Posts tagged ‘courts’

Burns Chronicles No 61 – Jon Ritzheimer is Going to Prison

Burns Chronicles No 61

Jon Ritzheimer is Going to Prison

But His Service Continues to Help His Fellow Defendants

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
December 4, 2017

Jon Ritzheimer had some things to say, after he was sentenced by Judge Anna Brown to serve 1 year and 1 day.  However, with time served and good time, he will probably serve only eight more months, beginning in February when he has to begin his sentence.

Below is a letter Jon sent for me to get out to those who wish to see our once great nation returned to obedience to the Constitution, as written and intended.  It also explains Jon’s continued willingness to help those who have been required to pay restitution as a part of their sentence.  Though I have known about his intention in this regard, for some time, it is time for all to know how kind and caring Jon’s heart really is.  The two guns going to auction were the only two that were not confiscated by the government.  Truly historical pieces.  This will be explained in the following letter.

Further, though he has arranged to have the Gremlin Garage continue in his absences, he is concerned with the needs of his family and provides a means for those of you willing to help, a means to do so.

And, finally, the government sought a 24 month, 3 years of supervised release for Jon.  Fortunately, for us, and especially for Jon and his family, Judge Brown saw that though she had to punish him, she chose a much more fair sentence than what the government sought.

For Jon’s letter:
Continue reading ‘Burns Chronicles No 61 – Jon Ritzheimer is Going to Prison’ »

The Bundy Affair #22 – Ryan Bundy’s Brilliant Opening Statement

The Bundy Affair #22

Ryan Bundy’s Brilliant Opening Statement

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
November 20, 2017

Bret Whipple is Cliven Bundy’s attorney in the current trial in Las Vegas, Whipple, in an interview with John Lamb, made some observations on Ryan Bundy’s opening statement, that I will paraphrase. He said that he was impressed with Ryan’s statement because it cut to the chase in common language; he had the courage to speak so calmly and so well, with the pressure on him, and in so short an amount of time. He then pointed out that the jury seemed mesmerized and that the entire courtroom was silent for a few minutes after Ryan competed his statement.

Now, I know that sounds awfully over the top, but, then, when I read Ryan’s statement, well, it is seldom that I have tears in my eyes, but this was an exception. And, all I did was read it. I’m sure that those who heard Ryan give this statement, with the eloquence that has been stated by others, that nobody could walk away and be unmoved by what he had to say.

Below is the entire opening statement given by Ryan Bundy, to the jury, on November 15, 2017.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks to the jurors for being here. I Told you a little about myself at voir dire, but I’d like to introduce myself a little more, and tell you about my heritage and how that affects my case. (Projects a picture of his family – AND leaves it up throughout his statement!) [Note: the picture shown above.]

This is my ID! Not my driver’s license. This is who I am, a man with a family and I’ll do whatever it takes to provide for them. I want you to picture in your minds…you’re out on the land… I’ll take you to our ranch, you can see all the beauty of the land, the fresh air, sunsets and sunrises, the brush, you’re on a horse in front of the cattle – place yourself there – feel the freedom – out of the congestion of the cars – that’s how I was raised, playing in the river, we were called river-rats and that is where my life began and I hope ends.

My family has been on that land 141 years, my pioneer ancestors settled there in 1877 – there was nothing there. They carved out a living… they brought a horse and wagon and some provisions… this case, the government mentioned is “not about rights”, but it is – those rights do mean something – rights are created through beneficial use. When my ancestors arrived, undoubtedly the horse would need a drink, so they lead him to the water and that is beneficial use. The horse and perhaps a cow that had been lead behind the wagon need eat some brush in the hills, that is beneficial use. That established rights. The water rights are real! So real, the State of Nevada has a water rights registry including livestock watering rights. A law was created to protect those rights. The water rights that my father owns were first registered in 1891 by the State of Nevada – the State of Nevada is important, a sovereign state, it’s own unit, which entered the union in 1864. It entered equal to the original states, it is its own entity and state laws are important.

