Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Federal judge declines to release Ammon Bundy, brother Ryan Bundy from custody

U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones ruled Tuesday that Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan Bundy must remain in custody pending trial, saying he was concerned they might ignore court-imposed conditions, not return to court or recruit others to stage another unlawful standoff if released. In a three-page written ruling, the judge found there were no conditions that he could impose that would "reasonably assure their appearance in court or the safety of the community'' if he were to grant them pretrial release. The ruling followed a three-hour hearing Monday afternoon in which the Bundy brothers and Ammon Bundy's lawyer argued that they're not violent, were engaged in a peaceful political protest to stake claim to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and were never ordered to leave the refuge. They both said they're eager to fight the government's indictment in court. Jones noted that the Bundy brothers conceded that they were the leaders and instigators of the refuge occupation, under a group they called "Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.'' The Bundys organized supporters to come armed to resist intervention by federal authorities, and controlled access to and from the refuge. They set up "military-style armed personnel'' to patrol the perimeter and stand guard in a watchtower, and the Bundys ignored requests to disperse, Jones wrote in his ruling. "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,'' Jones wrote. "Furthermore, they believe that placing an armed force between officials seeking to enforce lawful orders and themselves is justified by their interpretation of the Constitution. '' Jones, as he said in court on Monday, found that the Bundys' attempt to take over the federal wildlife sanctuary through an adverse possession claim isn't legally possible against the federal government. Adverse possession is the occupation of land to which another person has title with the intention of possessing it as one's own. "They based their actions on their misinterpretation of adverse possession law and their misguided interpretation of criminal and constitutional law,'' Jones wrote...more

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