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Jury spares life of man who fatally shot liquor store clerk | Las Vegas Review-Journal

A 20-year-old Las Vegas man was acquitted this week of murder and other charges in a fatal shooting in the southwest valley in November.

Along with murder, jurors found Tyriq McKinney not guilty on Tuesday of battery with use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm and two counts of assault with use of a deadly weapon.

The Nov. 15 shooting left 26-year-old Stephen Jones, of Arkansas, dead. Police said at the time that Jones was shot once in the chest after he and another man, along with two women, confronted McKinney following a quarrel at a home near South Jones Boulevard and Robindale Road.

McKinney’s defense attorneys, Todd Leventhal and Richard Tanasi, argued at trial that he was acting in self-defense... CONTINUE READING  ON THE REVIEW JOURNAL

A federal jury in Las Vegas declined to convict four men of any crimes for their participation in the 2014 armed standoff near the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville, Nev.

During that conflict, ranchers and militia members blocked federal officers from confiscating livestock owned by the Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy.

 

On Tuesday, jurors acquitted the defendants Richard R. Lovelien and Steven A. Stewart of all charges and O. Scott Drexler and Eric J. Parker on most counts against them.

 

Jurors could not reach a decision on two charges against Mr. Drexler and four charges for Mr. Parker, all related to an alleged assault on a federal officer while carrying a firearm. The United States District Attorney’s office in Nevada issued a statement on Tuesday saying that prosecutors had not decided if they would retry the men on those charges. Continue Reading on the New York Times 

New Las Vegas trial starts for man on 

Overturned murder conviction

​Mercy Williams was caught in a hail of gunfire, an innocent victim of bullets meant for someone else, a prosecutor said Wednesday, almost 12 years after Williams died. Jemar Matthews, who spent nearly a dozen years of a life sentence behind bars after being convicted in the killing, also had no connection to the shooting, his defense attorneys argued at his new trial. Matthews was arrested in connection with the killing after he ran from authorities in the same neighborhood northwest of downtown Las Vegas, which defense attorney Richard Tanasi said was coincidental… [Read more...]

AUGUST 16, 2018 BY ATTORNEY RICH TANASI FILED UNDER: NEWS

CCSD special needs teacher accused of hitting student walks free

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Melody Carter, who worked as a special needs teacher for Harmon Elementary, was facing a felony charge for child abuse. On Monday the judge closed the case after Carter completed an anger management course. Carter has worked with the Clark County School District since 1996. She was present in court Monday morning with her attorney. According to court documents, the 58-year-old turned herself in last month after a substitute teacher, filling in for one of Carter's … [Read more...]

OCTOBER 20, 2017 BY ATTORNEY RICH TANASI FILED UNDER: NEWS

Richard E. Tanasi, Esq. Has Been Nominated and Accepted as a 2017 AIOCLA’S 10 Best in Nevada For Client Satisfaction

For Immediate Release Las Vegas, Nevada, October 2017 - The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys has recognized the exceptional performance of Nevada’s Criminal Law Attorney Richard E. Tanasi, Esq. as 2017 10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Criminal Law attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the "10 … [Read more...]

Las Vegas morning update for Wednesday, August 23rd — VIDEO 

Here are your Wednesday morning headlines: 1. Two men were acquitted of all charges in the Bunkerville standoff caseyesterday, avoiding decades in federal prison. Ricky Lovelien and Steven Stewart were acquitted of all 10 counts they faced, while jurors reached a split decision for 2 others. Jurors deliberated for a little more than three days before reaching the decision. 2. Ever wondered why you can’t play the Powerball in Nevada? The answer is simple: the gaming industry in Nevada … [Read more...]

AUGUST 17, 2017 

Defense attorneys withhold closing arguments in Bunkerville retrial 

Updated August 15, 2017 - 8:48 pm   Defense attorneys sat silently Tuesday, rather than give closing arguments for the four men facing a retrial in the Bundy Ranch standoff. Hamstrung throughout the trial by a judge’s decision to limit the witnesses they could call, the questions they could ask and the testimony their clients could give, the lawyers made the final decision, a statement of sorts, after discussing the option with the defendants — Eric Parker, Scott Drexler, Steven … [Read more...]

JULY 21, 2017

Lawyers give opening statements in Bunkerville standoff retrial

Prosecutors and defense attorneys gave opening statements Monday in the retrial against four Bunkerville standoff defendants, and presented a new batch of jurors with a question that has hung over the federal courthouse all year. Was the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville the result of a coordinated assault or a mass protest? The jury heard arguments to support both scenarios when lawyers spoke Monday in front of a packed federal courtroom in which Eric Parker, Steven Stewart, Scott … [Read more...]