. Continue reading ‘The Bundy Affair #22 – Ryan Bundy’s Brilliant Opening Statement’ »

Barbeau Qued in Seattle – A Patriot’s Bulletin Vol. 1 No. 2

Barbeau Qued in Seattle

A Patriot’s Bulletin Vol. 1 No. 2

Schuyler’s Last Edition from Behind Prison Walls

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
November 20, 2017

Later today, Schuyler Barbeau will walk out of Federal Detention Center, SeaTac, after over 23 months for making his own firearm and finding that the government’s overarching authority extends well beyond commerce and that you can be taxed for something you made with your own hands.

Today will be his last day in prison, and today, his last “A Patriots Bulletin” will have been published from prison.

The Bulletin is 31 pages, including the cover, and has articles by Schuyler, other inmates he has shared the past two years with, and copied newspaper articles with subject matter having to do with the infringed right to keep and bear arms.

Get your copy here: A Patriot’s Bulletin-Vol 1 No 2.pdf

 

Burns Chronicles No 60 – Duane Ehmer is Going to Prison

Burns Chronicles No 60

Duane Ehmer is Going to Prison

Hellboy will be Without His Companion

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
November 20, 2017

Duane Ehmer was convicted of a felony, willfully damaging the refuge, or depredation of government property, by using a refuge excavator to dig two deep trenches, and misdemeanor trespassing; tampering with government vehicles and equipment; and destruction and removal of government property during the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. For these, he was sentenced to serve one year and one day in prison and to pay restitution in the amount of $10,000. The restitution is based upon a claim that a burial ground was disturbed, though no evidence of a burial or an artifacts have been presented. So, just words by someone who wasn’t there is sufficient to steal Duane’s hard earned money, when he gets out of prison.

During his sentencing hearing, he read a prepared statement:

“I am a proud American veteran and father. I am active in my community and a small business owner. After ten years of good service I left the Army I was too broken for military service any longer, I had to start over with a hearing loss and PTSD and other issues

“I tried to isolate myself from the world just focusing on what was important in life and starting over. I taught myself to weld and started a welding business. I built my business for about ten years before the Refuge.

“When I went to the refuge I went because I heard on the radio that terrorist had taken over the Burns wildlife refuge.

“This wasn’t the case. I went there expecting to stop terrorists in my backyard. This is why I went to the Refuge. I had no background information about the Bundy’s or the Hammond’s before I got there. I had never heard of anything to do with the militias or anything else.

“Once I arrived at the Refuge, I quickly learned that what was happening on the ground didn’t match what was being told to anyone. The Hammond family came the first morning I was there, and I learned their story first hand. So, I tried to talk to the locals about what was going on. I knew old cowboys never begged for help. But they begged us to stay. I also knew it was going to get real ugly and dangerous. After being there three or four days, I returned home.

“I love my daughter very much and valued her freedom. I prayed about what to do, and I felt God telling me to return to the Refuge with my horse and flag. So, I did. I knew it was a symbolic fight and there was no way to match the government’s firepower. But I would do what I could to get the truth out. I was going over everything in my head from my military experience to meeting the Hammonds, and it broke my heart to see old cowboys beg for help.

. Continue reading ‘Burns Chronicles No 60 – Duane Ehmer is Going to Prison’ »

Barbeau Qued in Seattle – The Government is Seeking the Last Drop of His Blood

Barbeau Qued in Seattle

The Government is Seeking the Last Drop of His Blood

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
September 4, 2017

Schuyler Barbeau’s Sentencing Recommendation, based upon his record, history, etc., recommends months of incarceration. This would be followed by 3 years of supervised release. It also recommends no monetary penalty, except the $200 Special Assessment. His Sentencing Hearing is scheduled for September 8, 2017, just a few days away. Schuyler was okay with this, as at least, he would be free (except the supervised release) in December or January.

