Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Ammon Bundy's lawyer argues for his client's right to wear cowboy boots at trial

Before prospective jurors file into Courtroom 9A in the federal courthouse in downtown Portland Wednesday morning, the judge is expected to rule on whether the defendants in the Oregon standoff case who are in custody can wear neckties, belts and boots at trial as requested. Ammon Bundy's lawyer J. Morgan Philpot, argued that his client is innocent until proven guilty, and should be allowed to wear the civilian clothes that he chooses. "We would prefer our clients not look like disheveled slackers in front of the jury,'' Philpot told the judge during Tuesday's last pretrial conference hearing. Philpot added later in the day in a written motion, "These men are cowboys, and given that the jury will be assessing their authenticity and credibility, they should be able to present themselves to the jury in that manner.'' Ammon Bundy remarked in court that he's never even worn slip-on shoes or loafers before court on Tuesday. On August 27, the U.S. Marshal's Service sent an email to defendants, alerting them that certain clothing items won't be permitted at trial: "Ties, Bows, Belts, Handkerchiefs, Cuff Links, Steel toe boots/shoes, Shoe laces, Shirt tie down straps, Safety pins, Shirt pocket pen protectors." As a result, Ammon Bundy arranged to wear non-steel toe boots but was informed those aren't allowed either. U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown Tuesday afternoon asked Barbara Alfono, the deputy U.S marshal in charge of the Bundy trial, about the dress code. Alfono said the defendants who are in custody cannot wear ties, boots or belts as safety precautions. Those accessories could be used as weapons against deputy marshals or the defendants themselves, she said. Further, the defendants will be wearing shackles around their ankles when they're taken to and from the courthouse, and boots would interfere with them. Those shackles, however, will be removed once the defendants are in the courtroom. Philpot pressed further in court Tuesday, asking if he could provide boots for his client to change into once he's led into the courtroom, and before the jury is brought in...more

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