two days later when the Refuge needed all of the manpower that it could get.  Again, armed support is offered if they are willing to leave. We simply have to wonder if they would be turned over by the armed escort, directly into the waiting hands of the FBI.

Bearing in mind that a “lateral move”, as proposed by OathKeepers, would have satisfied the fed’s primary goal, was the OathKeepers’ plan to get them make the “lateral move” off of the Refuge an effort to avoid bloodshed, or to firm up their working relationship with the feds?

If OathKeepers reported back to the feds that there was going to be no “lateral move”, did that result in the fed’s alternate plan of the ambush on US 395?

So, we come to the ambush. With what has been presented, there is little doubt that the Oregon State Police (OSP), based on the FBI briefings, began their role in the ambush full of apprehension (fear). In their minds, the possibility of a machine gun in the back of LaVoy’s truck was not outside of the realm of possibility to them. When the truck finally stopped, stuck in the snow, an FBI agent fired two shots. If the OSP officers realized that they didn’t fire the shots (there were only three OSP officers in position to deal with LaVoy), did those two shots, one of which entered the roof of the truck cab, heighten their apprehension? And, if so, were they more likely to minimize risk to themselves by shooting LaVoy in the back?

Some questions that warrant answers:

  • Just how much information from the Refuge did OathKeepers pass on to the government?
  • Was OathKeepers playing on the side of the government from the beginning?
  • Who benefited most from the actions of the OathKeepers?
  • Were OathKeepers intentionally trying to get those on the Refuge to abandon that site to facilitate their arrest?
  • Were their reports to the government intended to generate apprehension?
  • Did the actions of OathKeepers contribute to the circumstances that led to LaVoy Finicum’s death?

5 Comments

  1. Speak2Truth says:

    Also, on the Oath Keepers website, Stewart Rhodes sent a message to the FBI, warning they would have military crawling up their *sses and down their throats if they tried to take action against the refuge occupiers. This sort of threatening language seemed designed to agitate conflict. https://web.archive.org/web/20160117192755/https://www.oathkeepers.org/critical-warning-to-u-s-military-and-federal-leo-do-not-follow-orders-to-waco-ammon-bundy-occupation-in-oregon-or-you-risk-starting-a-civil-war/

    When the Bundy family rebuffed Joseph Rice’s attempt to enter and take control of the Refuge occupation, he immediately took his armed cadre over to the FBI staging area at the nearby airport unannounced, shook hands with the FBI then engaged in some condescending and insulting “discussion” with the FBI present. This video is available on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5w99LTKEA0

    It is worth mentioning that Joseph Rice is the person the Finicum family tried to contact, from inside their vehicle, at the original FBI stop, having been promised protection by “seriously armed dudes”. But, Joseph was conveniently far away by that time. http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/02/30_minutes_of_chaos_witness_de.html

    Joseph established the Pacific Patriots Network apparently in preparation for a lateral move of his own, as his actions could foreseeably result in the breakup (or worse) of Oath Keepers, where he is merely a chapter leader.

  2. […] that he was, in fact, an informant.  Mark professes to be a patriot, and he probably is —along the lines of OathKeepers, where the Constitution is what they are told by their superiors, and is patriotism to the […]

  3. […] arrival.  Rather quick work on his part.  The deceptive role of OathKeepers is explained in OathKeepers vs. Militia – Part III.  This explains the heightened alert status on that day.  Thus, McConnell, who had been invited […]

  4. […] the Court that he was, in fact, an informant. Mark professes to be a patriot, and he probably is —along the lines of OathKeepers, where the Constitution is what they are told by their superiors, and is patriotism to the […]

  5. […] arrival.  Rather quick work on his part.  The deceptive role of OathKeepers is explained in OathKeepers vs. Militia – Part III.  This explains the heightened alert status on that day.  Thus, McConnell, who had been invited […]

     

    Burns Chronicles No 23 – Terrorism Enhanced Penalties v. Due Process

    Burns Chronicles No 23
    Terrorism Enhanced Penalties v. Due Process

    kangaroo court2

    Gary Hunt
    Outpost of Freedom
    August 10, 2016

    So far, ten of those charged in United States v. Ammon Bundy, et al, have pled guilty, and the eleventh is soon to follow. They are, as follows:

    • Jason Blomgren (Joker J), pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
    • Brian Cavalier (Booda), pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge and a charge of possessing firearms or dangerous weapons in a federal facility.
    • Blaine Cooper, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
    • Travis Cox, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
    • Eric Flores, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
    • Wesley Kjar, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy
    • Corey Lequieu, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
    • Joseph O’Shaughnessy, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy
    • Ryan Payne, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
    • Geoffrey Stanek, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
    • Jon Ritzheimer, scheduled to plea

    So, why are they pleading? Is it because they really think that they are guilty?

    Most, if not all, of those above have been “intimidated” or “threatened“, by federal prosecutors, either directly, or through their appointed counsel, that a Terrorism Enhancement could result in a sentence of 30 years, possibly for each count.

    For a little background, over twenty years ago, I reported on a trial (see below) that I would eventually learn to be one where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines had brought into our judicial system something that was very foreign to the system of justice, as implemented by the Founders. Perhaps it would be beneficial to begin with an understanding of the judicial system that was intended, based upon many centuries of evolution in the British Common Law.

    The English Constitution, even before the Magna Carta (1215 AD), began evolving in 1080 AD, and was also the beginning of a legal evolutionary process that sometimes went backwards, but most often went forward, in an effort to provide justice rather than blind obedience to laws. It was the English Common Law that was the foundation of jurisprudence for the Founders.

    This foundation is evidenced even in current statutes, such as Florida Statutes (2015), where we find:

    2.01 Common law and certain statutes declared in force.—The common and statute laws of England which are of a general and not a local nature, with the exception hereinafter mentioned, down to the 4th day of July, 1776, are declared to be of force in this state; provided, the said statutes and common law be not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and the acts of the Legislature of this state.

    We can also look to the Maryland Constitution (2008), which provides, in its Declaration of Rights:

    Art. 5. (a)
    (1) That the Inhabitants of Maryland are entitled to the Common Law of England, and the trial by Jury, according to the course of that Law, and to the benefit of such of the English statutes as existed on the Fourth day of July, seventeen hundred and seventy-six; and which, by experience, have been found applicable to their local and other circumstances, and have been introduced, used and practiced by the Courts of Law or Equity…

    In the same Declaration of Rights, we also find:

    Art. 23. In the trial of all criminal cases, the Jury shall be the Judges of Law, as well as of fact, except that the Court may pass upon the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction.

    Now, the Maryland Constitution predates the United States Constitution, as it was first ratified by the People on November 11, 1776 – over a decade before the Constitution. Clearly, the understanding (original intent) of the Maryland Constitution and the United States Constitution were predicated upon those laws that then existed, and definition, or intent, of the words used, were as they were understood at the time. Absent a lawful change of definition, those definitions and intentions are still the body of the law and should be recognized as such.

    Also true of the Common Law, at that time, and remember, the intention is still the same, is that a jury determines law and fact. However, there is one more aspect that comes into play. The jury also imposed the sentence, as they were the judge of facts, those which determined the severity of the crime; the law, what was intended and the extent applicable to the case at hand; and, by combining the two, would determine the sentence to be imposed, if the accused were found to be guilty.

    .

    For instance, if there were two assault cases, and one was minor, in that only a few bruises were the result, could it possibly be compared with, and judged, with the same severity of punishment if the victim were left bloody and unconscious on the ground?

    This would also go to intent; If one knowingly, and provably, disobeyed a law, and his intentions were for personal gain, the punishment should be more severe than if one broke the law, with no malicious intent, and was not even aware that he was breaking a law. The former should have a harsh sentence, while the latter should have a lighter sentence, if any punishment, at all.

    Even if that decision were left to the Court, the facts, and the circumstances, etc., should be paramount in determining a just sentence for any crime.

    In support of the concept, though not the application, because that responsibility has been usurped by the courts, we find, in 18 U.S.C. § 3553: Imposition of a sentence:

    (a) Factors To Be Considered in Imposing a Sentence. – The court shall impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with the purposes set forth in paragraph (2) of this subsection. The court, in determining the particular sentence to be imposed, shall consider –

    (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant;

    (2) the need for the sentence imposed –

    (A) to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense…

    The United States Sentencing Commission, “an independent agency of the judicial branch of the federal government of the United States”, was created by the “Sentencing Reform Act”, part of the “Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984”.  There are seven voting members on the Commission, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and serve six-year terms. At least three of the commissioners must be federal judges, and no more than four may belong to the same political party. The United States Attorney General or his designee and the chair of the United States Parole Commission sit as ex officio, non-voting members of the Commission.

    This, then, constitutes an extra-constitutional “commission” that has taken the imposition of penalty away from the discretion of the judges (who had taken it from the jury) and made an arbitrary, though somewhat flexible, micro-management of sentencing. That flexibility, however is most often used against the accused — for the benefit of the prosecution.

    The intention of the Act was to standardize sentencing, simply a form of incorporating federal control to a micro-management level. It was expressed as “necessary to remove the judge’ discretion in sentencing”.

    So, back to twenty years ago, when I was covering, though from a distance, the Trial of the Branch Davidians. I received a copy of a letter sent by Sarah Bain, Jury Foreperson in that trial, to the Judge, Walter Smith, that presided over the trail. In the letter, she expressed concern over some of the verdicts that had been found by the jury.

    To verify the letter as having come from the Jury Foreperson, I contacted Sarah to discuss the letter. During our discussion, we also spoke of the automatic weapons the government alleged that the Davidians had. She told me that the jury found no evidence that automatic weapons were used, or even present at Mt. Carmel; we were not aware of the sentencing, just a few days before. I wrote this article, based upon that conversation.

    When I heard of the sentencing, by Judge Smith, I was appalled by the sentences handed down, though I had no idea, at the time, of what “enhanced sentencing” meant. The sentencing, as reported by the Los Angeles Times on June 18, 1994, with regard to sentencing, states:

    “Under mandatory sentencing guidelines approved by Congress, the weapons charge–carrying a weapon in the commission of a violent crime–is punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison. At the request of prosecutors and over the objections of defense attorneys, Smith imposed the maximum sentences on grounds that automatic weapons, the most destructive kind, were involved.”

    This added ten years to the sentence of five of the defendants, though the “fact” that it was based on was not a “fact”, at all, as determined by the jury. This is a circumvention of the Constitution, and is more akin to the backward sliding of the British Common Law, over the centuries, when the king determined that he was above the law. It appears that, now, the government appears to consider itself above the law, by developing means to circumvent that which so many have fought and died for.

    However, when I began researching for this article, I found that the Branch Davidians, specifically James Castillo, had pursued this injustice to the United States Supreme Court (Castillo, et al. v. United States 530 U.S. 120 (2000)). The Court decided, not so much on sentencing, rather on the wording of the statute, that the enhancement was not within the purview of the District Court judge to decide what had not been found by the jury. The statute uses the term “use” of a firearm, where the jury found no such fact to be true. So, the case was remanded and the sentences reduced accordingly.

    This then, begins to touch on the whole aspect of the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG), though it does not get to the heart of the matter.

    * * *

    Now, the events in Burns, Oregon evolved out of the persecution of Dwight and Steven Hammond. They had performed a controlled burn, the fire got out of hand, and burned 126 acres of public lands before they managed to put the fire out. Then, when the government set their own fire, supposedly a controlled burn, that had gotten out of hand, and threatened the Hammond’s ranch and home, they set a backfire that spread onto public land, though it kept the fire from burning down their home and outbuildings. They were charged under a statute that was enacted with the intention of prosecuting those who set fires, with terrorism as an objective. Though that was not the case with the Hammonds, and was not brought up at trial, they will serve five years in prison, without any enhancement. The Statute was enacted to punish terrorists, not to punish ranchers who carried on practices that have been carried on for centuries, those same practices also being carried on by government agencies. This is truly a perversion of the intent of the law, but not, in the least, the application of “enhancement sentencing”.

    Instead, probably more subject to an overarching attitude in Congress that they can prevent crime by enacting laws, though with wording that allows the Justice Department to interpret those laws well beyond the intent of the Congress.

    * * *

    The accused parties in United States of America v. Ammon Bundy, et al, are charged with, among other charges, in Count 1 of the Indictment, violation of 18 U. S. Code §372, to wit:

    If two or more persons in any State, Territory, Possession, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person fromaccepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.

    The question arises, then, of just who, what person or persons, were intimidated or threatened by those that had moved in to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge? Can it be a threat or intimidation if there is no person that was directly threatened or intimidated?

    They were also charged (in an effort to be vindictive), as appears to be true based upon Count 3, violation of 18 U. S. Code § 924(c)(1)(A), to wit:

    (c) (1) (A) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime.

    However, on a Motion by David Fry’s attorney, the judge dismissed this effort as adding an inappropriate charge, since the statute addresses “violence“, though there was never any violence perpetrated by any of the defendants.

    So, it appears, being the poor losers that they are, the government has decided to seek a “Terrorism” enhancement, but we will address that more, later.

    So, what are these “terrorism enhancements”? Shane Harris, Author and journalist, has written an article for the National Journal explaining the abuse of the “enhancement” aspect of the Sentencing Guidelines. It is worth the time to read, to fully understand how “enhancement” has become a tool of government, to be used to force plea agreements and to punish those who might refuse to plea, wasting the Court’s time with a jury trial.

    However, we must move forward to understand what has happened since 1984, and the dismal attempt of the government to continue to allow the judge to sentence, though to restrain him by micro-management.

