“Enough already!” That’s the message Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has for Justice Department prosecutors who are considering appealing his high-profile court win against them in the so-called “Bunkerville Standoff” trial.
Cliven Bundy rose to national prominence during that confrontation with government officials by challenging their authority over public land ownership and management. The government and media called it a “standoff,” but Cliven called it a “protest.”
In mid-December, Bundy’s attorney, Larry Klayman, wrote to Solicitor General Noel Francisco, urging him not to appeal U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro’s January 8, 2018 dismissal of all charges against Bundy and his sons stemming from the 2014 clash.
The 2017 criminal trial of Cliven Bundy and the others was the culmination of that 2014 incident which stemmed from over-reaching federal land-use policies thrust on eleven western states, most notably in Nevada, its origins; however, reaching much further back. The dispute started in 1993 when Cliven Bundy – in effect – “fired” the Bureau of Land Management for non-performance of their legally-required duties by declining to renew his permit for cattle grazing on BLM-administered public lands near Bunkerville, Nevada.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s persecution,” Klayman said in his letter to the Solicitor General, obtained by the Washington Times. Klayman – the founder of the Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch government watchdog groups – blasted the “gross injustice” committed by what he called “rogue Obama-era prosecutors” against Cliven Bundy and sons, Ammon and Ryan.
“After all they have gone through, including unlawful imprisonment for two years, it’s time to allow my clients to go on with their lives and not continue to be persecuted by a Department of ‘Injustice,’ which rather than meting out justice, ‘circles the wagons’ to try to unethically and unlawfully protect its own,” Klayman said in the December 18 letter.
Last January, Judge Navarro – in a stunning defeat for the federal government –scolded prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada for committing what she called “flagrant misconduct” by withholding evidence in the case from the defense. The case was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning the government is not allowed to retry the defendants regarding the standoff.
Trisha Young, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada, confirmed they had filed a protective notice in August to preserve the government’s right to appeal. She did not say whether the appeal would be filed.
Despite Navarro’s ruling, Klayman says he worries the office will seek to “take the monkey off the back” of Bundy’s federal prosecutor-team by taking their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
“If I wait and do nothing, and then the appeal goes forward, then it’s too late. The injustice is done just on the basis of having to go through this again,” Klayman said. “And it’s the 9th Circuit. God knows what could happen there.” The 9th Circuit is known for being one of the most liberal appeals courts in the nation.
This past October, Ryan Bundy (Cliven’s son) sued the Justice Department and FBI officials alleging “malicious prosecution.” In his lawsuit, he cited a BLM investigator who said in a memo that agents showed “clear prejudice” against the Bundy family by, for example, calling them “rednecks” and mocking their Mormon faith.
At the heart of the dispute is the Federal government’s claim to own up to 85% of Nevada land and the resources and government of it. That, the Bundy’s say, jeopardizes the freedom, liberty, and independence of the sovereign state’s constitutional right to self-govern its self and its citizens.
Precedence for this view begins with the Interdepartmental Committee for the Study of Jurisdiction over Federal Areas Within the States. In June, 1957, they concluded: “That there appears to be no question but that the requirement (referring to the United States Constitution’s Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17) was added simply to foreclose the possibility that a state might be destroyed by the Federal Government’s purchase of all the property within the state.”
In its final report – subsequent the 1957 ruling – the Committee drove home the point again, saying, “This power might enslave any particular state by buying up its territory, and that the strongholds would be a means of awing the state into undue obedience to the general (Federal) government.”
At issue: who owns the use rights – the individual or the government. The Bundy family maintains they own the water and grazing rights to the land they first settled in 1877.
But there is much more to this story of Cliven Bundy…so stay tuned.
Learn more about Cliven Bundy: American Terrorist Patriot or get your book copy here.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, ex-felon, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column. (MikeStickler.com)