Oregon occupiers acquitted: one juror’s statement

An Oregon jury has reached a verdict acquitting the occupiers of the Malheur wildlife refuge (earlier) of conspiracy charges. In seeking to explain this outcome, it may help to know about a detailed letter from a juror in the case, published in The Oregonian. Obviously, one juror’s view is not definitive in such a case.

I am indebted to reader J.B. for the following rough paraphrase of some themes and highlights of the juror’s letter:

* We didn’t intend to affirm or endorse the defendants’ views.

* We were certainly convinced that the defendants’ actions caused a lot of real-world disruption and damage.

* We don’t want to encourage other people to do stuff like that and regret the possibility that the acquittal might do that.

* The government had a complicated theory that, according to the law as the judge explained it to us, made the defendants’ subjective intentions more significant than the actual effects of their actions.

* We didn’t think the evidence about the defendants’ subjective intentions was strong enough to meet the legal standard for conviction under the government’s complicated theory as the judge explained the law to us.

* We’re frankly kind of puzzled as to why the government didn’t charge less complicated crimes like criminal trespass that might have been easier to get a conviction for.

All of which is not short enough to fit on a bumper sticker. The report by the Oregonian’s Maxine Bernstein, again, is here.


  • As we trial consultants and jury jocks point out to our attorney clients: You don’t tell a jury what your case is about… A jury tells YOU what your case is about.

  • The Bundy verdict really offers the best of all possible outcomes. It highlights the heavy handed mismanagement of public land by the BLM and other federal agencies, and their failure to get a conviction in this case was at least partly due to their efforts to concoct a more serious charge than the simple trespass that the defendants were clearly guilty of. It is rare for the common man to win such a confrontation with the feds, as Ruby Ridge and the fate of the Weaver family solemnly witness. So all of us can bask in the victory of having bloodied the BLM’s nose, and we are all now reminded that the government does not care about you, or your children, or their future or yours, or the land or the environment. The government cares only about extending its own power and minimizing the liability of its employees as they do that. In that context, this was a resounding victory for the liberty of all Americans.

  • Both links are to an article about the juror’s letter but I don’t see the letter itself. is it not published?

  • “The government had a complicated theory that”

    The more you overtake the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.

  • That was my first thought — they were overcharged.

    Why not “criminal trespass” or even “armed robbery”?