Federal Land Ownership Hot Topic in Malheur Trial
By Shari Dovale and Aubrie Bosworth
As much as Judge Anna Brown is trying to keep out the issue of who owns the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, it keeps sneaking back into the testimony.
Judge Brown has repeatedly stated that the issues of Federal land ownership will not be litigated during this trial. She wants the subject to be buried as deeply as possible. However, it is intricate to the trial.
The defendants firmly believe that the Malheur Refuge does not belong to the Federal government. That goes right to the heart of their intent. If their intent is to be judged by the jury, they must first fully understand this.
Additionally, Brown does not realize that there is precedent for this issue. Anthony Bosworth was arrested in February 2015 for carrying firearms on federal property, specifically the Federal Courthouse plaza in Spokane, Washington.
Though he was in the public plaza and street, he was arrested as if he was inside the courthouse. His defense was that he was not on Federal property, but on public property.
This necessitated the prosecutors to prove that he was on Federal property. They had to dig up blueprints, etc to show their was a previously unknown parking garage under the street that was considered part of the courthouse. They were able to utilize this information to extend the land around the courthouse, and charge Bosworth.
The Malheur trial brings the issue forward again, and should at least require the discussion during the trial, if not a Motion for Dismissal for not allowing it.
The defendants believe they can prove that the Malheur Wildlife Refuge does not belong to the Federal government. They are being charged with crimes ON Federal land. If so, they charges they are being tried for would be moot.
This is not a given. It should not be treated as such. Let the Federal Government prove their ownership.