Navarro Stymies Due Process – Again

Denies Defense Timely Access To Love-Related Henthorn Materials

The first Bundy Ranch trial resumed Monday, 27 Feb 2017. During the week-long President’s Day holiday break, more damning evidence surfaced relating to the Bundy Ranch Tyrant (SAC Dan Love) behavior at Burning Man 2015. Specifically, the Deptment of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) report that implicated Love in witness tampering and coercion was a redacted “for-public” version of the real report. In the full report, the OIG found evidence that Love had tampered with evidence.  In addition, he also committed obstruction of justice. Along with tampering and coercion, he deleted or destroyed documents. Gloria Navarro stymies due process by withholding evidence from defendants.

Tier 3 Witnesses Implicated

Attorneys for Tier 3 defendants originally tried to make the case that the discovery of Love’s questionable ethics violated certain mandates. Specifically, Brady and Giglio requirements for the disclosure of evidence that could impeach a witness. While the court denied any motions to dismiss, it did hold that the jury would have to see the full, unredacted version of the OIG’s report, IF, the Government were to call Love as a witness. Subsequently, the Government seems content to forego calling Love to the stand.

Navarro Stymies Due ProcessWhen the unredacted version came to light over the holiday break, lawyers argued that the non-disclosure of the full report was a violation of Henthorn evidence mandates. In US v. Henthorn, 931 F. 2d 29 – Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 1991, the 9th Circuit held that prosecutors must furnish personnel records of witnesses if the material contains exculpatory (favorable to the defendant) evidence. Attorneys argued that the OIG’s report contained individuals on the Government’s witness list.  Consequently, any material related to Love’s obstruction of justice could have included information related to the Bundy Ranch Protest in April 2014.

Navarro’s Response: I decided it wasn’t relevant…

When confronted with another Brady / Giglio / Henthorn violation, Navarro’s response was simple. She said that the material had been provided to her in a timely manner. In addition, she didn’t feel that it had any bearing on the case. If defense attorneys wished to view the material, they would have to do so during a video-recorded session.

Navarro Stymies Due Process

Bottom line: this material should have been provided weeks, if not months ago. Due process violations stack up one after the other. This judge doesn’t care. She knows that the 9th Circuit will not be friendly to these defendants in appeal. The 9th Circuit is tantamount to a clown car of judges waiting to jump out and rule left on any case that goes to appeals. Her collusion with the Government falls under judicial discretion.

These defendants will have to beat these charges with the cards stacked against them. Fortunately, the outcome will watershed on the ability of a jury to see truth and apply it fairly. The Court and Government can collude with each other… but they can’t buy a jury.

Leaked Video Chronicles BLM Aggression At Bundy Ranch

Includes body and dash cam footage…

A video surfaced on the internet today showing leaked body and dash cam footage from the Bundy Ranch Protest. The video assembles a concise timeline of how events unfolded, using previously unseen footage from agent’s body cameras and patrol vehicle dash-mounted cameras.

In the video, agents can be seen mocking protesters and joking about who or what they should shoot first. Instructions to keep long guns either slung or out of site came from the Sheriff’s office. Agents ignored that directive and raised their weapons at protesters.

The content of the video speaks for itself. This is only a fraction of what the government does not want anyone to see. They are culpable for the escalation of tension at Bundy Ranch. This video shows a portion of that truth. Continue reading “Leaked Video Chronicles BLM Aggression At Bundy Ranch”

Legal Counsel Access Denied

Attorneys cannot meet with defendants as a group…

Legal Counsel Access DeniedMagistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen denied Eric Parker’s motion (ECF No. 1497) to facilitate open air group meetings between defendants and their legal counsel. Citing lack of communication with the US Marshals Service, Leen determined that the request was not specific enough for the Court to be able to assess whether or not the request is reasonable. Absent a special request, the facilities at Henderson Detention Center do not provide for an environment where multiple attorneys can meet with multiple defendants. Specifically, the meeting rooms are small and defendants and counsel can only communicate through a glass wall. Subsequently, showing digital evidence (of which most in this case is) becomes problematic. Continue reading “Legal Counsel Access Denied”

Government Benefits From Most Last Minute Pretrial Orders

Defendants will be able to impeach SAC Dan Love…

A slew of rulings hit the docket ahead of Thursday’s opening arguments. Chief Judge Gloria Navarro ruled on motions from everything to exclude evidence, to compel information, to dismissal of the entire case. For the most part, last minute pretrial orders fell in favor of the Government. However, one key motion will benefit defendants .

