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Oregon Wildlife Refuge Standoff Acquittal

I’m not a big supporter of the what the wildlife refuge standoff folks did, but I’m heartened by this result because I absolutely support jury nullification and wish more people were aware of it and would use it more often. I don’t believe juries should nullify lightly, but I think it’s a critically important check the people retain against the power of the state, and in this case the federal government has just reaped the resentment is has spend years sowing with western ranchers.

10 Responses to “Oregon Wildlife Refuge Standoff Acquittal”

  1. Ian Argent says:

    One thing I found out in the course of reading up on the case was the large number of “federal informants” involved.

    The implication of testimony quoted by the Oregonian was that there was a certain amount of “escalation” being driven by the informants. There may also have been some overcharging done by the prosecutors.

  2. dittybopper says:

    It gets even better: The defense attorney was arguing that the judge should release Ammon Bundy instead of handing him over to US Marshals for trial in Nevada because Nevada has no jurisdiction in Oregon and the US Marshals hadn’t presented any legal paperwork to the court to maintain custody of Bundy.

    The US Marshals in the court then surrounded the defense attorney after being told by the judge to back off, tackled him, tased him, and took him into custody:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/10/as_trial_ends_surreal_scene_le.html

    Yes, they arrested him in court, against the judge’s orders, for defending his client.

    Let that sink in a little bit.

    • Brad says:

      Yeah I heard about that. Freaking nuts. And one more example of the Thugocracy our nation is devolving into.

  3. AnOregonian says:

    I’m not at all convinced that there was any jury nullification going on.

    Here’s what I expect the major factors were…
    1.) The conspiracy charges are really hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Short of the individuals in question outright admitting to conspiracy, 1st amendment protesting is your reasonable doubt.

    2.) Just simple confusion due to the large number of defendants and the volume of circumstantial and inconsequential evidence presented. For example a big deal was made of the fact that there was a shooting range run during the occupation (by an FBI informant) and thousands of rounds fired, but that didn’t in any way tie into the charges against any of the defendants. Then in amongst that sort of non-sequitur, real evidence tying defendants to a crime was likely lost on the jury.

    If the government wanted the conspiracy charges, they should have gone for the Bundys only on that and in a stand alone trial.

    Then for the rest, the government should have gone for some tried and true anti-protester charges like criminal mischief, disturbing the peace, vandalism, and trespassing. They likely would have gotten some sort of satisfaction going that route.

    • Archer says:

      Remember that some of the charges were firearms-related. Specifically, having firearms inside the federal facility at the Malheur refuge, which is a federally-mandated “gun-free zone”.

      The defendants never disputed their possession of firearms, there were pictures, video, testimony, etc., and the only defense offered was a rather weak, “If we hadn’t been armed, they’d have arrested us immediately and we wouldn’t have gotten our message out,” which has precisely zero legal validity. By all accounts, the prosecutors should have had them dead-to-rights on those charges, if nothing else.

      The jury unanimously (after they got the former BLM employee booted off) found them not guilty.

      That’s gotta be some kind of nullification, right?

      • AnOregonian says:

        Perhaps, but the government’s focus seemed to be that there were guns AT the facility, while the crime is guns INSIDE the facility.

        I’m just saying that by drowning the jury in AT the facility evidence, that it became easy to miss the few pieces of truly INSIDE the facility evidence.

        Or maybe there was nullification, idk.

  4. rd says:

    Maybe the reason why the seven defendants were acquitted was that the Government could not prove that the seven defendants brought in the guns, and that the nine to fifteen Governmeny Informants did not bring in the guns?

    That many snitches, provacateurs, spies, and liars inciting the small group over weeks of time probably made it hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants were the sole law breakers, not the informants.

  5. Brad says:

    The defendants who plea bargained with the Feds instead of going to trial must really be kicking themselves about now!

  6. Brad says:

    The Usual Suspects (NYT, WP, etc.) are panicking inappropriately over the verdicts.

  7. TS says:

    This verdict sprouted some absurd leftists memes in regards to the ND pipeline protests. Namely- white cowboys get away scot free while riot cops and the national guard get called in on Native Americans because racist! To which my response is, “Really? You see that guy with the cowboy hat in the middle of those rangers? He didn’t get away scot free. He’s dead. Because the ‘racists’ used real bullets on him instead of bean bags.”

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