Now, we must talk about the role of the United States Attorney. His role is to get a conviction. During trial, when Schuyler changed his pleas to Guilty, so the  that task was done. However, prosecutors are those people that will lie, falsify evidence, object to defendants putting on a defense, and use every conniving trick in their book, are also vindictive. The Sentencing Guidelines establish a check list for the punishment of guilty defendants. There wouldn’t be much need for the Guidelines if Congress felt that the punishment should be determined in the courtroom. However, they enacted the Guidelines in their quest for “equality”, and that should be the end of it.

However, those well-paid government attorneys seem to have a scorecard, like ticket quotas for police.  Their vindictive nature (since they are otherwise immune from nearly any remedy) shows when they can’t be satisfied with a job, well, well done, with the conviction.

Not so with USA Annette L. Hayes and AUSA Thomas M. Woods, with the United States Attorney in Seattle, Washington. They have prepared a 12 page “Government’s Sentencing Memorandum” in an effort to nearly triple Schuyler’s sentence, to 72 months.

That Memorandum says that:

“Barbeau has spent years telling the world that he will use deadly force against law enforcement officers who attempt to take any steps that interfere with his beliefs, including instances in which officers are simply carrying out Court-authorized orders. His conduct has not been limited to words—he built a fully-automatic machinegun that he repeatedly threatened to use against law enforcement. He sought to purchase a .50 caliber gun on the theory that it would be more effective in a shootout with law enforcement.”

The fact that this is a conclusion of the government, not a fact ruled on in court, seems to make no difference. Just because the government says it is so, it must be so.

The government goes on to say:

“Specifically, Barbeau has repeatedly stated that he will use deadly force to “protect himself” against an arrest where he believes that the arrest is unlawful. Thus, he repeatedly stated his intent to kill any law enforcement officers who sought to arrest him or his friends because of his view that none of them have done anything wrong. This conduct is not “self-defense”—it is murder.”

Now, this just shows how far away from our Constitution the government has drifted. In 1900, the Supreme Court ruled that John Bad Elk, who had shot and killed an officer who was armed, though the officer never raised his rifle, was guilty of a misdemeanor, or no crime at all, since the attempt to arrest him was not lawful. See The Right to Self Defense. I supposed, as we have all conjectured, the Constitution has been put aside by the government. With the crafty wording of enactments, and the “case law method”, they continue to circumvent the Constitution.

. Continue reading ‘Barbeau Qued in Seattle – The Government is Seeking the Last Drop of His Blood’ »

Burns Chronicles No 59 – Ryan Bundy Holds the Key

Burns Chronicles No 59

Ryan Bundy Holds the Key

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 30, 2017

On January 26, 2016, several people, in two private vehicles were on their way to a scheduled meeting John Day, Oregon.  While in a forested area, with extremely poor, if not non-existent, cell phone coverage, they were set upon by modern day highwaymen (highwaymen were people who stopped travelers and robbed them).  The driver and passengers of the second vehicle submitted to the demands of the heavily armed interlopers, at gunpoint, to leave the vehicle and sit on the side of the snow-covered roadway.

The driver of the second vehicle, a white pick-up truck, following the exit of one of the passengers, sped away, seeking the assistance of a peace officer, Sheriff Glenn Palmer, of Grant County, Oregon.  However, within a couple of miles they found that the highwaymen had set up a barricade across the road, barring passage.  The highwaymen, hidden behind their vehicles, began firing shots at the white truck.  This forced the truck off the road, where some rather adept driving may have saved one of the highwaymen’s life, by swerving, at the last moment.

The truck then came to a stop, and the driver, LaVoy Finicum, exited.  In the back seat were three people; Shawna Cox, Victoria Sharp, and Ryan Bundy.  Bundy sat on the left and Cox on the right.

Having already been shot at, there was concern for the safety of the party.  Finicum, in an effort to draw fire away from those still in the truck, began moving towards the rear and away from the truck.

