We don’t know what happened in the jury room in Oregon yesterday – but as we noted last night, a jury acquitted all of Ammon Bundy’s group of all charges.
The decision smells like jury nullification – the notion that a jury can invalidate bad law by not finding people guilty of it.
Say what you will about the Bundy clan and their methods, but the original charge that led to the fracas – the “setting a fire in federal property” rap that arose from a controlled blaze that became not-so-controlled and overlapped federal property in the trackless waste of eastern Oregon – was a crock and needed to be nullified.
And, as a lot of libertarian Westerners (or as the Southern Poverty Law Center would refer to them, “terrorists”) have been talking about for a long time, the jury would have none of it.
The feds don’t like being denied:
Ammon Bundy’s lawyer Marcus Mumford argued that his client, dressed in a gray suit and white dress shirt, should be allowed to walk out of the court, a free man.
U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown told him that there was a U.S. Marshal’s hold on him from a pending federal indictment in Nevada.
“If there’s a detainer, show me,” Mumford stood, arguing before the judge.
Suddenly, a group of about six U.S. Marshals surrounded Mumford at his defense table. The judge directed them to move back but moments later, the marshals grabbed on to him.
“What are you doing?” Mumford yelled, as he struggled and was taken down to the floor.
As deputy marshals yelled, “Stop resisting,” the judge demanded, “Everybody out of the courtroom now!”
Mumford was taken into custody, a member of his legal team confirmed.
Ammon Bundy’s lawyer J. Morgan Philpot, said afterwards on the courthouse steps that Mumford had been arrested and marshals had used a stun gun, or Taser, on his back.
Jurors (apparently) nullified the charges because, one suspects, they believe the feds have become an authoritarian bureaucracy. The feds then give them evidence to support the thesis.
It’s going to be an interesting four years.
UPDATE: Not nullification? No problem. Good guys win either way.