Government Will Not Try 2 Bundy Ranch Defendants Again – Dismiss Counts Without Prejudice
The two defendants in the first round of the Bundy Ranch siege trials who were found guilty will not face a retrial on the counts where the jury did not reach a verdict.
According to documents from the prosecution against Todd Engel and Greg Burleson, neither man will face a retrial. The government has also decided to dismiss without prejudice counts 1 and 2 against Mr. Burelson and all hung counts against Mr. Engel.
In the case of Burleson, the prosecution wrote, “…the government seeks this dismissal solely to save the Court and the government the time and expense of a second trial, verdicts of guilty having been entered on eight of the ten counts against Burleson. Accordingly, dismissal without prejudice is appropriate.”
Gregory Burleson, a formerly active member of Arizona militia groups who used to be a paid FBI informant, was convicted of assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal officer, interference with interstate commerce by extortion, obstruction of justice, interstate travel in aid of extortion and multiple gun counts. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 57 years on July 26.
“…The government seeks this dismissal solely to save the Court and the government the time and expense of a second trial, verdicts of guilty having been entered on two of the ten counts against Engel,” the prosecution wrote concerning Todd Engel. “Accordingly, dismissal without prejudice is appropriate.”
Engel was found guilty of obstruction of justice and interstate travel in aid of extortion, but on all the other charges, the jury was deadlocked. He could face up to 30 years at sentencing July 27.
Now, apparently, there was not enough evidence for the jury to come to a decision on Richard Lovelien, Scott Drexler, Eric Parker, Steven Stewart concerning the counts against them, as well. So, the question seems to be fair in asking, why is the government not moving to dismiss all those counts where the jury could not reach a decision? Why not save the court, the government and the men the time and expense of a retrial? it’s clear the government failed to make their case against those men.
Cliven Bundy’s wife, Carol, agreed and said the jury saw weakness in the government’s case.
“If they can’t decide, there’s doubt. If there’s doubt, there’s innocence,” she said.
The next round of trials will include Pete Santilli, Ammon Bundy, Cliven Bundy, Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne.
Already, we have seen Pete Santilli filed a motion concerning the Court’s attempt to retry these men and push the second round of defendants back, denying them their right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment.
According to the motion, attorney Chris Rasmussen, Esq. wrote, “The Government is requesting that the first group of defendants be retried on June 26, 2017. As this Court is aware, the jury was deadlocked on 50 counts, but appeared to have found the defendants not guilty on the conspiracy counts as they had indicated on the verdict form. Apparently, there was some confusion with the instructions and they scratched out their intent to acquit on the conspiracy counts.”
“The Court is aware of the speedy trial arguments that all of the defendants have repeatedly made as they have all been in custody without bail for over a year,” Rasmussen added. “Santilli also has repeatedly argued that his trial be held immediately. Santilli understood that his trial would be delayed, so that the prior trial could be held with his immediately following a 30 day break. Now, the Government wants to push Santilli into September or October in their zealous attempt to once again present the notion that there was a conspiracy between the indicted and unindicted protestors during the Bundy Ranch incident in April 2014.”
Later, the prosecution would respond to a motion filed by Mel Bundy claiming his right to a speedy trial was being violated. In that response, the government made reference to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals:
- The Supreme Court in Barker v Wingo held that we can definitely say how long is too long in a system where justice is supposed to be swift but deliberate; and
- that, in a prior case, it had held merely that ‘a five year delay is long enough to trigger a further look’ before ultimately finding no constitutional violation.
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