JUNE 2, 2017 

Lawyers for Rick Rizzolo reach plea agreement with federal prosecutors

Lawyers for former topless cabaret mogul Rick Rizzolo, who has continued to live a life of luxury despite legal troubles and millions owed in restitution, have negotiated a plea agreement with federal prosecutors to settle the Las Vegas businessman’s latest tax evasion charges. Rizzolo faces two counts of tax evasion, accused of concealing $1.7 million and $861,075 in assets from the Internal Revenue Service. He strolled into federal court Friday, dressed in a suit and tie with his white hair … [Read more...]

APRIL 25, 2017 

Judge Declares Mistrial in Bundy Ranch Standoff Case

 A federal judge declared a mistrial Monday in the first Bunkerville standoff case, which targeted six men accused of conspiring with rancher Cliven Bundy to derail a court-ordered cattle seizure in 2014. The mistrial — an anticlimactic end to a highly anticipated trial — was declared hours after the jury convicted two men of some of the 10 counts in the indictment. In returning the guilty verdicts, which still stand, jurors informed the court they were “hopelessly deadlocked” on the … [Read more...]

APRIL 14, 2017 

Bundy Defendants Say Feds Were the Aggressors

LAS VEGAS (CN) – Federal officers were fearless aggressors and the six men on trial for helping rancher Cliven Bundy did not conspire to “go to war,” defense attorneys told jurors during closing arguments Wednesday and Thursday. Co-defendants Richard Lovelien, Todd Engel, Gregory Burleson, Eric Parker, O. Scott Drexler and Steven Stewart say they were simply exercising their constitutional rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and the right to bear arms in the Nevada desert northeast … [Read more...]

Prosecutors: Bundy Ranch dissidents were criminals, not protesters

BUNDY RANCH STANDOFF TRIALS Carol Bundy, in an interview with The Republic, said her husband, sons and others are really being tried for making federal authorities look bad and forcing them to back down in the face of a citizen uprising. Watch the interview on USA Today...   … [Read more...]

APRIL 12, 2017

Jury Hears Closings in Nevada Ranch Standoff Trial in Vegas

In the latest chapter of a long-running dispute over Western U.S. land policy, closing arguments began Wednesday in the trial of six men accused of wielding weapons to stop a cattle roundup from public land near Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's property. Continue reading on US News... … [Read more...]

APRIL 12, 2017

Lawyers give closing arguments in 1st Bunkerville standoff trial

A federal prosecutor on Wednesday characterized six Bunkerville protesters as militiamen who heeded rancher Cliven Bundy’s call to arms, while defense attorneys used closing arguments to portray the men as peaceful demonstrators who asserted their constitutional rights.

After six hours of impassioned arguments in a full-to-capacity Las Vegas courtroom, the first of three conspiracy trials resulting from the 2014 standoff in Bunkerville still had not been sent to the jury. Several more lawyers are scheduled to give their closing arguments when court resumes Thursday.

The day opened with Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Dickinson telling jurors that the night before the April 2014 standoff, federal investigators’ intelligence information showed a buildup of militia “like they had never seen before.”

The six defendants on trial are part of that militia, Dickinson said. Those six gunmen, he charged, provided the firepower in a conspiracy to intimidate federal authorities into abandoning their roundup of Bundy’s cows.

“Cliven Bundy always said he would do whatever it takes,” Dickinson said. When the BLM started rounding up his cattle, “he realized he needed more help.”

So, Dickinson said, the Bundy family “recruited gunmen to travel to Nevada.” And when they arrived, the prosecutor said, they staged a massive assault that put federal authorities in fear for their lives and caused them to release the cows and head home.

None of the defendants in the first trial lives in Nevada. All of them traveled to Bunkerville from out of state on what their lawyers say was a belief that their rights were being threatened.

“This was a protest, not a conspiracy,” defense attorney Rich Tanasi, who represents Idaho resident Steven Stewart, said in his closing argument to jurors.

“How did he help Cliven get his cattle back?” Tanasi said of his client. “Protesting. They’re protesting, folks.”

Constitutional arguments

Stewart didn’t travel to Bunkerville to commit crimes or assault federal officers, but to “exercise his first Amendment right to protest,” Tanasi said. “And he did so with his Second Amendment right.”

Several defendants have said that a roped-off First Amendment zone in the middle of the desert led to their decision to join the protests. Days before the standoff, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a press release blasting the BLM for its actions.

“A First Amendment zone in the middle of the desert where people were being herded like cattle to speak their minds,” Tanasi said.

Dickinson, however, reminded jurors that there are limits to free assembly when a government agency needs to shut down an area for safety concerns associated with rounding up hundreds of cows.

