Tag Archives: federal charges

Case Against Cliven Bundy, Sons Ammon and Ryan, Dismissed Due to Prosecutorial Misconduct

Case Dismissed Against Cliven Bundy Sons Prosecutor Misconduct

Multiple felony charges against Cliven Bundy, his sons; Ammon and Ryan, and Ryan Payne have been dismissed by a federal judge in Las Vegas, due to prosecutorial misconduct.

Earlier today (January 8th, 2017), a federal judge in Las Vegas threw out multiple felony charges against Cliven Bundy, his sons; Ammon and Ryan, and Ryan Payne due to prosecutorial misconduct during and prior to two previous trials, which had previously ended in mistrials (the first as a result of a hung jury).

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning that the charges cannot be refiled by prosecutors. The Bundys and Payne were all four facing felony charges of threatening a federal officer, carrying and using a firearm and engaging in conspiracy and potentially decades in prison. Those charges resulted from the “Bunkerville Standoff” against the Bureau of Land Management and other members of federal and local law enforcement back in 2014.

Judge Navarro ruled that the Federal Government had violated disclosure requirements by withholding evidence that could be beneficial to the Bundys’ defense. Under the Brady Rule, prosecutors are required to provide any such information to defendants. As a result Navarro declared that “the court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated” and therefore a fair trial could not be conducted.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

Despite the mistrial, federal prosecutors argued in a legal brief filed Dec. 29 that they didn’t willfully withhold evidence from the defense and they still planned to press ahead with another trial.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Steven Myhre wrote in his brief that the government shared 1.5 terabytes of information and noted it was “by far, the largest review and disclosure operation in this [U.S. attorney’s office] history.”

Myrhe also argued the government needed to protect some witnesses from leaks that might lead to threats, so it “culled the database with witness protection in mind.”

“Unprecedented database volume and witness concerns aside, the government never let these obstacles stand in the way of diligently working to fulfill its discovery obligations,” he wrote.

But defense lawyers for Payne — Renee Valadares, Brenda Weksler and Ryan Norwood — argued in their Dec. 29 briefing seeking to dismiss the case that government “failed to accept responsibility for any of its failure to disclose evidence” and the withholding of evidence was “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct.”

“The government’s irresponsible and, at times, false proffers to this Court as well as its dismissiveness toward the defense inspires no confidence in the prospect of fairness,” they wrote. “A dismissal is necessary to remedy the constitutional violations, to preserve the integrity of this court’s processes, and to deter future misconduct. Anything short of a dismissal is tantamount to condoning the government’s behavior in this case.”

In October 2016, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with five others, were all acquitted by a federal jury of charges relating to the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

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Severe Flaws in “Justice System” Highlighted by Disciplinary Hearing of Former Wake County NC Prosecutor

Wake County Prosecutor Colleen Janssen Corruption

Deliberate misconduct by prosecutor Colleen Janssen led to two men being falsely convicted, but she essentially received no discipline for it.

The following post was shared with Nevada Cop Block by Lynne Blanchard, via the NVCopBlock.org Submissions Page. This is a repost from Blanchard’s own blog, “Stop Wrongful Convictions,” which was originally published under the title “Disciplinary Outcome of Former Wake County Prosecutor Highlights Severe Flaws in Our Justice System.

Along with the submission, Blanchard stated:

I mostly cover wrongful conviction cases which usually contain some level of police corruption/misconduct, but I like to expose all official misconduct.

Thanks,
Lynne

March, 2017

This week, former Wake County prosecutor, Colleen Janssen learned the outcome of the disciplinary hearing to review the level of her misconduct in a criminal case. Though she deliberately withheld critical evidence from the defense and manipulated others to go along with her scheme to hide exculpatory evidence, she did not even lose her law license for a day. Instead, Judge Donald Stephens ruled that she could not practice law with a government agency for a period of two years. This means she can be begin working as a prosecutor again in two years and do private practice until that time. What a punishment for maliciously prosecuting two men — who landed in prison for over two years until her actions were discovered!

