By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… In the past few years I have written a number of columns where focusing on the government’s vendetta against the Bundy clan. The recent rulings of U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro moved the debate to a new level of federal governmental abuse of the rights of the people.
As you recall the first trial of individuals involved in the Bundy cattle roundup protest ended for the most part in a hung jury. Rather than take their loss and move on, the feds decided they would retry the defendants.
But this time the Judge has ruled that none of the evidence that led to the mistrial can be presented by the defense. She waited until the day before Jury selection to make those facts known to the defense attorneys.
Now I am not a lawyer but this does not seem fair on any level. It is like a football game that ended in a tie at half time so the officials have ruled that the leading passer and receiver of the team they did not want to win cannot play in the second half.
What facts are not permissible due to the ruling of Judge Navarro? She has ruled that the defense attorneys cannot argue that their clients were legally exercising their first and second amendment rights. There can be no testimony about federal agent’s actions leading up to the standoff. Further, they cannot mention the illegal arrest of David Bundy while he was standing on a state highway filming the round up – an action that amounted to kidnapping and oppression under color of the law. There can be no mention of the BLM attack on a 60-year old grandmother as a case of excessive force. In fact, no mention can be made about excessive force with unwarranted use of stun guns and attack dogs. The fact that the BLM agents dressed in SWAT gear perpetrated the only violence in the entire incident must be suppressed. The fact that Gov. Sandoval condemned the federal agent’s aggressive actions cannot be cited. There can be no mention of First Amendment Zones, or the suppression of the press.
Probably the most egregious of the ruling is that no argument can be presented about the violation of the Bundy’s grazing rights guaranteed under federal law. The federal laws pertaining to grazing rights which were violated wholesale by the BLM are off the table. I will not repeat those here as I have outlined them in numerous previous columns.
Suffice it to say that if the cause of the actions of the defendants is not to be considered, there is no defense left. Did they impede government agent? Of course, they did. But it would seem to me it would be relevant for the jury to know why they impeded the government agents. Were the BLM agents engaged in an illegal act? Of course, they were.
I am concerned that a judge can rule that the past actions of the defendant are open for consideration but the action of the government leading up to the confrontation is not. I understand it is the judge’s role to see that the material presented to the jury is relevant to the case, but I fail to see where it is fair to look at the past trial, identify those things that caused doubt in the minds of the jury and then exclude them from the next trial.
If you have had the privilege of being selected to appear for jury duty, you have seen the way justice is supposed to be served in America. The judge is supposed to be an impartial arbitrator. There is a prosecutor to represent the government and defense lawyer to represent the accused.
I have been called for jury duty many times and for whatever reason, I have never been selected to sit on a jury. The last time I appeared for jury duty it seemed as though I had survived the questions of both the defense lawyer and the prosecutor when the judge asked me if I would follow his instructions as to how to rule in the case. He apparently picked up on something in my answers he did not like. I told him that I believed my role as a juror was to listen to the facts in the case and make up my own mind as to the guilt or innocence of the individual. I told him it was his job to make sure the trail was fair, it was my job to determine guilt or innocent based on the facts presented to me. I was dismissed.
Judge Navarro’s rulings reminds of the story of Roman days when Nero was trying to rid Rome of Christians. He brought a Christian into the coliseum, tied him hand and foot and released a lion. When the lion sniffed the Christian, the Christian did the only defensive thing he could do and bit the lion on the nose sending the lion running off yelping in pain. Nero yelled down: “Fight fair, fight fair”.
The defense from the beginning has challenged the neutrality of Judge Navarro, who is the epitome of a liberal 9th Circuit federal court judge. She was recommended by Harry Reid and appointed by President Obama; enough said. Judge Navarro reflected the 9th Circuit’s disregard for the Constitution when she ordered that the defendants could keep their pocket Constitution with them but that they must be turned backwards so the jurors and court observers could not see what they were. That would seem fair since the 9th Circuit turned its back on the Constitution years ago. She apparently did not feel she had handicapped the defense in the first trial enough to get the decision she wanted so she has added even greater handicapping conditions to the second.
Do not believe for a moment this has anything to do with defiance of federal law! This has to do with the disappointment on the part of the federal government in their failed attempt to confiscate the land the Bundy family has ranched since the late 1880’s.
However, the real issue is even greater than that. The question is can the government oppress the people by violating the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th, and the10th Amendments to the Constitution; as well as federal laws codified in the Nevada Revised Statues 568.230 – 568.290, and 568.350 and not be opposed by the people.
Thought of the week: “It is left… to the juries, if they think the permanent judges are under any bias whatever in any cause, to take on themselves to judge the law as well as the fact. …when they suspect partiality in the judges; and by the exercise of this power they have been the firmest bulwarks of English liberty.”