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.

No mention of Malheur Occupation permitted…

Drexler argued in favor of allowing references to the Malheur Occupation trial, but did not (according to the Court) present substantive reasons for why such arguments would be relevant. Consequently, the Court ruled that references to the Malheur trial are irrelevant and inadmissible.

Third party opinions inadmissible…

Defendants will not be able to introduce the opinions of third-party individuals as evidence. Subsequently, statements made by individuals such as Governor Brian Sandoval or then Senator Harry Reid will not be admissible. Sandoval publicly referred to the operation and First Amendment areas as “offensive”. Reid publicly labeled defendants as “domestic terrorists”. The Government argued that these opinions could confuse the jury, especially if a juror happened to respect the opinion of the individual.

Opinions on legality precluded…

Defendants will not be able to present as evidence personal opinions about the validity (or lack thereof) with regard to existing laws. Consequently, any personally-held beliefs about the BLM, Federal land “ownership”, or anything of the like are not admissible. The Court uses the example of taxes. The Court says that a citizen cannot present a belief that taxes are illegal as a good faith defense for why they stop paying them.

Evidence Admissibility Ruling

The Government sought far-reaching limits of what evidence should be admissible. The Court ruled mostly in favor of the Government, but did open the door for defendants to present evidence and argument related to Government misconduct. This will be key in helping jurors understand the defendant’s state of mind on Saturday, 12 April 2014.

State of mind is a key element in understanding why defendants postured defensively. Excessively militarized land management agents deployed tactically an evinced a posture indicating that they might exact lethal force on unarmed protesters. Consequently, many thought they were going to observe a release of cattle. Instead, the Bundy Ranch Tyrant (SAC Daniel P. Love) senselessly escalated a peaceful protest into a potentially deadly standoff. The evidence admissibility ruling by the Court will allow defendants to present these arguments as long as they can reasonably articulate it’s relevance.

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