Judge upholds dismissal of charges in Cliven Bundy case

by WorldTribune Staff, July 5, 2018

The dismissal of charges against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and a family friend was “not in error,” a federal judge ruled.

Conspiracy charges against Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne were dismissed in January. / Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro on July 3 rejected the prosecution’s request to reconsider her dismissal of the case.

“The Court’s finding of outrageous government conduct was not in error,” Navarro wrote in her 11-page ruling on July 3, which was obtained by The Oregonian. “On the contrary, a universal sense of justice was violated by the Government’s failure to provide evidence that is potentially exculpatory.”

Navarro on Jan. 8 dismissed conspiracy charges against Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne after finding that prosecutors had acted “with prejudice” throughout the trial, The Oregonian reported.

The judge said prosecutors violated federal law and failed to share evidence favorable to the defendants’ case with the court.

“The Court gave somber consideration to the ramifications of its Order and found that it was in the interest of justice to dismiss the case with prejudice,” Navarro wrote. “A motion for reconsideration should not be ‘used to ask the Court to rethink what it has already thought.’ ”

Prosecutors requested the court grant another trial against the Bundys and Payne, calling the missteps and violations throughout the trial “inadvertent.”

“The Brady violations found by the court are regrettable and benefit no one,” Nevada’s Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre wrote in a legal brief, according to The Oregonian. “But because the government neither flagrantly violated nor recklessly disregarded its obligations, the appropriate remedy for such violations is a new trial.”

In her prior order, Navarro wrote “The evidence that the Government failed to disclose, such as the insertion and positioning of snipers and cameras surveilling the Bundy home, is evidence of provocation. The Government’s theory of prosecution relies on the fact that Defendants were acting offensively instead of defensively. The evidence that the Government failed to disclose could have assisted Defendants in showing that the officers were engaging in provocative conduct and that Defendants were not the aggressors. Therefore, the undisclosed evidence might have supported a theory of self-defense.”

The judge said she had considered alternative sanctions, such as a potential retrial or lesser penalties.

“However, the Court found that no lesser sanction would adequately deter future investigatory and prosecutorial misconduct,” Navarro wrote.

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