Welcome to the Star Chamber

Justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done.

Much of the evidence in the high-profile Bunkerville standoff case has been cloaked in secrecy due to a blanket court protective order that requires just about everything filed in the case to be filed under seal.

Ammon Bundy (R-J pix)

Now, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro is conducting hearings behind closed doors. After dismissing the jury until Dec. 20, the judge closed the court to all but the parties in the trial to hear arguments about whether the prosecution failed to disclose evidence to the defendants in a timely manner, according to a press account.

Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, and self-styled militia member Ryan Payne face felony charges, including conspiracy, assault and threats against federal officers, firearms counts, obstruction and extortion for which a conviction could carry a sentence of 170 year in prison. They are accused of staging an armed confrontation in 2014 with BLM agents who were rounding up Bundy’s cattle for failing to pay grazing fees for for 20 years. The roundup to collect $1 million in grazing fees is said to have cost $3 million, though it is questionable whether Bundy’s mangy range cows were worth even $1 million. Who knows how much the string of trials is costing taxpayers.

Ryan Bundy (R-J pix)

Prosecutors have been given until Friday to respond to the judge’s questions about whether they failed to meet deadlines for providing discovery evidence on at least seven occasions and and 14 other potential violations of the defendants’ rights.

The judge has hinted that failure by the prosecution to adequately respond could result in a mistrial because the failures might be “sufficient to undermine the confidence in the outcome of the trial,” but defense attorney are asking that the charges be dismissed outright  due to prosecutorial misconduct.


The newspaper quoted Cliven Bundy’s attorney Bret Whipple as saying, “I hope to get the case dismissed before the jurors come back.”

Daniel Hill, an attorney for Ammon Bundy, said, “That’s exactly what dismissal is designed for — when the government proceeds while violating their constitutional mandates.”

But, since the hearings were behind closed doors, the taxpayers were denied the ability see just how serious the allegations against their tax-funded prosecutors really are. We can’t see what we are paying for — justice or injustice.

Justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done.



10 comments on “Welcome to the Star Chamber

  1. Bruce Feher says:

    Hey Tom, the Ruling Klass don’t have to follow no stinking rules!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Silly season.

    Lock them up! Etc etc

  3. Judge, jury and executioner.

  4. A.D. Hopkins says:

    As long as the maximum penalty for prosecution’s misconduct is mistrial, which doesn’t actually penalize the evil-doer so much as the taxpayer and the defense, then there will continue to be a lot of that misconduct.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s a dang shame I couldn’t get this in before AD got his in but

    “Lock her up”
    -every conservative and Trump

    To which, apparently, Thomas would respond with “judge jury and executioner(s)”

  6. deleted says:

    That’ll cost you your card Thomas.

  7. I switched to the Libertarian Party.

  8. Steve says:

    Wow, from Democrat to Republican to Libertarian!
    Tom “evolved”! Nice!

  9. Athos says:

    Does any one else have a “Walking Tall” movie theme feeling?

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