Supreme Court Moves to Overturn Conviction of Joe Robertson, Fined and Jailed for Digging Ponds on his Rural Montana Property

 

SCOTUS overturned decision upholding Robertson’s conviction and remanded the case so that the indictment could be dismissed and the lien cancelled

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned a lower court decision affirming the conviction of Joseph Robertson, a 78-year-old veteran now deceased who was sentenced to prison for digging ditches on his rural Montana property to protect the area surrounding his home from wildfires. Judicial Watch had filed an amicus curiae brief jointly with the Allied Educational Foundation supporting Robertson and urging Supreme Court review and reversal of the lower court decision. Robertson served 18 months in prison and died while serving probation. He was also fined $130,000, a liability inherited by his estate.

The Supreme Court also remanded Robertson’s conviction to the lower court so the indictment can be dismissed and the lien can be cancelled.

Judicial Watch and the AEF had asked the Supreme Court to review the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that upheld Robertson’s conviction, because that decision “affirmed illegal agency actions in prosecuting Joseph Robertson based on a misreading of federal law. The Court should take this opportunity to correct the confusion in overbroad interpretations of the Clear Water Act, which have led to unjust prosecutions and federal intrusions into both state authority and individual liberty.”

The brief was filed in the case of Robertson v. United States, Case No. 18-609, 587 U.S. __ (2019). This was an appeal of the Ninth Circuit decision in United States v. Robertson, 875 F.3d 1281, 1285 (9th Cir. 2017).

Judicial Watch asserted in its filing that the ditches Robertson dug “sat on what a federal agency defines as wetlands and were situated on or near a small downhill water flow of about three garden hoses in volume.  Mr. Robertson was not engaged in manufacturing or any other industrial activity which would release chemicals or waste into the water, but under the federal Clean Water Act even turning the soil with a shovel can be considered to be releasing a ‘pollutant’ into water.”

In their brief, JW and the AEF suggest that the issue is larger than Robertson’s personal plight, that it also involves the separation of powers among Congress, the Executive Branch and the Supreme Court.

Judicial Watch and AEF also note that the Supreme Court itself has introduced confusion into the issue of “adjacent wetlands,” “point source,” and “navigable waters.

Also, matters like those involving Robertson properly belong with the state, not the federal government.

The brief argues that the Congress has been all too willing to forego its Constitutional duty and defer to federal agencies.

[It was not foreseen that] the judiciary could eventually aid and abet the complete sacrificing of power by one of those two branches, effectively leaving a one-branch government where the founders intended three. When the Court goes too far in reading statutes as broadly assigning sweeping interpretative power to agencies, this allows Congress to give up power altogether and to stop the necessary work of revising and repealing statutes. Congress has proven itself either willing to give up those powers or unable to stop itself from doing so, preferring to ask the executive branch to reinterpret or reimagine statutes in ever more creative ways while sparing members of Congress the pain of accountability for national policy. The Court should not countenance this upending of the constitutional order.

“The Supreme Court has granted a victory against an overreaching government bureaucracy,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The government should not be allowed to regulate every drop of water in America, and the Supreme Court was right to brush back the radical bureaucrats. Mr. Robertson, a veteran, died before he was vindicated but his fight has protected the constitutional freedoms of other Americans.”

The Allied Educational Foundation is a charitable and educational foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life through education.  In furtherance of that goal, the Foundation has engaged in a number of projects, which include, but are not limited to, educational and health conferences domestically and abroad. AEF has partnered frequently with Judicial Watch to fight government and judicial corruption and to promote a return to ethics and morality in the nation’s public life.

Source: Supreme Court Moves to Overturn Conviction of Joe Robertson, Fined and Jailed for Digging Ponds on his Rural Montana Property


Clark County pushes for off-highway vehicle recreation areas

The move to request that federal lawmakers establish three OHV recreation areas drew fierce criticism from an environmental nonprofit due to potential implications for the threatened desert tortoise.

The Clark County Commission recommended on Tuesday that federal lawmakers designate more than 100,000 acres for off-highway vehicle recreation south of the Las Vegas Valley in a future public lands bill.

Elected officials are urging Congress to consider three specific areas: More than 42,000 acres near Nelson Hills, nearly 40,000 acres by Sandy Valley and more than 18,000 acres close to Laughlin.

Both the Nelson Hills area, near the town of Nelson, and the Laughlin area, northwest of that city, are already being used for OHV events and recreation, county officials said. The Sandy Valley area, along the state’s southern boundary between that community and Primm, would be new for prioritizing OHV recreation.

They said the recommendation is meant to strike the delicate balance between keeping environmental protections and affording OHV enthusiasts with defined locations to ride. Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said the plan is broad and does not restrict officials from pulling back if necessary.

