Perspectives: Things the media may have missed while covering the Bundy case

Composite image includes public profile photo of federal Judge Gloria Navarro and other stock images, St. George News

OPINION — There were a lot of us waiting in line to get into courtroom 7C at the federal courthouse in Las Vegas last week. We were all anxious to hear what Judge Gloria Navarro had decided since declaring a mistrial Dec. 20 in the case of U.S. v. Bundy, in particular the Bundy family and Ryan Payne.

At least half the people in the hallway were members of the Bundy family. Supporters and members of the media made up the rest of the crowd. Among the familiar faces, I spotted at least a half dozen of the jurors from the most recent trial.

I asked them why they chose to come. Their responses indicated that they wouldn’t have missed it and wanted to see this thing through to the end. Afterward, when asked if the judge’s dismissal of the case against the defendants was the outcome they’d hoped for, the answer was a definitive and united “yes.”

Read more: Las Vegas federal judge dismisses case against Cliven Bundy, 2 sons

It underscored the results of three earlier trials in which jurors declined to validate the government’s claims and refused to convict. Even so, this outcome was not something that could have been predicted when the latest trial began.

The first time I sat in the courtroom in Las Vegas, I was pretty sure that I would end up having an intense dislike of Navarro.

I was aware of how she had presided over two earlier trials of defendants from the Bunkerville standoff of 2014. I knew that the defense had been so tightly bound by her instructions as to make their case practically meaningless.

However, Navarro’s handling of the trial of Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne was far more evenhanded than I expected. From Ryan Bundy’s opening statement to the cross-examination of the government’s first three witnesses, an astonishing quantity of truth was brought into the light of day.

Those truths revealed the incredible depths of deception and duplicity to which members of the Bureau of Land Management, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were willing to go. In their haste to provoke a violent confrontation with the Bundys, a number of government agencies were discovered to be pursuing an agenda of vengeance rather than justice.

It was fascinating to watch Navarro’s growing recognition of just how badly the prosecution had been violating the rules that govern due process. When she outlined her reasons for dismissing the case last week, Navarro called out the government’s flagrant misconduct in no uncertain terms.

When she announced that a “universal sense of justice has been violated,” it was clear that the truth had finally triumphed.

I don’t know what might have changed in Navarro’s understanding or within her heart since the previous two trials, but I’m grateful she took the approach she did.

It’s no secret that throughout the trial, the Bundy family had consistently called upon their supporters to pray for Navarro as well as other members of the government’s team that their hearts would be softened. Before entering the courtroom last Monday, Ryan Bundy led those waiting in the hallway in a heartfelt prayer.

In his prayer, Bundy specifically prayed for Navarro – for her well-being and for her to be guided in her understanding. As Navarro later explained the relevant precedents and case law that supported her decision to dismiss with prejudice, I’m certain she saw many heads bowed in prayer in her courtroom.

When her decision was announced, the celebration that swept through the courtroom was mostly silent tears of joy with occasional whispers of “thank you, God” and “praise God.”

This reaction underscores a powerful spiritual dynamic that has been ever-present from the very beginning of this saga, though rarely reported on or understood by the public generally. The Bundys have placed their trust in God from the start.

I can sympathize with those who would dismiss such things because they haven’t experienced them personally. If I had not seen and experienced them firsthand for myself, I would be inclined to doubt as well.

The difficulties and pain of the past couple of years have not broken this family. They have become stronger in every way. Their faith in God has been strengthened, not diminished, by their suffering.

Their marriages and family ties have been forged in the fires of hardship. The intense heat and pressure directed at them has served to refine them like diamonds. They are battle-hardened but not bitter or hateful.

When they speak, the Bundys still speak with love but also with the conviction of people who genuinely have skin in the game and who have been willing to suffer for their beliefs.

Armchair quarterbacks simply don’t have that kind of credibility. Nor should they.

The problems of an unaccountable, overreaching government that the Bundys have fought to bring to light still exist. What more will it take before we understand this isn’t just the Bundys’ problem?

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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28 Comments

  • bikeandfish January 15, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Navarro made a decision with immense integrity.

    Hyde is a Bundy sycophant. He has never approached their case as a professional journalist with ethical boundaries. He had a narrative from the start and stuck to it. Anyone that sees balance in this piece needs to remember he claimed the Bundy trial was a “modern day lynching”. He has never retracted or corrected such an egregious and wrong statement.

