Posts Tagged ‘Judge Navarro’

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

Monday, July 31st, 2017

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”.

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The Cause – What To Do?

Monday, June 12th, 2017

The Cause – What To Do?

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
June 12, 2017

I have been writing about the Bundy Affair since April 12, 2014 and the Burns Chronicles since February 2, 2016.  Both evolved out of a common grievance, Public Lands, and the rights that are inherent in them.  There are other commonalities, such as some of the players involved in both events and the fact that both had left behind the concept of Civil Disobedience and had entered the realm of Civil Defiance.  Those players, unlike most other patriots, had moved along “The Other (not so) Thin Line” to a point where their actions were intended to speak louder than their words.

The first event, in Nevada, the Bundy Affair, was an evolution from an event back in 1993 when Cliven Bundy, supported by hundreds of patriots who went to his ranch to side with him, defied the federal government and first stood for his right to continue both grazing and water permits necessary to continue his ranching business.  Cliven Bundy’s right to his historical use of the public lands culminated on April 12, 2014, or so we thought, in the “Unrustling” of the cattle that had been rustled by agents of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

In 2015, in Oregon, Dwight and Steven Hammond had been “resentenced” for a “crime”, though they had already served their time.  Their “crime” was the use of controlled burn and backfire to do what ranchers and the BLM have done for over a century.  The first is to destroy unwanted vegetation, the second, to control an existing fire in order to protect property.

This was not the beginning of their ordeal with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).  Their ordeal began almost a decade before Cliven Bundy’s first confrontation with an out of control federal government.  The FWS had been trying to restrict the Hammond’s ranching by cutting of water supply, fencing public corridors, and requiring annual licensing for what were perpetual rights to Public Land Usage.  “The Harassment of the Hammonds” dates back to October 1986.

For all intents, the Hammonds were tried, sentenced, served their time, and left prison as free men.  The government waited until all of this was done before filing an appeal to the Appellate Court, contending that they should have been sentenced according to the Sentencing Guidelines.  Funny, the word guidelines isn’t mandatory, simply a guide.  But, more on that in a future article.

The resentencing of the Hammonds raised the indignation of some of those players from the Bundy Affair, and others who had, possibly a result of what they witnessed in April 2014, moved further along that “Thin Line”.  Unable to convince the Hammonds that they should not turn themselves in for the additional 4+ years they would now have to serve, the objective changed to the FWS, the aggressors against the Hammonds.

There had been a planned demonstration in support of the Hammonds scheduled for January 2, 2016, just two days before they were to turn themselves over to the US Marshal Service to begin their second punishment for the first crime.  This demonstration, like many others, was Civil Disobedience.  However, behind the scenes, a plan of Civil Defiance had been hatched.  It was left to those who either went to Burns, Oregon, before or after the January 2 event to decide just how far along that “Thin Line” they had moved.  Unfortunately, many who claim that they are “fed up with the Feds” are not fully committed to action.  Instead, they chose to act big and criticize what was acted out by those who were more committed and chose to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR), an FWS facility about thirty miles south of Burns, and the adversary of the Hammonds rights for three decades.

For nearly a month, the Civil Defiance brought attention to the country, and the world, that the historical rights of Public Land usage were being trampled upon by the government.  The government, possibly absent any legal standing to deal with the occupation of the MNWR, chose to ambush a two vehicle, eight-person convoy going to a public event in John Day, Grant County, north of Burns.

Lying to the Oregon State Police (OSP), the FBI claimed that they were making a “felony stop” (legally, to stop the completion of a felony) and/or to serve an arrest warrant.  The warrant, however, was not issued until after seven were arrested and one murdered, while in transit to the event in John Day.

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