I will describe Janssen’s egregious actions in detail, but she was not the only one who participated in the willful act to hide exculpatory information from the defense. She actually had a lot of help from other public officials — which should place all Wake County cases under scrutiny. How often does this type of thing happen? Why is no one held accountable? Why are these people above the law?

2016

Colleen Janssen was asked to resign from her position with the Wake County District Attorney’s office in June, 2016 following the revelation that she withheld critical information in an armed robbery case against Bashiri Sandy and Henry Supris in the fall of 2014. It was an obvious and deliberate Brady violation that prevented the accused from receiving a fair trial. The North Carolina Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the convictions of Sandy and Supris. District Attorney, Lorrin Freeman later dropped the charges against them.

They withheld evidence — the fact that Janssen’s star witness, Marcus Smith was a drug dealer — was the foundation of the entire defense case. This fact supported the story of the accused to such a degree that there could have been no trial without it.

Background

Sandy and Supris told police that they confronted Smith to collect money or drugs because Smith had been shorting them on marijuana purchases. Smith gave them money and jewelry, and then gunshots were exchanged. Smith shot Sandy in the leg. Smith sustained a gunshot wound to the arm. It is unclear who fired that shot, but it is not relevant to this article.

Smith told police that he was a victim of an armed robbery. The State accepted his story, ignoring the statements by Sandy and Supris — that it was a confrontation about a drug deal.

Sandy told Raleigh Police that Smith was a big-time drug dealer. That resulted in police requesting permission from a judge to place a GPS device on Smith’s car.

Smith’s Impending Charges

Janssen continued building her case against Sandy and Supris despite knowledge that Raleigh police were pursuing her “victim” (star witness) in the “armed robbery” case. In the summer of 2013, Janssen contacted detective Battle via a private email address and asked to meet with him. She asked him to hold off on arresting Smith until after her trial because she allegedly didn’t want to “spook” her witness. Never mind that the impending arrest of the witness/drug dealer should have negated the whole need for any trial since it supported the defendants’ stories, not the state’s case.

Raleigh Police complicit in misconduct

Officer Battle agreed to delay Smith’s arrest. Since police had been watching Smith, they learned the location of his stash house. Upon discovery of this information, Battle gave Janssen a “heads-up” about the probable cause and search warrant of Smith’s drug house. He clearly informed her that Smith would not be named in the search warrant and he would wait until he left the premise to search the property, thus avoiding the need to arrest Smith at that time, since it could jeopardize Janssen’s case! Never mind that taxpayers trust that police will make the appropriate arrests at the time of the known crimes! In fact, over five-hundred pounds of marijuana were found in the stash house. Battle’s cooperation gave Janssen the ability to conceal the fact that her star witness was a drug king-pin at trial!

Impending Federal Charges

Due to the amount of drugs found, this became a federal case. Laurence Cameron with the U.S. Attorney’s office would be handling the case. He became aware of the fact that Raleigh police held off on making the arrest per Janssen’s request. As a former assistant D.A. with Wake County himself, he knew Janssen and contacted her to discuss the status of Smith’s impending charges. According to Cameron, Janssen did not want to hear anything about it. Deliberate denial would prevent her from violating discovery rules, and she was fine with that. Prior to that particular call, she had in fact asked Cameron not to arrest Smith until after her trial.

Cameron was concerned enough that he got his supervisor, the U.S. Attorney involved. John Bruce contacted Howard Cummings — Wake County’s First Assistant District Attorney and Janssen’s supervisor. He informed Cummings that he had received information that Raleigh Police were holding off on making an arrest at Janssen’s request. Cummings told Bruce he would “take care of it.”