    In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled, in Blakely v. Washington 542 US 296 (2004),

    “The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting petitioner’s argument that the sentencing procedure deprived him of his federal constitutional right to have a jury determine beyond a reasonable doubt all facts legally essential to his sentence.”

    The Court held that

    Because the facts supporting petitioner’s exceptional sentence were neither admitted by petitioner nor found by a jury, the sentence violated his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury.”

    The following year. the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Booker 543 US 200 (2005), begins to give us an idea of the judicial abuse. This case made clear that unless the jury determines a fact, any enhancement, absent that jury’s determination, cannot be applied under the Guidelines. This is based upon the protection afforded by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    However, in a dissenting opinion, not on the jury aspect, the late Justice Scalia made a rather interesting observation with regard to the Sentencing Guidelines (remember, these were implemented to standardize sentencing and remove the judge’s discretionary sentencing), when he said, “In order to rescue from nullification a statutory scheme designed to eliminate discretionary sentencingit discards the provisions that eliminate discretionary sentencing.”

    Now, I don’t know how comprehensive the first USSG was, but I do know that the 2015 version is 599 pages. I have been studying it for the past few days, and I can see that it is convoluted and almost incomprehensible. But, don’t take my word for it. Here is what the Court said in a 2016 decision (Molina-Martinez v. United States No. 14-8913):

    “The Federal Sentencing Guidelines first enter the sentencing process when the United States Probation Office prepares a presentence report containing, as relevant here, an advisory Guidelines range based on the seriousness of a defendant’s offense and the extent of his criminal history. A district court may depart from the Guidelines, but it “must consult [them] and take them into account when sentencing.” Given the Guidelines’ complexity, a District Court’s use of an incorrect Guidelines range may go unnoticed.”

    So, after 22 years, it is acknowledged that this effort at micro-managing justice has failed, dismally. To top that off, since 2005, over the course of the past 11 years, Sentencing Guidelines have been heard by the Supreme Court in 105 cases. Perhaps such a tangled web that it will never be fully extricated from the dismal depths to which it belongs.

    Now, back to Oregon. It has come to light that the prosecution, in some emails to defense attorneys a few months ago, that “terrorism enhancements” might be applied to the defendants, if they should go to trial. About a month ago, this same subject (threat) came to light in some Internet discussions.

    Since none of the charges brought against the defendants either reference or are part of terrorism statutes, it is difficult to think that the jury could possibly create, on their own, such a charge. They can only judge those charges brought against the defendants.

    This, however, might warrant some edification. The Sixth Amendment, along with other protections against oppressive, arbitrary, or tyrannical, government, provides that:

    “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall… be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation…”

    Now, those “accusations”, supported by an Indictment by a Grand Jury, make no mention of “terrorism”.  Only those counts still remaining (absent Count 3) are the accusation. No reasonable person could conclude that additional charges can be brought during trial, or even at sentencing. Any defense offered by the Defendants can only be based upon the original charges, and not some conspiratorial chicanery by the Prosecution.

    So, why is it that the prosecution, this extensive battery of well paid government attorneys, has endeavored to intimidate defendants into pleading (plea agreement), for fear that additional time might be added to their sentences, should they waste the government’s time by going to trial and seeking justice, from a jury?

    Is it really justice when the government uses chicanery (The use of trickery to achieve a legal purpose.), “intimidation, or threat“, to entice the defendants to reject the judicial process envisioned to protect them, in favor of avoiding the wrath of the government? Those two words, “intimidation” and “threat“, are, after all, what the Defendants are charged with being in violation of.

    Now, since Count 1 describes the action, “conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from”, we know that the government perceives this as criminal in its nature. So, is that criminality universal, or is it simple a tool of government to force compliance, also referred to as tyrannical or despotic.

    So, the government prosecutors, along with perhaps the judicial branch and the Defendants appointed counsel, have “conspire[ed] to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, [those] person[s] from” exercising their right to due process of law.

    So, it appears that the government has immunity when they conspire to use intimidation and threats, the very crime that the Defendants are charged with. Now, can we possibly consider that justice grants the government the ability to do what the Constitution does not specifically authorize them to do, while punishing people, coercing confessions (plea agreements), when nobody was harmed?

    Or, has the government decided to enact laws, rules, and even policies, that deny the justice that had been established over centuries, circumventing the Constitution, in favor of giving themselves absolute control over our actions?

    4 Comments

    1. Critical Reader says:

      “The question arises, then, of just who, what person or persons, were intimidated or threatened by those that had moved in to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge?”

      Those who had moved to the refuge attempted to hold a peaceful, prayerful protest against the treatment of the Hammonds.

      It was the professional agitators who raced to the scene, who put out the “call to action” to bring armed personnel up there to threaten law enforcement, insisting they would go so far as to “escort” the FBI from the scene (presumably by compulsion). Threats were made, publicly and online, that the FBI would have military personnel crawling down their throats and up their backsides.

      The Bundy family kicked the agitators out, hoping to avoid trouble, but that did not stop the agitators from getting busy escalating the situation, eliciting a predictable response from law enforcement personnel.

      While agitators are driving the Black Lives Matter group into threatening police, the same is being done from within the patriot movement by infiltrators, rising to leadership positions, to create an excuse to crack down. And the crack-down is happening.

      The set-up is plain to see.

      There is a peaceful, non-threatening way to push back against infringement upon our rights. It is proven to work. Allowing the agitators to take leadership is not going to end well. The Bundy family apparently understood this.

    2. ghuntghunt says:

      Some definitions provided by a reader:
      LAW DICTIONARY (1856)
      ADAPTED TO THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF
      THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
      AND OF THE
      SEVERAL STATES OF THE AMERICAN UNION
      With References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law
      byJohn Bouvier

      DISCRETION, practice.
      1. When it is said that something is left to the discretion of a judge, it signifies that he ought to decide according to the rules of equity, and the nature of circumstances. Louis. Code, art. 3522, No. 13; 2 Inst. 50, 298; 4 Serg. & Rawle, 265; 3 Burr. 2539.

      2. The discretion of a judge is said to be the law of tyrants; it is always unkown; it is different in different men; it is casual, and depends upon constitution, temper, and passion. In the best, it is oftentimes caprice; in the worst, it is every vice, folly, and passion, to which human nature is liable. Optima lex quae minimum relinquit arbitrio judicis: optimus judex qui minimum sibi. Bac. Aph; 1 Day’s Cas.. 80, ii.; 1 Pow. Mortg. 247, a; 2 Supp. to Ves. Jr. 391; Toull. liv. 3, n. 338; 1 Lill. Ab. 447.

      TYRANNY, government. The violation of those laws which regulate the division
      and the exercises of the sovereign power of the state. It is a violation of
      its constitution.

      TYRANT, government. The chief magistrate of the state, whether legitimate or
      otherwise, who violates the constitution to act arbitrarily contrary to
      justice. Toull. tit. prel. n. 32.
      2. The term tyrant and usurper, are sometimes used as synonymous,
      because usurpers are almost always tyrants; usurpation is itself a
      tyrannical act, but properly speaking, the words usurper and tyrant convey
      different ideas. A king may become a tyrant, although legitimate, when he
      acts despotically; while a usurper may cease to be a tyrant by governing
      according to the dictates of justice.
      3. This term is sometimes applied to persons in authority who violate
      the laws and act arbitrarily towards others. Vide Despotism.

      Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition
      Kangaroo Court. Term descriptive of a sham legal proceeding in which a person’s rights are totally disregarded and in which the result is a foregone conclusion because of the bias of the court or other tribunal.

    3. […] explained in Terrorism Enhanced Penalties v. Due Process, they were facing what they believed to be a possible sentence of thirty years under the threat of […]

    4. […] XXIII. Terrorism Enhanced Penalties v. Due Process [8/10/16] […]

Burns Chronicles No 24 – To Plea, or, Not To Plea

Burns Chronicles No 24
To Plea, or, Not To Plea

white-flag-surrender-question

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 16, 2016

As some of those staunch defenders of our rights, in both Burns, Oregon, and Bunkerville, Nevada, decide to make a plea agreement with the prosecutors, the Internet has both armchair quarterbacks damning them and sympathetic supporters who will stand by their decision.  However, perhaps it is necessary to look a little deeper into who those people, at both the Ranch and Refuge are, and to consider their respective objectives.

We can categorize those who participated in both events by comparing them to those who stood up against the British, 240 years ago.  In so doing, there are three general categories, so that we can consider them in a contemporary context.

The first category is, for want of a better term, the politicos.  Historically, these would be those who served on local and Provincial Committees of Safety and, those who went to Philadelphia and served in the Continental Congress.  There may be others, such as newspaper editors and others who were outspoken against the British, so that we can lump them into this category, as well.

Now, in the past two years, we have, likewise, the politicos, those whose involvement is to challenge the government concerning both rights and that which should be right.  Their objective is educational as well as political, desiring to provide understanding to other citizens as well as to attempt to get the government to stay within its limits and to remain obedient to the Constitution.

The second category is those with military inclinations.  For the most part, they had prior military and leadership experience in the French and Indian wars.  Their purpose was to use military force to protect the rights of Englishmen and defend against forces thrown against them.

In the contemporary context, it would include those with military and leadership experience who have taken the task of protecting those politicos against attempts at violent suppression of their right to seek redress of grievances and to speak freely on subjects of concern to others.

These first two categories can easily be equated to the First Amendment, for the politicos, and the Second Amendment for those with military inclinations.

The third category is those who offer support, which would include those lesser military types (enlisted men) or those who provided food, blankets, firewood, and other necessities to those in the other two categories.  They were more than simply vocal supporters.  They acted to support those who were defending their rights.

In both events, we also have members of this third category, whether it was by standing guard, cooking, doing laundry, reviewing documents, or any other necessary support activities.  They served with actions, not words.

Those men of words, those politicos, were the most feared by the British government.  John Hancock and Sam Adams, for example, were exempt from the amnesty offered early on as the Revolutionary War began.  They were also secondary targets in the British march to Lexington and Concord.

Today, we see those men of words (not the armchair sort) not even being considered for plea agreements.  They are the most feared, and the government will do all that it can to silence them.  They cannot be flight risks, as they have homes, businesses, and families that tie them to an open life.  Now that the game is on, they are committed to presenting their case, even though they know that the odds are against them when the judicial branch (court) and the executive branch (prosecutors) gang up against them; suppressing communication, disrupting them in jail, and doing their best to deny communication with those who might be able to help them.  It was only after more than five months that the Court decides that the co-defendants could communicate with each other to prepare their defense.  These patriots will not plead out, as they are on the proper battlefield, even though disadvantaged, to fight their war of words and principles, and for our Constitution.

Next, we have the militarily inclined participants.  Their job was to protect the politicos.  At the Bundy Affair, many of those who had been on the Ranch remained on the Ranch to protect the Bundy family, home and property, as their assigned duty.  They did not participate in the Unrustling of April 12, 2014.  They did not abandon their mission.  They stayed at their duty station, as they should.  Others, who had only arrived on the 12th chose to defend and protect those mostly third category people who had come to demonstrate their support for the Bundy cause.

In Burns, the protection and defense were carried on throughout the possession of the Refuge.  Unfortunately, failure to plan against an ambush resulted in some of them being caught in an indefensible situation.  This resulted in the arrest of some of the people and the death of LaVoy Finicum.

It is among this group that we see some entering into plea agreements with the government.  However, taking a plea agreement doesn’t necessarily jeopardize the politicos or other military types.  The fact that they pled is not admissible in the subsequent trials.  Only if they choose to abandon any integrity will they turn state’s evidence and testify against the others.  Those, only, will become a pariah — and no longer reasonably able to consider themselves as patriots.

But, still, we have the dilemma that is the subject of this article.  By pleading, have they given up their principles and their integrity?

George Washington won against the British by doing his utmost to be able to “fight another day”.  Though a prisoner of war may be a burden on the enemy, it is worse when that fighting man is lost to the cause that they champion.  If the prisoner of war can escape, he can rejoin the battle.

As explained in Terrorism Enhanced Penalties v. Due Process, they were facing what they believed to be a possible sentence of thirty years under the threat of terrorism enhancement.  Their appointed attorneys conspired with the prosecutors and the court to intimidate them with the threat of thirty years in prison.  That would put them in their fifties, or older, and would probably preclude them from “fighting another day”.

However, by pleading out, they will be back on the streets in a few years.  At that time, they can rejoin the battle, if they so choose.

Now, they do, according to the current interpretation of the “felon in possession of a firearm” laws, give up their right to possess firearms.  However, there are two circumstances that would negate that prohibition.

First is another battle, being fought since October 2014, when Kevin “KC” Massey, acting as both a politico and in a military capacity, was charged with “felon in possession of a firearm”.  Massey was legally in possession of a firearm, under Texas Revised Statutes.  This was at odds with the federal charge brought against him at that time.  He has chosen, as a politico, to fight the battle of words.  Though he was convicted and is now in prison, he and his attorney, Phillip T. Cowen, are preparing an appeal that will challenge the federal interpretation of 18 U. S. Code § 922 (g)(1).  If he prevails, then the statute will only apply to those involved, directly, in commerce, whereby the firearm crosses state or international boundaries.  Once out of commerce, it could be lawfully possessed.

Second is rather simple and easily understood.  If we come to open conflict with the government, because of their abrogating their lawful responsibilities under, and usurping authority never granted them by the Constitution, we will all be enforcing the right to keep, bear, and use, arms.  That prohibition then becomes moot.

Now, as to the third category, there is nothing to be said.  They are free to choose to join the legal battle, or plea so that they can return to their role much sooner — should the government prevail at trial.

