Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Case 3:16-cr-00051-BR Document 903 Filed 07/19/16 Page 1of 3
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON PORTLAND DIVISION
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
AMMON BUNDY, RYAN BUNDY
Case. No. 3:16-00051-BR
ORDER ON MOTION FOR
RELEASE FROM PRETRIAL
Defendants Ammon and Ryan Bundy appeared before this court on their Joint Motion to Revoke Detention Orders and Motion for Pretrial Release (#892). After hearing argument from the parties, I make the following findings.
Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy each has a wife and children, a home and a business to attend. Neither man possesses a passport. Defendants have strong ties to family and their father, who led an armed standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada in 2014. Defendants participated in that purportedly illegal activity and are now on court detainer from the Nevada federal court.
Two years after the activities in Nevada, Ammon and Ryan Bundy concede that they were the instigators and leaders of the group that occupied the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, which they named the "Citizens for Constitutional Freedom." The group was aimed with weaponry with which to resist intervention by federal authorities. Authorities seized over 50 firearms,
Case 3:16-cr-00051-BR Document 903 Filed 07/19/16 Page 2 of 3
6000 rounds of live ammunition and 1000 rounds of spent shell casings from the Malheur site following the occupation. Defendants directed the group to set up a perimeter to control ingress and egress. They posted military-style armed personnel to create and patrol a perimeter of the site and to man an overlook tower. Ammon Bundy cut down a government fence at the refuge. Defendants ignored requests to disperse. They based their actions on their misinterpretation of adverse possession law and their misguided interpretation of criminal and constitutional law.
As to Ryan Bundy, he does indeed present some risk of flight as demonstrated by his aborted attempt to escape custody. In Ryan Bundy's cell, jail personnel found a rope made with multiple sheets tied together, additional strips of torn sheets, extra pillow cases, towels, clothing and food. I reject his excuse that he was practicing braiding.
While I find they do not pose a risk of fleeing the country, I find their participation in the armed standoff in Nevada and the fact that they condoned the use of an arsenal of weapons at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge demonstrate they believe they are justified in refusing lawful federal orders. Furthermore, they believe that placing an armed force between officials seeking to enforce lawful orders and themselves justified by their interpretation of the Constitution.
Thus, I find it likely that if released, they may well ignore the conditions of release imposed by this court and enforced by a federal pretrial services officer. They may fail to appear for court hearings and trial. More dangerously, they may attempt to recruit another standoff or occupation just as in the Nevada episode in 2014 and at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge earlier this year and to resist with armed forces federal authorities enforcing lawful federal orders. These factors are sufficient to satisfy me with clear and convincing evidence that no combination of conditions I can impose would reasonably assure their appearance in court or the safety of the community.
Case 3:16-cr-00051-BR Document 903 Filed 07/19/16 Page 3 of 3
Defendants' Joint Motion to Revoke Detention Orders and Motion for Pretrial Release is DENIED (#892). Ammon Bundy's Motion to Consolidate Pretrial Detention Hearings with the Nevada court (#881) is DENIED and Ryan Bundy's Motion for Joinder to that motion (#893) is MOOT. What the Nevada court does as to its detention order is up to that court without intervention or consolidation with this court. It is so ordered.
Dated this _d day of July, 2016.
Robert T. Jones, Senior Judge
United States District Court
Friday, July 15, 2016
Harney County Residents: “Danger and Intimidation” in Burns by FBI “militarized zone;” agents “aggressive and threatening” with “fingers on triggers”
In support of their motion for release, Ammon Bundy’s attorneys attached 22 affidavits of witnesses who rebutted the government narrative that the refuge was damaged by the protestors and that the protesters were intimidating. The defense contends through these witnesses that the government siege of Harney County was intimidating to residents and visitors alike.
[Download affidavits here.]
[Download affidavits here.]
Agents had hands on gun holsters
A 65-year-old, lifetime resident of Harney County swore that he visited the refuge a number of times and “found the people there to be friendly.” He said that “[t]hey did not stop anyone from coming or going, and anyone was welcome to go there and talk with them.”
|FBI Agents in Harney County|
He that approximately three days after LaVoy Finnicum’s death, he had engine problems and pulled over and popped the hood to inspect it near the Grange Hall. He said that he was “soon approached by armed government agents. The agents had their hands on their gun holsters, and the holsters appeared to be unsnapped.”
“A Militarized Zone”
Another Harney County resident, a woman, was curious about the protest and visited the refuge in January. She “found the people gathered at the Refuge” to be “nonthreatening and very friendly.” She said that no one was blocking the entrance or stopping people from coming and going. She also observed that the “place was very clean and well maintained.”
She contrasted that experience with the “danger and intimidation” in Burns due to the “armed FBI agents [who] took over the town and turned it into a militarized zone.” She saw more guns on the FBI agents around town than among the people at the refuge.
Refuge never barricaded; open to all comers
A Harney County rancher swore that the refuge was never barricaded and the public “always had an unfettered right to enter the Refuge at any time and to stay as long as anyone wanted to.” He also pointed out that it was customary to go armed to the refuge and to open carry rifles, which doesn’t alarm the surrounding community.
The three times he visited during the protest he saw no guns displayed and he “walked and drove freely around the place.” He contrasted that to the government occupation of Harney County which “was being swarmed by hundreds of heavily-armed government agents of all types. [He] saw many dozens of military-style law enforcement vehicles around Burns” and three “Blackhawk-style military government helicopters in Harney County.”
Governments agents brandished firearms recklessly
He saw dangerous posturing by government agents at the Harney County Courthouse, recklessly brandishing firearms, many with “fingers on the triggers” that “appeared aggressive and threatening.”
USFWS Employee Not Impeded?
An Idaho “citizen journalist” claimed to have seen a uniformed US Fish and Wildlife Service employee at the refuge talking to Ryan Bundy. That USFWS man “then casually walked to his US government vehicle and drove away.”
Aggressive FBI Agents Around Town
Another man claimed that FBI agents “appeared to drive like reckless drunk drivers, speeding up behind people and then slamming on their brakes.” He felt that the refuge was the “safest place to be in Harney County” during the occupation.
Burns’ fire chief, Chris Briels, echoed the sentiments of the other affiants, noting that the government personnel in Burns was “very aggressive” with armed snipers on the roof of the courthouse. He resigned as a result.
A 15-year female resident of Burns “observed that the local Burns law enforcement officials, joined by federal officials exploited and wildly exaggerated claims regarding constitutionalists camping at the [refuge.]” She said that “Burns became a Soviet-style police state” with government agents everywhere.
Occupiers Cleaned Up Refuge
Another resident of Burns said that the USFWS “casually displayed Indian artifacts out front in the elements” and that the “condition of the place at the refuge improved and got cleaner during the four times that [he] visited during the occupation.”
A rancher from Harney County had observed the refuge before the occupation and stated that the facilities were “extremely filthy” and that “the government had allowed equipment and facilities to become deteriorated and in disrepair.” He juxtaposed that with the protestors who “were busily cleaning up and fixing the facilities.”
A 48-year-old Cherokee/Choctaw man signed an affidavit claiming he had experience in indigenous toolmaking and stated that he was featured in a documentary on Oregon Public Broadcasting. He swore that the Malheur Wildlife Refute “was never known as a significant or sacred Paiute Indian camping, settlement, or burial ground.” He stated that it was no more significant than the rest of Harney County.
Release Hearing Pending
Next up for the Bundy Brothers is a new release hearing before District Court Judge Jones.
[Download affidavits here.]
[Download affidavits here.]