ADA Cummings testified at the disciplinary hearing that he had a discussion with Janssen and that she informed him that the search of the stash house yielded nothing that could be traced back to Smith, and that his name was not on a single search warrant. That was the end of it. Cummings testified that nothing was discoverable. It’s likely Cummings and Janssen believed the truth would never be revealed . . . and it wouldn’t have been if not for the federal case. It’s extremely bothersome that Cummings was willing to look the other way, despite being contacted by the US Attorney and informed that a fellow ADA deliberately told police to hold off on an arrest. Why did he allow the trial to proceed? Why didn’t he intervene? It is the “win at all cost” mentality of so many prosecutors. Truth doesn’t matter.

Trial of Sandy and Supris

Judicial Misconduct

Just weeks before the trial was scheduled to begin, Detective Battle sent Judge Ridgeway an application for a GPS monitor on Marcus Smith in connection to his drug trafficking, and he signed it. It was also sealed. Since Ridgeway was the trial judge, he became aware of information that impeached the state’s star witness — the mere fact that the witness was being investigated for drug trafficking. This placed the judge in a difficult predicament and also further lessened the defendants’ right to a fair trial.

From the appeal document (pg. 29-30):

On October 21, 2014, one week before trial, Judge Ridgeway considered Raleigh Police Department narcotics detective J.A. Battle’s application to surreptitiously place and monitor a G.P.S. tracking device on a car used by Marcus Smith and belonging to his live-in girlfriend. The application stated that a confidential informant alleged Smith “sells large quantities of marijuana,” and that “the most recent report was made in April 2013 when robbery suspect Barshiri Sandy told the police Marcus Smith was a known drug dealer with over 1 million dollars in product in a stash house. On this basis, Detective Battle stated, “It is believed that a GPS unit attached to Marcus Smith’s vehicle will provide relevant information regarding where Mr. Smith stores illegal drugs.”

In fact, the GPS tracking authorization had already enabled Detective Battle to locate and seize 150 pounds of marijuana from Smith’s “stash house” in August of 2014. Marcus Smith himself had been seen at the stash house before the seizure. On the basis of Detective Battle’s affidavit, Judge Ridgeway signed the authorization, finding there was “probable cause to believe that . . . the placement, monitoring of and records obtained from the electronic tracking device are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. Judge Ridgeway also ordered the application and order to be placed under seal.

None of the information was provided to the defense. The judge should have either unsealed the record OR recused himself from the case. He did neither and presided over the trial.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

The star witness perjured himself as he testified that he hadn’t sold drugs since 2005. The prosecutor knew it. The defense suspected he was lying but had no proof, even though it existed. The judge also knew the witness was lying.

Colleen Janssen was brazen enough to discredit the defense’s attempts to show that Smith was a drug dealer. This was her statement during closing arguments:

There has been absolutely no evidence from the witness stand outside of the defendants’ testimony that this has anything to do with drugs. Nothing that the police found, nothing that Marcus said. The defendants are the only people who’ve been talking about drugs, outside of that small amount of marijuana that Detective Grimaldi found in the garage and that was photographed and you saw. That small baggie of marijuana. From that, the defense wants to make you believe that Marcus Smith is apparently this drug kingpin. If that is the case, that apparently may . . . apparently that’s their position, but please think about whether or not you’ve heard any evidence from the witness stand that would support that contention or whether you just heard it from the lawyers.

The jury found them guilty. The prosecutor’s unethical behavior is absolutely appalling.

Appeal

The appellate attorney representing Sandy and Supris became aware of Smith’s federal case and also received a copy of a letter that described how Raleigh Police delayed the arrest of Smith at the request of Colleen Janssen. When attorney Paul Green contacted Janssen to try to determine the source of the information, she delayed getting back to him for several weeks. At that point Green contacted Howard Cummings who refused to speak to him about the matter, even though he needed to confirm or deny the allegation about Janssen for his client. Janssen finally informed Green that she had no notes or emails from any such meeting with Detective Battle.

