Judge Delays Bunkerville Trial after Las Vegas Shooting

A federal judge recently postponed the criminal trial for the six men allegedly involved in the Bundy-Bunkerville standoff, as the state of Nevada, including potential jurors and lawyers in the case, grapple with the horror of the Las Vegas shooting. The trial for Gold Butte rancher Cliven Bundy, two of his sons, and three other men was initially slated to start Tuesday, October 10th, but one defendant, Ryan Payne, had already asked the federal court to postpone the trial.

The bloody Las Vegas shooting left at least 59 dead and 400 injured. Assistant Federal Public Defender Brenda Weksler, counsel for Mr. Payne, had stated: “The shooter is a white male reported to be from Mesquite, Nevada — only a few miles away from the Bundy ranch and the site of the April 12, 2014, events in the wash by Highway I-15. Regardless of the facts, when and if they all come to light, many people have and will associate him with Cliven Bundy and his supporters, who have been previously described as ‘domestic terrorists’ by (former) Nevada Senator Harry Reid and others.”

Back in 2014, Cliven Bundy and his clan allegedly pointed assault rifles at Bureau of Land Management agents when they tried to round up Bundy’s cattle that was grazing on public lands without a permit.

Lawyers on both sides of the case agreed a trial delay would be necessary, even though Bundy and other defendants had wanted a speedy trial.

Delaying a Trial in California

While the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantees a speedy trial, sometimes it is necessary or strategic to reschedule or delay a hearing or trial. In instances such as if external current events make it almost impossible for a jury to be unbiased, such as in the case of the Las Vegas shooting, both sides typically agree to a reschedule. Defense attorneys have to file something called a “Motion to Continue” which is a request by one or both parties in a legal dispute to the Court to extend or reschedule a hearing or trial date to a specified new date.  See CA Rules of Court 3.1332.

Other grounds for continuance in California include:

  • “The unavailability of an essential lay or expert witness because of death, illness, or other excusable circumstances”;
  • “The unavailability of a party because of death, illness, or other excusable circumstances”;
  • “The unavailability of trial counsel because of death, illness, or other excusable circumstances”;

Other factors a judge considers is the length of the delay, how close the trial date is, etc.

San Diego Criminal Trial and Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Law Offices of David M. Boertje will defend your constitutional rights and freedom with zeal and expertise. We handle all misdemeanor and felony cases, including crimes of criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and assault of a federal officer and gun charges. We will guide you through your trial process, comb through the evidence against you, and ensure that you have a fair trial. If you have been charged and arrested for a crime, do not hesitate to contact attorney David Boertje today.