SAC Daniel P. Love’s record impeachable…

Should the Government call The Bundy Ranch Tyrant to the stand, the ethics violation report will have to be provided in its unredacted form. Further, defense attorneys will be able to use the report to impeach Love’s character as a witness. It is yet unknown how this will impact the case that the US Attorneys intend to build.

Trial continues…

Defendants argued for a fatal violation of due process under Giglio / Brady. Navarro argued that the failure of the Government to provide the ethics violations report was not a true violation of Brady. As such, she denied the motion to dismiss.

Bridge Photos Admissible

Defendants sought to preclude any photographs on them lying prone on the NB I-15 Bridge. The Government contends that defendants assaulted federal agents. Defendants point to the statutory definition of assault which requires a victim to perceive an overt act in order for an assault to have occurred. Given the Government’s consistent, outlandish narrative of what happened, defendants sought to preclude these photos from evidence. Navarro ruled that while defendant’s understanding of the statutory definition of assault is accurate, she believes that the photos may be relevant to others charges… if the Government can establish relevancy.

Facebook Evidence Admissible

Todd Engel motion to exclude statements made on Facebook not directly related to the crimes outlined in the indictment. The Government motioned to preclude any mention of Government misconduct or militarization, but nevertheless opposed Engel’s similar motion. Navarro ruled that statements made through Social Media are admissible.

Last Minute Pretrial Orders

With opening arguments now underway and decisions rendered on major pretrial motions, defendants will have the task of showing the jury that there exists reasonable doubt that the Government’s narrative is accurate. Most decisions seem to lean in favor of the Government, but a couple of critical decisions have weighed favorably toward the defense. Namely, defendants will be able to call into question the character of SAC Dan Love. Additionally, they will be able to argue the misconduct of federal agents, as well as their excessive militarization. As a result, they posses the ability to capitalize on the weakest points of the Government’s case.

This case will rise and fall on how much truth the jury hears. Consequently, the few rulings that did favor defendants are crucial to that outcome.

Court Sidesteps Defendant’s Rights

… will fully protect and conceal identify of FBI undercover employee

Chief Judge Gloria Navarro ruled in favor of the Government in their motion to place a protective order on the identity of an FBI undercover employee (UCE). Defendants argued that this constitutes a violation of Brady / Giglio material rights (see explanation here). Navarro found that the identity protection for the UCE outweighs the rights of defendants. Effectively, the court sidesteps defendant’s rights.

Extraordinary measure?

Not only is the identity of the UCE under general protective order, it is also not available to defendants or their counsel. The UCE will testify under the pseudonym “Chris Johnson”. Defendants will not be able to ask any questions that might personally identify the UCE. Because of this, defense counsel cannot investigate the UCE to determine if he has:

  • prior criminal history
  • history of substance abuse
  • workplace ethics violations
  • social media or other communications that might reveal prejudice

OK for the Government… not any one else.

The Government relied heavily on social media and other means of communication. Memorandums in support of pretrial detention were rife with quotations and screenshots from FaceBook, YouTube, and Email accounts. The Government’s exhibit list shows over 1/3 of the evidence to have come from social media and e-mail. Consequently, a large portion of the case against the defendants will come from things said both publicly and privately.

The Government can pursue an effective life sentence and have a substantial amount of evidence come from the medium of the internet, but a key witness is apparently not subject to the same scrutiny. Defendants have a well-established right to look for impeachable evidence (evidence that might harm credibility) against Government witnesses. Had it not been for a leak by the Salt Lake Tribune, the misdeeds of the Bundy Ranch Tyrant would probably remain unknown. It is therefore imperative for the Government to supply defendants with the information they need to investigate witnesses.