Now, let’s change the perspective to a more realistic and individual one.  I might be considered among the first group, the politicos.  When I was younger, I found myself holding a firearm in protecting rights, though I never found cause to use them.  I have also been encouraged to use the sword of words, the Pen, as I have been doing since Waco.

If I found myself in the circumstances that those patriots have found themselves in, I can only speculate what course I would take.  If I chose to take a chance that the courts in this country can serve justice, and I lost — facing thirty years — well, my children are grown but then I would be 100 years old when I got out (I would probably die in prison).  Of course, in prison, I would still have access to a keyboard, so I could continue to wage the battles that I now wage, though access to events would be severely limited.  However, if I could get out after only a few years, I could remain a part of the patriot community, and quite possibly continue pretty much as I have for the past few decades.

However, if I were younger, the considerations would be different from what I would face, now.  If I had young children, would I be willing to forgo helping and watching them grow?  With thirty years, I would miss the birth of my grandchildren.  When I consider what is most important to me, it is family, then country, to which I have made my commitment.  So, unless and until I find myself in that circumstance, I can honestly say that I can only guess at what choice I would make.

Now, back to those who have chosen to plea.  I don’t wear their shoes, and I am grateful for that.  I am also grateful for them, as they did what had to be done, when it had to be done.  Not many of us can say that we, too, did what had to be done, when it needed to be done.

Nor do I wear your shoes, so I will not partake in speculation as to what you would, or should, do if you found yourself in such a situation as they have.  First, most who will read this have not taken a single step in that direction.  Second, your particular circumstances, especially with your family, are an unknown to me.  I can only say that so long as you did not turn state’s evidence, I would respect your decision, as you, not I, have to live with it.

 

10 Comments

  1. Brand Thornton says:

    Excellent article Gary and agree 100%. I always enjoy your stuff and consider you a true Patriot. I hope to continue hearing from you !

  2. harold says:

    I think abandoning your family especially with young children to support your ideology is a failure of responsibility and shows selfishness. I worked at a job I hated it was dangerous and dirty and not very pleasant. I knew I had to provide and protect my children from local danger of poor neighborhoods and feed, cloth, and provide housing for them. I also had to ensure they went to good schools and maybe a collage education or a skilled craftsman whatever. They also needed my daily attention and love. I did it because jobs were scarce reagonomic moved the entire manufacturing base of mining steel mills logging sand and gravel brick yards. The farms and cattle chicken and pig farms. Not to mention the small businesses downtown in all the small towns. Because they believed in outsourcing and large corporations over small family businesses. The whole rust belt collapsed. So I worked because my family came first. Not some fantasy to be a hero and overthrow the system. You people take to many movies as truth and risk you family future and maybe abject poverty. Why? Because your self delusional illusion of grandeur when most of you guys are failures in your life so far. The founding fathers were mostly educated and wealthy and successful in their lives. You are out smarted and your dangerous actions are dooming your children to a destroyed start in life. I get it. Things are not how you would want them to be. It is your group that needs to wake up. I truly feel for the children of these foolish men and I suspect the misfortune that has them so upset at the government is because their OWN choices in life. Not Washington DC

    • ghuntghunt says:

      Harold,
      Apparently, you think that America was won from the British by those “politicos” that went to Philadelphia. You seem to forget the tens of thousands that die fighting the British, and those who wasted away o prison ships. For that matter, almost all who fought left family behind to, whether delusional or for grandeur, made the sacrifice that led to the founding of this once great nation.
      That, however, was not the end of it, it was simply the beginning. When the government, created by the Constitution, fails to abide by that which made them — regardless of the Supreme Court’s legislating from the bench, has led us on the same path that Jefferson spoke to in the Declaration of Independence.
      It appears that though you have objection to the system, (i.e. Reaganomics), but that you are content, as any good subject should be, to accept the status quo. With that in ind, if I were to observe your behavior, if it were 240 years ago, I would judge you to be, at least, a fence sitter, though more likely, a Tory.

  3. harold says:

    I am no Tory. Years of hard work and investing I am not oppressed by government. I can do anything I want to do in life. I believe in the Constitution and the government it gave us. There is coruption as there is everything. Including your movement and your church. That is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You work to better things. I see libertarians and communist as the same they believe in this perfect order and perfect society. Which is a fantasy. Even thomas Paine said government is a necessary evil because of flaws in mankind. So don’t think your ideas of government is going to be any different. What I see it would be a loose idea of thousand of regional groups with local warlords ruling your area. And as the founders found in the failures of The Article of Confederation. And I see that if you disagree with the existing government you believe it is YOUR and YOUR groups determination who will decide who and what is tyranny and you overthrow them with violent insurection. For freedom. Bull what I see is tyranny but who has bigger and more guns. Mob Rule. We have constitutnal ways of addressing problems And grievances And
    Not by your interpretation of a letter sent addressed personally to King George over their particulars of the moment. As revolution is NOT in the Constitution except as treason

  4. harold says:

    I am free as the founder required and promised

    • ghuntghunt says:

      Who controls the schools that your children go, or went to? How many licenses do you have to do what free men should be able to do, of right? Where is the requisite
      Declaration of War” by the Congress? Or, have we left the lives of so many to the hands of one man? How much of your paycheck goes directly to taxation (income, sales, etc.)? And still, the country has a debt that stretches well beyond your great-grandchildren.

      “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  5. harold says:

    George washington sent th military after citizens for refusing to pay taxes. Was one of the founder unconstitutional? Why didnt the other oppose him? Alexa Dee Hamilton led the 12000 to western pa. Much more to things than you let your readers know. I think your movement starts with a hate governmen% then cherry pick Things to support your views

    • ghuntghunt says:

      That was an Excise Tax. It was not a direct tax, and it was less than 2%, but there was no currency in circulation from which to pay the taxes, so their property was taken.
      So, I asked you, “how much of your paycheck goes directly to taxation?” You choose a rather obscure and irrelevant incident, totally without comparison to what I asked you, and you accuse me of cherry picking?
      You also failed to answer other questions that I asked. Perhaps the cherries were were too high in the tree.

  6. Sherry Briggssays:

    Very good article. I read the comments above by Herald and realized that he doesn’t know the freedoms he has lost or the Freedoms that our founding fathers talked about. The patriots thought of their children too, and experienced on a daily basis the freedoms that our founding fathers fought and died for being slowly taken away and they want better for their children. Remember. Cliven Bundy is one of the last ranchers standing out of 50 and the government wasn’t done with him yet with their strangle hold on his ranching. Harold is losing freedoms, but hasn’t experienced it on a higher scale unless it happens to him it doesn’t matter. Well alot of these patriots have gone through the “legal” channels to change things and their grievances went unanswered. Thank God that there are people who care about their neighbors and will take a stand. What happened to the Hammonds by our Federal Government should have never happened, if it happens to one American, it happens to us all.

     

Burns Chronicles No 25 – Juror Shopping & Secrecy

Burns Chronicles No 25
Juror Shopping & Secrecy

blind justice 01 rev

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 22, 2016

The government may have given the Grand Jury sufficient information to properly find “probable cause”.  It is also possible that they may have simply convinced the Grand Jury to find “probable cause” based upon explaining to them that they had given them enough information for them to indict the 26 people charged in the final (third) Grand Jury Superseding Indictment.  We will be looking at the Indictment, Case Law, the Grand Jury selection process, and the information provided to the Grand Jury.

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Now, this case is being heard in the Oregon Federal District Court.  That Court is within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court.  So, what better source to determine if the Indictment meets the standards set by that Ninth Circuit Court?

Case Law & the Indictment

To do so, let’s look at an Appellate Decision, held by the Ninth Circuit, in Cecil v United States 608 F.2d 1294 (1972).  The case had to do with some people charged with conspiracy, to wit:

“That beginning on or before July, 1975, and continuing thereafter until on or after October, 1975, in the District of Arizona and elsewhere, LEONARD SILAS JOHNSON, FELIX DAN CECIL, DONALD LEE SCHAFFER, IVA LEE THUNDERCLOUD, LYNN RICHARD JOHNSON, RANDY DARRELL THOMAS, WARREN ARTHUR HAGGARD, KENNY ROBERT JAMES, SILAS BLAINE JOHNSON, TONY JOHNSON, and LIONEL JOHNSON, named herein as defendants, did knowingly and intentionally conspire and agree together and with each other and with various other persons both known and unknown to the Grand Jury to commit offenses in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

It was the object of said conspiracy that one or more of the co-conspirators would possess with intent to distribute and would distribute quantities of marihuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).”

Now, the Burns Indictment reads similarly:

On or about November 5, 2015, and continuing through February 12, 2016, in the District of Oregon, defendants AMMON BUNDY, JON RITZHEIMER, JOSEPH O’SHAUGHNESSY, RYAN PAYNE, RYAN BUNDY, BRIAN CAVALIER, SHAWNA COX, PETER SANTILLI, JASON PATRICK, DUANE LEO EHMER, DYLAN ANDERSON, SEAN ANDERSON, DAVID LEE FRY, JEFF WAYNE BANTA, SANDRA LYNN ANDERSON, KENNETH MEDENBACH, BLAINE COOPER, WESLEY KJAR, COREY LEQUIEU, NEIL WAMPLER, JASON CHARLES BLOMGREN, DARRYL WILLIAM THORN, GEOFFREY STANEK, TRAVIS COX, ERIC LEE FLORES, and JAKE RYAN did knowingly and willfully conspire and agree together and with each other and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury to prevent by force, intimidation, and threats, officers and employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management, agencies within the United States Department of the Interior, fromdischarging the duties of their office at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and other locations in Harney County, Oregon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.

Now, back to the Cecil v. United States Appellate Decision, and the requirement for specificity.  What follows are direct quotes from the Decision, and the reasoning for dismissing the Indictment (reversing the lower court’s ruling).

The appellants all raised timely challenges to the indictment proffering motions to dismiss based upon the indictment’s insufficient factual precision.  The trial judge recognized the validity of these claims, commenting that, “this sort of indictment goes far beyond the leeway afforded by the Ninth Circuit.”  However, initially indicating that the requested bill of particulars would remedy the indictment’s defects and later deciding that the Government’s “open file” discovery did remedy these problems, the court denied appellants’ motion to dismiss.

Now, in Burns, we have seen the “open file” discovery, however, the files are not really open, especially to the public.  However, the judge did not dismiss the Indictment. Don’t be discouraged.  Returning to Cecil:

We begin our analysis stating the established rule that a bill of particulars cannot save an invalid indictment.  The very purpose of the requirement that a man be indicted by a grand jury is to limit his jeopardy to offenses charged by a group of his fellow citizens acting independently of either prosecuting attorney or judge.  If a bill of particulars were allowed to save an insufficient indictment, the role of the grand jury as intervenor would be circumvented.  Rather than the assurance that a body of fellow citizens had assessed the facts and determined that an individual should face prosecution, the prosecutor would be in a position to second guess what actually happened within the grand jury and fill in the gaps with what he assumed transpired.  The protection of a significant check on the power of the courts and prosecutors would thus be lost.

In Burns, motions had been submitted for a Bill of Particulars (a bill of particulars is a detailed, formal, written statement of charges or claims by a plaintiff or the prosecutor given upon the defendant’s formal request to the court for more detailed information), but those motions were denied.  However, if they had been granted, they would still not make up for the lack of specificity in the Indictment.

This inquiry must focus upon whether the indictment provides “the substantial safeguards” to criminal defendants that indictments are designed to guarantee.  Pursuant to this purpose, an indictment must furnish the defendant with a sufficient description of the charges against him to enable him to prepare his defense, to ensure that the defendant is prosecuted on the basis of facts presented to the grand jury, to enable him to plead jeopardy against a later prosecution, and to inform the court of the facts alleged so that it can determine the sufficiency of the charge.  To perform these functions, the indictment must set forth the elements of the offense charged and contain a statement of the facts and circumstances that will inform the accused of the specific offense with which he is charged.

The Prosecutors admitted that as of April 20, 2016, “the government has produced eleven volumes of discovery that comprise approximately 25,000 pages of documents, 58,570 files, and over 360 gigabytes of data.  The government continues to produce discovery in multiple formats including .pdf, text files, tiffs, etc.”  However, rest assured that within those voluminous records, there just might be some substantial proof that crimes were, or may have been, committed.  It seems, however, that the Court and the Prosecution have left it up to the Defendants, not the Grand Jury, to determine if there really was a crime committed. Returning to Cecil:

The present indictment is a rather barren document.  Aside from tracking the language of the pertinent statutes in setting out the elements of the offenses with which defendants were charged, the indictment makes only two specific allegations concerning the conspiracies.  It states that the conspiracies occurred in Arizona, Mexico, and elsewhere and offers the names of some of the alleged co-conspirators.  The indictment fails to state any other facts or circumstances pertaining to the conspiracy or any overt acts done in furtherance thereof.  More importantly, the indictment fails to place the conspiracies within any time frame.  The language “beginning on or before July, 1975, and continuing thereafter until on or after October, 1975,” is open-ended in both directions.

The Indictment in Burns is equally a barren document.  It is equally void of definitive dates, using the generality of a range, as in Cecil.

For example, when, how, and who, should be applied to the broad statement from the Burns Indictment,

to prevent by force, intimidation, and threats, officers and employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management, agencies within the United States Department of the Interior, from discharging the duties of their office at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and other locations in Harney County, Oregon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.

When, and upon whom, did they use force?  When, and upon whom, did they use intimidation?  When, and upon whom, did they use threats?

