Navarro Grants Govt Everything, Defendants Nothing
On Tuesday, October 24, Judge Gloria Navarro issued a number of rulings in the Bundy case, granting the government almost everything they asked for while denying the defense almost any means to defend themselves in the upcoming trial.
With a sweep of her pen, Navarro has wiped multiple motions off the docket with arbitrary rulings that only benefit the government.
Shockingly, Navarro even ruled that the prosecution can introduce Cliven Bundy’s 2014 speech in which he reportedly said “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. . . .” Cliven’s remarks were taken out of context from a wide-ranging discussion of over-regulation, the negative impacts of welfare policy, and benefits of hard work. Many economic studies of welfare policy are in agreement with Cliven’s (poorly worded) remarks. But the publication of Cliven’s speech in the aftermath of the 2014 Bunkerville standoff caused many supporters to abandon him at that time.
The biased judge also ruled that prosecutors may introduce evidence about Jared and Amanda Miller, a married couple who briefly camped near the Bundy Ranch in 2014 area and later went on to kill two Las Vegas police officers. And, said Navarro, prosecutors may introduce claims that Bundy cattle harmed the environment, wildlife, or even sacred Indian artifacts even though the Bundys themselves are barred from even mentioning that the government killed or harmed their cattle.
Astoundingly, Navarro even ruled that the government may play hearsay statements to the jury by now-deceased journalist Michael Flynn claiming that the protest on April 12, 2014 was “illegal.”
Navarro’s one-sided rulings make clear that in the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse, Courtroom 7C, in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Constitution is not welcome. The defendants in Judge Gloria Navarro’s courtroom do not have constitutional protections.
In the pattern of her previous rulings, Navarro granted almost all of the government requests to prohibit the Bundys from mentioning the following:
1. Self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property;
2. Third-party/lay person testimony or opinion about the level of force displayed or used by law enforcement officers during impoundment operations, including operations on April 6, 9, and 12, 2014;
3. Opinions/public statements of Governor Brian Sandoval of April 8, 2014, and/or opinions registered by other political office holders or opinion leaders about BLM impoundment operations;
4. Allegations of workplace misconduct by the SAC (Special Agent in Charge) of the impoundment (Dan Love), or regarding those who worked for, or with, him.
5. Allegations that officers connected with the impoundment acted unethically or improperly by the way they were dressed or equipped during the impoundment, or that they improperly shredded documents during or after impoundment operations;
6. References to mistreatment of cattle during the impoundment operations;
7. Legal arguments, beliefs, explanations, or opinions that the federal government does not own the land or have legal authority or jurisdiction over public lands where impoundment operations were conducted, or that the land was or is otherwise owned by the State of Nevada;
8. Legal arguments, beliefs, explanations, or opinions regarding infringement on First and Second Amendment rights, including any effort to confuse the jury that there is some form of “journalist” or “protest” immunity for the crimes charged;
9. References to punishment the defendants may face if convicted of the offenses;
10. References to the Oregon trial of United States v. Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne, and Ryan Bundy., or the results in that trial;
11. References to the outcomes in the previous two trials in this case; and
12. Legal arguments, explanations, or opinions advancing defendants’ views of the U.S. Constitution, including claims that law enforcement officers within the Department of Interior have no constitutional authority, that “natural law” or other authority permits the use of force against law enforcement officers in defense of property or individual rights, or that the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada has no jurisdiction or authority under the [C]onstitution to order the removal of cattle from public lands.
But the precise wording of Judge Navarro’s orders may offer a ray of hope. Some of Navarro’s sentences are worded in such a way as they may allow some defenses. For example Navarro denied a portion of the government’s motion in limine regarding evidence of third-party state of mind. Navarro also ruled that the government’s request to exclude all reference to government misconduct is too broad. Navarro concluded that “a blanket exclusion of these topics is inappropriate at this juncture.”
Thus, although Navarro’s rulings continue her pattern of assisting the prosecution and shutting down the defense, it appears that Navarro’s rulings may be slightly more fair for this upcoming trial than they were in the previous two trials (of Parker, Drexler, Lovelein, Stewart, Burleson and Engel). Briefs and pleadings by the defense teams of Cliven Bundy and Ryan Payne—which argued that the Judge’s previous rulings were unlawful—may have caused Navarro to adjust her rulings slightly.
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