The unanimous decision was preceded by monthly open meetings held since August by the OHV advisory committee — 10 members of the public representing OHV interests. They sought equality in land use after designations in recent years had gone toward environmental protections, the solar industry and others, according to a presentation by Kimberly Jenkins, a principal environmental specialist for the county’s Department of Air Quality Management.

The plan was delayed in February after criticism from off-roaders and environmentalists. Certain environmental concerns were incorporated as changes in Tuesday’s resolution.

Lands designated as areas of critical environmental concern or with wilderness characteristics were removed from OHV recreation boundaries, and the Sandy Valley area boundary was moved further away from the tiny unincorporated community of Goodsprings after residents complained about the proximity.

But the move to request that federal lawmakers establish three OHV recreation areas drew fierce criticism from an environmental nonprofit due to potential implications for the threatened desert tortoise.

About 27,000 acres of the desert tortoise’s habitat would be included in the Nelson Hills OHV area, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is an outrageous attack on Nevada’s state reptile,” Patrick Donnelly, the center’s state director, said in a statement. “The commission wants to permanently designate protected areas as off-highway vehicle sacrifice zones. These elegant tortoises really have no defense against a swarm of vehicles racing through the desert.”

The Nelson Hills area was designated a desert tortoise critical habitat in 1994 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to the county’s presentation. But four years later, the Bureau of Land Management deemed the area appropriate for competitive off-road events “in accordance with applicable FWS Biological Opinions to protect” the habitat.

Still, Donnelly suggested the three-area plan was part of a larger effort by the county to convince Congress “to dramatically expand the urban growth boundary around Las Vegas” as he called for lawmakers to reject it.

Commissioners greenlighted a resolution in June that included 45,000 acres of public land for commercial and residential development between Sloan and Jean as part of a host of public lands issues they sought to have addressed through federal legislation.

There is no timetable for when Congress would consider rolling the three OHV areas into future federal legislation. But the resolution Tuesday called for the BLM to complete travel, transportation and recreation management plans for the areas within two years after a bill is signed into law.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

Source: Clark County pushes for off-highway vehicle recreation areas




Five Years Later, The Protest that redefined the West.

5 Years after the final day of the what would come to be known as the “Bundy Ranch Standoff”, the federal government still has not given up.  However, neither has the “Bundy Ranch” and all of those that support them.

After the unprecedented dismissal of the charges in the case for all of the remaining defendants, citing gross “prosecutorial malfeasance”, the federal government’s prosecution is still attempting to reopen the case by appealing the dismissal to the 9th circuit court of appeals.

Least not be forgotten, the remaining folks from the first and second trials that are still incarcerated with appeals pending based on the dismissal and realization of the defense that they were not allowed to present in those trials.

Todd Engel, Greg Burleson, and Jerry DeLemus were all sentenced and incarcerated based on either charges that were thrown out or dismissed in the third trial mentioned above.  All three innocent men have now been incarcerated for over 3 years.

Todd Engel 18427-023
USP Lompoc - U.S. Penitentary
3901 Klien Blvd
Lompoc, Ca  93436-2706

Donations to Tood's Defense
may be made at:
Paypal.me/freedom4todd
Gregory P. Burleson #56875408
USP Coleman I
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1033
Coleman, Florida 33521

Donation and support: 
paypal.me/gregburleson
Gerald DeLemus 15263-049
FMC Devens 
Federal Medical Center 
P.O. Box 879
Ayer, MA 01432

Donation and support:
Freejerrydelemus.com

The Center For Self Governance has created this one-hour documentary as part one of a series documenting the “Bundy Ranch Standoff” and the Murder of Lavoy Finicum during the Refuge Occupation in Oregon.

This documentary series showcases the epic 4 year battle 
for control between the Bundy & Finicum family and Local,
State, and Federal Governing. The Center for Self 
Governance is an educational 501©(3) organization. 

https://www.centerforselfgovernance.com 
Copyright © 2014 Center For Self Governance. 
All Rights Reserved. 

More information: 

Center for Self Governance 
PO Box 102 
Republic, WA 99166 
(615) 669-8274 
info@tncsg.org




Rick Perry agrees to provide timeline on removing plutonium from Nevada

By Colton Lochhead ~ Special to the Pahrump Valley Times ~ March 27, 2019 – 7:00 am

Earlier this month, Cortez Masto pledged to hold up nominees for the U.S. Department of Energy until she received a commitment from Perry that no more plutonium would be shipped into the state and a time frame for when the half-metric ton that the Energy Department already shipped to a federal site roughly 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas last fall would be removed.

Rick Perry, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.

Cortez Masto, speaking to reporters in Carson City after addressing a joint session of the Nevada Legislature, said Perry called her earlier this month to voice his concerns with her hold on his department’s nominees. She said she wanted his commitment in writing before she would lift her hold.

“We had a very good, cordial conversation. He said he would give me that commitment, so we left that conversation with both of us agreeing to have designated staff to work on the written letter, and we’ll go from there,” Cortez Masto said March 20.

