A self-proclaimed "U.S. Superior Court judge" who has been involved in past property rights protests in other states arrived Tuesday in Burns with plans to convene an extra-legal "citizens grand jury" that he said will review evidence that public officials may have committed crimes.
Bruce Doucette, a 54-year-old owner of a computer design and repair shop in suburban Denver, told The Oregoinian/Oregon Live that...he met with the armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to hear their evidence, which he called "significant," that government officials have committed crimes...
..."The grand jury will convene in private and make its decisions in private," Doucette said. "The role of superior court judge is not very glorified. All we do is write up" what the local citizens decide, he said.
Local citizens like the Bundys who actually live in Nevada? Or maybe he means their computer expert--who used refuge computers to build an occupation website, but without, as Ammon Bundy claims, anyone ever actually touching the computers--who hails from near Cincinnati, Ohio?
Coucette's entry into the fray and claim to special Constitutional powers is the latest in an 11-day drama that has drawn a series of attention-seeking, Constitution-citing characters who say they can help Harney County residents solve their problems with federal restrictions on use of public lands.Help that the residents don't seem to want.
(Story here, and also here, and story #2 here )
Ammon Bundy and other organizers of the occupation have said...they believe that lawyers in the U.S. attorney's office, federal court judges and leaders of the Bureau of Land Management, among others, have broken laws and violated the Constitution in their treatment of ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond.Ranchers, who, incidentally, also want nothing to do with Bundy or his militia.
In Bundy's view...restrictions on use of federal resources and using the courts to punish the Hammonds for burning 139 acres of federal rangeland represented unconstitutional overreach by federal officials. And the failure of the state and local officials, including Sheriff Dave Ward, are also guilty, for failing to protect their citizens from those federal actions.What really gets my "fairness" gene jangling is that Bundy and his ilk, just because they're rich enough to own thousands of acres next to federal land, think they have the right to free use of that federal land too. You or I don't have that right, just them.
Imagine if you or I were to buy into their claim that federal land is free and should be available for the people to use as they see fit. And then imagine if we, as "the people," decided we wanted to move to Oregon, or Nevada, or wherever and showed up with a moving van full of furniture and the lumber to build a house on this free public property. The Bundy Bunch would have a rifle waving militia in place quicker than spit, screaming that we were trespassing on their property. Because, you see, that's what they believe--the land is theirs, not yours or mine, THEIRS.
Doucette would easily reach the same conclusion since the leader of the movement under which he was declared a judge insists that the BLM is a private corporation, not a government agency, and the federal government ceased operating under the Constitution in the 1860s.#1 Whoo, boy.
#2 So the Constitution that these public officials have violated really doesn't exist? How is charging them with violating a non-existent document going to work exactly?
Bundy, in a "redress of grievance" to Harney County and Oregon leaders that he posted last month, said evidence of government officials' crimes should be heard and decided in public by a hearing board of Harney residents.
Doucette, by contrast, said 25 local residents would hear testimony and make decisions in private. But both said the conclusions would be put in writing and made public.
There is no evidence to date that a legal determination by a self-styled judge associated with the sovereign citizen movement would have any effect, other than to excite people already allied with that fringe view.Maybe because the rest of us have functioning brains?
In late November, Anna Maria Riezinger, an Alaska woman who claims to be Judge Anna von Reitz under the same inaccurate reading of the Constitution that Doucette uses, ruled that members of Congress, the president and the U.S. treasury secretary all committed crimes and directed U.S. marshals and FBI agents to arrest them.They're like grown-ups who somehow got stuck in pretend cowboys and Indians mode.
Last week, Riezinger issued a statement about the Harney occupation. In it, she wrote that "The Hammonds and the Bundy Family are Priority Creditors of all the (government agencies) which are now or which have operated in this country in the past. ...They and their countrymen are owed the patent to all land within the geographically defined boundaries of their respective states, free and clear of liens, encumbrances, or other presumptions."Even the most bellicose satirists would hesitate before going this far.
Hundreds of people who have used similar sovereign citizen arguments to justify failing to pay federal income taxes, getting drivers licenses or other government requirements have never prevailed in any court.Gee, I wonder why?
You can read Ms. Hammond's entire article here.