Burns Chronicles No 31
Public Lands – Part 3
The Queen Has Ruled – Off With Their Heads
In two previous articles, Shawna Cox brought the matter of Jurisdiction to the Court. The first, explained in “Public Lands – Part 1 – It’s a Matter of Jurisdiction“, was filed in response to the government’s “Motion for Judicial Notice” (1229), providing proof of ownership of the land upon which the MNWR headquarters sit. In that Motion, filed September 9, 2016, they cited no previous motion to which they were responding.
Shawna, based upon a chain of title that she had received, had no dispute with the ownership. However, neither the government’s request for judicial notice and attached documentation nor the chain of title provided any indication that the land, which both parties agreed, had been in private hands before the government reacquired it, had been ceded back to them by Oregon.
Shawna then filed her “Response to and Motion for Judicial Notice Regarding Ownership & Ceding of the MNWR Headquarters Area” (1245). In that Motion, she stipulated the government’s ownership and asked the Court to take Judicial Notice that the subject lands had not been ceded back to the federal government by Oregon. The Motion was quite simple and simply stated that since no proof of ceding had been provided, the Judicial Notice was in order.
The government then filed its Response (1272) to a number of motions, including Shawna’s Motion. Geoffrey A. Barrow, the attorney that signed the Response, apparently has a reading disorder. Shawna never contested the government’s motion for judicial notice. Instead, she stipulated that they did own the land. However, he chose to read into her motion what he thought the Judge might like:
Cox opposes the government’s request (ECF No. 1229) and, in turn, moves for judicial notice consistent with the separately filed McIntosh Declaration (ECF No. 1252). McIntosh repeats the adverse possession theories that this Court has already rejected many times, although he reads the government’s Houghton Declaration (ECF No. 1230) as further support for his views. McIntosh’s theory is that the federal government simply could not have obtained lawful title to the MNWR absent permission from the state. His theories are contrary to the law that this Court has already recognized controls this issue, and his stated credentials (i.e., his stated directorship of two web-based, environmental-sounding organizations) reveal that he is an advocate who shares defendants’ misguided views. (One organization promises to give a “strong voice that will dominate and control state and federal bureaucrats”).
Cox’s counter-Motion for Judicial Notice should be denied.
Now, Shawna never mentioned “adverse possession” in her motion – she simply sought judicial notice that the land had not been ceded back to the government. This is quite consistent with what the government had cited in their judicial notice, when they said:
Federal Rule of Evidence 201 permits this Court to take judicial notice of adjudicative facts “not subject to reasonable dispute.” The Advisory Committee Note to the rule explains that “adjudicative facts” are those that “relate to the parties, their activities, their properties, their businesses.” Courts routinely take judicial notice of recorded property records.
Now, the government has proffered no argument establishing that Oregon had ceded back jurisdiction to the federal government. If it had been ceded back, then it would have, as required by the Statute of Frauds, been recorded in the public records. There is no argument, except the false association with Ammon’s motion, which would be cause for the Court not to take “Judicial Notice”.