There were lots of loud noises.  Some from 40 mm projectiles of rubber bullets and tear gas (OSP recovered 13 40 mm casings), others from flash-bang type grenades.  Included, however, were two shots that came from the left-rear of the truck.  One hit the top of the truck and one broke the driver side rear window.  The round that broke the window may well have hit the side of the truck, pressuring the window to break, and deflecting into the shoulder of Ryan Bundy.  This is the more logical explanation, as the velocity of the bullet, absent any other external resistance, should have penetrated much further than the fleshy part of Bundy’s shoulder.

Now, this gets interesting since the Oregon State Police (OSP) had to account for shots fired, though they could not account for two shots.  Shell casings were missing, and the rather perplexing task resulted in speculation regarding the bullet impact on the driver’s side of the truck.  Their conclusion was that it must have come from the shooter that fired three shots as the white truck approached the highwaymen, as shown in this OSP exhibit:

The government tried to attribute the shot at the rear door to the three shots fired as the vehicle approached the barricade.  However, this does not quite work, as if you look at the yellow line in the third image.  You see that if it did hit the truck, it would be a glancing strike.  It would have been deflected upon impact, and the initial point of impact would be the most damaged.  Any additional damage would have been less, as the bullet was deflected away from the truck body.  As you can see, the greater impact was on the right side of the gap between the door and frame.

. Continue reading ‘Burns Chronicles No 59 – Ryan Bundy Holds the Key’ »

Statement by Gary Hunt Regarding the Freedom of the Press – Show Cause Hearing of August 23, 2017

Statement by Gary Hunt
Regarding the Freedom of the Press;
Show Cause Hearing of August 23, 2017

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 26, 2017

I intended to write an article about the Freedom of the Press hearing in Portland, Oregon.  However, since I had decided to testify, I had mentally prepared to answer cross-examination questions, should they be asked.  My problem in writing this is that the answers given and the answers not given are mingled together in my mind, I can’t quite sort them out and be sure of the accuracy of what I say.  As to discussing other matters that were brought up, as well as examination and cross-examination of the government’s two witnesses, FBI SA Jason Kruger and FBI SA Matthew Catalano, are also mingled in my mind, as well as much that was presented by both the prosecuting attorney and my able counsel, Michael Rose.

Therefore, I will, at this time, simply give an overview, from my perspective, of what occurred.

AUSA (Assistant United States Attorney) Pamala Holsinger opened by telling us how damaging my exposing the informants was.  She then called FBI SA Jason Kruger to the stand.  Kruger must have listened to many hours of various internet radio shows I did, as well as reading, perhaps, all that I have written in both the “Burns Chronicles” and “Freedom of the Press” series.  I would say that he was accurate in his quoting from both, but often the words, without inflection and out of context, tell a story that is, at best, just close.  However, his testimony, until cross-examination, simply painted a picture of me saying that what I had written would help the defendants.

However, in cross-examination, he was referred to what he had written in his 302 reports and it was pointed out that I had said that my purpose in doing the outing was to shed light on the “Misdeeds of Government”, a phrase that I has been used for decades in describing my writing.

Next came Catalano.  Matthew is a nice guy and we got along well, in our two meetings.  However, his examination followed the same course.  Well, until cross-examination, where Mr. Rose elicited some more positive aspects of our meetings, as well as the fact that from the beginning, I had told Catalano that I didn’t believe that I was subject to a Protective Order, especially one issued out of  Oregon, and me not being among those to whom the Protective Order was addressed.

Now, the dilemma is that given what they had presented, both the positive and the negative were nothing more than words.  Very little about my motivation to investigate the identities and then write about the informants is addressed in the articles, themselves.  And, the radio shows, well, when you speak to an audience, you are not under oath, and you may tend to not present certain statements with sufficient explanation to put a proper context on what is said.  Kind of like a politician seeking election, but not telling you all that he believes.

