Bundy Trial: Jury sent home for now
Yesterday, Dec. 11, Judge Gloria Navarro sent jurors home for several days to give herself, the defense the time to gather evidence it has been withholding.
According to Brian Hyde, who has reported on the trial from the beginning, reported that Judge Navarro said in the courtroom that the jury will be out until at least Dec. 20 because of several alleged instances of the prosecution withholding evidence.
Roger Roots, who serves on Cliven Bundy’s defense team, said that this case is being handled very strangely and that appears that it could be “heading toward being dismissed on prosecutorial misconduct.”
In his experience, just one “Brady Violation” or instance of the defense withholding evidence from the prosecution in enough to have a trial “thrown out” or declared a mistrial. Roots said that the prosecution – in this case the federal government’s attorney team – is always required to provide to the defense any exculpatory evidence, or evidence that could help prove the defendant innocent of the charges, even if the evidence is not requested by the prosecution.
The judge, on Dec. 11 acknowledged seven “Brady Violations.”
Judge Navarro has, throughout the multiple trials of the Bundy standoff participants, denied the defense the right to talk about self defense, the first amendment, the second amendment or even to mention the word “Constitution” in her courtroom.
Three of the main instances of the federal government’s attorneys withholding evidence are these:
1. The prosecution made claims that the Bundy family’s recollection of snipers surrounding their ranch was false. But the defense presented evidence proving that indeed, snipers were present on the ranch.
2. The prosecution claimed that the FBI wasn’t involved in the roundup of the cattle but the defense proved that the FBI and an anti-terrorism SWAT team was on their ranch prior to the cattle roundup.
3. The prosecution said that the government did not place surveillance technology on the Bundy ranch but the defense showed that this, too was false.
“There are no less than seven alleged Brady violations which are instances of the prosecution withholding evidence that could have been provided to the defense ahead of this time,” said Hyde.
Hyde said that the judge mentioned the word “mistrial,” but that her uttering the word was in no way a sure sign of a mistrial, but that could be a possibility.
“The judge has seen enough of a problem that she’s sent the jury home until at the 20th. We don’t even know of they will be back on the 20th,” he said.
Roots explained that if the judge decides the trial won’t continue, she could declare a mistrial or a dismissal.
If she calls a mistrial, the prosecution could decide to walk away from the case, or to reopen it. If they reopen it they can do so using the same indictments.
The judge has two options when declaring a dismissal – “with prejudice” or “without prejudice.”
According to Roots, if the judge declares it “with prejudice,” the prosecutors are not allowed to revive the case but if it is declared “without prejudice,” that means the defendants could be retried.
Roots also said that Judge Navarro has called for more “secret hearings” – at least four – in this trial than he’s ever seen before. Most of the secret hearings have been in regard to the former BLM staffer who called for and oversaw the cattle roundup – Dan Love, who has since been fired by the BLM after it was discovered that he was using the power of his position improperly.
On Dec. 4 the AP reported that the remaining Bundy standoff participants had been granted pretrial release – and that all of them are now allowed to be out of prison during the trial.
Mel Bundy, Dave Bundy, Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Jason Woods were the final four given pretrial release.
Bundy family patriarch Cliven Bundy has chosen to remain in prison to call attention to the issue until it is resolved, he said. Roots said that although Judge Navarro gave Cliven the opportunity for pre-trial release she later rescinded it.