The state’s senior senator said they discussed a three- to five-year time frame, but she added she’s “waiting to see what I have in writing.”

In August, the Energy Department sent a letter to Nevada officials, notifying them of plans to ship half a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada National Security Site in Nye County.

The state filed an injunction in late November asking a federal court to block the Trump administration from shipping the radioactive material.

But weeks after the case was argued in federal court, the Energy Department disclosed that it already had shipped the plutonium into the state sometime before November, which drew rebukes from Gov. Steve Sisolak, Cortez Masto and Nevada’s other federal delegates.

U.S. Sen. Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, was one of 10 Democrats to support Rick Perry’s nomination as energy secretary in 2017.

Cortez Masto was one of 10 Democrats to support Perry’s nomination as energy secretary in 2017.

Last week, she said she regrets that vote because of the way he and the Energy Department handled the plutonium shipment and Perry’s push to revive Yucca Mountain.

“The conversations we had in private in my office at the time there in the Senate turned out to be very different than what his commitment is now,” Cortez Masto said. “What I was looking for was somebody who was willing to work with me and with the state of Nevada and be candid. What I saw here, just shipping this plutonium here, they weren’t even candid with the federal court.”

“I think it was outrageous and unconscionable that not only would the Energy Department disregard the governor and governor’s staff, but then lie to a federal court about it,” she said.

Source: Rick Perry agrees to provide timeline on removing plutonium from Nevada


Why Trump must veto the federal land grab bill

The ongoing ‘War on the West’

– – Sunday, March 3, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Trump gave one of his most memorable and impactful speeches two weeks ago when he systematically dismantled the case for socialism. In that speech, he recalled the economic harm and destruction in nations that have adopted socialism, communism or Stalinism. “We will never be a socialist country,” Mr. Trump pledged in his speech in Florida.

Well said. And the first big step that Mr. Trump could take in preventing any slippery slide in that direction would be to veto the Land and Water Conservation Fund bill, which would enable the federal government to spend $9 billion to purchase millions of acres of private lands for “conservation.” What? Uncle Sam is going to take out of private hands millions more acres of America’s valuable land mass? This is the reverse of privatization — it is the nationalizing our nation’s farm land, forests, streams and pastures.

I am told by House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Gary Palmer that this land grab was a high priority of the anti-growth environmental groups that oppose further development in the Western states — where most of this land would be seized. Amazingly, a Republican-controlled Senate approved the federal land grab with little debate and the House under Nancy Pelosi snuck the bill through with virtually no debate at all. It’s a good bet almost none of the House or Senate members read this 700 page bill.

According to an analysis by Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, and an expert on natutral resources issues, the bill “permanently authorizes $9 billion per decade for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire new federal and state lands.” My Heritage Foundation colleague Nick Loris reports that the Interior Department already has a $16 billion maintenance backlog on the lands the government already owns, but can’t take care of. At its core this legislation violates a central and common-sense principle of the Republican Party and its fight against the Democrats’ ongoing War on the West. That principle dating back to the Newt Gingrich years is simple: Congress shall allow no net loss of private property to the feds. For every acre the government plans to purchase or simple seize, it must sell off at least one acre in return.

The federal land holdings are already gargantuan with almost one-third owned by the government and with half of the land in the Western states owned by Uncle Sam. In Nevada and Utah, the government owns almost two-thirds of the land. President Obama nationalized millions of additional federal lands — and though Republicans whined, they did little to stop him.

How depressing it would be if Donald Trump — who has been rightly critical of the Obama land grabs, launched a new federal land purchasing program on his watch. One common justification for federal land ownership is to preserve these properties with national significance for future generations. But the federal government has proven over the last 30 years that it is an atrocious protector of our forests and wildlife. The feds have let millions of acres of federal lands be destroyed through awful land management and even “let it burn” policies during forest fires.

But there is another even more important reason Mr. Trump should veto this spending bill. It would take royalty payments from valuable leases for drilling for oil and gas and and use those funds for the government’s land purchasing scheme.

This would short-circuit a plan that Rep. Palmer has proposed. He smartly wants to devote potentially trillions of dollars raised from the leases to pay for a massive infrastructure bill. We need more roads, bridges, better ports, new pipelines and an ingenious way to pay for them is through leases. Two new studies from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity estimate that the net value of drilling and mining on federal lands and waters could reach $3 trillion to $5 trillion over the next 30 years. That money could pay for a lot of roads, airports, pipelines, bridges and fiber optic cables to connect America — and without having to charge taxpayers a single penny.

I would wager to bet that President Trump has no idea that this land socialism is tucked inside a bill that he is expected to sign. Don’t do it, Mr. President. Fight against land grab socialism and fund your coveted infrastructure plan by charging fair value leases on drilling and mining. If there were ever a bill that deserves Donald Trump’s first veto, it is this one.

Source: Why Trump must veto the federal land grab bill