If I kill someone, they have to, at least, say who I killed.  If I rob a bank, they would have to say which bank I robbed, and what I robbed the bank of.  There is nothing in the Indictment that provides any particular situation upon which the defendants can build a defense.  It is nothing more than a thought crime, and the thoughts are solely within the minds of the Prosecutors.  And, they have implanted that thought into the minds of the Grand Jurors, without sufficient substance to meet the requirements of the Ninth Circuit Court.

So, here is what the Ninth Circuit said:

In view of these deficiencies, we find that the indictment fails to allege sufficient facts to facilitate the proper preparation of a defense and to ensure that the defendants were prosecuted on facts presented to the Grand Jury.  This indictment clearly lacked a statement of the facts and circumstances that would inform the accused of the specific offenses with which they were charged.

To allow a prosecutor or court to make a subsequent guess as to what was in the minds of the grand jury at the time they returned the indictment would deprive the defendant of a basic protection that the grand jury was designed to secure, because a defendant could then be convicted on the basis of facts not found by, and perhaps not even presented to, the grand jury that indicted him…  The glaring lack of factual particularity of this indictment thus runs afoul of two key functions of indictments.

Similarly, the fact that an indictment may have tracked the language of the statute will not render it valid if it fails to allege an essential element of the offense or the minimum facts required to fulfill the purposes of indictments.

The requirement that an indictment contain a few basic factual allegations accords defendants adequate notice of the charges against them and assures them that their prosecution will proceed on the basis of facts presented to the grand jury.  Such a requirement is neither burdensome nor unfair to the prosecuting authorities.

The Grand Jury Jurors

Now, a number of efforts have been made, by filing motions, for some of the Defendants to review both the Grand Jury Selection Process (Jury Wheel), and the transcript of the Grand Jury deliberation.  The transcripts would the evidence and testimony submitted to the Grand Jury, to determine if the deficiencies, as outlined in Cecil, exist.  Those motions have been denied.

It is a rather long and interesting chain of events that led to the pursuit of the Grand Jury information, and is worthy of note.  Strangely enough, it begins in a prison in Texas where Kevin “KC” Massey is currently incarcerated.  I had been keeping Kevin up to date on the Burns story, via telephone and mailing copies of my articles.  Kevin, having plenty of spare time, ran across a book of motions by the renowned F. Lee Bailey.  In so doing, he ran into challenges to the Grand Jury.  He gave me the citations, which I passed on to Roger Roots.  Roger, then in touch with Ryan Bundy, prepared a motion (481) that was filed, pro se.  And, that is how this wonderful ball began rolling, hopefully, right over the Grand Jury, the Indictment, the Prosecutor, and the judge.

Then on May 11, 2016, Teresa D. Glover, Jury Administrator for the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon filed a Declaration (doc 538), which doesn’t satisfy the legal requirements as set forth in Ryan Bundy’s motion (481).  So, let’s look at that “Declaration” (that also includes the “Juror Management Plan” – JMP) and see if the intent was to provide an impartial jury, as required by the Sixth Amendment.  [Note: “538-nn” is reference to the PDF page number in the 28-page Declaration document.]

Now, we need to look at the Jury Management Plan (JMP) to see what is required, and maybe a bit of confusion.

Section 1.04 Policy  (538-8)
It is the policy of the Court that all litigants in this Court, entitled to trial by jury, shall have the right to grand and petit juries selected at random from a fair cross section of the community in the district or division wherein the Court convenes

Now, how do we provide “a fair cross section” unless the jury is selected from, primarily, from the division, not from the district?  Especially when you consider how diverse the two divisions are.

Then, we have:

Section 1.11  (b) Systematic Randomized Process:  (538-12)
… Such random selections of names from the source lists for inclusion in the master wheels by data computer personnel must ensure that each county within the jury division is substantially proportionally represented in the master jury wheel

Well, the way it reads, and this is where confusion might come into play, then the whole of the state, any Grand Jury, is at the mercy of those in Portland, as the population requires that each county is proportionally represented.  So, we have to question the whole concept of impartial jury, since there is, without a doubt, much partiality in Portland, and there is no chance that the other divisions would ever hold even a token chance of having any impact on any Grand or Petit Jury decision.  Especially considering that they would have to travel all the way from their remote region to the big city of Portland.

Now, if we desire to determine what the United States Codes says about where trials shall be held, we find a rather circular reference. First we find the statute, with reference to “district and division”, which refers us to the Rule that says “district”. Now, it would seem that divisions would be superfluous, if the intent was the district. So, it is probably safe, and more in line with what was just discussed, to presume that the statute is a higher level of law than a rule, therefore, division prevails.

18 U.S.C. § 3232 : US Code – Section 3232: District of offense – (Rule)
SEE FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Proceedings to be in district and division in which offense committed, Rule 18.

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 18:. Place of Prosecution and Trial
Unless a statute or these rules permit otherwise, the government must prosecute an offense in a district where the offense was committed. The court must set the place of trial within the district with due regard for the convenience of the defendant, any victim, and the witnesses, and the prompt administration of justice.

The Statue says “proceedings”, while the Rule says “must prosecute”. If prosecution includes the Grand Jury, which is, in essence, the beginning of the prosecution of the case, is it the District, as stated in the Rule, or is it the “district and division,” as stated in the statute?

Let’s look at the various Grand Juries that have met to deal with the charges in this case.  The first Grand Jury was convened, though the date is not given (538-3), and had this case presented to them on February 3, 2016.  The makeup of the jury as described in Jury Administrator for the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon filed a Declaration :GJ01

  1. On February 3, 2016, the United States presented its case for the indictment… (538-3)
  2. Twenty-one grand jurors from Grand Jury 15-01 were in attendance on February 3, 2016. Members of Grand Jury 15-01 in attendance from the Portland Juror Management Division included six jurors from Clackamas County; nine jurors from Multnomah County; four jurors from Washington County; and one juror from Yamhill County. Members of Grand Jury 15-01 in attendance from the Pendleton Juror Management Division included one juror from Umatilla County. 

 

 

 

 

 

The second Grand Jury:GJ02

  1. On February 10, 2016, the United States presented its case for the indictment… (538-4)
  2. Twenty grand jurors from Grand Jury 15-02 were in attendance on February l 0, 2016. Members of Grand Jury 15-02 in attendance from the Portland Juror Management Division included two jurors from Clackamas County; seven jurors from Multnomah County; six jurors from Washington County; one juror from Columbia County; one juror from Polk County; and one juror from Jefferson County. Members of Grand Jury 15-02 in attendance from the Pendleton Juror Management Division included two jurors from Umatilla County.

 

 

 

 

 

The Third Grand Jury:

  1. On March 8, 2016, the United States presented its case for the superseding indictment (538-5)GJ03
  2. Twenty-three grand jurors from Grand Jury 15-01 were in attendance on March 8, 2016. Members of Grand Jury 15-01 in attendance from the Portland Juror Management Division included six jurors from Clackamas County; nine jurors from Multnomah County; four jurors from Washington County; one juror from Yamhill County, one juror from Polk County, and one juror from Clatsop County. Members of Grand Jury 15-01 in attendance from the Pendleton Juror Management Division included one juror from Umatilla County.

Now, it appears that all but one of the jurors were from what might be described as the Greater Portland Area.  The counties where most of the jurors came from are on the west side of the Cascades Mountains.  These are primarily city folks, who thinks that only police and actors can have guns, living in Portland or the numerous bedroom communities.

Grand Jury Transcripts

One of the other motions sent by Massey had to do with Grand Jury deliberations, the transcripts, the testimony, and the evidence that was submitted to the Grand Jury.  Now, Grand Juries have always been guarded, since their purpose is only to determine probable cause, the possibility that a crime has been committed.  And, since they don’t convict, they are not included in the realm of a public trial.

However, what if the public has cause to believe that false evidence was presented to the Grand Jury, simply to get an Indictment — to serve the government and harass the accused?  What if the government had exculpatory evidence, evidence that would raise a question as to whether the alleged crime was actually committed, or not?

At some point, the determination of whether the ends of justice were being served by the Grand Jury, or if the Grand Jury was being used for political, unjust, or nefarious purposes, might warrant scrutiny.  Absent such a remedy, we leave to the government the ability to target individuals for political purposes, and even if a conviction was not obtained in trial, the damage to the accused is immeasurable.  It is destructive of family, work, and the mental state of those who are held in confinement, under false pretexts, and can even be destructive of one’s right to participate in his own defense against the charges.

When the information provided to the Grand Jury raises such question as to both evidentiary and motivation, justice would require that there be scrutiny in the process that resulted in the Grand Jury Indictment.

So, let’s look at what we do know.  This is not speculative, it is factual, and it raises just such concern as to the possibility of impropriety in the presentation to the three Grand Juries, stacked with partial jurors, as described above.

First, let’s look at an outright lie that was presented to the Grand Jury.  Now, it does not suggest that everything that was presented to the Grand Jury was also a lie, though absent knowing just what was presented to them (the transcripts, etc.), at least the suggestion of impropriety, and the justification for an open review of those elements, is surely in order.

This goes to the sworn statement in the “Redacted Criminal Complaint“.  The Complaint, and resulting Search Warrants, were issued after the arrests were made and LaVoy Finicum was shot dead on the side of Highway 395.  The Complaint was, undoubtedly, presented to the Grand Jury, as it was the initiating instrument for all that subsequently transpired.

Now, what is going to be presented was first discussed in “Jon Ritzheimer and the Grand Jury“, though at the time, one piece supportive of the veracity of that article had not yet been submitted.  However, a brief background of the event in question will be discussed, here, and the evidence in support can be found in the above linked article.

Jon Ritzheimer was in Phoenix, Arizona, on the morning in question.  The government, in the Complaint, stated:

14. On December 18, 2015, a citizen (hereafter Citizen) of Harney County was shopping at the Safeway grocery store in Burns, Oregon. Citizenwas wearing a BLM shirt. Citizen was confronted by two men, one whom she identified as RITZHEIMERCitizen reported to law enforcement that she heard yelling, and when she turned around, the second individual shouted “you’re BLM, you’re BLM” at her. That person further stated to Citizen that they know what car she drives and would follow her home. He also stated he was going to burn Citizen’s house down. RITZHEIMERand the second individual left the area in a black pick-up truck with black canopy and no visible license plate. Since the incident, Citizen has observed a similar vehicle outside her residenceCitizen was unable to identify the driver of the vehicle when she later saw it. The following week, a second vehicle, described as a white truck with a pink license plate and a big rebel flag sticker on the back window, aggressively tailgated Citizen, flashing lights and driving erratically. Citizen believed the second incident was related to the first. Citizen also saw the black pick-up truck outside of her place of employment early in the morning hours of Christmas Day.

Jon had some work done on his truck and then went to Idaho, not Oregon.  From there he went to Washington, then, on December 20, 2016, arrived in Hines (adjacent to Burns), Oregon.

The FBI, the very same people that found pieces of a radio bomb and then managed to determine who the people were that built the bomb, could not figure out, with all of their taxpayer funded resources, where Jon Ritzheimer was on December 20.  So they lied and presented hearsay evidence, the identification of a “citizen”, in an attempt to secure the Indictment.

Now, what was not in the original article, though came out in a subsequent “GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT RITZHEIMER’S SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION AND MEMORANDUM FOR PRETRIAL RELEASE“, is in a footnote on page 10. It states:

Defendant presents his itinerary as an alibi for allegations that he confronted a citizen in Burns, Oregon, on December 18, 2015. At this point, it is not clear if the citizen falsely identified defendant or if the date of the incident was not accurately reported.

Now, the FBI has accessed Facebook pages, Dropbox accounts, phone records, and other records easily acquired by them, including surveillance footage.  Could they not access the Safeway security camera footage to ascertain whether it really was Ritzheimer, or not?  Now, going a bit further, isn’t their statement in the footnote, “it is not clear if the citizen falsely identified defendant or if the date of the incident was not accurately reported“, an admission that what was presented to the Grand Jury, couching this in ambiguous terms, a very questionable statement as to a fact?  So, let’s call it what it is, considering the resources and reputation of the FBI, it is a damned lie propagated to encourage the Grand Jury to Indict the Defendants.  So, this leaves us the question as to whether there were more, or perhaps, many more, lies presented to the Grand Jury to secure an Indictment.

What is our government doing?  Only access to those Grand Jury records can answer that question — and, we, the people, have every right to know just what our government is doing both for us, and to us.

Now let’s enter the realm of exculpatory evidence.  This is evidence that would raise the question as to whether there was probable cause”, or whether information suggests the contrary.

In an Oregonian article, published January 11, updated February 22, we find a very detailed account of the events preceding the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  One of those accounts, found on page 5 of the article, states:

On Dec. 30 — three days before the Jan. 2 rally — federal employees were nearing the end of their work day at the wildlife refuge when management told them to go home early.

And for their safety, their boss said, they weren’t to return to the refuge until instructed.

“That was based on the culmination of our intel,” said Fish & Wildlife spokesman Holm, “and the start of the holiday weekend.”

Holm wouldn’t elaborate on details of the “intel.”

Now, wait just a minute.  The Indictment says, in Count 1, that the Defendants,

did knowingly and willfully conspire and agree together and with each other and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury to prevent by force, intimidation, and threats, officers and employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management, agencies within the United States Department of the Interior, from discharging the duties of their office at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and other locations in Harney County, Oregon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.

Can you rob a bank, if it is not there?  Can you murder someone, if you can’t find them?  It appears, by the information in the Oregon Live article that “management” told them to go home, and not to return until told to.

Now, is this exculpatory?  Would it raise doubt as to whether it was the Defendants that kept the government “employees… from discharging the duties“?  Shouldn’t the Grand Jury be apprised, by the government, of facts such as this?