“The First Amendment area … didn’t prevent people from protesting or exercising their First Amendment right in any area the BLM was not operating,” the prosecutor said.

Defense lawyer Jess Marchese, who represents Stewart’s friend, Eric Parker, said the “government basically shut down this small town … put all these small-town people in a little box. “

Marchese said Parker drove to Bunkerville after seeing videos that, by his interpretation, depicted peaceful protesters getting bullied by police. He referenced a comment from a Clark County official who said people coming to the Bundy ranch should bring funeral money and body bags. The government contends the comment was taken out of context, and instead describes the threat militiamen posed to themselves.

Marchese hammered federal investigators for an undercover operation in which they posed as documentary filmmakers to interview people about the events in Bunkerville. His client, Parker, was among those interviewed. Prosecutors played the video for jurors during the trial.

“Listen to the video — he constantly says, ‘I don’t want to put words in your mouth,’” Marchese says, referring to the undercover FBI agent. “Well, that’s exactly what you’re doing … I wasn’t sure if this guy was an undercover agent or a used-car salesman selling defective cars to senior citizens.”

Facebook evidence

Throughout his closing argument, Dickinson repeatedly referred to defendants’ Facebook posts in the days leading up to the standoff to argue that the men had full knowledge of Bundy’s plan to block federal authorities from carrying out a court order.

Some of the defendants have challenged the government’s assertion that they were part of the militia. Dickinson displayed Facebook posts that have come into evidence during the trial to suggest otherwise. Multiple defendants’ posts mentioned “the hallowed halls of Valhalla,” a mythological reference to Viking warriors’ final resting place.

”You can’t just go be vigilante and do whatever you want because you don’t like what the law enforcement officers are doing,” Dickinson said. “They showed force, they matched force, they overcame, and then they bragged about it.”

All of the defendants were photographed holding or pointing weapons in Bunkerville. All of them, however, say they never intended violence and brought the guns only for self-defense.

Todd Engel, who is representing himself, said in closing arguments that when he was standing on the highway bridge overlooking the impoundment site, he heard someone say that federal authorities “were pointing guns at people underneath the bridge.”

“It’s what I heard,” Engel said, justifying his decision to have his gun on the overpass. Wednesday’s closing arguments occurred three years to the date after the nearly deadly standoff.

MARCH 12, 2017 

Court testimony showed confusion, contradictions in command during Bundy standoff

Testimony by federal officials in court Thursday revealed contradictions and confusion with the chain of command as the 2014 standoff with rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters came to an end.

After nearly a week, the standoff came to a climactic end on April 12, 2014, after authorities stayed through the night despite being told by the federal agent in charge the day before to cease all operations and leave, The Arizona Republic reported.

About 1,000 people, many of whom were armed, came to the area in support of Bundy, who was involved in a decades-long battle over grazing rights with the Bureau of Land Management. Federal authorities had moved in to seize Bundy’s cattle as payment for the more than $1 million in grazing fees they say he owed.

Authorities already began rounding up Bundy’s cattle when, according to BLM director Neil Kornze, there became serious concerns over the safety of officials as well as the public, causing the federal government to make a decision to back down.

Dan Love, BLM special agent in charge of operations, announced to officials at the site on April 11, 2014, that they were to stop seizing Bundy’s cattle, pack up, and leave, and a news release was set to be sent out the following day announcing the decision. Despite this, according to court testimony, law enforcement officials were commanded by their own supervisors to move forward and engage with the protesters using non-lethal means.

“We were still under threat,” U.S. Parks Police Officer Tara McBride said in court last week, adding it was her understanding that they were to stop gathering the cattle but remain at the standoff “to provide security for the (incident command post)” because her supervisors anticipated a bloody battle with the protesters.

MARCH 12, 2017 

Bundy Ranch surprise: Agents told to stop day before major confrontation with anti-government protesters

LAS VEGAS (CN) — A federal jury Thursday heard opening statements in the felony trial of the first six defendants in the armed standoff between Cliven Bundy and his supporters and federal agents who tried to seize his cattle in April 2014.

Each side portrayed the other as the aggressor as the trial began. The first six of 17 defendants to go to trial are Richard Lovelien, Todd Engel, Gregory Burleson, Eric Parker, O. Scott Drexler and Steven Stewart. They, and all the other defendants, could face up to 80 years in prison on up to 15 felony charges.

Cliven Bundy also faces a $3 million fine for unpaid grazing fees and penalties for interfering with the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy will go to trial 30 days after this trial concludes.