    • John January 15, 2018 at 10:45 am

      It was a modern day lynching.. fake charges. that’s why the judge dismissed the case with EXTREME PREJUDICE! Duh…

      • bikeandfish January 15, 2018 at 12:29 pm

        No evidence of fake charges. It was dismissed with prejudice because the prosecution denied access to evidence and therefore right to due process. Its public court record. You constantly fabricate lies, John, as is evident by this claim.

        How certain departments and employees have handled the Bundy situation has clearly been a debacle. But Hyde has consistently put his ideology first and foremost in this coverage and made outrageous, unhinged remarks in the process.

        • John January 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm

          that’s because the charges were fake.. damn you are dense.. IT WAS A MODERN DAY LYNCHING ! Just because your misinformed little insignificant self thinks it wasn’t just doesn’t change the fact that it clearly was.

          • bikeandfish January 15, 2018 at 9:32 pm

            At least show some basic literacy and knowledge about the subject matter. A mistrial isn’t about the merit of the charges. Its a outcome based on an error in the legal proceedings itself, in this case prosecution withholding evidence. The judge’s decision was based on the prosecution’s failure to provide the defendant their constitutionally protected due process. It was possible to have a retrial but the judge considered the prosecution’s actions so egregious to dismiss it with prejudice fundamentally eliminating retrial.

            Lynching by definition is an extrajudicial act, ie one made outside court and justice systems or legally authorized. Nothing, absolutely nothing, about the Bundy case meets that definition. Add to it the fact that for much our history it was a racially motivated form of terrorism that still haunts minority communities to this day. It wasn’t until recently that Carolyn Donham admitted that she fabricated the accussations against Emmit Till that locals used to “justify” his lynching. We still have surviving family members of lynching victims in this country. A documented case of lynching was successfully prosecuted in the late 90s and nooses are still used to intimidate minorities. Heck, threats of “lynching” are still used by white southern republicans when the government doesn’t behave according to their sense of entitlement and privilege.

            So tell me again how indefensible my statements are? You constantly troll this site in one of the most ignorant, hateful ways possible.

            Please educate yourself before spouting off complete nonsense.

          • John January 16, 2018 at 8:26 am

            If your head gets any bigger , your soap box is going to collapse, why do you think the feds wouldn’t show evidence? Because it was all fake evidence, the feds were lynching this guy for standing up to illegal actions by the land bureau, in fact their lynching attempt went so far as to have Levoy Finicum MURDERED. All connected to the attempted FEDERAL COVER UP of the government overstepping the boundaries that were set for it in the Constitution.! It’s not about how you feel binkyandflute, It’s about the law! IT WAS A LYNCHING and it was stopped by Judge Navarro. To bad you are too narrow minded to see it.

          • bikeandfish January 16, 2018 at 9:41 am

            I think the Bundy’s fundamentally disagree that the evidence not handed over during discovery was “fake evidence”. Their claim is that the video evidence, real, exposes the misconduct of federal agents. It was all real evidence as the judge didn’t make a ruling on “fake evidence”, which is a crime. Your entire argument is nonsensical and recycled talking points that have no bearing on this case. In fact, Finicum died in relationship to the Malheur situation which was an entirely different case.

            You need to read up on civics and gain some media literacy. None of what you have said is rooted in reality or scaled to verifiable fact.

          • John January 16, 2018 at 9:59 am

            everything i wrote is rooted in reality, just not your distorted windbag reality. IT WAS A FROGGING LYNCHING and the corruption on behalf of the feds was running deep. You my friend only believe the first thing you read. The only reason the prosecutors would not allow the defense to view it is because it was fabricated evidence and they were hoping to get a conviction without presenting the evidence…WAAAAH WAAAAH WAAAH! Your melting is getting this page all wet, snowflake !

  • Amy January 15, 2018 at 11:51 am

    it was a lynching and unless you were there you would not have seen all the facts.facts were hidden and many lies by the media blm and fbi were hidden from the we the people. there were snipers which was reason for we the people to get involved. the blm has been intimidating and threatening people to get what they want for years. it’s about time the got called out on it. most gave up.these people stood up against many wrongs and it’s still not over but more will be revealed.

    • bikeandfish January 15, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      By definition, Lynchings don’t involve the justice system working. A lynching is a terminal act conducted without any respect for the victims. Bandying it around for this case is a disgrace considering our rich American history of lynching. Modern American lynching is lynching and has happened in our lifetime.

      • John January 15, 2018 at 2:17 pm

        waaah waaah waaah ! indefensible stupid inane comment by bikeandfish …again

        • SteveSGU January 15, 2018 at 11:29 pm

          No, John, it is your comments that are uneducated. Every one of them. We don’t need redneck extremists, people. We need honest people to objectively see the truth and not just what your side says the truth must be.