Now, I hate to be a spoilsport, but I think that there is one more element regarding what the government told the Grand Jury, and what the facts are.  Now, some will say that it is insignificant, but if laws are to have meaning, they must be written.  When they are written, it is the very words in which they are written that is the law.  How could it be otherwise?  If laws are a rule of action, or a prohibition of action, then they should be clearly understood.

So, let’s look at the exact wording of the Statute cited in Count 1, above.

18 U.S.C. § 372 : US Code – Section 372: Conspiracy to impede or injure officer

If two or more persons in any State, Territory, Possession, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.

Now, the Statute has a couple of elements, not just one.  The first is by the use of force, intimidation, or threat, keeping “any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof“.  This would be an act of preventing them for taking their office, or performing their duties.  But, it requires “the use of force, intimidation, or threat“.  So, did the Grand Jury consider whether these elements were met — to the letter of the law?  It would seem that if they did, they would know which person was denied the abilities mentioned, who did it, and how they did it.  Those elements have not been met.

The second element reads, “or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties.”  Now, according to the Oregonian article, the “management”, who probably had authority to give employees time off, with pay, at our expense, are the only ones that could possibly be guilty of this element.

So, what would happen if the wording were from the law, rather than something that was probably presented to the Grand Jury as if it were the law?  Would the jurors have a different perspective on what really happened and whether there was probable cause to indict the Defendants?

The only way that we can know just how the government operates — something that we have every right to know — is to be able to judge their actions, especially in a situation such as the one the 26 defendants have found themselves.  That can only be accomplished if we, the public, have the legal remedy to review those actions.  And, I speak not only for the due process rights of the Defendants, I also speak for every American who understands that we are self-governed, and not subjects, subject to the whim of those who imagine themselves as having absolute power.

 

4 Comments

  1. Brand Thornton says:

    Very informative and encouraging, thanks for the article. As usual you are right on top of things !

  2. Kerry Easton says:

    I’m sure that they “MISS”represented many things in this case. I have followed this and have not seen anything that makes me feel that the Goobermant has done anything correct. Thank you for this information.

  3. I feel bad for those that are taking a plea deal, especially after reading your article. Thank you

    • ghuntghuntsays:

      If the Jury Challenge is successful (A Notice of Appeal was filed with the Clerk this morning – more about that in a future article), it might raise the question of the validity of a plea agreement to what had been determined to have been unlawfully brought. Suppose they found that the bank had not been robbed, after you pled to robbing it?
      I don’t know the answer, though I trust that we may soon find out.

       

      Burns Chronicles No 26 – Firearms (Not) Allowed

      Burns Chronicles No 26
      Firearms Not Allowed

      mouse trap

      Gary Hunt
      Outpost of Freedom
      August 29, 2016

      What happens when one law says that you can and the other law says that you can’t? Well, let’s enter the world of Perplexity and see what we can find.

      To begin, we have to look at Count II of the Superseding Indictment. In the Indictment, it reads like this:

      (Possession of Firearms and Dangerous Weapons in Federal Facilities)

      (18 U.S.C. §§ 930(b) and 2)

      On or about January 2, 2016, and continuing through February 12, 2016, in the District of Oregon, defendants [lists names of Defendants], and aided and abetted by each other and by others known and unknown to the grand jury, did knowingly possess or cause to be present a firearm ordangerous weapon in a federal facility located at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and counseled, commanded, induced and procured the commission thereof, with the intent that the firearm or dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, to wit: 18 U.S.C. § 372, Conspiracy to Impede Officers of the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 930(b) and 2.

      So, let’s put that into English, in simple terms, “On or about January 2, 2016, and continuing through February 12, 2016 [The Defendants] did knowingly possess or cause to be present a firearm or dangerous weapon in a federal facility located at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge… with the intent that the firearm or dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, to wit: 18 U.S.C. § 372.

      The first cited statute, 18 US Code §930(b) reads:

      (b) Whoever, with intent that a firearm or other dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, knowingly possesses or causes to be present such firearm or dangerous weapon in a Federal facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

      Did those who occupied the Refuge “intend” to shoot anybody; use firearms to force people to leave their duties (18 US Code §372); or, have any other intent than to protect themselves? They had no intention of robbing the place, they had no intention of damaging the facility (instead, they improved it), and, there was no one present for them to impede. This was discussed in a previous article, “Burns Chronicles No 14 – Which Came First, the Rooster or the Egg?“. From all appearances, and absent any evidence to the contrary, their purpose in having firearms was solely one of self-defense (But more on that, later.).  Civil Disobedience, and even Civil Defiance (See Resistance Has Begun), might put one at risk, but then that person has every right to defend himself against an overzealous attack by an overarching government. Absent a lawful warrant: not even the government is justified in shooting someone except in self-defense.

      .

      After all, we have about 41 days in which the government claims that something was done, though we are not sure what was done. But, before we get into what was, or was not, done, let’s look at the location, “in a federal facility”.

      Then, let’s look at what 18 U.S.C. §§ 930(b) and 2 says. Now, understand that US Code is structured in an outline format, such as:

      (a, b, c)       (1, 2, 3)       (A, B, C)     (i, ii, iii)

      There has to be a lower case letter before any subsequent subparagraph. As written, the “(2)” would be subordinate to the “(a)”. However, “930 (a)” has no subordinate. It is followed by “(b)”. Now, I don’t want to say that the US Attorneys are stupid, so I won’t. But, how can someone know what they are charged with when the citation doesn’t make sense?

      Now, (b), (c), (f), and (h), have no subordinates (See bottom of the article), but (d) does, in fact, it has a (2), but those are exclusions (does not apply to-).  Then, (e) is rather circular, but (e)(2) is exceptions to (e)(1).

      However, (g) has a (2), which may be what just might have been intended, if the US Attorneys knew what they were doing. It says, “(g) As used in this section… The term “dangerous weapon” means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.” Gee, did they mean “(g)”, and just forgot to say it?

      Perhaps they wanted to, but did so rather poorly, to assure that the “or other dangerous weapon” was properly defined.

      So, now that we have had to assume (You know what that is) what the (2) might have meant, we can go on to the primary element of the charge, which reads:

      (a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

      Well, wait just a minute. It says that “whoever knowingly possess… in a federal facility”, but exempts, “as provided in subsection (d)”. So, let’s look at the pertinent portion of subsection (d):

      (d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—

      (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

      Oh, I see. If I take a firearm or other dangerous weapon into a federal facility, so long as it is “incident to hunting or other lawful purposes”, then it is okay.

      So, now that we think that we understand the law, after playing legal hopscotch, we can begin to look at what might be lawful, and what might not be lawful. To do so, we have to understand that those at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) are probably more qualified to make that determination than some FBI geek in Portland. In fact, under the aMalheur weapons noticeuthority of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, MNWR published a brochure that is made available at the Refuge and other locations in the area. Now, here is what it says about firearms (not to mention “other dangerous weapons”, which it does not).

      I can’t say much for the grammar, but we are concerned with intent. It says nothing about any federal regulations; it simply refers to “State regulations“. So, let’s look at what “State regulations” have to say about firearms.

      To understand the Oregon statutes, we need to know the foundation. And, what better place to start than with the Preamble to that Constitution:

      PREAMBLE

      We the people of the State of Oregon to the end that Justice be established, order maintained, and liberty perpetuated, do ordain this Constitution. —

      I do like that wording. “Liberty perpetuated” has a very nice ring to it. Now, onto the Bill of Rights, specifically, the right to bear arms:

      Article I – Bill of Rights

      Section 27. Right to bear arms; military subordinate to civil power.
      The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power.

      It says that the people “have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves, and the State“. No problem, as with the Second Amendment, in a question of a distinction between militia and people. The right to self-defense and defense of the State is unquestionable.

      So, now we go to the Statutes, particularly Chapter 166, but with the understanding that nothing need be granted, since the Constitution does that. Instead, we find only limitations. Though the Statutes address Concealed Carry, there is no reason to venture into that realm, as there is no mention of concealed, only possession, in the Indictment.

      Chapter 166.170 State preemption. (1) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, the authority to regulate in any matter whatsoever the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition, is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly.

      (2) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city or other municipal corporation or district may enact civil or criminal ordinances, including but not limited to zoning ordinances, to regulate, restrict or prohibit the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition. Ordinances that are contrary to this subsection are void

      Simplifying (2), we see clearly that “no county, city or other municipal corporation or district may enact civil or criminal ordinances, restrict or prohibit the possession of firearms… Ordinances that are contrary to this subsection are void.” This is consistent with Section 27 of the Oregon Bill of Rights. Now, the statute does grant some specific authorities, such as in,

            166.173 Authority of city or county to regulate possession of loaded firearms in public places. (1) A city or county may adopt ordinances to regulate, restrict or prohibit the possession of loaded firearms in public places as defined in ORS 161.015.

      Note that what is allowed to be regulated is a loaded firearm, though Harney County has no such ordinance.

            166.190 Pointing firearm at another; courts having jurisdiction over offense. Any person over the age of 12 years who, with or without malice, purposely points or aims any loaded or empty pistol, gun, revolver or other firearm, at or toward any other person within range of the firearm, except in self-defense, shall be fined upon conviction in any sum not less than $10 nor more than $500, or be imprisoned in the county jail not less than 10 days nor more than six months, or both.

      This, then, would be what amounts to no more than brandishing. You may not, without penalty, point a firearm at someone, “except in self-defense“. Now, that is the very reason that those who occupied the Refuge and set up means of assuring that they could, if necessary, respond, but only in self-defense.

            166.220 Unlawful use of weapon. (1) A person commits the crime of unlawful use of a weapon if the person:

      (a) Attempts to use unlawfully against another, or carries or possesses with intent to use unlawfully against another, any dangerous or deadly weapon as defined in ORS 161.015; or

      (b) Intentionally discharges a firearm, blowgun, bow and arrow, crossbow or explosive device within the city limits of any city or within residential areas within urban growth boundaries at or in the direction of any person, building, structure or vehicle within the range of the weapon without having legal authority for such discharge.

      (2) This section does not apply to:

      (a) Police officers or military personnel in the lawful performance of their official duties;

      (b) Persons lawfully defending life or property as provided in ORS 161.219;

      Here, we see exception for “Persons lawfully defending life or property“. Once again, we see lawful authority to possess the weapons, as was the intention of the people that occupied, peacefully, the Refuge.

      So, let’s recap what we have learned.

      The federal government, in 18 US Code §930, says that firearms were in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and were intended to be used in a crime, though no crime was committed, and the government is relying on their belief of the intentions of those who intended only to defend their lives. All of the acceptable under Oregon Revised Statutes, which the government deferred to in their brochure. Now, if the government didn’t mean what they said in the brochure, then it is nothing more than a trap in which to ensnare people, if the government really wants to ensnare someone. But, if that is the case, then the dishonesty of the government is far more egregious than the actions of people that occupied the Refuge (I would suggest “Three Felonies a Day“, by Harvey Silverglate).

      I know that the federal government believes that federal law trumps state law. This doesn’t account for the fact that often state law is contrary to federal law (See Camp Lone Star – Massey & The Clash of Laws), but states continue to pass such laws, as it is not contrary to the Constitution. So, if the federal government specifically acquiesces to state law, can they come back, later, and decide that it was okay for them to lie to people?

      To me, having covered the misdeeds of government for over two decades, I am not surprised that they have done so. It is wrong for them to assert an undue and unconstitutional authority over both the people and the states. And, as more and more people realize this, the more likely we will see a positive change.

      2 Comments

      1. […] firing on the Refuge, even though the Refuge allows hunting and has no restriction on firearms (See Burns Chronicles No 26 – Firearms Not Allowed).  It was just a day later that “John Killman (See Burns Chronicles No 42 – Fabio […]

Burns Chronicles No 27 – Public Lands – Part 1 – It’s a Matter of Jurisdiction

Burns Chronicles No 27
Public Lands – Part 1
It’s a Matter of Jurisdiction

caution-yellow-tape

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
September 13, 2016

Thomas Jefferson had proposed an ordinance to deal with the lands won along with independence from Britain in 1784, and not belonging to any State, any lands that might be relinquished when considered to have been granted by Royal Charter.  The Continental Congress ratified the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 on July 13, 1787.  The First Congress under the newly ratified Constitution, which met from March 4, 1789, to March 4, 1791, then reaffirmed that same ordinance.  This slightly revised version reaffirmed on July 13, 1789, and is known as the Northwest Ordinance of 1789.

The Fourth Article, unchanged in the two versions, reads, in part:

Article the Fourth.  The said territory, and the States which may be formed therein, shall forever remain a part of this Confederacy of the United States of America…  The legislatures of those districts or new States, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States in Congress assembled, nor with any regulations Congress may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers.  No tax shall be imposed on lands the property of the United States; and, in no case, shall nonresident proprietors be taxed higher than residents.

Note that “primary disposal” seems to be the objective of holding the land.  That disposal would serve two very significant purposes in the creation of a nation that would grow from those first thirteen states.  First, it would raise revenue for the payment of the debt incurred because of the War of Independence, and it continued to provide revenue for the fledgling nation.

Second, it would provide land for people to populate the barren regions, first, across the Allegheny Mountains, then on to the Mississippi River, next to the Rocky Mountains, and finally to the Pacific Ocean.  With each of these principal movements, as those people moved westward, the resources of the most resource rich country in the world would develop into the greatest nation in the world.

.

With the ratification of the Constitution, we have two provisions that deal with land owned by the United States.  First is Article I, § 8, clause 17, which we have heard much of recently.  It read:

The Congress shall have the Power…  [t]o exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.

