The Gem State has received many e-mails on the Bundy Schmidt verdict and there seems to be quite a bit of controversy surrounding the testimony of several of the prosecutions witnesses. Let’s first discuss our old friend Scott the Rhino Bedke our House speaker who appears to have had either a lapse of memory or could he be on the verge of Joe Biden’s disease. We are not sure which but it appears that in his testimony he declared that the Lincoln room is not open to the public. Of course we have seen many cases where Speaker Bedke has had a lapse of memory like forgetting the promise of eliminating the grocery tax so we were not surprised at his sudden loss of memory when testifying. There were three credible witnesses who disputed Bedke’s testimony, Representative Judy Boyle, Senator Christy Zito who both agreed that the Lincoln Room is always open to the public. Even Sargent Blake Higley the officer in charge said that the room was open to the public on that particular day of the arrests. So the jury had to decide who was right, Speaker Bedke or our two legislators and the Sargent in charge. We will go with the majority and agree that the room was open to the public and if that is true how is it someone can be charged with trespassing in the first place?
The second controversy was in the testimony of Sargent Blake Higley as to the number of officers that were in attendance to handle the removal of Bundy and Schmidt. According to Higley there were only 15 to 20 officers called in to remove and arrest these two people from the room. The problem with his testimony is that when you view the video’s that were taken at the time you would see many more than the 15 to 20 police he claimed were at the scene. It could be that they were expecting a riot of some sort and wanted to have enough manpower to handle the situation. That is understandable and might have been a wise decision but to have as many as 15 or 20 officers there in the room and hallway to remove and arrest two citizens for just sitting there seems to us a bit of overkill. I have personally been to the capital to give testimony before various committees on some extremely controversial matters over the past 10 years and have yet to see anything that even resembled public discourse that required the presence of police in those numbers. This was like bringing in an international harvester to cut your 20×20 foot front lawn. Wake up Mr. Higley we live in Idaho not Portland.
The third controversy was about testimony given by Officer Matt Vallard when he testified under oath that Arron Schmidt was in the room when the order was given by Sargent Blake Higley to vacate the room. Aaron testified that he was not in the room and did not hear Sargent Higley order the room be vacated. But Trooper Matt Vallard testified as to the exact position where Aaron was sitting/standing and declared, under oath, that Aaron was there when Higley made his announcement. There is only one problem his testimony and that was the Video evidence that was later presented. It showed that when Higley made his announcement, Aaron was not there and was definitely not in the specific area that Vallard testified to and wrote in his report. So who was the jury to believe the officer or the video presentation? Was this just another lapse of memory by officer Vallard like Speaker Bedke’s or was there something more nefarious going on?
The fourth controversy has to do with the trespass law on Idaho’s books which was called into question by one of its author’s Representative Judy Boyle. The rub here lies in the fact that Representative Boyle testified that this law which she claims to have authored was not intended to be applied for trespass on public property but only to private property. If that is the case then this law was misused and there should never have been a charge of trespassing. Our state capital building is the people’s house and is a public place, therefore the only thing Bundy and Schmidt should have been charged with is disobeying an order by a duly authorized law officer. So the question remains why were they charged with trespassing? Was it just a matter of convenience or didn’t anyone bother to look up the trespass law they were invoking?
The fifth and final controversy is a question of whether Speaker Bedke had the right to order the Lincoln Auditorium vacated by the public since that room is on the senate side of the building and the authority to vacate it would normally lie within the purview of the Senate Pro Tem and not the speaker. Representative Judy Boyle brought up this controversy but it fell on deaf ears. She explained that if the State rule which gives the Speaker of the House shared custody of the grounds were to be interpreted it would mean that he has all power and authority. This would allow him to do whatever he wants in the Capitol. It would mean that any political opponent, including other legislators like her, could likewise be banned from rooms or from the Capitol itself—effectively prohibiting their participation in the legislative process. She warned that if Ammon and Aaron were convicted it would set the precedent to allow any future Speaker of the House to have absolute control, protected by case precedent, to ban or prohibit his political enemies from the Capitol. Unfortunately Judge Manweiler decided that the Lincoln room is used by both houses and that Bedke did have the control of ordering the room vacated.
When all was said and done the jury was charged with deciding the guilt of these two men and I must say the deliberation of one hour was quite surprising to me and tells me that this jury either did not understand the law or just wanted to get out of there for the holiday weekend and be done with it. I must admit after spending the last two years up in a conservative bastion like New Meadows had that trial been held here or in one of our more conservative counties both of these men would have been acquitted of the trespassing charges. There has been a distinct movement in the Treasure Valley over the past 10 years from the conservative right to the center and even left. You don’t find as many of the residents fighting for their rights and in fact you can see the change by the number of Rhino’s who have been elected to office. If the people are making bad choices at the polls what makes you think they will be any different when sitting in a jury box where we expect justice to be rendered. When the people stop fighting for their rights you can expect some dramatic changes in the future and what we have seen from this jury is exactly that. Idaho’s Treasure Valley has been under siege for many years and we can see how conservatism has been waning and much of it is due to the influence of BSU and its liberal mantra.
As for Judge Manweiler we must say that while we may disagree with many of the decisions he made during this trial his actions in sentencing these men told us that he had his own doubts about the jury’s decision and just wanted this whole thing to go away. While giving the appearance of siding with the prosecutor on most of the controversial issues he used a great deal of restraint in the sentencing of Bundy and Schmidt. Maybe he realized that Mr. Bundy’s bid for governor could become a reality and you certainly don’t want to bite the hand that may someday feed you politically. We think Ammon made a wise decision not to appeal this verdict and it may actually help him in his quest to obtain the top job in our state. In closing all we can say is Good luck Mr. Bundy in your quest and thank you for being the conservative you are we need more like you in Idaho.
“We Get the Government We Deserve”