Ongoing coverage of the federal case against the people involved in the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and how life has changed in Harney County, Oregon.
Brothers and fellow refuge occupiers Ammon and Ryan Bundy argued in federal district court Monday that their Constitutional rights are being violated as they prepare for trial.
The two brothers said their communications are being monitored by jail staff and in some cases shared with law enforcement. Multnomah County, where the Bundy brothers are being held in custody, argued that attorney-client privileges are being granted and that there is not a reasonable expectation of privacy for defendants in custody.
A federal district court judge also ruled the two brothers would be housed together at the Multnomah County Jail in downtown Portland.
The two brothers said in court they have a joint defense agreement, meaning their legal teams treat one another’s communications under attorney-client privilege. Ryan Bundy is defending himself in the case, but has an assigned legal counselor to assist him.
The hearing started with Senior District Court Judge Robert Jones releasing defendant Jason Patrick from custody.
Then Jones turned his attention to a motion filed to stop government monitoring.
“Defendant Ryan Bundy, pro se, respectfully moves the court for a protective order directing that his meetings, correspondence, and phone calls made for the purpose of his legal defense be unlimited, unmonitored and unrecorded by the Government, expect to the extent that it is necessary to maintain facility security,” Bundy wrote in filings with the court.
From the hearing’s onset, Jones indicated any and all of the Bundy’s grievances would be heard.
“We’re under no time restraints today,” Jones said at the start of the hour-long hearing.
Ryan Bundy said because he’s representing himself, he needs unlimited, unmonitored meetings and phone calls to interview witnesses and experts. He claimed his Fourth Amendment rights, those protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures, are being violated.
Bundy told the court that when he makes a call from the jail, a pre-recorded message tells him the call is being recorded for law enforcement purposes. Court filings show other defendants, like Ryan Payne, have had their calls from the Multnomah County Jail turned over to the FBI to be reviewed.
Ryan Bundy “wants to know what’s already been given to the prosecutors that will be used against him in trial,” said Bundy’s standby counsel, Lisa Ludwig.
Bundy also noted he had mail labeled, “legal mail” with instruction that it should be opened in front of him.
Jones asked whether the person who sent it was a lawyer.
Bundy responded, saying he didn’t know, but that “the contents make it legal mail.”
“I see,” said Jones.
Ryan Bundy told Jones he’s unable to accomplish a proper defense because of his limitations in jail.
“I have not committed any crime your honor,” Bundy said. “We are being treated as though we are guilty.”
Bundy said it would be fair if prosecutors Ethan Knight, Geoff Barrow and Craig Gabriel should be placed in the cell next to him and prepared their case under similar conditions.
Assistant Multnomah County Attorney Carlos Calandriello argued the courts have shown there’s limited privacy for those in pre-trial custody and that under those restrictions, Bundy’s constitutional rights are not being violated.
“The law is well settled that the privacy rights of prison and jail inmates are ‘severely curtailed’ by virtue of their incarceration,” Calandriello wrote in court filings, in response to Bundy’s motion.
Jones is expected to issues an order on the matter this week.
“Our intent, as you know, is to get pretrial release,” Ammon Bundy said, noting that he didn’t want to take too much time to discuss issues that may not be relevant should they be granted their release.
“With the Nevada hold, there’s not a lot that can be done,” Jones responded.