Skip to comments.9th Circuit Court decision on Clive Bundy
Posted on 08/06/2020 11:33:04 AM PDT by aimhigh
The panel affirmed the district courts judgment dismissing with prejudice, due to violations of Brady v. Maryland, an indictment charging Cliven Bundy; two of his sons, Ryan and Ammon Bundy; and Ryan Payne with obstructing federal law enforcement officials carrying out lawful court orders. The indictment followed a well-publicized effort by the Bureau of Land Management to impound Cliven Bundys cattle for a twenty-year failure to pay federal grazing fees.
Cliven Bundy and hundreds of armed supporters from around the United States forced federal officials to abandon the impoundment plan. Days into the defendants trial, the government began disclosing information in its possession that, under Brady, was arguably useful to the defense and should have been produced to the defendants well before trial. As additional documents came forth, the district court held a series of hearings, eventually deciding that the trial could not go forward and that the indictment must be dismissed with prejudice.
Reviewing whether the district court properly dismissed the indictment under its supervisory powers, the panel considered the evidence cited by the district court to decide * This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader whether substantial prejudice resulted from the Brady violations, whether flagrant misconduct occurred, and whether alternative remedies could have redressed the injury here.
Central to the governments case were allegations that the defendants intentionally lied about being surrounded by snipers as a ploy to gather armed supporters. Had the defendants been able to proffer a basis for genuinely believing that government snipers surrounded the Bundy Ranch, they potentially could have negated the governments scienter theory. Surveying all of the withheld evidence including surveillance-camera evidence, FBI 302 investigative reports regarding snipers, Tactical Operations Center (TOC) log records, and threat assessments the panel held that the record amply supports the district courts conclusion that the defendants suffered substantial prejudice in not being able to prepare their case fully, refine their voir dire strategy, and make stronger opening statements.
Regarding the question of flagrant misconduct, the panel wrote that to the extent any government agencies or actors, through their own flagrant misconduct, failed to make known exculpatory information, the flagrant nature of such conduct will be imputed to the prosecution. The panel explained that flagrant misconduct need not be intentional; reckless disregard for the prosecutions constitutional obligations is sufficient. Although it saw only negligence in the withholding of the TOC log records, the panel found no clear error in the district courts conclusion that the withholding of the surveillance-camera evidence, the 302s, and the threat assessments crossed the threshold from negligence to recklessness.
The panel observed that the prosecution withheld facially exculpatory evidence that directly negated the governments theory that the defendants lied about fearing snipers, and that the deliberate choices to withhold those documents were not cases of simple misjudgment. The panel wrote that although dismissal with prejudice requires a district court to find that no lesser remedial action is available, the panel understands by this phrase that a district court must conclude that no lesser remedy will fully address the damage caused by the governments misconduct.
The panel concluded that the district court, which thoroughly considered the prejudicial effects, did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the indictment with prejudice. The panel wrote that lesser sanctions would have given the government an opportunity to strengthen its case at the defendants expense, and noted the related need to impose a sanction that will serve to deter future prosecutions from engaging in the same misconduct as occurred here.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the confrontation. Days into the Bundys trial, the government began disclosing information in its possession that, under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), was arguably useful to the defense and should have been produced to the defendants well before trial. As additional documents came forth, the district court held a series of hearings, eventually deciding that the trial could not go forward and that the indictments must be dismissed with prejudice. Under Brady, [t]he prosecution is trusted to turn over evidence to the defense because its interest is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. Amado v. Gonzalez, 758 F.3d 1119, 113334 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Strickler v. Greene, 6 UNITED STATES V. BUNDY 527 U.S. 263, 281 (1999)).
A district court is imbued with discretion in the supervision of proceedings before it and may dismiss an action when, in its judgment, the defendant suffers substantial prejudice and where no lesser remedial action is available. United States v. Chapman, 524 F.3d 1073, 1087 (9th Cir. 2008) (citations and quotation marks omitted). Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm the judgment of the district court.
Was that a herd of pigs flying past my window?
Must have been a tough decision for the 9th. Conservative, Pro-2A ranchers vs BLM, two parties they hate.
More flagrant abuse from the DOJ.
The DOJ gang is worse than the mafia.
Great. Everything worked out in the end, despite the loon who almost got some Bundy supporters killed.
i thought the feds shot one of the guys via sniper
claimed he fired first
Government misconduct, withholding of exculpatory information, dismissal of charges...
Same issues, different result?
This is not the same 9th circuit since the advent of Trump.
The wrongful death (2016) of LaVoy Finicum lawsuit (the Oregon part of this mess) continues in Oregon.
I think I saw that video. The victim was ambushed from what I could see.
How will this influence the Flynn en banc proceedings?
A positive for Flynn either now or at the next step, imo.
My wife’s cousin was a successful defense attorney in California. He could go on for hours about the easy convictions that were lost by the DAs and cops because of just plain stupidity and incompetence. Hiding evidence from the defense will get your case tossed every time.
See #10, LaVoy Finicum was killed by an Oregon State Trooper. Lawsuit is about justifications for the shooting.
Lavoys murder/ambush by fed/state agents reviewed by retired police officer:
Documentary detailing the events was recently shown on cable. You can see on utube.... worth watching ....
And still this Durham guy is in Islamorada sipping a rumrunner/
Reading another James Patterson novel.
“More flagrant abuse from the DOJ.”
Bundy hasnt paid the federal government its due in more 25 years. Hes ignored his fees, fines, permits and multiple court orders since 1993 racking up more than a million dollars he owes the people of the US. The fines are a result of Bundy grazing his 900 cattle on 600,000 acres of bureau-managed public lands since 1993 without a permit.
Plenty of other ranchers pay their grazing fees; in fact, the Bureau of Land Management issues 18,000 permits for grazing on 160 million acres of public lands. The U.S. Forest Service allows grazing on an additional 81 million acres of public lands. And all it takes is a permit to be obtained. But Bundy decided he was not going to pay his due to the people that own that land.
And then to get people to assist him by threatening bodily harm to people trying to do the people’s business, is detestable.
Everyone raised he(( when the chop people took over a piece of Seattle for personal use illegally. And then forceable threatened the police trying to disperse them from the area they were using. And there is only one difference....Bundy’s been doing it for over 25 years.
An acquaintance got off of some VERY serious charges exactly that way. The person was a dirtbag, but the judge got incredibly pissed at the D.A.
There is no reason for the Federal Government to own all that land. They own up to half of several western states.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.