Lisa Hay, a defense attorney for Ryan Payne, argued that prosecuting both cases at once could drag out the timeline for the cases and keep the defendants in custody longer…Payne’s defense attorney in Nevada, Shari Kaufman, said she couldn’t prepare for trial with her client over the telephone.
Revenge. These “children” must be punished (spanked) for embarrassing the King and His Court by revealing the truth. — jtl, 419
A federal judge in Portland ruled Tuesday that Ammon Bundy and four other men indicted in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon can be flown to Las Vegas to face criminal charges in the 2014 standoff near the Bundy ranch in Nevada.
Attorneys for the five defendants told U.S. District Judge Anna Brown that they don’t think federal prosecutors in Oregon and Nevada should pursue criminal cases against them at the same time.
Splitting time between courtrooms and jail cells in Oregon and Nevada would severely compromise their ability to meaningfully communicate with their defense attorneys and would interfere with their rights to speedy trials, they argued.
In Oregon, the defendants – takeover leader Ammon Bundy, brother Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne, Brian Cavalier and Blaine Cooper – face charges of using force to prevent employees of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from using facilities at the wildlife refuge during a 41-day occupation in January and February. In all, 26 defendants have been charged in Oregon in the takeover.
But the five who appeared in a Portland courtroom Tuesday also are part of a group of 19 indicted in Nevada for alleged crimes stemming from the 2014 armed standoff near Cliven Bundy’s ranch near Bunkerville, Nev.
Federal officials say Cliven Bundy – father of Ammon and Ryan Bundy – had been trespassing on government land for more than 20 years by refusing to get permits or pay fees to the Bureau of Land Management to graze his cattle on the land.
When federal law enforcement officers tried to corral about 400 of Bundy’s cattle in April 2014, federal prosecutors say Bundy, his sons and other defendants organized a “massive armed assault” by recruiting a few hundred others to stop officers from seizing Bundy’s livestock.
After the Bundy brothers and others were indicted in Oregon, federal prosecutors indicted the Bundys and others in the 2014 ranch standoff.
The Nevada indictment came nearly two years after the confrontation. Nevada prosecutors have said it’s a complicated case that took time to carefully build, but some critics question the timing, wondering if the government is now trying to save face for not pursuing it earlier.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Lisa Hay, a defense attorney for Ryan Payne, argued that prosecuting both cases at once could drag out the timeline for the cases and keep the defendants in custody longer.
The government shouldn’t be allowed to “ping-pong these defendants between two jurisdictions,” she said.
Payne’s defense attorney in Nevada, Shari Kaufman, said she couldn’t prepare for trial with her client over the telephone. For one, Kaufman said, there are hundreds of hours of video to watch. To claim that she and her client can carry on meaningful conversations when he’s constantly shuttling back and forth between two states is “a farce” and “absurd,” Kaufman said.
Ryan Bundy told the judge: “Our time would be completely taken up with transports.”
But Steve Myhre, a federal prosecutor in Nevada, said the defense was “getting way ahead of” itself by claiming the defendants can’t have adequate representation if the two criminal cases proceed simultaneously.
“Standing up here and yelling” isn’t proof that the defendants’ rights will be compromised, Myhre said.
The trials in Oregon and Nevada would be held on different dates, prosecutors said. Trial in the Oregon case is tentatively planned for September.
Craig Gabriel, a federal prosecutor in Portland, said he has “no intention” of delaying the criminal case in Oregon and that he’s working toward a swift resolution.
The two cases aren’t “the government’s doing,” Gabriel said. “The defendants had crimes that were committed here and in Nevada.”
At that, one of the defendants in the courtroom – it’s not clear which one – let out a loud guffaw.
Other than that minor outburst, the hearing was congenial. Brown, the judge, said she would allow the two Bundys, Payne, Cavalier and Cooper to be transported from Oregon to Nevada on April 13 so they could be present for arraignment in the ranch standoff case. Brown said the group must be back in Oregon within 10 days – by April 23.
She said she didn’t think a single 10-day absence from Oregon would violate the defendants’ rights in the wildlife refuge case to speedy trial or effective communications with counsel.
A federal judge in Nevada, Brown said, will have to decide whether being tried in Oregon ends up violating the defendants’ rights in the Nevada case.
Brown’s ruling affects two other Oregon defendants – Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Pete Santilli.
Both men are being held in custody for the Nevada case — O’Shaughnessy is physically in Nevada and Santilli is in Oregon awaiting transfer to Nevada. They will return to Oregon by April 23 with the five other defendants, according to the judge’s order.
After the judge made her ruling, defense attorneys expressed disappointment. Attorney Lissa Casey said she will appeal the decision on behalf of her client, Ammon Bundy.
“Moving Ammon to Nevada makes it more difficult for him to participate in his own defense, and it makes it more (challenging) for us to mount a zealous advocacy,” Casey said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “…(W)e hope to keep Ammon in Oregon until this case is resolved.”
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