Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Malheur Judge Presses Prosecutors For Specifics In Misdemeanor Case

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown heard evidence Wednesday related to the misdemeanor charges against four defendants linked to last year’s armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. For the last three weeks, jurors in this second trial have watched videos, listened to witness testimony and spent hours looking at maps of the refuge — all related to felony charges brought by federal prosecutors. Testimony in that portion of the case wrapped up Tuesday and jurors began their deliberations Wednesday morning. At the same time, Brown conducted a hearing to address a series of misdemeanor charges the government added for defendants Jason Patrick, Duane Ehmer, Jake Ryan and Darryl Thorn. Those charges, which include trespassing and destruction of property, are being decided by Brown, not jurors. From the beginning, Brown pushed prosecutors to give specific evidence against each of the defendants. It was a theme that continued throughout much of the morning...Barrow pointed to a number of photos showing “employee only” signs on office doors, two others at the refuge entrance that said the refuge was open from sunrise to sunset and others. But Brown said the government needed to make evidence specific to each defendant. “You haven’t been,” she said. “It’s not the court’s duty to search for the evidence.” Barrow pointed to a photo that showed defendants Ehmer, Ryan and Thorn in the firehouse during the time of the occupation. The defense seized upon the questions raised by the judge. Andrew Kolhmetz, Patrick’s standby counsel, said no testimony in the trial indicated his client saw any signage. “The evidence is simply insufficient to show that he trespassed,” Kolhmetz argued...more

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