Green did his own research. He reached out to Smith’s attorney and was given the content of the private emails between Janssen and Detective Battle. Days later, Janssen “found” her private emails, likely knowing that Green would end up getting them eventually. She emailed them to Green and he filed a MAR (motion for appropriate relief) citing prosecutorial misconduct and Brady violations. The Court of Appeals ended up overturning the convictions of Sandy and Supris and the Wake County district attorney had no choice but to address the matter. Janssen was placed on paid leave and eventually asked to resign. The disciplinary investigation followed.

Disciplinary Hearing

Jansen blamed her negligent behavior on the fact that her father had been kidnapped six months prior by an imprisoned gang member she had prosecuted. You can read about that here. Luckily her father was rescued by the FBI and he is fine; however, it is rather pathetic that she used her father’s ordeal as an excuse for her behavior in this case. Evidently it worked, thus the almost non-existent punishment. At a minimum she should have lost her law license and since her deliberate malicious prosecution led to two (very likely) innocent men being sent to prison, she should have faced prison time, but that is never the case. Prosecutors are routinely able to get away with destroying lives with little (or no) consequence.

Jansen testified that she made mistakes, and that she never made the connection that the drug arrest was significant to her case, even though she knew it was certainly crucial to the defense case. I don’t believe her. It was no mistake.

She talked about how she would have never willfully done harm to “the office.” Who cares about the reputation of the office when people are paying a huge price for her actions — prison time.

As well, so many Wake County officials testified on her behalf about how she was so honest, hard-working, etc. Namely, former District Attorney, Colin Willoughby (who fought against Greg Taylor’s innocence claims, Judge Becky Holt (who did a poor job with the Jason Young case, Judge Gessner (you can learn more about his unethical tactics in the Brad Cooper case). They all came to her defense, even knowing how deceitful she was. That’s the reality of our “justice” system.

How many more cases like this exist? How much information has been withheld from defendants? Why is there a mentality to WIN, rather than seeking the truth? Why are public officials (who are paid with our tax dollars) never held accountable for their misconduct? My hope is that the public will become more aware of cases like this.

You can watch the disciplinary hearing here.

– Lynne Blanchard
Wrongful Conviction Advocate
Contact: [email protected]

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Judge, Director of Public Safety, and Deputy Constable in Pennsylvania Arrested Laundering Drug Money

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, John I. Waltman, a district judge from Trevose, Robert P. Hoopes the Director of Public Safety for Lower Southampton, and Bernard T. Rafferty a Bucks County Deputy Constable were scooped up in a sting that involved laundering $400,000 they believed was derived from drug sales and fraud. In return, they had kept $80,000 out of the laundered money.

Via the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that in his position, Hoopes has authority over all police, fire, and emergency operations in Lower Southampton and previously operated a legal practice in Doylestown.

Besides being a deputy constable, Rafferty controls Raff’s Consulting LLC, a corporation registered with the state in 2011, the office said.

The sting operation was conducted by undercover officers and a confidential witness.

From June 2015 through November of this year, the defendants allegedly conducted three money-laundering transactions.

At one of those meetings, Hoopes’ badge was visible on his belt, according to the indictment.

As part of the scheme, Hoopes, Rafferty, and Waltman obtained bogus legal and business documents that provided the cover for money laundering, prosecutors said.

During one transaction described in the indictment, Hoopes drove an unmarked Lower Southampton police car to an office building in Feasterville-Trevose carrying a check from Rafferty’s consulting business in the amount of 80 percent of the cash, according to the indictment. The other two men waited outside in the unmarked police car.

In exchange for the check, undercover officers gave Hoopes a duffel bag filled with at least $100,000 in cash, prosecutors said.

Afterward, the men split their cuts and then deposited the remaining funds back into the Philadelphia bank account for Rafferty’s business, prosecutors said.

As part of the conspiracy, the men allegedly attempted to broker the sale to the undercover officers of a bar in Feasterville-Trevose to be used to launder money. They asked for a broker’s fee of at least 10 percent of the bar’s sale price, according to the indictment.

