With the recent decision by the appeals court in the Brandon Rinehart case, we will opine on what we believe our future looks like in reference to suction dredging.
In a nutshell………..Brandon Rinehart owns several claims on the Feather River in Northern CA. He was cited for dredging without a permit,had his equipment confiscated and requested a trial. He was encouraged by the court to plead guilty and was not allowed to present evidence in his defense that the only effective way to remove the gold from his claim is by suction dredging and the State of CA and its moratorium on suction dredging cannot overrule Federal Law. He was found guilty, appealed and the appeals court decided he did not get to present his evidence as he should have. The appeals court ruled it should be retried in that lower court and he should be allowed to present all his evidence. The court did not rule on preemption, meaning can State law overrule the Federal law. We believe strongly that it cannot.
What we believe will happen is the State of CA will dismiss the case since the writing is on the wall and they (the State) will lose this case. By dismissing the case, nothing will be able to be used as precedence in future cases and nothing gets resolved essentially kicking the can even further down the road.
This brings us to how this gets resolved. PLP’s case is still in mediation talks and we know Jerry and crew will not settle any of our rights away. The judge in this case has brought up some important points to the State such as when does a moratorium become a defacto prohibition? He also asked the State when the moratorium would end and they had no response. It would appear as though the judge is leaning in our favor, but we must be cautious with hopes the judge will rule in our favor. The judge is also up for reelection this November and is receiving immense pressure from the Liberals in Sacramento who passed this horrid law and the radical environmental groups on the left.
This entire attack on suction dredging was fabricated by the opposition, mostly those on the political left because it is part of their agenda. They claim it is about protecting fish. That is not true as evidenced by the too numerous to list scientific studies performed by independent sources and even the Department of Fish and Game (twice now) conclusively proving suction dredging is not deleterious to fish or fish habitat. Has this lifted the going on 6-year ban on dredging? No. It was never about the fish. One only needs to look to DFG in CA here recently trucking in dump truck after dump truck of small gravels to the American River to create fish spawning grounds…..all at tax payer expense. This could have been accomplished for free by just allowing suction dredgers to work the river creating large areas of spawning habitat. See the hypocrisy? It’s not hard.
There is another case which may become front and center in this legal battle over not just suction dredging and small miner’s rights, but the very core of our God given rights created by the Founders of this great nation. We see attacks on our liberties on a daily basis and frankly, unless we stand up with the truth, unite in opposition and do everything legally, morally and with a loud voice and fight back hard, we will lose the very freedoms many of our family members, friends and ancestors fought to keep for us. The other case is two men who, in spring of this year were cited by DFG for also dredging without a suction dredge permit down near Fresno. Their first court appearance is scheduled for early November where they will plead not guilty. AMRA is representing these two men. In this case, we plan to use the defense Mr. Rinehart was not allowed to in his first court case. This is going to be costly, and we could sure use some support.
There have been many people requesting the Rinehart case be published. We need to explain exactly what “publishing” a case means in layman’s terms. Publishing doesn’t mean the court is making it “public”, their decision is already public. It means it publishes the case to be used in future litigation as precedence. There was no ruling on preemption in Rinehart’s case, therefore not much can be used in future cases. However, there are some strong opinions from the courts which (possibly) could be used. So should it be published? Yes. We are working on this as well as PLP, James Buchal (Mr. Rineharts attorney) and several others. You can help by simply writing a letter to the appeals court asking for the case to be published. Dave McCracken from the New 49’ers has created a great template to use which we will include at the bottom of this post. We encourage you to send your letter off as soon as possible. Please, don’t just complain, don’t just read this…………send it today.
We are going on 6 years now since we could legally dredge in California. 6 years of having our claims shrink in value. 6 years of not being able to make a living by the most effective and proven environmentally friendly method which exists. The State of CA is losing hundreds of millions of dollars which suction dredging creates. Small businesses are suffering greatly because of this. Counties in the Mother Lode are severely impacted and many businesses are closing because of this agenda driven moratorium.
The only way to combat this is to unite. We must unite with the fishermen, hikers, hunters, off-roaders, campers and all other public land users because they are next.
Join us in this fight, join AMRA, get access to all our claims and deduct your donation off your taxes. You can either give the money to the IRS, or give it to your legal fund fighting for your rights. AMRA financially supports the Rinehart litigiation, PLP’s litigation and is facing some large legal bills ourselves. We have many people we are currently representing, many of which deal with being denied access to their validly held Federal mining claims by the USFS. We are winning this fight, but need you to stand with us. Please, join us.
Sample letter requesting the Rinehart case be published (provided by the New 49’ers):
Hon. Ronald B. Robie
Hon. Andrea Lynn Hoch
914 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: People v. Rinehart (Case No. C074662)
Dear Honorable Justices:
Pursuant to California Rule of Court 8.1120, I write to request that the Court order the slip opinion issued in People v. Rinehart (Case No. C074662) be certified for publication.
As a miner in the State of California, I have a keen interest in establishing that federal mining laws impose substantive limits on the power of the State of California to regulate my activities on federal land.
Publication is appropriate because this opinion establishes a rule of law not previously set forth in California opinions, though established in federal court cases, and involves a legal issue of continuing public interest. There are numerous ongoing lawsuits in California concerning the scope of the State’s regulatory powers over mining on federal land, and the absence of California precedent has caused increased costs and delay for litigants and the State.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
(full name and address)
PROOF OF SERVICE
I am over the agent of 18, not a party to the above action. My address is
On ______________, 2014, I served the attached letter requesting publication in this action by placing true copies thereof in sealed envelopes and mailing them by First Class mail, postage prepaid, addressed to:
Matthew K. Carr
Deputy District Attorney
Plumas County District Attorney
520 Main Street, Room 404
Quincy, CA 95971
Marc N. Melnick
Deputy District Attorney
Office of the Attorney General
1515 Clay Street, Suite 2000
Oakland, CA 94612
Clerk of the Court
Plumas County Superior Court
520 Main Street, Room 104
Quincy, CA 95971
Center for Biological Diversity
351 California Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104
Saxton & Associates
912 Cole Street, Suite 140
San Francisco, CA 94117
Damien Schiff & Jonathan Wood
Pacific Legal Foundation
930 G Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
3425 SE Yamhill Street,#100
Portland, OR 97214
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on _____________, at _______________.