Absent my testimony, where I could present the motivation, it would simply be a coin-toss as to whether the negative or positive would be used by Judge Anna Brown to make her ruling on the matter.

Interestingly, those who wish to ridicule me on the Internet reported that my attorney told me to “shut up”.  Well, that is very far from the truth.  The day before the Hearing, when I arrived in Portland, I met with him to discuss the hearing.  He asked if I had any witnesses to call, and I told him that I keep all but my articles to myself — that nobody could really speak to what my motivation was — except me.  He advised me of the dangers of taking the stand, though I already understood what those were.  It was clear that I could not speculate on the source, which was a comfort to me, as I simply had to tell the truth, that I didn’t know who sent me the Discovery information that was the evidence I used to identify the informants.  He said that he felt comfortable that I could take the stand, so it was decided that I would.

As my turn to take the stand arrived, Judge Brown asked whether I was properly advised of the potential risk, if I took the stand.  Mr. Rose explained that we had discussed that, and that I was aware of the necessity that I do so.  So, I took the stand and testified.

. Continue reading ‘Statement by Gary Hunt Regarding the Freedom of the Press – Show Cause Hearing of August 23, 2017’ »

Freedom of the Press #18 – The Big Guns

Freedom of the Press #18
The Big Guns

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 10, 2017

August 8, 2017, was the date set for the government to file their response.  They did so in the Government’s Reply to Respondent’s Opposition to Government’s Memorandum in Support of Civil Contempt.  That will be the subject of this article, however the recent background, since the May 9, 2017, Jurisdiction Hearing.

As a result of that Hearing, the government first filed the Government’s Memorandum in Support of Civil Contempt (June 12, 2017).  That was the subject “Freedom of the Press #16 – Jurisdiction Hearing“.  It appears that since January, when the government sought to have me held in Contempt of Court, they have yet to come up with a case citation that supports their position.

My response was filed as Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Government’s Memorandum in Support of Civil Contempt (July 21, 2017).  This Memorandum increases the burden on the government, separating articles published before the “Supplemental Protective Order” and the one article published after that Order.  The government has yet to meet any standard of proof with regard to their legal responsibility to do so.

So, the current government Reply endeavors to regurgitate some of the same arguments that the government has relied upon, through the course of this ordeal.  For example, they have, from the beginning, relied upon Roviaro v. United States, 353 U.S. 53 (1957), when they state, “The substantial government interest in protecting confidential sources is long established.”  Where they fail in Roviaro, is that the protection is afforded by allowing the government to protect the identity of the informant.  In the words of the Roviaro decision, “What is usually referred to as the informer’s privilege is, in reality, the Government’s privilege to withhold from disclosure the identity of persons…”  What it does not do is to extend any criminal liability to those that disclose an informant’s identity.  It simply gives the government the right to try to protect the identity.

In the current matter, that was done to the extent that the law allows, the Protective Order that sanctioned those who were given certain information from disclosing that information.  It is only that person, whether a defendant, defendant’s counsel, or even government employee, was subject to the Court’s order not to divulge the identity of the informants.

The government did so even prior to the Discovery being given to the defendants, when they redacted what they believed to be any information that would tend to expose the informants.  The informant’s names were redacted as where many hundreds of words that the government felt would identify the informants.  The government keeping that information away from the defendants (the identification of informants) was their exercise of the protection of the informants, as per Roviaro.

The government continues to persist in stating, rightfully, “this Court had the authority to issue the orders and that it continues to have the authority to enforce the orders.”  However, they have yet to address the relevant aspect of jurisdiction.  To put this in context, if a judge in Mexico issues an order, he has such authority.  He also has the right to enforce that order.  However, does he have the jurisdiction to first, apply that order to someone not within his jurisdiction?  And, second, the authority to enforce the order against someone not within his jurisdiction?

The government wants to spin the context of what I said into a confession that is very, very far from my belief and honest admission as to the authority of the judge.

