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Posts tagged: Rex Rammell

Rammell loses second appeal in elk poaching case

Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell has lost his second appeal over a 2010 elk poaching charge, with the Idaho Court of Appeals ruling unanimously that two lower courts correctly upheld Rammell’s misdemeanor conviction. He challenged it on multiple grounds, nearly all centering around his contention that the state didn’t prove he intended to unlawfully kill an elk in the Tex Creek Zone on Nov. 30, 2010. But the high court found that the offense requires no specific intent. “It only requires general intent, namely, that a person knowingly possessed an animal protected under the statute, not that he or she intended to commit a crime,” wrote Court of Appeals Judge David Gratton.

He added, “Rammell does not argue that he did not kill an elk in the wrong hunting zone. His argument rests on the fact that he thought he was allowed to kill an elk wherever he wanted during open season. As the state notes, Rammell’s argument is actually a defense of ignorance of the law. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Regardless of whether Rammell intended to violate the law, he still had the intent to possess the elk.”

Rammell gained notoriety in the state after a herd of domestic elk at his eastern Idaho hunting ranch escaped in 2006, prompting then-Gov. Jim Risch to order the escaped animals shot to avoid spreading disease to the state’s wild elk herds. Rammell fought an extended but unsuccessful court battle over that incident, culminating in an Idaho Supreme Court decision against him in September. He also launched a political career out of it, running against Risch for the U.S. Senate in 2008 as an independent and getting 5 percent of the vote.

In 2010, Rammell ran for governor, losing to Gov. Butch Otter in a six-way primary but coming in second with 26 percent of the vote. Last year, he lost a GOP primary for the state Legislature in Idaho County, then announced he’d “given up on Idaho” and moved to Wyoming.

A jury convicted him on the elk poaching charge in June of 2011. His appeals challenged the jury instructions and rulings on evidence related to intent, but all were upheld. Representing himself in court, he also offered a novel argument to the Court of Appeals that the court lacked jurisdiction over him because it charged him as “Rex F. Rammell,” which he called “a false designation, his name being Rex Floyd Rammell.” That argument also was rejected.

Idaho Supreme Court rejects Rammell appeal over shooting of escaped domestic elk

The Idaho Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from frequent political candidate and former elk rancher Rex Rammell in his lawsuit against the state over the shooting of his escaped domestic elk. In the unanimous ruling authored by Justice Jim Jones, the court held that “the plain language” of Idaho state law “supports defendants' argument that the statute provides authorization for the state to legally take escaped domestice cervidae.” It also held, “The Rammells have pursued this appeal without a reasonable basis in law or fact,” and awarded attorney fees and costs to the state. You can read the decision here. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Rammell arguments on at Idaho Supreme Court; listen live now

The Idaho Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments this morning in Rex Rammell's appeal over the shooting of his escaped domestic elk; you can listen live here. Rammell sued the state, then-Gov. Jim Risch and Idaho Fish & Game over the incident. Rammell's lawyer just told the justices that he doesn't believe Idaho law permits “the destruction of domestic elk simply for being out of the confines of the ranch for seven days.”

“Doesn't Fish & Game have the authority to issue emergency depredation hunts when situations arise?” asked Justice Jim Jones. Rammell's attorney, Patrick Furey, said there was no evidence the elk were diseased or a threat to the state's wild elk herds. “There was nothing at all about these elk to distinguish them as escapees from a neighbor's cattle herd that got out. … This wasn't a case of velociraptors escaping from Jurassic Park.”

“You can't just proclaim to go destroy private property, you've got to have a reason,” Furey told the justices. Justice Daniel Eismann said the state law doesn't talk about disease. “The statute talks about … domestic cervidae that have been escaped for more than seven days.” Justice Joel Horton noted that the state law extends immunity both to licensed hunters and to state agencies for shooting escaped domestic elk that are in the wild more than seven days. Furey said he thought that law “was intended only to immunize the hunter, and not to authorize what was done here.”

