Las Vegas federal judge dismisses case against Cliven Bundy, 2 sons

In this April 12, 2014, file photo rancher Cliven Bundy, top center, addresses his supporters alongside Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, while being guarded by self-described militia members in the foreground. Twice federal prosecutors in Las Vegas have failed to win full convictions of men who had guns during an April 2014 armed standoff with government agents trying to round up cattle belonging to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. | Photo by Jason Bean/Las Vegas Review-Journal via The Associated Press, St. George News

LAS VEGAS — Criminal charges have been dismissed against a Nevada rancher and two of his sons accused of leading an armed uprising against federal authorities.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ruled Monday in Las Vegas that federal prosecutors acted with willful disregard for constitutional due process rights of 71-year-old Cliven Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

The judge last month declared a mistrial after a month of proceedings for the same reasons.

Read more: Mistrial announced in Bundy case

Navarro severely criticized prosecutors for failing to properly turn over evidence to their lawyers.

St. George News columnist Bryan Hyde was in the courtroom when the decision was announced. Hyde said:

Everybody kept their composure in the courtroom, but you could hear whispers throughout the courtroom. You could hear people whispering ‘Praise God.’ You could hear sniffles and I saw lots of people wiping away tears. … I know Carol Bundy brought Cliven’s cowboy hat with her when she drove down this morning, so she was really anticipating that this would be a favorable decision. And he (Cliven) will be coming home today.

Hyde said the judge took the government to task on their tactics during the trial.

“She (Navarro) said a new trial would not be adequate to sanction that kind of misconduct,” he said. “So dismissal is justified in that it will address the constitutional violation that took place, it would help to restore judicial integrity and would deter future misconduct. She never raised her voice, but that was a dressing down (of the government) that was really powerful.”

While Ryan Payne is among the defendants dismissed in the Nevada case, he will return to Oregon in the custody of U.S. Marshals for sentencing under a plea deal he made in that case.

A number of defendants remain in the action filed by U.S. prosecutors in the Nevada case, with varying counts remaining and others against those defendants having previously been disposed of.

Those defendants include, according to the court docket on Jan. 8, Peter T. Santilli, Jr. , Melvin D. Bundy, David H. Bundy, Brian D. Cavalier, Blaine Cooper, Gerald A. Delemus, Eric J. Parker, O. Scott Drexler, Todd C. Engel, Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy, Micah L. McGuire and Jason Woods.

The collapse of the case is a stunning failure for the U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada, where 19 co-defendants were indicted in early 2016 on charges including conspiracy, obstruction and threats and assault of federal agents in the April 2014 standoff outside Bunkerville.

This is a developing news story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press as to AP portions. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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20 Comments

  • Not_So_Much January 8, 2018 at 11:45 am

    FANTASTIC! But why so much time? Our government needs to be reeled in.

  • dons8120 January 8, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    It’s to bad the lawyers screwed up, that whole family needs to be thrown in jail. Follow the rules and none of this would have happened. Its not like they didn’t give him plenty of warning of the changes. All of these crazy right wing militia men need to be put in their place. The second amendment states a well regulated militia is protected not some dumb rancher who doesn’t want to pay his bills.

    • NotSoFast January 8, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Pat yourself on the back Donnie boy. Then maybe go back to the next scheduled protest rally and regroup. My guess is, you allow yourself to be consumed by your favorite Fake News channel.

      • mshaw January 8, 2018 at 6:30 pm

        I’m guessing don is a Hillary supporter and a member of the Sierra club. I think justice prevailed in this case

    • youcandoit January 8, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      I agree with you.

  • Who January 8, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    What branch of the government do you work for, don?

    • dons8120 January 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      I do not work for any government agency. I don’t like them getting into my business, but this about breaking the law. It would be different if they took his land from him but the didn’t. He had a contract and he broke it. Same thing as a rental lease my friend. You break the rules you pay the price.