As the government continues, they make this rather curious assertion:

“When Hunt complains that this Court’s orders “prohibit” him from publishing “certain investigative pieces,” his factual premise is simply inaccurate.  Second, the justification for the original Protective Order continues because there is an ongoing need to protect cooperating witnesses regardless of the status of the trial.”

So, let’s break this down.  I have never complained about anything, except the fact that I was arrested by the government, similar to this current contempt situation, wrongfully applying a statute that did not apply to me, resulting in my spending a week in the Sacramento County Jail.  It would have been substantially longer had not Judge Brown seen through the deceitful tactic of the government in attempting to punish me, by simply lying to have a warrant issued for my arrest.  See Freedom of the Press #17 – Is This Legal?

Then, the government shysters endeavored to make a point:

“We are not asking this Court to restrain Hunt’s ability generally to write about the case — or even the informants — we only want him to observe this Court’s Order, which means that he cannot publish the discovery material subject to the Court’s Order.”

How nice of them to say that they don’t have a problem with me writing “about the case — or even the informants.”  How gracious.  However, these shysters are supposed to present facts.  My reputation as a journalist (not a blogger) is based on presenting facts.  Let’s suppose that I wrote about the informants, but failed to justify my conclusions without facts to back up those conclusions.  Well, then, I might just be a blogger.  However, as facts are a requisite in our judicial system, they are also a matter of principle to a good journalist.  To make accusations without presenting the facts makes a mockery of journalism, as it would of the judicial system.

Besides, such accusations are prolific in the patriot community.  They tend to lack any substance and are often made over a simple disagreement between two people.  Should some rely upon simply my word that so and so is an informant, the informant would simply accuse the accuser of being an informant.  And, the louder voice would probably prevail.  Surely, the government shysters would love to see an expansion of the “he said; she said” sort of rhetoric in the community.

As we continue through the Reply, we find this rather subjective statement of ‘facts’:

“[T]he government’s interests far outweigh any First Amendment interest Hunt may assert.  First, we need to protect our confidential sources for all of the valid reasons identified in Roviaro.  Second, the Court has a significant interest in enforcing the terms of its own Protective Orders.  Without enforcement, Hunt’s defiance threatens to undermine our ability to exchange discovery in future criminal cases.”

Now, the first point has already been addressed, with regard to the government’s right to endeavor to protect their sources — which they did by denying the defendants the right to call the witnesses against them (6th Amendment).  Second, the Court wrote the Protective Order and subjected those identified as subject to that Protective Order.  Daniel Ellsberg was the criminal in the “Pentagon Papers”.  The New York Times was not.  Finally, and the most laughable, is that the government feels that the exchange of discovery might be undermined.  Well, there is little doubt that the shysters want to keep as many secrets as they can from the defense.  However, in an effort to attempt to maintain their unscrupulous cadre of spies amongst us, they would willingly subvert the Constitution.

. Continue reading ‘Freedom of the Press #18 – The Big Guns’ »

The Bundy Affair #21 – Batson Challenge – in the Name of Injustice

The Bundy Affair #21
Batson Challenge – in the Name of Injustice

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 31, 2017

Introduction

In “Liberty or Laws?  – Justice or Despotism?“, I discussed how the case law method provides the government, through judicial proceedings, to move, a decision at a time, away from the intent of the Constitution.  In recent events in the second Tier 3 trial, only two-thirds of the trial was declared a “mistrial”, while the other third was not declared a mistrial.  I say this because the first trial, by the government’s design, included six defendants, all of whom were accused of wielding firearms on April 12, 2014, when the Bureau of Land Management returned the surviving captured cattle to their rightful owner.  Two defendants were found guilty of some of the charges.  The remaining four were not found guilty of any of the charges, though they were also not found not guilty.  So, there was no mistrial on the two, but there was a mistrial in the same singular trial of the other four.