The state's attorney, Mike Kelly, told the justices the issue is narrowly defined: Interpretation of the state law. “Gov. Risch had the authority to issue that executive order,” he said. “Gov. Risch didn't issue that order until 26 days after the escape.”


Rammell sells RV, dinosaur, moves to Wyoming

Flamboyant former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell told Eye on Boise this afternoon that after he lost last month's GOP primary for a House seat in District 7, there was no reason not to move to Wyoming and take a high-paying veterinarian job at a livestock auction. “When I lost the race, there was nothing here to hold me,” Rammell said, adding that Wyoming suits his politics better anyway, with its lack of a personal or corporate income tax and its strong stand against wolves. “I probably was too optimistic that I could turn Idaho into Wyoming,” Rammell said. You can read my full story here about Rammell's departure, which was first reported yesterday by the Lewiston Tribune.

Rammell moving to Wyoming, says he’s ‘given up’ on politics in Idaho

The Lewiston Tribune reports today that former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell, who lost a bid for the state House in May's GOP primary, is planning to move to Torrington, Wyo. next week and take a veterinary job at the Torrington Livestock Auction. Rammell told Trib reporter Kathy Hedberg that in the future, “If I do anything with politics it won't be in Idaho. I've kind of given up on Idaho, to be right honest with you.”

Rammell challenged Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, for a House seat in the new District 7, which includes Idaho County, where he moved after the county backed him for governor in his primary run in 2010. But Rammell got just 30.3 percent of the vote in a three-way primary contest last month, with Ed Galloway at 21.9 percent and McMillan winning with 47.8 percent.

Rammell is a former elk rancher who entered politics after he vociferously objected, and unsuccessfully sued, when then-Gov. Jim Risch ordered Rammell's escaped domestic elk shot in 2005 to avoid spreading disease to Idaho's wild herds. He was known for campaigning around the state in a giant decorated RV, and adopting a large inflatable T-Rex dinosaur as a campaign mascot. Rammell told the Tribune that he's recently cleared up his legal problems stemming from a poaching charge.

Rammell arrested for battery in Idaho County

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Former gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell has been charged with felony battery in Idaho County after authorities say he confronted a couple for trespassing. The Lewiston Tribune report ( ) Rammell tried to place the couple under citizens' arrest and is accused of grabbing and trying to choke the man, William Shira, during the confrontation Thursday. The Idaho County Sheriff's Office says Rammell also resisted arrest. Rammell is set to make an initial court appearance on Sept. 27, nearly two months after his last legal battle ended. An eastern Idaho jury convicted Rammell of poaching a cow elk in July. The following month, Rammell pleaded guilty to criminal contempt in a case that started when he was arrested for tampering with jurors in the poaching trial.

Rammell pleads guilty to contempt, gets probation, fine

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell has pleaded guilty to criminal contempt and will serve nine months of probation to end a case that started when he was arrested for tampering with jurors in his poaching trial. In an agreement reached with the Bonneville County prosecutor's office, Rammell pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was given a withheld judgment, meaning the conviction can be erased from his record if he completes terms of the sentence. Rammell, a former elk rancher who also ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008, was charged in May with a felony for attempting to influence jurors. He was charged after he passed out leaflets from the Fully Informed Jury Association to potential jurors called to serve on his elk poaching case.

The plea agreement not only ended Rammell's latest legal tiff, but also ensured he can pursue political office without having to wait to clear a felony from his record. “I still believe that what I did was innocent and harmless and not against the law, but a guy has to pick and choose his battles,” Rammell said. “This is a battle for someone else for another day.” The judge also ordered Rammell to pay $500 in fines, but suspended $250.

Rammell ran last year in the GOP gubernatorial primary, finishing second with 26 percent of the vote to incumbent C.L. “Butch” Otter. He lost in the primary in 2008 in his bid for the GOP nomination in the race for an open U.S. Senate seat, ultimately won by Jim Risch.