Now, a question arises as to the “needful Buildings” portion, which will be addressed later.

Next, we have Article IV, § 3, clause 2, which reads:

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Clearly, as we can see from the historical record, Congress can own land, which has been referred to as “public lands”, from records predating the Constitution, reaffirmed by the first Congress, and embodied in the Constitution, itself.

The next question is whether Congress had any prior ownership of the lands in question.  Here, we have three possibilities.  First, the lands acquired by the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Britain gave up her claims to the lands east of the Ohio River (the Northwest Territories), and other lands ceded by Virginia (believing that she owned land to the Pacific Ocean), and other adjustments to final boundaries of the colonies.  These lands by treaty would also include lands acquired by a subsequent treaty with Britain, dealing primarily with Oregon and Washington.  Next, we have lands acquired by conquest and subsequent treaty.  This would include the Hidalgo Treaty, after the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), and subsequent treaties relinquishing Mexico’s claims to lands otherwise not in conflict and establishing our southern border.  Third, we have the lands acquired by purchase.  Primarily, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.  So, by conquest, by treaty, and by purchase, the government owned vast amounts of land.

In all of these instances, the land acquired could not go to a State recognized by the Congress, as the Northwest Ordinance defined the procedure by which a territory could become a State.  Therefore, the only viable conclusion is that these lands would fall under the Article IV.  § 3, clause 2 provision of “all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States”.  This would apply until the land was “disposed of”, which provision is included in the Northwest Ordinance (Fourth Article).

Finally, we come to the Admission of Oregon, as a State of the Union.  Congress approved the Oregon Admission Acts on February 14, 1859.  There were some propositions in the Acts, and the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon approved those propositions on June 3, 1859.  The significant article in the Acts is the fourth.  It deals with land, and reads, in part:

First, That sections numbered sixteen and thirty-six in every township of public lands in said State, and where either of said sections, or any part thereof, has been sold or otherwise been disposed of, other lands equivalent thereto, and as contiguous as may be, shall be granted to said State for the use of schools.  Second, That seventy-two sections of land shall be set apart and reserved for the use and support of a State university, to be selected by the governor of said State, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of the General Land-Office, and to be appropriated and applied in such manner as the legislature of said State may prescribe for the purpose aforesaid, but for no other purpose.  Third, That ten entire sections of land, to be selected by the governor of said State, in legal subdivisions, shall be granted to said State for the purpose of completing the public buildings, or for the erection of others at the seat of government, under the direction of the legislature thereof.  Fourth, That all salt springs within said State, not exceeding twelve in number, with six sections of land adjoining, or as contiguous as may be to each, shall be granted to said State for its use, the same to be selected by the governor thereof within one year after the admission of said State, and when so selected, to be used or disposed of on such terms, conditions, and regulations as the legislature shall direct: Provided, That no salt spring or land, the right whereof is now vested in any individual or individuals, or which may be hereafter confirmed or adjudged to any individual or individuals, shall by this article be granted to said State. Fifth, That five per centum of the net proceeds of sales of all public lands lying within said State which shall be sold by Congress after the admission of said State into the Union, after deducting all the expenses incident to the same, shall be paid to said State, for the purpose of making public roads and internal improvements, as the legislature shall direct: Provided, That the foregoing propositions, hereinbefore offered, are on the condition that the people of Oregon shall provide by an ordinance, irrevocable without the consent of the United States, that said State shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil within the same by the United States, or with any regulations Congress may find necessary for securing the title in said soil to bona fide purchasers thereof; and that in no case shall non-resident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. Sixth, And that the said State shall never tax the lands or the property of the United States in said State: Provided, however, That in case any of the lands herein granted to the State of Oregon have heretofore been confirmed to the Territory of Oregon for the purposes specified in this act, the amount so confirmed shall be deducted from the quantity specified in this act.

So, once again, we see the phrase “primary disposal”.  This “disposal”, from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 to the admission of Oregon in 1859, makes clear that the “public lands” were to be disposed of.  It makes no mention of acquisition of lands, except indirectly in Article I, § 8, clause 17, and it appears that there were only certain purposes for which the land could be acquired, and each is to sustain constructions serving to provide for the required obligations of the government; “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings”.  Though the ambiguity of what needful may have been intended to refer to, the noun, “Buildings”, is without question.  All of the itemized objects require construction, and, consequently, the provision is to allow government facilities to be established to serve the needs of the government, not of birds, tortoises, or other critters that the Bible says are put on this Earth for our use.

We also see that a portion of the “proceeds” of the sale of the public would go to the State to provide “for the purpose of making public roads and internal improvement.”  Those improvements would provide both roads and canals for water, both to help with the development of the State.  This would satisfy the intended purpose of creating growth of the State and the Nation.

Understand that each state, within its constitution, may have reserved that state certain rights with regards to land, as explained in the Oregon Admission Acts, but the federal government has no such constitutional authority.

In 1825, just 46 years after the formation of the current government, Congress, in order to have the lawful authority to charge people with the destruction of government property, enacted the “Act of 1825”.  The Act sets the requirement for extending jurisdiction created under Article I, § 8, clause 17:

An Act more effectually to provide for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and for other purposes.  (March 3, 1825)

“That if any person or persons, within any fort, dock-yard, navy-yard, arsenal, armory, or magazine, the site whereof is ceded to, and under the jurisdiction of the United States, or on a site of any lighthouse, or other needful building belonging to the United States, the sight whereof is ceded to them [United States], and under their jurisdiction, as aforesaid, shall, willfully…”

Now, this Act brings to light what was intended, with regard to federal jurisdiction, outside of Washington, D.C.  If that land has been disposed of, it has left the realm of “needful Rules and Regulations”, and entered into the jurisdiction of the State in which the land lies.  It is, forever, outside of federal jurisdiction — UNLESS it is brought back into federal jurisdiction in accordance with the intent of Article I, § 8, clause 17.  Now, the application of that intent is clearly laid out in the Act of 1825.  That “under their jurisdiction” refers to the State ceding to the federal government either limited or complete jurisdiction.  Simply because the government bought the land does not create “jurisdiction”, or the provision would be without meaning.

A “Chain of Title” was secured for the property upon which the buildings sit at the Refuge.  Based upon that document, an analysis of the documentationprovided resulted in determining that, in fact, certain land that had left government ownership, and were subsequently deeded back to the United States of America, though no proof of ceding was shown in the Chain of Title.

r-hcrc-compositel-hcrc-tax-map-to-usa

 

 

The government ownership is contained within the red lined area on the left map.  The Refuge Buildings can be seen above the words “Sodhouse Lane” on the right map

This coincided with the government production of Proof of Ownership in their “Motion for Judicial Notice“.  The results, as far as ownership by the United States of America are identical.  And, as in the Chain of Title, there is no indication that there was any ceding of land or jurisdiction, back to the United States, in either record.  This being the land where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters are situated, and the location of the alleged crimes by the defendants.

However, that ownership carries no jurisdictional authority.  That remains with the State, unless the government has had that jurisdiction ceded to them, and away from the State, either fully or partially.  And lawfully, the federal government has no more authority than you would, if you owned the land.  If there was an alleged criminal act, you would have to file a complaint with Harney County, and it would be dealt with under state law.

Then, yesterday, September 12, Shawna Cox filed her response, in which she also sought judicial notice that Oregon never ceded the land or the jurisdiction back to the federal government.  Now, this creates a bit of a dilemma in that if the Court takes judicial notice of the ownership, absent proof to the contrary, it must also take notice of the absence of federal jurisdiction.  This will significantly change the playing field.

 

6 Comments

  1. […] For additional commentary on this issue, Bundy supporter and activist Gary Hunt has written a though… […]

  2. Speak2Truth says:

    Very nicely explained. This matter of Federal obligation to “dispose of” the land when a State is created from it has been discussed and contested greatly. Yet, the Constitution seems clear on the point that the Federal Government cannot maintain control (jurisdiction) over any lands within a State that are not ceded back to the Federal Government for the explicit purposes stated.

    If the court recognizes this argument, I would expect it may go all the way to the Supreme Court, which has been stacked with Statist ideologues. The loss of Scalia indicates to me that the argument would go in favor of the Federal Government keeping control over the land, not because of the Constitution but because of the leanings of the justices who will decide the matter.

    And that would be yet another dagger in the Constitution.

    • ghuntghunt says:

      It will first go to the Ninth Circuit, which decided a case, United States v Otley et al, 127 F2d 988 (1942),which addressed jurisdiction. Otley will be addressed in Part 2 of Public Lands.
      As far as the Supreme Court, it could take a couple of years to get there. Scalia, and probably Ginsberg, will have been replaced by then. Hopefully, the bitch will not pick those replacements.
      However, if she is elected, I do fear for my country and what may happen in the next year or two.

      • Speak2Truth says:

        Well said.

        In a sane world, it would not be possible for her to be elected by Americans. But then, it’s not Americans who are voting for her. It’s folks who don’t really identify as Americans, folks who have an affinity for the destruction of this nation.

        I have a lot to say about what I’ve seen and what I know but your blog is probably not the right venue. We’re in for some interesting times.

  3. […] a previous article, “It’s a Matter of Jurisdiction“, we looked at the constitutional aspect of jurisdiction.  Many will simply ignore that […]

  4. […] Shawna Cox brought the matter of Jurisdiction to the Court.  The first, explained in “Public Lands – Part 1 – It’s a Matter of Jurisdiction“, was filed in response to the government’s “Motion for Judicial Notice” […]

     

Burns Chronicles No 28 – Public Trial – Mistrial? – What stinking Mistrial?

Burns Chronicles No 28
Public Trial
Mistrial? What stinking Mistrial?

anna-brown-judge-bww-crown

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
September 19, 2016

A rather interesting what, and from a lay standpoint unjust, occurrence, happened both in the paper chase (at this point, nearly 1300 docket entries) and in the courtroom. It had to do with the testimony of the government’s first witness, Harney County Sheriff David Ward. It was a Motion for Mistrial.

An interesting note on the Motion is that we obtained a copy shortly before it was “SEALED”. This led to the admonishment that is addressed below.

It all began on the 2nd day of the trial (Wednesday, September 14), during cross-examination by Ammon Bundy’s attorney, Marcus R. Mumford is questioning Sheriff Ward.  Here are excerpts from the Motion, taken from the rough-draft transcripts:

Q.  And you had conducted some investigation, into Bunkerville?

A.  I had.

Q.  And did that investigation come – that was in the process of those meetings that you had with the U.S. attorney, and the FBI?

A.  I had – I had gone on to the Internet and googled it, it’s amazing what you can find on there.

I found videos from the things that happened at Bunkerville. I – I looked at a lot of different – lot of different things that happened, throughout that incident. And the thought that have happening in my community scared the hell out of me, where I saw armed people lined up on both sides, advancing, you know, with – with one side advancing against another.

I had learned some of unstable people who had left that situation, and killed two police officers, while they were eating lunch in a restaurant.

I think that there are – there are a lot of circumstances I was attempting to avoid in my community, sir.

Then, Mumford asked that some of Ward’s testimony be stricken:

MUMFORD: Your Honor, I would move to strike that.

THE COURT: Move to strike what, sir?

MUMFORD: The nonresponsive part of the –

THE COURT: I don’t know what you identify as nonresponsive.

The answer seemed responsive to your question, so be specific.

MUMFORD: Okay. Well – I think it was a yes-or-no question, your Honor.

THE COURT: Is there another objection?

Mumford, failing to make any progress, is simply abandoned by Judge Brown. However, Ryan Bundy, acting pro se (representing himself), jumps in, once the Judge recognizes that he, too, has an objection.

DEFENDANT RYAN BUNDY: Yes, my objection, your Honor, hearsay, there, it alludes to events that were not necessarily related to – to the situation.

THE COURT: The court reporter is not hearing you, Mr. Bundy, because of your microphone not being on.

Would you –

DEFENDANT RYAN BUNDY: The mic is on.

THE COURT: Let’s try again. The court reporter wasn’t hearing, would you please restate your objection?

DEFENDANT RYAN BUNDY: Yes, hearsay.

He’s tying in persons that were not involved it (pause, conferring.)

Prejudicial, I change that to prejudicial.

About the folks supposedly killing people that were not associated with us.

THE COURT: Jurors, I’m going to ask you to disregard the witness’s references to events that occurred in Nevada that had to do with the police officers being killed, and whether they were or weren’t associated with Bunkerville.

The answer generally was responsive, in that it reflected the witness’s state of mind, but you’re not to consider that particular part of his answer in any part of your consideration of this evidence.

Now, the transcript is a “rough-draft transcript”, and we are told that there was an Order made by the Judge, referencing “Court’s Sealed Order 1141”. Then, she goes on to admonish Mumford for using quotes from the “rough-draft transcript” in his Motion.

.mistrial-1

So, this brings up two rather interesting questions. First, let’s look at the docket, and its purpose. Each entry shows the date that the Clerk entered the document submitted for filing, or other “Minute Notes”. Then, each is given a sequential number. The purpose is for the record, so that all entries are preserved, hence nothing can “disappear.”  However, since related documents can be filed many pages apart, it warrants that we go looking (on PACER, a government website that makes court information available) for docket entry #1141:

 

mistrial-2The image is a capture from the pdf of the docket, with the bottom of page 94 and the top of page 95.

Well, shoot. It ain’t there! How can that be an Order, when it doesn’t appear on the Docket? Was #1141 really an Order, or was something else removed so that reference could be made to a non-existent Order?

