Judge Dismisses Bundy Case With Prejudice After Finding of Extensive Unethical Conduct By Federal Prosecutors

600px-US-DeptOfJustice-Seal.svg DOJAnother major case has been thrown out due to prosecutorial abuse by the United States Department of Justice.  We have previously discussed cases where federal prosecutors have withheld evidence and filed false or misleading statements to the court.  Now,  U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro has issued a dismissal with prejudice against the Justice Department in the case against Cliven Bundy and his sons due to what Navarro describes as flagrant and knowing violations of professional ethics and federal law by the Justice Department.  In past cases, the Justice Department has shown little commitment to discipline, let alone terminate, anyone for the violations (or the waste of millions of dollars).  In this case, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called for a review of the case.

Once again, the Justice Department has been accused of  violating the Brady Rule, the foundational evidentiary rule that requires prosecutors to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense.  The Justice Department has been a serial violator of Brady for decades.
While many judges seem to struggle to avoid findings of misconduct against federal prosecutors, Navarro remained firm in upholding the basic tenets of judicial independence and integrity. By dismissing with prejudice, she barred the Justice Department from trying the defendants again in light of the misconduct of the federal prosecutors.
The federal prosecutors have not been particularly successful in their past efforts.  Two Las Vegas juries acquitted or deadlocked on felony charges against Ammon Bundy, 42, and Ryan Bundy, 44. They faced  beat federal felony charges in a case stemming from a 41-day standoff at an Oregon wildlife preserve two years ago.
The latest case was troubling in its effort to use the exercise of free speech as the basis for criminal charges — claiming that Bundy and his sons engaged in inflammatory rhetoric in opposing the government’s effort to stop the grazing cattle outside Bunkerville, Nev., in 2014. The four defendants were charged with threatening a federal officer, carrying and using a firearm and engaging in conspiracy/

Assistant U.S. Atty. Steven Myhre maintained that the federal team had simply “culled the database with witness protection in mind.”  Navarro did not buy it for good reason.

 

The judge earlier detailed six different types of evidence withheld by the government. This evidence include the presence of an FBI camera on a hill overlooking the Bundy ranch.  The DOJ mocked allegations by the defendants that there were devices planted near the ranch while knowingly withholding evidence of at least one such device.  There were also maps and threat assessments that seemed to support the public statements by the Bundys that they were being surrounded.  Some of these documents were linked to lead bureau special agent Dan Love, who was later fired by the agency. Other evidence showed that an agent did appear near the ranch in tactical gear and carrying a heavy weapon before the call went out for support.

The evidence would have led credence to the call by the Bundys for help in dealing with threats from the government.

Some of the most serious allegations, in my view, dealt with the withholding of threat assessments that concluded that the Bundy did not represent a likely threat of violence.  Such assessments were developed by the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism unit, the FBI Nevada Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Gold Buttle Cattle Impound Risk Assessment and the Bureau of Land Management.

The result has been the expenditure of millions on prosecutions based in part on some troubling theories and advanced through unethical means. Yet, there is not even a suggestion of discipline from Main Justice, which is why this pattern will continue in federal courts.  The Justice Department has never shown a particularly credible record of policing its own ranks.  The Brady violations reflect the absence of any real deterrent due to this culture of tolerance and willful blindness at Main Justice.  Hopefully, the review ordered by Sessions will result in real changes and actions by Main Justice to deal with this persistent problem. However, in seeking changes, Sessions will face a bureaucracy with a proven record of resistance to reform.

58 thoughts on “Judge Dismisses Bundy Case With Prejudice After Finding of Extensive Unethical Conduct By Federal Prosecutors”

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  7. Although it may seem trivial, it’s VITALLY important the Justice Department change it’s name to a more legally accurate name like: “Attorney General’s Office” -or- “Prosecutor’s Office”.

    Especially with post-9/11 Cointelpro style blacklisting tactics – used by the federal, state and local agencies – the average American is misled into believing the Justice Department is there to protect them or defend their constitutional rights. Most regular citizens didn’t attend law school. when being harassed by local and state officials, average citizens used to trust the DOJ to protect their rights.

    In reality the U.S. Department of Justice and DHS drive and fund blacklisting programs that punish, destroy and sometimes kill innocent Americans. The DOJ also obstructs justice and allows material evidence to be lost. John Ashcroft even tortured and falsely imprisoned innocent Americans – primarily using employment tampering – abusing the federal “Material Witness Statute”.

    For example: telecommunications companies supposedly only keep cell-phone records, emails, etc. for 3-8 years. If a blacklistee reports federal “color of law” violations of federal criminal statutes, the DOJ pretended to investigate whike allowing the cases to exceed 8 years – destroying material evidence of Bush war crimes – affecting the outcome of federal court cases.

    If the DOJ were instead named the “Prosecutor’s Office” instead of using “Justice Department” many plaintiffs may have seeked out ACLU attorneys instead of prosecutors with gross conflicts of interest. Any honest federal judge should demand a name change – it misleads defenseless plaintiffs.

  8. As always:

    “*** Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperilled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. ***” Justice Brandeis, OLMSTEAD v. UNITED STATES 277 U.S. 438 (1928)

  9. Congress must exercise its full constitutional authority and establish an “impeachment mill” that will strengthen and accelerate the impeachment process to manage the ever increasing burden of crimes of high office particularly in the judicial branch, the members of which have failed to implement the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution acting with powers not authorized and powers forbidden.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    “…courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

    and

    “…men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Alexander Hamilton –

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

  10. The judge should send all the prosecutors to a SuperMax for at least 5 years. That is the minimum time one of the Bundy’s would have done..

    1. If Mike Nifong, of Duke lacrosse fame, was stripped of his license and thrown in the slammer for false prosecution, and these distinguished public servants of the judicial branch deserve such, what must be done with Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller, who is willfully and deliberately conspiring, as we speak, to falsely incriminate another as his contribution to the unfolding coup d’etat in America?

  11. Cases like this one, and the scores of other abuses and malfeasance at the U.S. Justice Department, prove yet again that Inspector General’s Office that is charged with conducting audits and investigates of the U.S. Justice Department is a total and complete FAILURE.

    This IG division is supposed to look into–among other things–“alleged violations of fraud, abuse and integrity laws that govern DOJ employees, operations, grantees and contractors. Investigations Division Special Agents develop cases for criminal prosecution, civil, or administrative action.”

    And what has this IG actually done in its many decades of existence? Zilch, nothing, nada, ugatz! Taxpayers could save tons of money just by eliminating ALL of the IG offices in the US Government. They all do absolutely nothing of value.

    1. The problem with federal IG offices is that each agency has its own IG, and the employees and managers rotate back and forth between the IG and the agency. An IG Agent is not going to come down too hard on agency managers that he may be looking to for a promotion some day. I believe the federal government needs an IG, but it should be a completely independent, stand-alone Bureau, not the current situation where each government agency has its own in-house IG. This would also streamline and help eliminate overlap in IG functions.

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