Leaders of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Standoff are Acquitted of Federal Charges

In a stunning loss for federal prosecutors, a jury has acquitted the leaders of the 41-day occupation and standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. The Portland jury acquitted Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and five others of conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 300 miles southeast of Portland. The jury could not reach a verdict on a single count of theft for Ryan Bundy.  Currently, Ammon Bundy remains in jail because he still faces charges for the armed standoff at his father Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada two years ago. The Bundys and their clan had been charged with federal conspiracy to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs by occupying the refuge.

This defeat for the prosecution was especially unexpected given the circumstances and the fact that three of the defendants chose to represent themselves without an attorney. Additionally, one juror was dismissed from the trial after another juror and defendant Ammon Bundy’s defense attorney accused him of being biased, since is a former employee of the Bureau of Land Management, the agency involved in the Nevada standoff.  The dismissed juror was replaced with a replacement juror. US Attorney Daniel Bogden in Nevada, however, said the acquittals in Portland should have no effect on the currently pending Las Vegas case for the armed standoff.

Juror Misconduct in California

In a California jury trial, there are a variety of reasons a juror may be excused or discharged from a trial ranging from death, illness, or if the juror becomes too emotionally involved or impartial to participate. While these things do not rise to the level of misconduct, California law defines misconduct as any conduct that conflicts with the judge’s instructions as to how they should perform their duties. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Speaking to people or other jurors about the case,
  • Discussing the case with a fellow juror while out of session,
  • Concealing personal beliefs that could influence impartial deliberations, and
  • Refusing to deliberate.

Jury misconduct triggers a new trial if it leads to incurable prejudice. The judge has the ultimate discretion to determine whether a juror has engaged in misconduct. He or she has the duty to investigate allegations.

Remedies

If misconduct is found, a judge may discharge the tainted juror, discharge the entire jury, declare a mistrial, or admonish the jury.

San Diego Criminal Defense and Conspiracy Defense Attorney

The Law Offices of David M. Boertje handles all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases and will walk you through your case from arrest to trial and do our best to keep you out of jail. We will fight for you to have a fair trial, including filing a motion to dismiss a juror if need be. If you have been arrested or charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, trespassing making criminal threats, or brandishing a weapon, contact attorney David Boertje today. Consultations are free and confidential.