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Oregon Standoff Fizzles After Shoot-Out With Feds

bundy-arrest-oregon-standoffWhat standoff?

So first I just want to fill you, the reader, in on what’s been going down in Oregon: an armed right-wing group calling themselves “Citizens for Constitutional Freedom” is occupying the federally owned Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. This group is lead by Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, another anti-government right-winger. Ammon Bundy’s group includes mostly men, but at least two women. He won’t say how many armed people are inside the refuge. The group has been occupying the refuge for some time now, but very recently things have come to a head, with one member of the group having been shot and killed in a shootout with police. We’ll get there. For now, a little more background information.

What do they want? 

The group, comprised of Bundy’s bunch as well as a few others who responded to a call Bundy put out on right-wing internet forums and similar outlets, calling for his fellows to report to the Oregon refuge in order to resist the government there. Because of the occupying group’s heterogenous nature, its overall demands are complicated. However, a few specific demands have been put forward since the occupation began. The group demands that the government give over control of the wildlife refuge so that the group can use the resources found within the refuge. Their second demand is a lightening of the sentences of two ranchers convicted of committing arson on federal lands in Oregon.

What’s the current situation?

I’m getting there. Law enforcement has thus far decided not to assault the armed group and has been waiting for an opportunity to arrest the leaders of the group while they are away from the others, in order to reduce gunfire and violence. The FBI has stated that they are working toward a “peaceful resolution” to the tense standoff. On January 27th, the isolation of key members that law enforcement had been waiting for happened. Apparently, some of the leaders of the group were traveling to a community meeting and were stopped by law enforcement. It is unclear what exactly happened, that is, it is unclear who shot first; however, it has been confirmed that one member of the group has been killed, and that seven have been arrested. It has also been reported that one other member of the group (Ryan Bundy) had been shot in the arm. Law enforcement declined to identify the name of the victim, but family members have reported to the media that the dead man’s name was Robert Finnicum. Finnicum was a spokesperson of the occupying group. Details are still surfacing, but what seems to have happened is that Finicum and Ryan Bundy resisted arrest, or deliberately disobeyed law enforcement’s order to surrender and opened fire on law enforcement. However, this narrative is under review and as I stated, the facts have not become clear yet and are very much still in flux.

What’s next? 

The FBI has stated that all eight arrested members of the group face a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats. This charge comes with a jail sentence of up to six years, and/or a fine. Tennessee state law also has a section about criminal conspiracy. Criminal conspiracy must be committed by at least two people who agree to commit an offense. The agreement is what is punished; if two people agree to commit a robbery, they could already be charged with criminal conspiracy, in addition to being charged with the robbery when and if they actually do commit it. Even if one does not actually carry out the act agreed upon, the act that is the subject of the conspiracy charges, one may still be punished as if one had committed the act. For instance, if one commits conspiracy to commit a sexual offense, one might be required to register as a sex offender.

Defending against conspiracy charges is something criminal defense lawyers have to do often; one can be charged with conspiracy without having conspired on the scale of the occupying group mentioned above. Conspiracy is a common charge, but like I mentioned, it can carry serious consequences — even the same consequences as actually carrying out the conspired act. If you or a loved one is charged with criminal conspiracy in Nashville, Murfreesboro, or the Middle Tennessee area, you want to hire a lawyer who is experienced with dealing with these charges. Turner Law Offices, P. C. have over twenty (20) years of experience dealing with Tennessee state law, including charges like the ones described in this section. Call today for a free initial consultation.

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