Saturday, January 07, 2017

Marcus Mumford's prosecution is an 'unprecedented attack on the defense bar,' his lawyer says

Marcus Mumford, Ammon Bundy's lawyer who U.S. marshals tackled and stunned with a Taser gun in federal court on the day his client was acquitted, returned to the same courtroom Friday to appear in his own criminal case. His attorney, Michael Levine, entered a not guilty plea on Mumford's behalf to charges of failing to comply with the lawful direction of a federal police officer and impeding or disrupting official government duties, both misdemeanors. The maximum penalty for each offense is 30 days in custody and a $5,000 fine. Deputy marshals tackled Mumford as he questioned the government's authority to continue to hold Bundy on federal charges pending in Nevada and demanded to see paperwork to back it up. "What happened here is an unprecedented attack on the defense bar,'' Levine said after the brief hearing Friday. He called the use of a stun gun and Mumford's arrest "outrageous,'' saying Mumford was doing nothing more than engaging in zealous advocacy for his client. Mumford, 43, flew in from Utah to appear briefly before U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Ohms, both assigned from Washington state after federal judges and prosecutors in Oregon recused themselves from the case. "Mr. Mumford, you have the right to remain silent. Do you understand that?'' Coughenour asked. "Yes,'' Mumford said. Oregon's federal public defender Lisa Hay, wearing a "FREE MARCUS MUMFORD'' button on her blazer, other defense attorneys from the Bundy case and court staff crowded into the courtroom to watch the proceeding. Hay said she came to show her support for a defense attorney who was "physically assaulted while advocating for his client in the courtroom and not in disobedience of any judicial order.'' Judges can find attorneys or others in contempt of court, but Hay called it an "abuse of power'' for defense lawyers to face physical force from marshals. "The limits on vigorous advocacy are set by the judiciary by contempt powers, not by the executive branch and its marshals through use of force against defense attorneys,'' Hay said. Mumford is expected to argue that there was a "pattern of overreaction'' by  marshals who "initiated conflict unnecessarily'' during the case, according to emails he sent to federal court. He has requested video surveillance footage of the encounter as well as any video footage of two earlier incidents with marshals in court. On the day of the Bundy acquittal, Mumford stood before U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown and argued that Bundy should be released from custody immediately...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Right to a fair trial seems to go out the window, when dealing with Federal Abuse of private citizens and their defense attorneys.