Now comes the second trial, and the subject of this article.  Jury selection occupied the first two days of the trial and much of the third day.  Now, in jury selection, each side, Prosecution and Defense, may challenge a juror for cause.  Each side also has what are called “peremptory challenges”.  This is the definition of peremptory challenges found in Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition:

Peremptory challenge.  A request from a party that a judge not allow a certain prospective juror to be a member of the jury.  No reason or “cause” need be stated for this type of challenge.  The number of peremptory challenges afforded each party is normally set by statute or court rule.

However, on the third day of trial, the government, apparently butt-hurt over the Defendant’s Peremptory Challenges, brought up what is known as a “Batson Challenge”, historically exercised by the defense, not by the prosecution.  They allege that the peremptory challenges were intentionally applied (state of mind) to exclude certain potential jurors.  Well, it appears that the Defendants cannot have a state of mind presented in Court as to why they went from their homes to Bunkerville, but they can be held accountable for their state of mind when it comes to jury selection.

Background of the Batson Challenge

The Batson Challenge is based upon a 1986 United States Supreme Court decision in Batson v Kentucky 476 US 79.  It deals with the Defendant’s right to challenge a jury makeup if the government’s peremptory challenges create a gender or racial bias in the jury.  First, a little background based upon earlier decisions.  In reviewing these cases, you will see that the original protection afforded to the people by the Constitution is slowly being chipped away.  In this current trial, the right protected for the people is now being used to afford the government the opportunity to claim a right that was intended to be a prohibition against the government.

As early as 1879, the United States Supreme Court ruled on the right of the defendant, with regard to the use by the prosecution of Peremptory Challenges, to stack the jury.  The case was Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 US 303.  Based upon the 14th Amendment, the decision stated, “that a State denies a black defendant equal protection when it puts him on trial before a jury from which members of his race have been purposefully excluded.”  [Quoted portion cited from Batson v. Kentucky.]

Strauder goes on to say that “A defendant has no right to a petit jury composed in whole or in part of persons of his own race.  However, the Equal Protection Clause guarantees the defendant that the State will not exclude members of his race from the jury venire on account of race, or on the false assumption that members of his race as a group are not qualified to serve as jurors.  By denying a person participation in jury service on account of his race, the State also unconstitutionally discriminates against the excluded juror.”  [Quoted portion cited from Batson v. Kentucky.]

Interestingly, that underlined portion from Batson, “By denying a person participation in jury service on account of his race, the State also unconstitutionally discriminates against the excluded juror “, presumes that the juror has a right to sit on the jury, nearly equal to the right of the defendant.  This appears to be a very early example of Civil Rights (See Liberty or Laws? – Natural Rights versus Civil Rights), whereby the government grants a civil right at the expense of one who previously enjoyed a natural right.

However, note that since the Bill of Rights, particularly the Fifth Amendment, guarantees the people the right to a trial by jury, it does not grant that right to the jury.  If anything, the jury has no right to refuse jury service, unless they are otherwise exempted.  The Bill of Rights was to protect us from the government.  It was never intended to provide the government the means to remove our protection from the actions of that government.

What the Batson decision does not provide, however, is the background of Strauder.  Strauder was indicted for murder.  He was an ex-slave, and the indictment was tried in a West Virginia Circuit Court and found guilty.  His case then went to the West Virginia Supreme Court, where they upheld the lower court’s verdict.  It then went to the United States Supreme Court on a Writ of Error.  So, taking from the Strauder decision, we find what led to the composition of the jury in the Circuit Court trial, to wit:

In the Circuit Court of the State, before the trial of the indictment was commenced, the defendant presented his petition, verified by his oath, praying for a removal of the cause into the Circuit Court of the United States, assigning, as ground for the removal, that ‘by virtue of the laws of the State of West Virginia no colored man was eligible to be a member of the grand jury or to serve on a petit jury in the State; that white men are so eligible, and that by reason of his being a colored man and having been a slave, he had reason to believe, and did believe, he could not have the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings in the State of West Virginia for the security of his person as is enjoyed by white citizens, and that he had less chance of enforcing in the courts of the State his rights on the prosecution, as a citizen of the United States, and that the probabilities of a denial of them to him as such citizen on every trial which might take place on the indictment in the courts of the State were much more enhanced than if he was a white man.’

