Thursday, February 02, 2017

Oregon standoff figure wants new judge for non-jury trial

An Oregon man has asked for a different federal judge to handle his non-jury trial on misdemeanor charges stemming from last winter’s armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Duane Ehmer and his attorney said in a court filing late Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Anna Brown might not be impartial and should recuse herself. Ehmer, 46, is one of seven defendants preparing for a jury trial this month on felony charges filed after the 41-day standoff in southeastern Oregon. Judge Brown, who is overseeing the jury trial, ruled last week that misdemeanor charges faced by Ehmer and others will later be heard in a separate trial before a judge. Brown wrote that she saw no reason why she should not oversee the non-jury trial. But Ehmer and attorney Michele Kohler cite comments Brown reportedly made in a private meeting with jurors who acquitted standoff leader Ammon Bundy and six others in a trial last fall. Brown said at the Oct. 27 verdict that she planned to meet with the 12 jurors and thank them for their nearly two months of service. A man identified as Juror No. 4 later told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the judge answered their questions during the meeting. Juror No. 4 said he and other jurors felt prosecutors offered insufficient evidence for a felony conspiracy conviction and asked Brown why different charges were not brought. “(Brown) not only answered questions the jurors had, but also discussed the merits of the case with specific reference to potential misdemeanor offenses that could have been used by the government,” Ehler’s court filing says...more

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