Regarding the second question this raises, the gag order set by the Judge, early on, pretty much prohibits the attorneys from providing certain information.  But, as can be seen by other “sealed” entry, there is a notation that it is sealed, it has a number, and a brief description of what the document pertains to.

Now, if this is a “Public Trial”, why is this information not available to the Public?  Is there something that the Court is trying to hide?  Even worse, if an attorney wants to object to testimony, as addressed in this article, and he cannot use the “rough-draft transcript”, how is he to address the particulars of the matter he is addressing?  He cannot demonstrate what his concern is — UNLESS he can quote from the record, rough to not, to express his concern.  It makes one wonder what would have happened if the government had quoted from the “rough-draft transcript”.

This warranted further investigation. First is a capture of the docket on February 19, 2016. Then, a capture on September 16, both of the first few entries on the docket.

160219-docket-capture

February 19, 2016 – docket capture

160916-docket-capture

February 19, 2016 – docket capture

Golly! Entries 16 through 22 have gone missing! Now, I can’t say that there has not been a rule adopted that allows manipulation of the docket, however, if there is, it defies the concept of a record keeping method that did exist to prove that justice had been done.  So, we are left to suppose that the Judge would not pull any shenanigans to try and deceive the Public.  We should have serious concerns over that possibility.

We can’t stop here; we have to look at what Sheriff Ward said, and was left with a degree of credibility with the Jury. Now, Ward should be well schooled in testifying, and I’m sure that the US attorneys and the FBI are well schooled in testifying. They should all know what is not allowed, however, as Mumford said in the “Motion for Mistrial”.

Once such statements are made, the damage is hard to undo: “one cannot unring a bell”; “after the thrust of the saber it is difficult to say forget the wound”; and finally, “if you throw a skunk into the jury box, you can’t instruct the jury not to smell it.”

Now, surely, the jury will give a high degree of regard for testimony from a government employee. Given what we have, that odor in the Jury Box may not go away during the course of the trial.

Now, let’s visit what was so damaging, and absolutely false, concerning what Ward said. He created fear by associating the Millers with the Bundy Affair when he said, “I had learned of some unstable people who had left that situation, and killed two police officers.” Well, surely, he spent a lot of time with the FBI and the US Attorneys. Was he stupid enough to believe Google and not confirm with the authorities that knew more than most about what happened back in April 2014?

As far as sources for such information, Ward would probably contact law enforcement in Las Vegas, as a more reliable source. Well, here is what the Las Vegas Review Journal said in their June 15, 2014 edition (page 2):

We can’t find anything linking these two guys to anybody,” said a law enforcement official with knowledge of the ongoing investigation. “If they were a part of a group, they hid it well.”

During the day just after the Millers shooting the two cops, I contacted a number of people at the Ranch to find out what role, if any, the Miller’s played (Vetting the Millers). I found that they did spend some time in the public area, but were never allowed at the ranch. They were deemed aggressive and unsuitable to participate in protecting the ranch. The were sent to Mesquite where Stewart Rhodes gave them “a couple hundred dollars” so that they could get a motel room, shower, and some new clothes, because they claimed that, they had given up jobs, their home, and were wearing the only clothes they possessed.

Now, there is no reason that Ward would not have some, if not all, or, more than likely, even more information about the Millers. So, his intention in laying that information out to the jury was not only a violation of what he should have known and been informed of by the FBI/AUSA, it was also a falsehood (aka a damned lie).

Now, we know from previous pronouncements from Judge Brown that she was not going to let the trial be delayed. And, in this instance, Queen Judge Anna Brown has determined that she can do no wrong, and her insistence on keeping her schedule supersedes the assurance of justice in the outcome of the trial.

One Comment

  1. […] XXVIII. Public Trial: Mistrial? What Stinking Mistrial? [9/19/16] […]

     

Burns Chronicles No 29 – Public Lands – Part 2 – The Federal Government Has No Jurisdiction

Burns Chronicles No 29
Public Lands – Part 2
The Federal Government Has No Jurisdiction

harney-county-resource-centera-cropped

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
September 21, 2016

In a previous article, “It’s a Matter of Jurisdiction“, we looked at the constitutional aspect of jurisdiction.  Many will simply ignore that aspect, since they believe that the government is not bound by the Constitution, anymore.  So, we must wonder whether those who enacted laws, more recently, regarding jurisdiction, especially on lands that were obtained for certain purposes, were as doubtful of the intent of the Constitution.

The original buildings on the Refuge were built during the Great Depression under one of the various work programs intended to provide employment.  The land that they were built on was acquired by the government on February 18, 1935.  The remainder of the government-owned land in Section 35, as the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was expanded, was acquired on November 22, 1948.

Shortly after the first parcel was acquired, on April 27, 1935, Congress enacted “AN ACT To provide for the protection of land resources against soil erosion, and for other purposes”, at 49 STAT 163.  Those “other purposes did include uses anticipated “to preserve public lands and relieve unemployment“.  That Act applied:

(a) On lands owned or controlled by the United States or any of its agencies, with the cooperation of the agency having jurisdiction thereof; and
(b) On any other lands, upon obtaining proper consent or the necessary rights or interests in such lands.

So, it was recognized that the federal government need not have jurisdiction, but more about why, later.

The benefits of the Act would be extended where local government would extend “reasonable safeguards for the enforcement of State and local laws imposing suitable permanent restrictions on the use of such lands…”

So, we see no effort to presume prior jurisdiction, to make all needful rules and regulations, as per Article IX, § 3, cl. 2, or to presume a necessity to require the State to cede the lands to the federal government, as per Article I, § 8, cl. 17, since there were no “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings”.

Then, on June 29, 1936, Congress went even further in abiding by the Constitution by clarifying their position on “exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever” (I:8:17), with “AN ACT To waive any exclusive jurisdiction over premises of resettlement or rural-rehabilitation projects…; and for other purposes”, at 49 STAT 2035.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the acquisition by the United States of any real property heretofore or hereafter acquired for any resettlement project or any rural-rehabilitation project for resettlement purposes heretofore or hereafter constructed with funds allotted or transferred to the Resettlement Administration pursuant to the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, or any other law, shall not be held to deprive any State or political subdivision thereof of its civil and criminal jurisdiction in and over such property, or to impair the civil rights under the local law of the tenants or inhabitants on such property ; and insofar as any such jurisdiction has been taken away from any such State or subdivision, or any such rights have been impaired, jurisdiction over any such property is hereby ceded back to such State or subdivision.

So, not only did they relinquish all “civil or criminal jurisdiction“, but they ceded back any jurisdiction that had been taken away from any State or subdivision.  Now the record had been set straight, in accordance with the Constitution.

.

However, to reinforce that position, we can look to a much more recent statute at 40 US Code 3112.  Title 40 is titled “Public Buildings, Property and Works”.  § 3112 is titled “Federal Jurisdiction”.  So, here is what the Statute says:

(a) Exclusive Jurisdiction Not Required.  – It is not required that the Federal Government obtain exclusive jurisdiction in the United States over land or an interest in land it acquires.

Well, that is certainly well established, by now.

(b) Acquisition and Acceptance of Jurisdiction.  – When the head of a department, agency, or independent establishment of the Government, or other authorized officer of the department, agency, or independent establishment, considers it desirable, that individual may accept or secure, from the State in which land or an interest in land that is under the immediate jurisdiction, custody, or control of the individual is situated, consent to, or cession of, any jurisdiction over the land or interest not previously obtained.  The individual shall indicate acceptance of jurisdiction on behalf of the Government by filing a notice of acceptance with the Governor of the State or in another manner prescribed by the laws of the State where the land is situated.

So, they can obtain jurisdiction, though if offered by the State, they still have to file a written notice of acceptance.  In the current matter, the government has not proffered any evidence of anything beyond ownership, but more on this, below.

(c) Presumption.  – It is conclusively presumed that jurisdiction has not been accepted until the Government accepts jurisdiction over land as provided in this section.

And, that pretty much sums up the absence of federal jurisdiction in the current matter.  Put simply, there is no federal jurisdiction at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the alleged scene of most of the alleged crimes.

But let’s look at what the government, rather gratuitously, provided in implying their right to pursue criminal charges that if true, as alleged, would be under the jurisdiction of the State or County, not the Federal District Court in Portland.  The Government filed a “Motion for Judicial Notice Regarding Ownership of the MNWR Headquarters Area“.  This Motion was supported by another filing, the “Declaration of Charles Houghten“, providing the documentation of Ownership.

However, Shawna Cox saw through this ploy.  She did not dispute the Ownership of the land, though she filed her “Response to and Motion for Judicial Notice Regarding Ownership & Ceding of the MNWR Headquarters Area“.  In her Motion, she stipulated as to federal ownership and asked the Court to take Judicial Notice that the land had not been ceded to the federal government.

So, it is back in the lap of the federal government to prove that they have jurisdiction over criminal matters at the MNWR, in Harney County, Oregon.

So, let’s do a count down on the Counts:

Count 1 – Conspiracy to Impede Officers of the United States – 18 U.S.C. § 372

This is the single charge that may have merit, though that will be the topic of an upcoming article, and it has to do with a law enacted during the Civil War and the definition of the terms used.

Count 2 – Possession of Firearms and Dangerous Weapons in Federal Facilities – 18 U.S.C. §§ 930(b) and 2)

This was discussed in “Firearms Not Allowed“, where the government’s own brochure accedes to State law.

Count 3 – Use and Carry of a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence – 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(l)(A) and 2)

This was Dismissed, as there was no violence on which to base the charge.

Count 4 – Theft of Government Property – 18 U.S.C. § 641 (Medenbach)

Count 5 – Theft of Government Property – 18 U.S.C. § 641 (Ritzheimer & R. Bundy)

Count 6 – Depredation of Government Property – 18 U.S.C. §§ 1361 and 2

These Counts (4, 5, &6) are purely jurisdictional, as was explained in “It’s a Matter of Jurisdiction“.  As demonstrated in that article, those who rubbed shoulders with the Founders realized that to have criminal jurisdiction, the land upon which the property was located and crime occurred had to have been ceded, along with jurisdiction, for it to be a federal crime.

So, at this point, with the exception of Count 1, Reason, Common Sense, and Justice dictate that the government is simply wasting tax dollars and has denied the Liberty, which they are supposed to protect, of all 26 of the Defendants.

How has this country come to the point that the federal government can run roughshod over the rights of the States, and more importantly, the rights of the People?

3 Comments

  1. Monty Jensen says:

    Has our Congress effectively bypassed the separation of powers of the constitution by creation of the United States District Courts with the exception of The District Court of Hawaii and the District of Columbia? Are these Article IV administrative courts part of the administrative branch under the DOJ?

    USC Title 28 Chapter 5 Section 85 Jurisdiction only lists civil jurisdiction.

    Article III courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Those limits are defined in Article III and do not include criminal and civil trials.

    The Article IV district courts are courts of general jurisdiction. Nowhere in the constitution are they given authority to take jurisdiction in Oregon and Nevada.

    I suspect the Congress created these courts specifically to bypass the separation of powers. Not being under the judicial branch, they fall under the DOJ in the administrative branch. That explains why no one gets a fair trial and the constitution cannot be discussed or ruled upon.

    Further investigation will show their jurisdiction only extends to the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory and the insular possessions.

    All “United States District Courts” are territorial and/or “legislative courts” that may only operate as administrative rather than Constitutional or Common Law courts. Nearly all of the courts in our federal system are “United States District Courts”. In fact, the only Constitutional or common law district courts in the country United States exist in Hawaii and the District of Columbia. This is confirmed by looking at the Notes under 28 U.S.C. §88, which says for the District of Columbia:

    “It is consonant with the ruling of the Supreme Court in O’Donoghue v. United States, 1933, 53 S.Ct. 740, 289 U.S. 516, 77 L.Ed. 1356, that the (then called) Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia are constitutional courts of the United States, ordained and established under article III of the Constitution, Congress enacted that the Court of Appeals ”shall hereafter be known as the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia”

    The Notes section under 28 U.S.C. §91for Hawaii say the following:

    “Section 9(a) of Pub. L. 86-3 provided that: ”The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii established by and existing under title 28 of the United States Code shall thence forth be a court of the United States with judicial power derived from article III, section 1, of the Constitution of the United States”

    All district courts other than Hawaii and the District of Columbia are, by implication administrative courts, which means that they are territorial courts which may not rule on constitutional rights. Even courts that are Art. III can only exercise that power when the judges are also Article III judges, which few judges are. There is a great deal of confusion over this issue within the legal profession and few lawyers fully understand the implications of this distinction in our experience.

    All of the territorial “United States District Courts” are listed in Title 28, Part I, Chapter 5. The notes at the beginning of this chapter indicate the following:

    28 U.S. Code § 88 – District of Columbia

    Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
    US Code
    Notes
    Historical and Revision Notes
    This section expressly makes the District of Columbia a judicial district of the United States.

    Section 41 of this title also makes the District of Columbia a judicial circuit of the United States.

    Section 11–305 of the District of Columbia Code, 1940 ed., provides that the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia shall possess the same powers and exercise the same jurisdiction as the district courts of the United States, and shall be deemed a court of the United States.

