Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Jury hears closings in Nevada ranch standoff trial in Las Vegas
A jury in Las Vegas was asked Wednesday to decide if gunmen who brought assault-style rifles to a 2014 protest near Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy's ranch prevented violence against unarmed protesters during a tense standoff or committed armed acts of violence against federal agents.
Defense attorneys representing two Idaho men among the six defendants standing trial for forcing the government to end a round-up of cattle from public land told the U.S. District Court jury their clients committed no crimes.
Defendant Steven Stewart exercised his First Amendment right to free speech by using his Second Amendment right to have firearms, defense lawyer Richard Tanasi said.
"This is a case of standing up for what you believe in," the attorney said. "A protest is not a conspiracy."
Earlier, prosecutor Nicholas Dickinson told jurors that even though no shots were fired, federal agents were the victims of crimes of violence by gunmen supporting a Bundy conspiracy to free his cattle exactly three years ago.
The agents were assaulted, threatened and impeded from carrying out U.S. District Court orders to impound Bundy cattle, Dickinson said.
"You can't just go vigilante and resist law enforcement officers," he said. "You especially cannot do it with guns." Defendant Eric Parker's lawyer told jurors that Parker decided to go to a place he'd never been to help people he'd never met because he was incensed by internet reports that Bundy family members had been arrested and injured during earlier confrontations with U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents using dogs and stun guns.
"Some people protest with signs. Other people protest with guns," attorney Jess Marchese said. "At the end of the day, no one was hurt, and that's the important thing."Deliberations are expected to take time. Chief District Judge Gloria
Navarro spent 45 minutes just reading aloud the instructions the jury
will rely on to weigh two months of testimony and reach verdicts on 10
charges including weapon violations, conspiracy, obstruction, extortion
and threatening and assaulting a federal agent...more