All defendants are accused of using firearms and threats of violence to prevent the BLM from seizing 400 cattle that Bundy had grazed for years on federal land without paying grazing fees, about 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The armed standoff came to a head on April 12, 2014. The BLM then decided to release the cattle it had rounded up, to de-escalate the situation.

On the first day of trial Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre portrayed the six defendants as gunmen ready to kill to stop the BLM from enforcing a court order to take 400 head of illegally grazing cattle.

“These men were gunmen to get the BLM to back down,” Myhre said. “Their goal was to show force.”

Myhre showed the jury photos of each defendant, mostly dressed in military garb and armed with military-style semi-automatic rifles.

Some were lying in prone positions on overpasses, with their rifles aimed through gaps in the concrete sides. Others were in a wash or hiding near a tree in tactical positions.

Myhre said none of the six defendants knew Bundy, lived in Nevada or had any interest in the cattle being rounded up.

He said they showed up to be gunmen and intimidate the BLM.

“These were taxpayer lands, and he was a freeloader,” Myhre said of Bundy.

Myhre said Bundy ignored a 1988 court order to remove his cattle from federal lands, and the BLM in 2013 won a federal lawsuit that ordered Bundy to remove his cattle or the BLM would do it for him.

He said the six defendants responded to Bundy’s calls for support to stop the BLM from confiscating his cattle.

After an impassioned plea by Bundy, Myhre says the six defendants, and others, stopped being “Bundy supporters and became Bundy followers.”

Bundy “got what he wanted at the end of a gun barrel, and these defendants provided that barrel,” Myhre said during his 45-minute opening statement.

Representing Stewart, Las Vegas attorney Richard Tanasi, told the jury the BLM was the aggressor, trampling upon the First and Second Amendment rights of law-abiding protestors.

“Protest is a sacred First Amendment right,” Tanasi said.

Instead of protecting that right, Tanasi said “militarized, armed BLM agents” violated it and other rights by attacking a grandmother and using a Taser on one of Bundy’s sons in the days before the standoff.

MARCH 11, 2017 

First Trial Begins in Armed Standoff at Bundy Ranch

LAS VEGAS (CN) — A federal jury Thursday heard opening statements in the felony trial of the first six defendants in the armed standoff between Cliven Bundy and his supporters and federal agents who tried to seize his cattle in April 2014.

Each side portrayed the other as the aggressor as the trial began. The first six of 17 defendants to go to trial are Richard Lovelien, Todd Engel, Gregory Burleson, Eric Parker, O. Scott Drexler and Steven Stewart. They, and all the other defendants, could face up to 80 years in prison on up to 15 felony charges.

Cliven Bundy also faces a $3 million fine for unpaid grazing fees and penalties for interfering with the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy will go to trial 30 days after this trial concludes.

All defendants are accused of using firearms and threats of violence to prevent the BLM from seizing 400 cattle that Bundy had grazed for years on federal land without paying grazing fees, about 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The armed standoff came to a head on April 12, 2014. The BLM then decided to release the cattle it had rounded up, to de-escalate the situation.

On the first day of trial Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre portrayed the six defendants as gunmen ready to kill to stop the BLM from enforcing a court order to take 400 head of illegally grazing cattle.

“These men were gunmen to get the BLM to back down,” Myhre said. “Their goal was to show force.”

Myhre showed the jury photos of each defendant, mostly dressed in military garb and armed with military-style semi-automatic rifles.

Some were lying in prone positions on overpasses, with their rifles aimed through gaps in the concrete sides. Others were in a wash or hiding near a tree in tactical positions.

Myhre said none of the six defendants knew Bundy, lived in Nevada or had any interest in the cattle being rounded up.

He said they showed up to be gunmen and intimidate the BLM.

“These were taxpayer lands, and he was a freeloader,” Myhre said of Bundy.

Myhre said Bundy ignored a 1988 court order to remove his cattle from federal lands, and the BLM in 2013 won a federal lawsuit that ordered Bundy to remove his cattle or the BLM would do it for him.

He said the six defendants responded to Bundy’s calls for support to stop the BLM from confiscating his cattle.

After an impassioned plea by Bundy, Myhre says the six defendants, and others, stopped being “Bundy supporters and became Bundy followers.”

Bundy “got what he wanted at the end of a gun barrel, and these defendants provided that barrel,” Myhre said during his 45-minute opening statement.

Representing Stewart, Las Vegas attorney Richard Tanasi, told the jury the BLM was the aggressor, trampling upon the First and Second Amendment rights of law-abiding protestors.

“Protest is a sacred First Amendment right,” Tanasi said.

Instead of protecting that right, Tanasi said “militarized, armed BLM agents” violated it and other rights by attacking a grandmother and using a Taser on one of Bundy’s sons in the days before the standoff.

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