    It is consonant with the ruling of the Supreme Court in O’Donoghue v. United States, 1933, 53 S.Ct. 740, 289 U.S. 516, 77 L.Ed. 1356, that the (then called) Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia are constitutional courts of the United States, ordained and established under article III of the Constitution, Congress enacted that the Court of Appeals “shall hereafter be known as the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia” (Act of June 7, 1934, 48 Stat. 926); and also changed the name of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia to “district court of the United States for the District of Columbia” (Act of June 25, 1936, 49 Stat. 1921). In Federal Trade Commission v. Klesner, 1927, 47 S.Ct. 557, 274 U.S. 145, 71 L.Ed. 972, the Supreme Court ruled:

    “* * * The parallelism between the Supreme Court of the District [of Columbia] and the Court of Appeals of the District [of Columbia], on the one hand, and the district courts of the United States and the circuit courts of appeals, on the other, in the consideration and disposition of cases involving what among the States would be regarded as within Federal jurisdiction, is complete.” See also to the same effect Clairborne-Annapolis Ferry Company v. United States, 1932, 52 S.Ct. 440, 285 U.S. 382, 76 L.Ed. 808.
    28 U.S. Code § 91 – Hawaii

    Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
    US Code
    Notes
    Historical and Revision Notes
    Court of the United States; District Judges
    Pub. L. 86–3, § 9(a), Mar. 18, 1959, 73 Stat. 8, provided that:

    “The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii established by and existing under title 28 of the United States Code shall thence forth be a court of the United States with judicial power derived from article III, section 1, of the Constitution of the United States: Provided, however, That the terms of office of the district judges for the district of Hawaii then in office shall terminate upon the effective date of this section and the President, pursuant to sections 133 and 134 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this Act, shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, two district judges for the said district who shall hold office during good behavior.”
    Section 9 of Pub. L. 86–3 provided in part that subsec. (a) of that section should be effective upon the admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union.

    28 U.S. Code § 108 – Nevada

    Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
    US Code
    Notes
    Historical and Revision Notes
    Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., § 174 (Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, § 94, 36 Stat. 1118; June 24, 1930, ch. 595, 46 Stat. 806; Nov. 15, 1945, ch. 482, 59 Stat. 582).

    Changes in arrangement and phraseology were made.
    Amendments
    1990—Pub. L. 101–650 substituted “, Reno, Ely, and Lovelock” for “and Reno”.

    28 U.S. Code § 117 – Oregon

    Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
    US Code
    Notes
    Historical and Revision Notes
    Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., § 183 (Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, § 102, 36 Stat. 1122; Nov. 6, 1945, ch. 447, 59 Stat. 555).

    Provisions relating to appointment and residence of deputies by the clerk and marshal, and maintenance of offices by said officers, were omitted as covered by sections 541 [see 561], 542 [see 561], and 751 of this title.

    Changes in arrangement and phraseology were made.
    Amendments
    2000—Pub. L. 106–518 substituted “Eugene or Springfield” for “Eugene”.

    1970—Pub. L. 91–272 provided for holding court at Coquille.

    1950—Act Aug. 3, 1950, provided for holding court at Eugene.

    • ghuntghunt says:

      I’m not so sure that you are correct in your assumption that they are “territorial courts”.
      However, I don’t have time, at present, to go find the authorities.
      I’ll approve your post for consideration by others.

Burns Chronicles No 30 – Officer? What Officer?

Burns Chronicles No 30
Officer?   What Officer?

bank-robber

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
September 26, 2016

In the Indictments, both in Oregon and Nevada, there is one Count that raises some serious questions.  The exact wording, to the extent of understanding the charges being made, is as follows:

For Oregon:

COUNT 1

(Conspiracy to Impede Officers of the United States)

(18 u.s.c. § 372)

On or about November 5, 2015, and continuing through February 12, 2016, in the District of Oregon, defendants…

It then goes on to list the Defendants and makes some rather general accusations, WITHOUT naming “Officers” or, how they were impeded.

Next, we look to the Nevada Indictment:

COUNT TWO

Conspiracy to Impede or Injure a Federal Officer

(Title 18, United States Code, Section 372)

Then, they go into a narrative, missing, of course, any named “Officers”, or any specific acts that constitute impeding.

The statute cited reads:

18 U.S.C. § 372 : US Code – Section 372: Conspiracy to impede or injure officer

If two or more persons in any State, Territory, Possession, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.

Now, our concern, as much as with the Indictments lacking specificity, is the Statute, itself.  So, let’s first trace the history of the Statute, and then we will look into just who an “Officer” might be.

.

On July 31, 1861, just four months after the start of the Civil War, Congress enacted the first statute (12 Stat 284) that addressed what eventually resolved down to 18 USC § 372:

An Act to define and punish certain Conspiracies

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That if two or more persons within any State or Territory of the United States shall conspire together to overthrow, or to put down, or to destroy by force, the Government of the United States, or to levy war against the United States, or to oppose by force the authority of the Government of the United States; or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States; or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States against the will or contrary to the authority of the United States; or by force, or intimidation, or threat to prevent any person from accepting or holding any office, or trust, or place of confidence, under the United States; each and every person so offending shall be guilty of a high crime, and upon conviction thereof in any district or circuit court of the United States, having jurisdiction thereof, or district or supreme court of any Territory of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not less than five hundred dollars and not more than five thousand dollars; or by imprisonment, with or without hard labor, as the court shall determine, for a period not less than six months not greater than six years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

APPROVED, July 31, 1861.

By 1909, in 35 Stat 1092, the particulars of § 372 had been separated from other elements.  This is the first codification of the Statutes, and this section would fall under “Crimes – Chapter One. – Offenses Against the Existence of the Government”, at:

SEC. 21 . If two or more persons in any State, Territory, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof ; or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave any State, Territory, District, or place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.

There is no significant change when the method of codification was changed, by 62 Stat 701, with the exception of adding, “to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office“.

In 1948, with the adoption of 62 Stat 701, we see the adoption of the current form of statute identification, of “Title 18 – Crimes and Criminal Procedures”

§ 372. CONSPIRACY TO IMPEDE OR INJURE OFFICER

If two or more persons in any State, Territory, Possession, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.

This is nearly identical to the existing statute, 18 US Code § 372, shown first above.

So, now let’s look at just which members of government were the subjects of the protection afforded by the statute.  In the Indictments and the statutes, reference is made only to “Officers”.  So, is any employee of government an “Officer”?  Or, is that title reserved only to a certain character of those who work for the government?

First, we need to know what the Constitution says about “officers”, though we need not consider Officers in Congress, the Judicial Branch, or the Military, as surely, none of those was present at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  Any other reference to “officers”, we find the Article II – The Executive Branch.  In Section 2, clause 2, we find:

He [President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to … appoint … Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

Then, in Section 3:

He shall … Commission all the Officers of the United States.

So, though the Courts of Law and Heads of Departments may commission officers, if Congress so decrees, the President still has to “commission such officers”.

And, in Section 4:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

So, unlike employees, officers can only be removed by the impeachment process, as administered by the Congress.

But, from a practical standpoint, other officers became necessary.  During Prohibition, officers were designated to execute search warrants.  A challenge was made over their constitutional, as explained above.  This is what the Supreme Court said in Steele v U S 267 US 505 (1925), in broadening the previous limitation on what Officers were.  Here are a few excerpts from that decision:

The argument is that the prohibition agent is appointed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and therefore is only an employee and not a civil officer of the government in the constitutional sense, because such an officer under article 2, section 2, of the Constitution can only be appointed either by the President and the Senate, the President alone, the courts of law, or the heads of departments.

This was the challenge that Steele had set before the Court, and which the Court had to decide.  There had yet to be a case where the expansion of the constitutional limitation was put to the test.

It is quite true that the words ‘officer of the United States,’ when employed in the statutes of the United States, is to be taken usually to have the limited constitutional meaning.

So, the Court decides to take on the task.  Even though there was no commission from the President, the enactment, by the Congress, of certain laws, had to grant such status to fulfill the duties assigned:

‘The Commissioner, his assistants, agents, and inspectors, and all other officers of the United States, whose duty it is to enforce criminal laws, shall have all the power … in the enforcement of this act or any provisions thereof which is conferred by law for the enforcement of existing laws relating to the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors under the law of the United States.’

So, the exception made is where a duty requires enforcement or service, to create that official (officer) capacity.  Since that time, those positions that are within this expanded scope of the definition appear to have a prefix to their title that establishes that status.

To understand this, let’s look back at how the government dealt with multiple deaths in the Oklahoma City Bombing (April 19, 1993).  What we are concerned with is how the deaths were treated — were they all considered to have been “killed” by the acts of McVeigh, or were some simply “deaths”, collateral damage”, as a result the truck bomb.  From the McVeigh Indictment:

COUNTS FOUR THROUGH ELEVEN
(First Degree Murder)

The Grand Jury further charges:

On or about April 19, 1995, at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the Western District of Oklahoma,

TIMOTHY JAMES McVEIGH

and

TERRY LYNN NICHOLS,

the defendants herein, did unlawfully, willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation and malice aforethought, kill, and aid, abet and cause the killing of, the following persons while they were engaged in and on account of the performance of official duties as law enforcement officers:

Name/Position:

COUNT: FOUR Name/Position: Mickey Bryant Maroney
Special Agent United States Secret Service

COUNT: FIVE Name/Position: Donald R. Leonard
Special Agent United States Secret Service

COUNT: SIX Alan Gerald Whicher
Assistant Special Agent in Charge United States Secret Service

COUNT: SEVEN Cynthia Lynn Campbell-Brown
Special Agent United States Secret Service

COUNT: EIGHT Kenneth Glenn McCullough
Special Agent   United States Drug Enforcement Administration

COUNT: NINE Paul Douglas Ice
Special Agent United States Customs Service

COUNT: TEN Claude Arthur Medearis
Special Agent United States Customs Service

COUNT: ELEVEN Paul G. Broxterman
Special Agent Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General

All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114, 1111 and 2(a)&(b); and Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 64.2(h).

When we look at 18 US Code §§ 1114 & 1111, we find that 1114 says,

Whoever kills or attempts to kill any officer or employee of the United States or of any agency in any branch of the United States Government (including any member of the uniformed services) while such officer or employee is engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties, or any person assisting such an officer or employee in the performance of such duties or on account of that assistance, shall be punished – [then lists punishments]

Then, in § 1111, we find the establishment of jurisdiction:

(b) Within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States,

So, if the crime had been committed in the “maritime or territorial jurisdiction”, it would be murder.  However, as we saw in § 1114, if the victim is an “officer or employee”, the person can be punished.  Now, this appears to apply to any employee, as well as an officer.  However, if we look at the history of the Statute, we can find what happened in 1989.  This would be as the statute existed at the time of the OKC Bombing, at 10 Stat 4831:

image-104-stat-4831-1989

So, in 1989, and still in 1993, when the bombing occurred, the statute had territorial limitations.  It was not until 1996, with 110 Stat 1302, that the government extended its reach (isn’t that what both MNWR in Burns and Bundy Ranch in Nevada are all about?) to go beyond the Constitution and assume authority that is in conflict with the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.

However, understanding the limitation imposed by the Statute § 1114, as it existed in 1993, we find that there are only eight (8) people that McVeigh and Nichols are charged with murdering (killing).  However, the Indictment lists another 160 people that died as a result of the “truck bomb explosion”.  The eight listed are all “special agents”.  So, we can safely assume that they were “Officers” and are covered by the umbrella that is applicable in 18 US Code § 372, as well as other statutes, where the government can legally punish someone for damaging (murdering) what is presumed to be government property (Officers).

So, what of those other 160 people?  Well, they are covered in COUNT ONE:

38.  As intended by McVEIGH and NICHOLS, the truck bomb explosion resulted in death and personal injury and the destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, located within the Western District of Oklahoma. The following persons were present at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, and were killed as a result of the explosion:

Charles E. Hurlburt            73

[First and last names shown, the other 158 omitted for brevity, but can be seen on the linked “McVeigh Indictment“.]

Gabreon Bruce                4 months

All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2332a.

So, all of those in the class of “employees” that fit the criteria of “Officers” are also identified as “Special Agents”.  And, those other 158 people are, well, to use a government term, “collateral damage” as a consequence of the explosion of a truck bomb.  Punishable only because a truck bomb was used.

However, 18 US Code § 372 has not been changed, as 18 US Code § 1114, to extend beyond the constitutional limits imposed by the Constitution, and expanded by the Supreme Court in the Steele decision.

So, this brings us to the ultimate question of whether there were any “Officers” that were kept from doing their duty, by the actions of those who occupied the MNWR headquarters.  Well, we know that a number of “Special Agents” have been employed, since the occupation, to ramble through Facebook, the Refuge and elsewhere.  So, rather than impeded, they are gainfully employed in doing their duty.  However, the prosecutors in the case have yet to being forward the name and capacity of just one “Officer” that would satisfy the statute, and with the requisite credentials to qualify under Steele, to be deemed an “Officer”.

If someone had been charged with robbing a bank, would not the bank have to be included in the Indictment?

“We charge Jon Doe with robbing a bank, in violation of such and such a statute”.  “What bank did they rob?” you ask.  “Well, we don’t know what bank they robbed,” they answer.

As demonstrated by the McVeigh Indictment, those who are injured, or impeded, must be named.  Moreover, they must be officers, not just employees.  For the prosecutors to fail to provide the requisite information is comparable to the analogy of the bank robber.  The insufficiency of the Indictment cries out for Count One to be quashed, as it is a chare without merit, and the evidence presented, to date, has done nothing to answer the crucial question of which “Officers” have been so affected by the actions of the accused?

4 Comments

  1. Harold says:

    They said they will be presented at the trial

  2. […] Burns Chronicles No 30 – Officer? What Officer? Burns Chronicles No 31 – Public Lands – Part 3 – The Queen has Ruled – Off […]

  3. […] this gets even better.  There is an article that covers this aspect more extensively at “Officer?  What Officer?“.  However, we will address the short version, here.  To do so we must first look at the […]

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