BURNS, Oregon — Ammon Bundy, the man leading a group of armed protesters who have taken over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, called Wednesday for a common law grand jury to examine what he called violations of the U.S. Constitution.
He said officials in Harney County, including Judge Steve Grasty, have failed to protect the citizens of the county.
Bundy wants the county to allow for a common law jury, outside of the court system, to hear evidence against the judge and others.
Bundy’s group has occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon for 12 days to protest federal land policies.
Bundy, son of controversial Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and others started out protesting the sentencing of Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, two ranchers convicted of arson on federal lands in Oregon.
But a march supporting the Hammonds led to the armed occupation of the refuge, with occupiers decrying what they call government overreach when it comes to federal lands.
Earlier Wednesday, a spokesman for a self-proclaimed common law judge said a grand jury could form within a week and hold a trial. Michael Emory said the judge would act in a supervisory role, and the citizens in the jury would decide if officials should be arrested.
He wouldn’t go into details as to how the detainment process would work.
The “judge,” Bruce Doucette, owns a computer design and repair store near Denver, the Oregonian newspaper reported. He told the paper that 25 locals would hear and decide the case in private but he would publicly release their findings.
A spokeswoman for the armed protesters said a Friday meeting involving the group and a local citizen’s group will be held at the fairgrounds. Ammon Bundy has said his group will discuss plans to leave the area at that meeting.