Free at Last

Free at last after almost 4 years. After the stand-off with federal agents in an armed showdown over cattle grazing, Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and Ryan Payne a participant in the stand-off, all freed on Monday after being held for almost 700 days without bail. They all walked out of court free men after the Judge dismissed all charges with “prejudice” for misconduct by the prosecutors.

They were all accused of conspiring to impede or injure federal officers when the feds moved in, with hired outside cowboys to seize some of Bundy’s cattle in April 2014 for nonpayment of grazing fees. After a 75-minute hearing in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Monday, Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the case with prejudice, which means the defendants cannot be retried on the same charges.

This represented a second stunning defeat for federal prosecutors in their attempts to penalize the Bundy family for their role in two high-profile cases over federal land policies. Early last year prosecutors failed to convict Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five of their co-defendants in a separate armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

This case received national attention because it highlighted the long-running tensions between Western ranchers and the federal government. “It’s not only a great victory for the Bundy family, but it begs a congressional inquiry into the behavior of the BLM and whether or not we should be treating American citizens as terrorists,” said Mr. Philpot, the Bundy attorney.

When the decision was announced loud cheers could be heard from the many supporters who were in attendance and those who had to wait outside the courtroom. Reaction to the judge’s decision case resounded across the West with supporters of the Bundy’s celebrated in the legal victory that many said shows that Bureau of Land Management’s managers and the Environmental Protection Administration have harassed and persecuted ranchers and others using BLM land for commercial purposes and this was a good example of that harassment.

Ranchers throughout the west have faced increasing fees for land use and general harassment by Federal Agencies, environmental groups and preservationists who say farming, mining and even human access harm the environment. The groups said the decision hurts the cause and efforts to protect natural resources.

Ask anyone who tries to deal with the BLM about the delays and general indifference shown by that agency is unconscionable. Getting right-a-way for any project is at least a ten year venture any many times longer. The agency collects fees but does nothing to improve the land.

What happen at the Bundy ranch could have been a real disaster but luckily cooler heads prevailed, yet if the land use is not reformed there may be a real tragedy ahead. Let’s hope the new Sectary of the Department of Interior will look at restructuring the BLM so it serves both the people and the country’s commercial interests instead of only the environmental groups who want the land locked away. For the misconduct, the Justice Department should investigate and charge if there was any crimes committed by federal employees.


  1. David Petrillo says:

    The only crimes committed were by the Bundy’s. They turned a civil matter, owing the Federal government for failure to pay grazing fees, into a criminal matter by calling for armed militants to come and help Bundy get his cattle back. The Government had, and still has, a legal right to his cattle. If Bundy wants to keep his cattle, he can march down to the local BLM office and pay what he owes to us, the citizens of the US. He has been stealing from us for over 20 years and it is time to pay us back.

    • Dave Cordon says:

      In fact in free range areas it is the motorists responsibility to not hit cattle that are in the road. Motorists must yield right of way to livestock. If the livestock is injured or damaged it is the responsibility of the motorist to pay for damages. It is the responsibility of the state road department to put up signs warning motorists of road hazards such as wildlife or livestock which may also use the road. You the motorist are a guest on public land and must respect the rights of other users of that public land. Striking a cow in the road is not bad luck it is irresponsible driving.

      Do you have any comments about the Hammonds who are in prison charged with terrorism for lighting a back fire that burned onto public land.

      • David Petrillo says:

        The same court system that set the Bundy’s free weighed the evidence and convicted the Hammonds. As you alt rights types are always saying, we are a country of laws. There are penalties for breaking the law. If you think the laws are unfair, have your representatives change them.

  2. Lee Harper says:

    It’s about time this is a great victory for the real people instead of the damn Government .
    Hoora. Hoora

  3. Phil Edwards says:

    Any person in the area around Mesquite and environs who celebrates this decision needs to understand you are now stuck with the crime gang in your midst. Bundy’s cows roam wild and have already caused accidents on the highways. It will be bad luck for you if on a dark night you round a bend and hit a Bundy beast, wreck your car and your own body. Don\t expect the Bundys to accept responsibility for your damages. They will trample on other people who get in their way just like they trampled the federal government. Lie down with dogs then accept fleas.

    • Mike Young says:

      Dave and Phil, – I think you missed the point, the federal government is out of control when federal agencies lie and withhold evidence to put people in jail. Also, to hold people for 700 days violates out right to a speedy trial and bail. I hope you don’t support federal agents not telling the truth although we seem to be seeing that throughout the government. Even if your are federal agent, if you lie, it is perjury and you should go to jail. You got it reversed, the federal trampled on them. I understand the government spent 3 million dollars to try and collect 1 million and taking someone cattle is called rustling. You don’t send armed men and snipers to take someone’s property if your not looking for trouble. What is wrong with getting a lien and when they sell something you get your money, that is what the regular citizens have to do. Additionally, I believe Nevada is a free range state, you should drive with care as cattle and other animals may get on YOUR road, slow down.

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