      • Lastdays January 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm

        Well, if you want to bring “breaking the law” into the conversation, THAT’s the reason the case was dismissed today.
        The Fed’s were found GUILTY today of breaking the Rules of Law when it comes to how they treat citizens of the USA !
        Their planned conspiracy to take down the Bundy’s failed to work as they wanted it to.
        Got to credit the Bundy Family with the enormous restraint they had to hold their ground and stand up for their rights the entire time they were mistreated by their own government. There never was an ” Armed Standoff ” that fake news reports in every opening sentence when mainstream media publishes this story.
        Citizens have a right to be armed. We do that to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government trying to trample our rights and freedoms.
        Being armed to get your protect yourself and get your cows back is a far cry from the reported ” Armed Standoff ”
        Great day today for the american citizen by not getting railroaded by the judicial system.

        • lcambridge February 25, 2018 at 1:09 pm

          Its not their ground… its the governments land.. all federal land is…. even my reservation is federal land.. and they have the last say in it

  • Dusty January 8, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    The federal agents broke laws also. Would you have all those federal agents thrown into jail also? The grazing fee issue will still have to be settled. Just “throwing” people in jail will not solve all the issues.
    Funny me, I thought the federal agencies were supposed to be there to protect rights, not violate them.

  • Who January 8, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Well don, maybe you have a career waiting in politics!

  • johncmiller January 8, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    It’s only a matter of time before Ed writes his OpEd to graffiti his liberal views on this. I’ll sit back and enjoy some popcorn for that wonderful destroy Ed comment fest.

  • chris keele January 8, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    This is great news. And a blessing for all those of us that have seen this Family go through 2 years of being treated like they would have been living in a banana republic somewhere, say Venezuela or Cuba, or Syria just to name a few, after having had Obama and Holder and Lynch and the rest of those lawless half wits in charge, I was not surprised to see this kind of trash happening in our Country. Thanks to the people who stood up to defend those against this vicious attempt to rob American citizens of their God given rights.

  • Utahguns January 8, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Obama, Lynch and Holder….
    The reasons the gov’t didn’t have a case.

  • biker11 January 9, 2018 at 5:00 am

    Very Happy to see these men set free. The govt allowed an innocent man to be murdered(Finnicum). If Trump was not the president, then these innocent men would have been sentenced , no doubt about it. I believe the murderer agent that killed Finnicum is being tried, great.

  • Caveat_Emptor January 9, 2018 at 9:01 am

    This subject was covered in greater depth in the SL Tribune, thanks in part to the Associated Press.
    If the prosecutors had shared the files from that thumb drive, as they should have, with the defense, we would have had a trial on the merits of the criminal case.
    We still have over $1 Million in outstanding grazing fees that are overdue to the federal government, who own the land on behalf of all U.S. taxpayers……

    • Anon January 10, 2018 at 8:35 am

      What this dismissal really is is a tip for those who face criminal charges. You have a right to see what is going to be brought against you in trial (discovery) and if they don’t produce it to you in a reasonable time frame (defined by state law), they CANNOT use it at trial.

  • commonsense January 9, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    This family had valid permits to graze their cattle and develop water tank infrastructure to support their operation which has been active for decades. The feds under Obama decided to strong-arm these people and take away their livelihood. This was clearly an overreach by the executive branch.

    Similar events happened in Oregon and the Bundy’s were there to support their fellow ranchers when the Feds shot the unarmed Bundy. I hope this will result in murder charges since it is recorded on video.

    It’s sad when leftists politicians punish hard working, law abiding citizens and reward worthless
    generations of welfare recipients just to garner votes.

    Hooray Bundy family. Sorry for your torture. We are getting fair judges but it takes time to drain the sewer.

    • PatriotLiberal January 10, 2018 at 9:48 am

      It’s sad when leftists politicians punish hard working, law abiding citizens and reward worthless

      That would be true, if Cliven Bundy had paid his grazing fees to the Federal gov’t as WE THE PEOPLE asked him to do; and he agreed to do when he decided to run his cattle on public land.

      Similar events happened in Oregon and the Bundy’s were there to support their fellow ranchers when the Feds shot the unarmed Bundy.
      The ranchers in Oregon wanted NOTHING TO DO with Cliven and his gang.

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