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Malheur Protest Trial #2 Begins Next Week

Testimony should begin on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

Malheur Protest Trial #2 Begins Next Week

by Shari Dovale

Monday brought plea agreements for three of the remaining defendants in the Malheur Protest Trial due to begin next week.

Dylan Anderson of Provo, Utah, and Sean and Sandy Anderson, from Idaho, two of the final four holdouts, reached agreements with the prosecution.

Each plead guilty to a single misdemeanor trespass charge, receiving a sentence of probation and $1,000 fines. All felony charges were dropped.

Darryl Thorn was offered the same arrangement but changed his mind before the hearing on Monday. He will be the fourth defendant in the trial next week.

The remaining defendants are Jason Patrick of Georgia, Duane Ehmer of Oregon, and Jake Ryan of Montana. The prosecutors did not offer the final three an agreement to plea to misdemeanor trespassing

Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, February 14, 2017. 1,000 juror questionnaires were sent out with about 800 responding. Hearings to pare down the list of potential jurors have begun in Judge Anna Brown’s courtroom.

The prosecution expects to present their case over five days. Testimony should begin on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

Sandy and Sean Anderson held a press conference after the court recessed on Monday. They explained their reasoning for accepting the agreement. You can watch that here:

On a personal note, to those that agree and disagree with plea agreements:

Unless you are in the shoes of those facing hard decisions, you cannot begin to question their decisions. Everyone has different family situations, different circumstances and different motivating factors that lead them to the decisions they make.

Whether or not you or I would have made the same decision has no bearing, and our reasons should not be theirs. It is a very personal decision for them, and I pray that they made their choices with God’s guidance.

I have met most of the defendants in this case, some I know better than others. I can say this: These are all good, God-fearing people. They believe in our US Constitution. They believe it is a battle worth fighting for. They have abided by the rules as they understand them, even when the government did not. They have fought for your rights, even when the government did not. They have not given up.