Rammell said moving past the jury tampering case enables him to focus instead on appealing his conviction in the poaching case. He was convicted July 1 of unlawful possession of wildlife for killing an elk in November in a different hunting zone than allowed on his hunting tag. “There are issues in that case that I am still furious about,” Rammell said. “I think I can prove that I did not get a fair trial.”

Rammell convicted in poaching case

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — An eastern Idaho jury has convicted former gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell of illegally shooting and killing a cow elk. The Post Register reports that the jury of six people deliberated about an hour on Friday before finding Rammell guilty of misdemeanor unlawful possession of wildlife. Magistrate Judge Stephen Clark suspended Rammell's hunting license for two years and ordered him to serve 180 days in jail, with all but five days of the jail sentence suspended. Clark also ordered Rammell to pay a $250 process fee as well as $1,500 in fines, suspending $500 of the fines. Rammell says he didn't get a fair trial and will appeal. Because of the appeal, Rammell's jail sentence was stayed. Idaho officials say Rammell was in illegal possession of an elk on Dec. 8.

Latest episode in Rammell saga…

Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell's continuing saga got even wackier yesterday, when he called a press conference outside the Bonneville County Courthouse, saying he wanted to “discuss the Felony Jury Tampering charges he now faces, in addition to the Misdemeanor for illegally possessing wildlife.” His press release was headed, “Rex Rammell Felony Charge.” His event was interrupted as officers showed up, cuffed him and arrested him; Rammell said he had intended to turn himself in. “They're treating me like a criminal,” he says in video of the incident on KPVI-TV. “This is unnecessary - I'm a good citizen. … All I was doing was trying to inform the jury of their rights.” You can see the video here from KPVI, which includes a handcuffed Rammell trying to answer questions from the press as deputies try to load him into a squad car.

Here's Rammell's latest press release: “At 11 AM  I arrived at the Bonneville County Courthouse to hold a press conference.  County deputies were obviously waiting for me, because three of them were on me lack a pack of dogs on a rabbit.  They were very physical.  They forcefully handcuffed me and hurried me away from the Courthouse, despite my objections.  TV 6 and 8 filmed the entire episode.  I posted bond and am scheduled for a preliminary examination, July 6, 1:30.”

The felony charge in question is jury tampering, for handing out fliers to jurors who were about to hear the case against Rammell for poaching an elk in November.

Rammell poaching trial delayed for investigation into possible jury tampering

Here's the latest Rex Rammell news, via the Idaho Falls Post Register and the Associated Press: A state judge has delayed the poaching trial of former gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell to investigate if Rammell broke another law when he handed out leaflets to potential jurors in the case as they were entering the courthouse, offering them advice it said “judges may not tell you.” Really. Click below for the full report.

Report: Anyone following Rammell’s advice would face law enforcement action

If Idaho County residents take the advice of failed gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell and start illegally killing wolves, law enforcement will step in. “I think it’s pretty clear to say that if there’s a federal law that is violated, then the federal law will have to be engaged,” Meggan Laxalt Mackey, an external affairs specialist with the agency, told the Lewiston Tribune, adding, “Federal law enforcement officials will have to act.” Click below for a full report.

Rammell: Idaho County residents should start killing wolves

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press:  GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) — A failed Idaho gubernatorial candidate has told a crowd they should take matters into their own and start killing wolves. The Lewiston Tribune reports that Rex Rammell spoke to a crowd of more than 100 Wednesday night in Idaho County, one of the only counties to support his primary bid against Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. Rammell says county commissioners should declare an emergency that allows citizens to kill wolves on sight. But, he adds, residents should organize a hunt and start killing wolves anyway even if no such order comes. He says he does not believe the sheriff, the state or federal authorities would interfere. Wolves lost their endangered status in Montana and Idaho in 2009, but were returned to the endangered list this year following a lawsuit from environmentalists.

