A federal judge just let serial federal land trespasser and armed rebel Cliven Bundy and his sons off scot-free in their felony trial stemming from their 41-day militia-style standoff at a wildlife preserve in Oregon in 2014.
U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro had declared a mistrial in the case last month saying that the federal prosecutors pursuing the case against the anti-federal land protestors had willfully withheld evidence from Bundy’s defense attorneys. Today, she ruled that the case would be dismissed “with prejudice,” ensuring that the government cannot pursue a new trial against the defendants.
The Bundy standoff with the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) started when the rancher decided to cease paying his lease fees to graze his cattle on public land after the BLM limited grazing rights to protect endangered species. By essentially openly stealing public resources, Bundy’s case seemed to warrant an open and shut conviction, particularly when he gathered a group of armed militiamen to prevent the BLM from seizing his cattle to pay his over $1 million in accumulated fees and fines.
The finding of prosecutorial misconduct allows Bundy and his sons to avoid felony convictions without a trial and leaves a group of admitted armed criminals on the loose.
While this is the type of situation that normally would have the right wing screaming at the tops of their lungs about a broken judicial system, instead they applaud the defeat of what they see as government overreach and undermine the rule of law that they want the government to so scrupulously follow when it comes to immigration or other issues where it suits them.
Yes, the proper procedure is vital in criminal trials, but why should valid charges be dropped rather than have the mistakes corrected and the trial continue to be decided on its merits.