          This trial was unfortunately not carried out to its conclusion because the prosecutors stupidly withheld certain evidence. So we don’t know what the judge would have said about the actual merits of the charges or what the judgement will be in the next case of this nature.

          • John January 16, 2018 at 11:17 am

            and you just supported my point you dip…hahahaha!

        • Lee Sanders January 16, 2018 at 4:21 pm

          It’s fascinating how when you don’t have anything intelligent to respond with, you say, “waaah, waaah, waaah” That doesn’t take a lot of brain power and intellect to respond that way. Come on, John, please respond in a mature way that doesn’t sound like a baby wailing.

          • bikeandfish January 16, 2018 at 4:34 pm

            John occasionally lets a glimmer of thoughtful dialog sneak through his trolling but its rare. I have no doubt he passionately cares about something other than hateful and childish insults but he rarely shows it. Real shame.

  • chris keele January 15, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Good article Bryan, And I am grateful for someone in the media business to point out what an incredibly egregious job the United States Justice Dept. did under the previous administration (Obama’s), with Erick Holder and Loretta Lynch presiding , and that it was brought to the light of day for all of us to see how this previous administration had willfully and with purpose tried to provoke a violent confrontation with those people that went to support the Bundy family in the face of such overwhelming military over reaction that day. And then to continue this vile behavior and using their F.B.I. mercenaries to go to Oregon and continue to badger and demean those that were trying to draw attention to the way that two members of the Hammond family had been unjustly railroaded into prison. There is a video, dated 12 January 2016 , every one should see that shows the arrogant and aggressive mercenaries with the F.B.I. as they try to browbeat the Idaho 3 per-centers, and a coalition of the Pacific Patriot Network, that had traveled to Burns Oregon to see if they could help intermediate between the two sides in the standoff there , which subsequently resulted in the death of a good American Patriot Lavoy Finicum, to help the Government hot heads get the revenge they were needing to feel better I guess. A very despicable act of unnecessary aggression. And another waste of tax payers money. Yes Judge Navarro has a very different attitude now, we have a real leader in the White House instead of the previous despot!

  • Loren January 15, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Brilliantly written, especially the part about the jurors being present. With a media so completely biased against the Bundys, it is refreshing to hear a journalist report it like it is and to simply tell the truth. I was at earlier trials, and the most notable thing about the court was the constant stream of lies from the prosecution and from their witnesses. Part of the reason that Navarro had to dismiss with prejudice was because of these lies, caught red handed by the defense.

  • Kevin Hentges January 15, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    Hyde is a Bundy sycophant? Are you kidding me? This was a true article that was well written, those of use without a bias can clearly see that. Liberals are blinded by socialism and a over reaching bloated government. These tree huggers, environmentalist wacko nut jobs should realize by now that we know the truth, their lies have been exposed! This was an over reaching power play by politicians that should sent of these officials to jail for good. I applaud the Bundy’s and admire such staunch perseverance for truth and justice. I honor LeVoy Finnicum as a hero who stood for the morals and freedoms that he believed in along with the rest of us. His killer should rot in prison along with his ilk! Keep big government the hell away from us!

    • bikeandfish January 16, 2018 at 9:52 am

      “Without a bias” doesn’t align well with the rest of your comment. Other then those three words the entire comment is about your personal bias.

      Hyde has constantly shown the same approach. He has never hidden from his very narrow perspective and ideology.

      Funny the assumptions you make about those who disagree. Definitely not what most would consider an environmentalist given I hunt, heat home with firewood and support the outcome of this case. But its fun watching people guess all the while disproving their own claims.

      • John January 16, 2018 at 11:25 am

        A whole lot of misinformed snowflakes melting here.. glorious day in the neighborhood…Why do these know it alls think the prosecutors withheld evidence in this case? They won’t accept the fact that either the evidence was fake or there actually wasn’t any….DUH..
        “Attorney Larry Klayman said Mr. Bundy is considering filing lawsuits for malicious prosecution and civil-rights violations stemming from the court battle that ended Monday with a federal judge dismissing all charges against him over “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct.”
        U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gloria Navarro “didn’t dismiss this matter out of the goodness of her heart. It was like rats fleeing a sinking ship,” Mr. Klayman said.

