Burns Chronicles No 28 – Public Trial – Mistrial? – What stinking Mistrial?

Burns Chronicles No 28
Public Trial
Mistrial? What stinking Mistrial?

anna-brown-judge-bww-crown

Judge Anna Brown

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
September 19, 2016

A rather interesting what, and from a lay standpoint unjust, occurrence, happened both in the paper chase (at this point, nearly 1300 docket entries) and in the courtroom. It had to do with the testimony of the government’s first witness, Harney County Sheriff David Ward. It was a Motion for Mistrial.

An interesting note on the Motion is that we obtained a copy shortly before it was “SEALED”. This led to the admonishment that is addressed below.

It all began on the 2nd day of the trial (Wednesday, September 14), during cross-examination by Ammon Bundy’s attorney, Marcus R. Mumford is questioning Sheriff Ward.  Here are excerpts from the Motion, taken from the rough-draft transcripts:

Q.  And you had conducted some investigation, into Bunkerville?

A.  I had.

Q.  And did that investigation come – that was in the process of those meetings that you had with the U.S. attorney, and the FBI?

A.  I had – I had gone on to the Internet and googled it, it’s amazing what you can find on there.

I found videos from the things that happened at Bunkerville. I – I looked at a lot of different – lot of different things that happened, throughout that incident. And the thought that have happening in my community scared the hell out of me, where I saw armed people lined up on both sides, advancing, you know, with – with one side advancing against another.

I had learned some of unstable people who had left that situation, and killed two police officers, while they were eating lunch in a restaurant.

I think that there are – there are a lot of circumstances I was attempting to avoid in my community, sir.

Then, Mumford asked that some of Ward’s testimony be stricken:

MUMFORD: Your Honor, I would move to strike that.

THE COURT: Move to strike what, sir?

MUMFORD: The nonresponsive part of the –

THE COURT: I don’t know what you identify as nonresponsive.

The answer seemed responsive to your question, so be specific.

MUMFORD: Okay. Well – I think it was a yes-or-no question, your Honor.

THE COURT: Is there another objection?

Mumford, failing to make any progress, is simply abandoned by Judge Brown. However, Ryan Bundy, acting pro se (representing himself), jumps in, once the Judge recognizes that he, too, has an objection.

DEFENDANT RYAN BUNDY: Yes, my objection, your Honor, hearsay, there, it alludes to events that were not necessarily related to – to the situation.

THE COURT: The court reporter is not hearing you, Mr. Bundy, because of your microphone not being on.

Would you –

DEFENDANT RYAN BUNDY: The mic is on.

THE COURT: Let’s try again. The court reporter wasn’t hearing, would you please restate your objection?

DEFENDANT RYAN BUNDY: Yes, hearsay.

He’s tying in persons that were not involved it (pause, conferring.)

Prejudicial, I change that to prejudicial.

About the folks supposedly killing people that were not associated with us.

THE COURT: Jurors, I’m going to ask you to disregard the witness’s references to events that occurred in Nevada that had to do with the police officers being killed, and whether they were or weren’t associated with Bunkerville.

The answer generally was responsive, in that it reflected the witness’s state of mind, but you’re not to consider that particular part of his answer in any part of your consideration of this evidence.

Now, the transcript is a “rough-draft transcript”, and we are told that there was an Order made by the Judge, referencing “Court’s Sealed Order 1141”. Then, she goes on to admonish Mumford for using quotes from the “rough-draft transcript” in his Motion.

.mistrial-1

So, this brings up two rather interesting questions. First, let’s look at the docket, and its purpose. Each entry shows the date that the Clerk entered the document submitted for filing, or other “Minute Notes”. Then, each is given a sequential number. The purpose is for the record, so that all entries are preserved, hence nothing can “disappear.”  However, since related documents can be filed many pages apart, it warrants that we go looking (on PACER, a government website that makes court information available) for docket entry #1141:

 

mistrial-2The image is a capture from the pdf of the docket, with the bottom of page 94 and the top of page 95.