Court Sidesteps Defendant’s Rights

When the Court moves to allow such a broad restriction on the identity of a witness, a scenario where the court sidesteps defendant’s rights plays out in full. Consequently, judiciary rulings that strip the rights of defendants to look for impeachable evidence on a Government witness injures, if not cripples, due process.

The reasons for order aren’t congruent with reality. First, online threats occurred in the immediate wake of the Bundy Ranch incident; the argument that the UCE is in danger is stale at best. Second, while the UCE’s other unrelated investigations are materially irrelevant, prior conduct during past investigations could yield impeachable evidence. Finally, the UCE’s date of birth is materially irrelevant to the case, but very much necessary to conduct an investigation.

One has to wonder: since it is OK for the Government to leave no stone unturned, why is the same privilege not extended to defendants. Has tyranny become law?

Trial Day 1: Monday, 06 February 2017

Jury Selection…

Jury selection began today. Six defendants and five attorneys (Todd Engel proceeds pro se) questioned potential jurors on a wide range of issues related to the case. Jurors were promptly eliminated indicating that if the second pool moves as quickly as the first, opening arguments could begin as early as Wednesday. Continue reading “Trial Day 1: Monday, 06 February 2017”

Evidence Admissibility Ruling

Government Misconduct Admissible…

Chief Judge Gloria Navarro ruled on the Government’s motion to preclude certain evidence. The Government raised concern that certain arguments could lead to jury nullification. The Court granted most of the Government’s motion but did deny one element critical to the defendant’s strategy. Namely, defendant’s can introduce Government misconduct into their arguments according to the evidence admissibility ruling. Continue reading “Evidence Admissibility Ruling”

Attorneys Denied Access Before Trial

Prison refuses to grant group meeting…

Tier 3 defendants now reside at the Henderson Detention Center in Henderson, NV. Henderson is closer to the Courthouse which makes for a substantially reduced commute to and from trial. Henderson also has individual cells, (as opposed to Pahrump’s 50 bunk bed per pod layout); the men should get better sleep. There are issues though.

Motions Denied | Attorneys Denied Access Before TrialFirst, and foremost, the prison prevented a group meeting between defendants, attorneys, and private investigators. Two attorneys and four private investigators waited for hours until the prison informed them that only visits permitted would be one-on-one. Six defendants in Tier 3 each face (now) 15 criminal counts capable of amounting to more than 100 years in prison. Three of the four defendants from Idaho traveled to and from the Bundy Ranch Protest together. Their cases are inseparably relevant one to the other ; they need to have as pre-trial meeting.

Stewart’s attorney motioned for this accommodation. The Court, so far, fails to acknowledge the request. Defendants and attorneys will try again Sunday for a meeting. Continue reading “Attorneys Denied Access Before Trial”

Bridge Photos Ruling Imminent

Court Gives Government 3 Days To Respond

On 27 January 2017, Parker, Drexler, and Stewart motioned to exclude from trial photos taken showing them on the NB I-15 bridge on Saturday, 12 April 2014. Their counsel argues that the opening in the jersey barrier is only 1.5 inches wide. Subsequently, no agent under the SB I-15 bridge would have been able to perceive an imminent threat from any of the three. In addition, Stewart didn’t surface in any agency reports until after photographs of the trio circulated widely in the media. The Court ruled that the Government will have until 07 February 2017 to respond making a bridge photos ruling imminent. Continue reading “Bridge Photos Ruling Imminent”

Defendants Request Case Dismissal

SAC Daniel P. Love’s Ethics Violations Not Properly Disclosed

Defendants Request Case DismissalSteven Stewart motioned for the dismissal of the entire case against Tier 3 Defendants. The Government has the responsibility to disseminate certain information to defendants if it will help their case. Love was the subject of an ethics inquiry detailing two events occurring in 2015. The Department of Interior’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that Love’s behavior in both incidents was in serious violation of Department policies. Due to these violations and Love’s role in Bundy Ranch, the incidents described by the OIG’s report fall under Giglio / Henthorne requirements. Consequently, Tier 3 defendants request case dismissal. Continue reading “Defendants Request Case Dismissal”