This led to West Virginia, not a seceding state that would have been required to rewrite its constitution, to revise its laws on jury makeup.  This, of course, was a consequence of the due process provision of the 14th Amendment.

As I have said in the past, the presumption of innocence was based upon the fact that the Indictment (the alleged story of events) was on trial, not the defendant.  However, we have lost sight of that concept and now perceive the guilt of the defendant (the focus) as the purpose of the trial, not the validity of the Indictment.  Subtle, but still effective.

The Batson decision also provides the following:

[T]he Kentucky Supreme Court observed that recently, in another case, it had relied on Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, and had held that a defendant alleging lack of a fair cross section must demonstrate systematic exclusion of a group of jurors from the venire.

So, in this citation, the defendant has the burden of proving that the prosecution has not used “systematic exclusion” in their use of their peremptory challenges.  However, as we will see, in the current case, that burden will be transferred to the prosecution, and the defendant is accused of “systematic exclusion”.

. Continue reading ‘The Bundy Affair #21 – Batson Challenge – in the Name of Injustice’ »

Liberty or Laws – Justice or Despotism

Liberty or Laws?

Justice or Despotism?

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 10, 2017

When the colonies severed their allegiance to England, in 1776, through the adoption of the Constitution in 1789, they had to have some form of law upon which to deal with matters, both criminal and civil.  To do so, they adopted the Common Law of England, as it existed on July 4, 1776.  This, then, became the foundation of laws upon which both the federal government and state governments began the process of developing their judicial systems.

What is important to understand is that the laws that they adopted were concerned with Justice.  For example, though Webster’s 1828 dictionary has no definition of “judicial”, an adjective, it does have one for that body that is responsible for that function of government, the Judiciary:

JUDI’CIARY, n.  That branch of government which is concerned in the trial and determination of controversies between parties, and of criminal prosecutions; the system of courts of justice in a government.  An independent judiciary is the firmest bulwark of freedom.

Through our history, there have been legal scholars who stand well above the current lot, in that their concern for justice was paramount in their considerations, and the subject of much of their scholarly writings.

Perhaps the best known of these legal scholars was Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), and his seminal “Blackstone’s Commentaries.  From Book 1 of those Commentaries, we find some familiar phraseology:

“[A] subordinate right of every Englishman is that of applying to the courts of justice for redress of injuriesSince the law is in England the supreme arbiter of every man’s life, liberty, and property, courts of justice must at all times be open to the subject, and the law be duly administered therein.”

“And we have seen that these rights consist, primarily, in the free enjoyment of personal security, of personal liberty, and of private property.”

Of course, personal security is best defined as “life”, as without it, we have nothing.  And, Blackstone used the common term, “property”, as did most of the declarations of independence that predate Jefferson’s more poetic version.

What else did Sir Blackstone tells us about justice that was of extreme importance then, and should be equally so, now.  When he discusses Felony Guilt, he states his understanding and then refers to another scholar, Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676), from Book 4:

“Presumptive Evidence of Felony.  All presumptive evidence of felony should be admitted cautiously; for the law holds it better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent party suffer.  Sir Matthew Hale lays down two rules: (1) Never to convict a man for stealing the goods of a person unknown, merely because he will not account how he came by them; unless an actual felony be proved of such goods.  (2) Never to convict any person of murder or manslaughter, till at least the body be found dead.”

This subject can easily be set aside by the government simply stating that “times have changed”, since Blackstone wrote the Commentaries in the 1760s.  However, that discounts the fact that justice cannot change, only the misapplication of justice can change.  That latter is quite simply defined as injustice.

The Constitution provided two means by which the constitutionality of a law could be challenged.  The first, found in Article I, § 9, clause 2:

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