Well, shoot. It ain’t there! How can that be an Order, when it doesn’t appear on the Docket? Was #1141 really an Order, or was something else removed so that reference could be made to a non-existent Order?

Regarding the second question this raises, the gag order set by the Judge, early on, pretty much prohibits the attorneys from providing certain information.  But, as can be seen by other “sealed” entry, there is a notation that it is sealed, it has a number, and a brief description of what the document pertains to.

Now, if this is a “Public Trial”, why is this information not available to the Public?  Is there something that the Court is trying to hide?  Even worse, if an attorney wants to object to testimony, as addressed in this article, and he cannot use the “rough-draft transcript”, how is he to address the particulars of the matter he is addressing?  He cannot demonstrate what his concern is — UNLESS he can quote from the record, rough to not, to express his concern.  It makes one wonder what would have happened if the government had quoted from the “rough-draft transcript”.

This warranted further investigation. First is a capture of the docket on February 19, 2016. Then, a capture on September 16, both of the first few entries on the docket.

160219-docket-capture

February 19, 2016 – docket capture

160916-docket-capture

February 19, 2016 – docket capture

Golly! Entries 16 through 22 have gone missing! Now, I can’t say that there has not been a rule adopted that allows manipulation of the docket, however, if there is, it defies the concept of a record keeping method that did exist to prove that justice had been done.  So, we are left to suppose that the Judge would not pull any shenanigans to try and deceive the Public.  We should have serious concerns over that possibility.

We can’t stop here; we have to look at what Sheriff Ward said, and was left with a degree of credibility with the Jury. Now, Ward should be well schooled in testifying, and I’m sure that the US attorneys and the FBI are well schooled in testifying. They should all know what is not allowed, however, as Mumford said in the “Motion for Mistrial”.

Once such statements are made, the damage is hard to undo: “one cannot unring a bell”; “after the thrust of the saber it is difficult to say forget the wound”; and finally, “if you throw a skunk into the jury box, you can’t instruct the jury not to smell it.”

Now, surely, the jury will give a high degree of regard for testimony from a government employee. Given what we have, that odor in the Jury Box may not go away during the course of the trial.

Now, let’s visit what was so damaging, and absolutely false, concerning what Ward said. He created fear by associating the Millers with the Bundy Affair when he said, “I had learned of some unstable people who had left that situation, and killed two police officers.” Well, surely, he spent a lot of time with the FBI and the US Attorneys. Was he stupid enough to believe Google and not confirm with the authorities that knew more than most about what happened back in April 2014?

As far as sources for such information, Ward would probably contact law enforcement in Las Vegas, as a more reliable source. Well, here is what the Las Vegas Review Journal said in their June 15, 2014 edition (page 2):

We can’t find anything linking these two guys to anybody,” said a law enforcement official with knowledge of the ongoing investigation. “If they were a part of a group, they hid it well.”

During the day just after the Millers shooting the two cops, I contacted a number of people at the Ranch to find out what role, if any, the Miller’s played (Vetting the Millers). I found that they did spend some time in the public area, but were never allowed at the ranch. They were deemed aggressive and unsuitable to participate in protecting the ranch. The were sent to Mesquite where Stewart Rhodes gave them “a couple hundred dollars” so that they could get a motel room, shower, and some new clothes, because they claimed that, they had given up jobs, their home, and were wearing the only clothes they possessed.

Now, there is no reason that Ward would not have some, if not all, or, more than likely, even more information about the Millers. So, his intention in laying that information out to the jury was not only a violation of what he should have known and been informed of by the FBI/AUSA, it was also a falsehood (aka a damned lie).

Now, we know from previous pronouncements from Judge Brown that she was not going to let the trial be delayed. And, in this instance, Queen Judge Anna Brown has determined that she can do no wrong, and her insistence on keeping her schedule supersedes the assurance of justice in the outcome of the trial.

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One Response to “Burns Chronicles No 28 – Public Trial – Mistrial? – What stinking Mistrial?”

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