Cliven Bundy- Scofflaw Occupier *Court Decisions Digested*
FOX News has inexplicably lifted scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy to a pedestal of purported “American Patriot” fighting Government overreach. However, even in FOX’s reportage, we’ve been spoon fed morsels of the truth, spun to fit the FOX narrative on this particular story. Where a news story (so-called) arises from one or more court decisions, it pays to go back and read those decisions before jumping on any bandwagon filled with folks waving Old Glory while pointing guns at federal agents. Thusly follows a chronological outline of the facts from the two cases out of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada; USA v. Cliven Bundy CV-S-98-531-JBR, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23835 (Bundy 1) and USA v. Cliven Bundy 12-CV-0804-LDG-GWF 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95294 (Bundy 2).
Bundy 1 (decided November 3, 1998)
Circa 1954- Bundy and/or his father commence grazing livestock on public lands owned by the United States, administered by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). Bundy and /or his father apply for permits to use a specific area for grazing and paid BLM for use of the land through 1993. (That’s almost 40 years folks!)
March 1993- Bundy refuses to pay grazing bills or apply for the requisite BLM permit.
February 26, 1993 Bundy sends “Administrative Notice of Intent” (“ANI”) to BLM stating his intent to continue grazing his cattle “pursuant to my vested grazing right.”
June 16, 1993- BLM sends Bundy a letter advising his application to graze livestock has not been received. This letter includes an application for Bundy to fill out and submit. Bundy responds to this letter with another ANI stating BLM has not shown it has jurisdiction over the public lands in question.
July 13, 1993- BLM sends Bundy “Trespass Notice and Order to Remove.” Bundy has ten days to respond.
On January 24, 1994 the BLM delivers a proposed Decision Order to Remove and Demand for Payment to Bundy by placing it on the dashboard of Bundy’s vehicle while he is in the vehicle. Bundy throws the document out his window and drives away. One of Bundy’s sons picks it up, tears it into pieces and throws it on the ground. (This is 20 years before the recent showdown!)
March 3, 1994- Bundy sends a check for $1,961.47 to Clark County for grazing fees. Clark County returns the check because it does not have jurisdiction over the BLM land management.
March/April 1994- BLM sends Bundy “Past Due” bills for grazing fees.
September 1997- BLM seeks a meeting with Bundy to discuss the trespass, Bundy declines.
April 17, 1998- Bundy, representing himself as a pro-se litigant, files a Motion to Dismiss alleging the Court lacks jurisdiction and that he is a citizen of Nevada NOT of the United States. (Yes, you read that right. Starting to recognize Bundy has “issues”?)
Bundy also refers to a BLM letter dated January 28, 1993 entitled “Full Force and Effect Decision [regarding the grazing area].” Bundy asserts this letter concerns the “Desert Tortoise, [which] if fully implemented, would lead to the end of ranching in Clark County.” The letter in fact reminds Bundy that his grazing permit will end February 1993. A new permit application for Bundy is attached to the letter. Despite Bundy’s assertion, the terms and conditions for the new permit at best explain that the BLM may impose some temporary grazing restrictions in specific areas where the tortoises may be active until such time as the forage grows to a sufficient amount.
Dismissing all of Bundy’s asserted defenses, the Court rules Bundy (by virtue of his cattle) is trespassing on United States property. The Court also notes that the Code of Federal Regulations prohibits unauthorized grazing on public lands. Further, any person who violates the grazing regulations is subject to civil and criminal penalties.
Moreover, the Court notes that “The government has shown commendable restraint in allowing this trespass to continue for so long without impounding Bundy’s Livestock.”
The Court permanently enjoins Bundy from grazing his livestock on the public land and orders that he remove the livestock from said land by November, 30, 1998.
Bundy 2 (decided July 9, 2013)
The United States alleges that Bundy has failed to comply with “Bundy 1” and that Bundy’s cattle is now trespassing on additional federal land.
As in Bundy 1, Bundy argues the Court lacks jurisdiction because the United States does not own the lands in question. (An actual attorney could not raise a previously dismissed defense in a case based on the same set of facts but this is Cliven Bundy, pro-se litigant).
Bundy goes so far as to argue that cattle bearing his brand “may not in fact be his own” but this tactic does not overcome Nevada law regarding branded cattle as prima facie evidence of ownership.
In short, Bundy is ordered to cease trespassing on the additional federal land at issue in the case.
BLM is empowered to remove Bundy’s cattle that continue to trespass 45 days after the date of this decision, July 9, 2013.
Thus, in Bundy 1 & 2 we see that Cliven Bundy is a habitual scofflaw with no regard for the law of the land. Bundy-land law is simply nonsensical. One would think that of all the money he has saved these many years by not paying grazing fees, some might have been spent consulting with an actual attorney to mitigate the accruing fines and work out an agreement with BLM. Nope, Bundy wants to keep his money while he confronts BLM with armed militias and hoards of other misinformed folks. The Feds did the right thing this time by backing down to avoid an armed confrontation. However, the Federal government must not encourage more Bundy-like lawlessness by ignoring the issue. The Feds should return to do what they must, hopefully assisted by an armed National Guard and appropriate tactics to avoid injury to Federal agents and minimize casualties to Bundy’s lawless minions. Cliven Bundy must be criminally charged, locked up and given a mental health evaluation. Cliven Bundy is no patriot. –Grizzly Joe
Note: This site is not linking to the written Court Decisions found because they will likely be pulled for copyright infringement as they were LexisNexis publications. Simply Google “USA v. Cliven Bundy CV-S-98-531-JBR, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23835” & “USA v. Cliven Bundy 12-CV-0804-LDG-GWF 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95294” or some variations thereof, perhaps with “pdf” thrown in, and you should find the published decisions somewhere.