        “But what she said was extremely strong against prosecutors and against the FBI in particular,” he said. “This is yet the latest FBI scandal. [She] accused them of lying and hiding evidence, calling it ‘outrageous.’ “ quotes from Washington times

        • bikeandfish January 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm

          I’m not sure you understand basic logic. One could assume the evidence they withheld evidence because it was damning. That is the Bundy’s claim. It could be valid but it would inherently require such evidence to be real. And we know it is given the mistrial.

          One could assume the other evidence was “fake” but there is no current evidence to support such a conclusion. Its an assumption. The reality is the prosecutor’s could have plenty of evidence supporting their charges and still have video evidence that contradicts a simple narrative. And if Hyde had gone that way, ie one that emphasized the complexity of the situation, then I would have few criticisms. Instead we get a Bundy family friend whose ideology gets ahead of tradional journalistic ethics. Not only that but Hyde is employed in PR for a conservative think tank that appeals to the base that supports Bundy. Its such a profound conflict of interest.

          Its clear you don’t understand law or the justice system. You rely on huge assumptions and insults that aren’t even consistent with the claims by the Bundy family.

  • LeighMeagan January 16, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you bikeandfish for your thorough and factual posts. The Bundys and their followers are an armed anti-government militia. They feel they can break any law, cheat the governments from fees and taxes. The stand-off in Bunkerville showed their true colors putting women and children in front of men armed with military style weapons.
    The take-over in Oregon should have ended in convictions for all.
    Those paying taxes resent their freelading law breaking.
    They are homegrown terrorists and should join their fellow brethren in Guantanamo Bay.

    • bikeandfish January 16, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      I agree that the Bundy’s should be held accountable for their flagrant trespass on federal land and illegal use of resources. I wish the agencies would have responsibly consequenced the family.

      Sadly, the recent government handling of the family has been a debacle that could mean the family continues to graze illegally with impunity. I also have to say that while I wish the Malheur case was black and white that its actually rather complex. I believe it was an Oregon outlet that reported on the discrepancies in the prosecution’s claims that ultimately led to the defendants being let free. The FBI made ridiculous mistakes in the process of the Bundy’s takeover the federal land in Oregon. The defendants were let go for good reason, though not for the same abuses that led to the recent mistrial.

      The comment about Guantanamo is pretty extreme. We shouldn’t even joke about sending citizens to an extralegal prison that doesn’t respect due process. That is dangerous authoritarian talk that harms justice, even if meant to be cathartic.

      • Lee Sanders January 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm

        I have a degree in Range Management. I was raised on a ranch that grazed on BLM land, in part. My father had no hesitation about paying his grazing fees. I frequent the area where the Bundys have grazed their cattle since- whenever. I have never seen more abused and overgrazed rangeland. I gives me a clear picture of what happens to the public lands when the ranchers decide what the carrying capacity of the range is rather than the professional range managers. I do see some relatively recent water improvements, but I would bet that’s not for reasons other than to be able to get their animals out onto range that was too distant from previous water sources. I’m so amazed that folks are so anxious to defend them despite the fact that US court decisions have ruled that they should pay their delinquent grazing fees just like any other law abiding rancher in the west. I don’t get it. If they think they shouldn’t have to pay for their grazing privileges just because their family has been there for so long, then shouldn’t their argument be that the Native Americans should actually have first rights to the land?

        • bikeandfish January 16, 2018 at 5:14 pm

          Agree on grazing history. Their record is clear that they don’t care about stewardship or respecting public resources. They have no valid claim that eliminates the basic (relatively cheap) laws of grazing. Its unfortunate and harmful to local culture in the long run.

  • LeighMeagan January 16, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    They and their friends are still an anti-government militia with enough of a cache of weapons and ammo that we need to fear their movements.

    • John January 16, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      Good thing they are armed.. It’s their 2nd amendment right! Yours too if you aren’t another one of those crap for brains liberals, who thinks the government is there to rule you.. We have the 2nd amendment for just this reason, To defend ourselves against a tyrannical government, Sorry if you don’t understand that FACT..

    • bikeandfish January 16, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      I agree in many ways, but not all. The way this case was botched by prosecution actually empowered them. Luckily the favoritism they hold outside circles like Hyde rolls in are pretty limited. Most conservatives I know consider the Bundy’s entitled and misguided folks mooching off a public resource.

      Sadly, it may take the patriarch dieing off to put an end to their illegal behavior. I’m not positive but I’d wager the state and feds have put liens on the family property that make it impossible to inherit without back payment, which they can’t afford.

      I hope their moment of fame dies off and they are remembered for the extremist they have been for decades. People will eventually get bored with their antics and they’ll burn up any social capital they have ever accrued.

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