Friday, March 18, 2016

Ryan Bundy becomes second defendant in Oregon standoff case to waive right to an attorney

Ryan Bundy, facing four federal charges in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, formally waived his right to an attorney Friday, telling the court he prefers to speak on his own behalf. "I need to be able to speak when the time is right,'' Bundy said, addressing U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown. Bundy, 43, said he was disturbed during a previous hearing when the judge told his younger brother, Ammon Bundy, not to address the court and let his lawyers do the talking. "I feel it very important that I need not be silenced when I need to be able to speak,'' Bundy said. Brown cautioned him that he's placing himself at serious risk because of his lack of legal training and made sure he understood the charges and the potential sentences he could face. "The stakes here are extremely high,'' Brown said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Barrow explained the four charges Bundy faces: conspiring to impede federal officers from doing their work at the refuge, possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in a federal facility, the use and carrying of firearms in relation to a crime of violence and theft of government property. Ryan Bundy could face between five years and life in prison if convicted of the charges. The use and carrying of firearms charge brings a maximum sentence of life in prison to a mandatory minimum mandatory sentence of five years. Bundy, who has pleaded not guilty, actually corrected Barrow after the prosecutor mistakenly cited 10 years as the maximum sentence for the firearms possession charge. "The defendant is correct. It is a five-year maximum,'' Barrow acknowledged. Bundy was respectful throughout the hearing, consistently addressing Brown as "Your honor'' and thanking her for her advice and instructions. He had a folder of papers open before him on the defense counsel's table. The judge inquired if Bundy has had prior experience in courtrooms. He said he has represented himself in the past on minor cases, including the alleged theft of a water meter, a resisting arrest case and a traffic citation....more

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