The men also allegedly planned to obtain a sham default judgment in Bucks County court and fraudulently enforce the judgment to provide funds to launder bank-fraud proceeds from an overseas account.

The full indictment can be viewed here: Bucks County Money Laundering Indictment.

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Full Waco Twin Peaks Biker Shooting Videos; Witness Statement Made Public

More video has been made public from the shootings that took place at the Waco Twin Peaks biker meeting in May of last year. The new video was provided by Las Vegas attorney Stephen Stubbs via his YouTube channel.


Although he hasn’t provided his exact source for the video, they do consist of (previously released) surveillance video from two different cameras inside the restaurant, as well as new footage from the dash cam of one of the responding officers and from a Texas Department of Public Safety surveillance camera that was apparently placed on a pole in the parking lot.

In addition to the new video, audio of a witness statement from an unnamed person who is described as a “completely independent witness” and as the only person interviewed by police whose statement was recorded was released. The video above (and embedded first below) consists of a combination of the four different videos (also embedded individually below) with that audio superimposed over them.

None of the surveillance videos have audio from the actual shooting. In addition to the witness audio, descriptive captions have been added to the video consisting of the merged footage. Also included in the videos below is a report from a local NBC News station in Texas featuring an interview with Stephen Stubbs in which he discusses these new videos.

In related news, over the past weekend Paul Looney, a Houston lawyer representing two of the hundreds of bikers arrested after

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the shooting, stated that the charges had been dropped against 39 of them, due to the grand jury’s term having expired without an indictment. District Attorney Abel Reyna later disputed that claim saying that Looney was “sadly inaccurate” and that the charges had not been dismissed.

Within the YouTube description of that video Stubbs states:

THIS POST IS MADE AND PRESENTED BY STEPHEN STUBBS, INDIVIDUALLY. THESE STATEMENTS ARE SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE AND BELONG TO STEPHEN STUBBS ALONE. STEPHEN STUBBS IS NOT REPRESENTING ANYONE IN THIS MATTER AT THIS TIME. PLEASE TO NOT ATTRIBUTE THIS TO ANYONE EXCEPT STEPHEN STUBBS.

The description then includes a summary of the evidence related to the videos:

The evidence in the May 17, 2015 Twin Peaks incident is voluminous. So, I put together some important video clips that tell the story in the clearest manner. I then attached the audio from the ONLY recorded police interview of a COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT WITNESS. He describes what he saw, including the fact that a Cossack pulled a gun first, Cossacks fired first, and the police fired on all of the bikers in what he describes as “automatic gun fire.”

Here are some additional facts from the evidence:

