June 2014 - Pg 11
On there other hand, the federal government seems to be able to slaughter people with impunity and without repercussions, as we learned from the Waco catastrophe.
The best course of action is not to offer forcible resistance and to immediately seek emergency injunctive relief from a court of competent jurisdiction.
The ultimate solution is at the polls; i.e., to elect a government that is responsive to the people and respects both individual and state’s rights.
Edward J. Murphy
Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt and Pontikis Ltd
230 W. Monroe St., Ste. 2260, Chicago, IL 60606
Regardless of one’s view on the propriety of the actions of the federal government and the belief, even if well founded, that the government has overstepped the bounds of its authority in a given situation–every citizen (especially, in my opinion, armed citizens) must keep in mind that persons generally have no right to resist an arrest or to obstruct one known to them to be a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his/her duties. This is true even if the citizen believes the arrest is unlawful and even if it is in fact unlawful.
There is an exception to this general rule–i.e. a citizen may act in self defense if the officer uses excessive force prior to the citizen’s use of force to resist. Depending on the facts of the situation the officers will almost always get the benefit of any doubt on the factual issues regarding whether the officer’s use of force was excessive and whether the officer acted reasonably in the first place.
I offer this as an Illinois lawyer but I would be quite surprised if the law is significantly different in other states or the federal system. Unlike many talking heads and television “legal experts” I will refrain from giving opinions about the Bundy case specifically as my only source of factual information is from news accounts.
That said and in response to your question–if the news accounts stating that the federal officers were acting pursuant to a court order are accurate, I believe that Mr. Bundy and his supporters would have had a very difficult time justifying the use of any force to interfere with the execution of the order by the officers.
David L. White
Attorney At Law
3985 Airline Drive, Bossier City, LA 71111
In my opinion, the principles of self defense, etc. would still apply, however the armed citizens would not have been given much latitude since they inserted themselves into the conflict, albeit at the request of the person who was refusing to obey a lawful order. In other words, in a close call, the armed citizens would not have been given any leeway.
Michael D. Harmon
Sharp and Harmon Law Office
984 Clocktower Dr., Springfield, IL 62704
The question asserted that the court’s order to seize Mr. Bundy’s cattle-grazing land is lawful. Given that information, any opposition to law enforcement’s attempts to enforce that order could be considered an unlawful obstruction of justice.
More specifically, the armed citizens that inserted themselves into this conflict did so at their own peril. At a minimum, they could have been charged, I believe, with both state and federal crimes. At worst, if the situation would have escalated and gun violence would have ensued, the demonstrators may have been charged with any outcome the violence produced.
Civil disobedience is always done at the peril of those that disobey. Before one takes on the mantle of disobedience, one must be prepared for any and all consequences that may follow.