Search Results for ‘malheur’

Occupy Malheur and the Bundy boys’ bait

My take on the Oregon standoff, this morning at The Federalist:

As my Cato Institute colleague Randal O’Toole skillfully explained, none of the protagonists in the Oregon standoff really deserve our admiration: the Hammond ranching family misbehaved, the federal government overcharged, and then the Bundy cranks arrived to spray kerosene on the glowing embers….

Unlawful protest occupations of public places and government buildings have long been a familiar part of American public life, and even those not involving arms sometimes have rather serious consequences for the health and well-being of innocent bystanders….

In the ordinary calculations of humanity, events like Waco and Ruby Ridge and the Philadelphia MOVE bombing represent a grotesque failure. Despite the spirit of the mob and the ever-present temptation to shoot first, most such situations in our country are resolved with legal consequences for the wrongdoers but not with loss of life and limb. We should be glad of that.

Read the whole thing here. I’ve covered the earlier Bundy Nevada standoff in this space, as well as the wider phenomenon I call folk law. For more coverage of occupations, blockades, and acts of physical intimidation that were resolved without bloodshed (and sometimes without later legal consequences to those who broke the law) see our tag on selective law non-enforcement, including this from 2011 about how some cheered when unionized Wisconsin police announced solidarity with protesters occupying the state capitol and refused orders to oust them.

More: Randal O’Toole has a new post up on the Hammonds’ actions and punishment.

Update: jury acquits in Nevada Bundy standoff

“For the second time this year, the federal government tried and failed to convict four men who joined the high-profile Bundy family in its 2014 [Nevada] standoff with federal agents in a dispute over grazing fees for cattle.” Two defendants were acquitted of all charges, and two others were acquitted of most with the jury hanging on the remainder. [Melissa Etehad and David Montero, L.A. Times] Both the armed Nevada standoff, and the later Bundy family takeover of the unoccupied Malheur wildlife refuge in Oregon, played at the time as big crisis stories. Despite the weakness of many of the underlying legal claims about land advanced by the protesters, federal prosecutors have struggled to obtain convictions; the Oregon takeover resulted in acquittals in October [our earlier coverage] [revised and corrected; an earlier version of this post had been based on confused chronology]

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.

Bundy group’s claims are non-starters legally

Les Saitz in The Oregonian examines the constitutional land and sovereignty claims of the Malheur occupiers, which tend to sound in what I have previously called folk law. Many in the group were arrested last night. One final point: the Bundy group can call itself a militia if it likes, but only in the same sense that Dorothy Parker could call herself the Queen of Rumania. Earlier here.

Environment roundup

January 15 roundup

  • Malheur standoff: here come the self-styled “citizens’ grand jury” hobbyists [Oregonian, my two cents on this branch of folk law, earlier]
  • Your egg-flipping, coffee-guzzling grandma was right all along about nutrition, federal government now seems gradually to be conceding [Washington Post]
  • “Obama’s State of the Union pledge to push for bipartisan redistricting reform was a late add” [L.A. Times, Politico, American Prospect, Todd Eberly on Twitter, some earlier takes here and here]
  • More Charlie Hebdo retrospectives after a year [Anthony Fisher, Reason] Another bad year for blasphemers [Sarah McLaughlin, more] The magazine’s false friends [Andrew Stuttaford; hadn’t realized that departing NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos, who so curiously compared the magazine’s contents to “hate speech unprotected by the Constitution,” has lately held “the James Madison Visiting Professorship on First Amendment Issues” at the Columbia School of Journalism]
  • “The Ten Most Significant Class Action Cases of 2015” [Andrew Trask]
  • More from Cato on Obama’s “mishmash” of executive orders on guns [Adam Bates, Tim Lynch, Emily Ekins]
  • The “worst and most counter-productive legal complaint that’s been filed in a long, long time” [Barry Rascovar, Maryland Reporter on move by ACLU of Maryland/NAACP Legal Defense Fund to challenge as racially discriminatory the decision to cancel construction of a new Baltimore subway line]