  1. In August 2014, 3 Cossacks went to police complaining that they were getting picked on by the Bandidos. The police then started an investigation against the Bandidos (spending a massive amount of resources).
  2. Between August 2014 and May 17, 2015, even though the police had spent enormous amount of money on the investigation, the police could not find any substantial evidence to support the Cossack’s complaint.
  3. There was a Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents Meeting scheduled at the Twin Peaks in Waco, TX for May 17, 2015. The Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents is a political action organization that was meeting to discuss politics, legislation, and constitutional rights on issues effecting motorcyclists. Cossacks are not members and were not invited. Noone except the Cossacks and police knew that they were coming. The COCI meeting was not usually held in Waco, but this was a multi-regional meeting with a key-note speaker, and Waco was chosen because it is centrally located between Austin and Dallas (so that more people could attend).
  4. Numerous law enforcement agencies set up at the Waco Twin Peaks and were literally prepared for war. Police were working with at least 3 Cossacks, the Cossacks were not invited to the meeting, no one knew the Cossacks were coming except the police and the Cossacks, and the police set up substantial surveillance as well. The Cossacks showed up with 70+ members and supporters.
  5. As soon as a small group of Bandidos arrived, they were immediately surrounded by 50+ Cossacks and an argument ensued. At this time, other Cossacks were posting up in strategic positions and at least 1 Cossack was caught on security camera brandishing a pistol while the Cossacks were surrounding the Bandidos and before the argument started.
  6. Of the 2 (and only 2) independent witnesses that saw the first shot, both told police that a Cossack pulled a gun 1st and shot a Bandido with a blue shirt in the shoulder.
  7. None of the independent witnesses corroborate Cossack claims that Bandidos drew weapons and fired 1st- not even 1. All independent witnesses saw the opposite.
  8. Very shortly after the first shot, and during the fight, law enforcement (who were ready with their AR15 rifles and tactical gear) started firing on the group of bikers, regardless of whether those bikers were actually involved in the fight (some were running away).
  9. On video, 3 different Cossacks are seen firing guns on groups of bikers that are on the ground covering themselves. 2 of these Cossacks were shot while they were firing on others. Another Cossack was shot and killed while he was attacking people with a large chain.
  10. Jesus “Mohawk” Rodriguez (Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient) was not a member of any club, but was there for the political meeting. When the fight started, video shows him throat punch a Cossack that is brandishing a gun and Mohawk takes him down (likely saving lives). While they are on the ground wrestling, a different Cossack approached, kicks Mohawk in the head, pulls out a gun, and shoots Mohawk in the face (killing him). That Cossack then walks over to where there are people on the ground guarding themselves and opens fire. The shooter then drops as if he was shot.
  11. Most likely, the majority of the people killed were killed by police.

Related Posts:

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Both the Twin Peaks Waco shooting and Stephen Stubbs himself have been featured numerous times previously in posts by Kelly W. Patterson (me), Asa J, Ademo Freeman, and Brian Sumner on CopBlock.org. Below is a list of posts related to one or both of them. In addition, Pete Eyre wrote this 2013 post about the 20th anniversary of the massacre of the Branch Davidians by members of the FBI and ATF, which also took place in Waco.

If you personally have information you would like to share with the CopBlock Network you can submit it using the CopBlock.org Submission Page.

Twin Peaks Shooting:

  1. 48 More Bikers Indicted in Waco Twin Peaks Shooting – Just For Being There
  2. Waco Police Caused Deadly Fight in Hopes of Ensuring RICO Charges
  3. Police Shot Bikers In Waco Twin Peaks Killings, Evidence Shows
  4. Texas Blocks Biker Request For Twin Peaks Police Shooting Video
  5. Waco, TX; Twin Peaks Shootings Arrests – June 10th Call Flood
  6. Four Waco Bikers Killed in May Shot by Police Rifles According to Investigation Reports
  7. Snipers On Roof Tops Outside Harley Dealerships in Wake of Waco Shooting
  8. CopBlock Radio Show Preview for June 10, 2015

Stephen Stubbs:

  1. Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”
  2. Nevada Police Chief Resigns After Protecting Animal Shelter Supervisor Who Killed Pets
  3. Fired NV Police Chief Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages in Abuse of Authority Lawsuit
  4. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  5. Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
  6. Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas- Feb. 26, 2015
  7. Insert Coin(s) Las Vegas Bouncers Beat Man and Obstruct Witness Trying to Film
  8. Las Vegas Police Promise “Fundamental Policy Changes” after Dominic Gennarino Beating
  9. Las Vegas Police Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”
  10. Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them
  11. Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas
  12. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

Banner - cell 411Local NBC News Station’s Coverage of Video

kcentv.com – KCEN HD – Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Truth and Evidence- Twin Peaks Waco, May 17, 2015

Officer Michael Bucher’s Dash Cam, Twin Peaks, Waco, TX, May 17, 2015

DPS Pole Cam, Twin Peaks, Waco, TX Incident May 17, 2015

Patio View 1, Twin Peaks, Waco, TX, May 17, 2015 Incident

Patio View 2, Twin Peaks, Waco, TX, May 17, 2015 Incident

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