Rammell charged with poaching

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press:  IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell has been charged with poaching an elk in eastern Idaho. Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett says the Idaho Falls man was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor possession of game that was unlawfully taken. Idaho Fish and Game said Rammell was in illegal possession of an elk on Dec. 8. When an officer asked Rammell for his hunting permit, he produced one for a different zone that expired in October. Rammell said previously he thought the tag enabled him to hunt in any area he chose to. Rammell ran in the Republican primary for Governor this year and two years ago as an Independent for the U.S. Senate. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 23.

Rex Rammell’s tale

After being caught last week dragging an illegally shot elk behind his snowmobile, former political candidate Rex Rammell has released an op-ed piece claiming he was misled by a sporting goods store that sold him an elk tag and that state Fish & Game wardens are “Nazis.” In his piece, he says he told the game warden, “You better get your gun out, because you’re going to have to shoot me if you want this elk.” He also opines, “The rules are ambiguous and I am not the only hunter confused by them and misinformed by Sportsman’s Warehouse.” Click below to read his full article.

Fish & Game: Rammell caught dragging off illegally killed elk

The Idaho Fish & Game Department issued this news release just now about Rex Rammell, the quirky former elk rancher whose run for governor in the Republican primary this year won him 26 percent of the vote, finishing second to  incumbent Gov. Butch Otter in a six-way race:

Rex Rammell, Idaho Falls, is under investigation in the illegal killing of an elk following a confrontation with an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer. The officer was patrolling the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area east of Idaho Falls late this morning where a late season cow elk hunt is being held. The officer checked Rammell’s elk tag after he saw that Rammell was dragging a dead elk with his snowmobile. The tag was invalid because it was issued for a hunt that closed in October in the Middle Fork elk hunting zone. Elk tags in Idaho are issued for one of 29 elk hunting zones and are not valid elsewhere Rammell is alleged to have interfered with the officer’s attempt to seize the elk, made a threatening statement, dragged it back to his vehicle and refused to stop until he reached his residence where he refused to accept a citation. Fish and Game confiscated the elk and will seek formal charges.

Rammell mulling move north

Here’s a news item from the Lewiston Tribune, via The Associated Press:  GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) — For erstwhile Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell, home may be where his voters are. Rammell, a veterinarian who ran second in May 25’s Republican gubernatorial primary to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, may be moving from eastern Idaho to northcentral Idaho’s Idaho County. It was one of just two counties won last month by Rammell, who ran as the darling of tea party Republicans. He got 1,510 votes in Idaho County, Otter only won 1,296. While campaigning, Rammell says he took a liking to the region’s geography, its big game and its people — especially those who picked him. He told the Lewiston Tribune it “I’m popular up there.” He also says there’s a shortage of large-animal veterinarians. He plans to spend the summer, to see if he wants to stay for good.

It’s an inflatable…

It turns out that GOP gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell’s 16-foot green T-Rex is an inflatable, like the big balloons you see in parades. Asked where he got it, he said, “I don’t know, New York or someplace. We got him online.” The big dinosaur, with its big, pointy teeth and claws, clutches something white in its right paw could perhaps be a submachine gun, or then again could be a movie camera (it’s looking for publicity?). Rammell wasn’t sure what the dinosaur’s holding.

The candidate said he got the idea when a north-central Idaho supporter’s family wrote a song about him, nicknaming him “T-Rex,” that said, “T-Rex is going to take a bite out of the feds when he becomes governor.” Rammell liked it so much he’s now got T-shirts and ballcaps with the image, along with the big, green inflatable he plans to pull behind his campaign RV on a trailer for rallies and parades. “We need a tough governor to stand up to the feds,” Rammell said. “T-Rex represents toughness - he’s got some teeth. That’s me. I kinda like that image.”

Said Rammell, a former elk rancher who’s been making waves lately with his outspoken support of the militia movement and his call for the state to simply ignore federal laws and mandates, said, “Nobody can accuse me of not being outside the box - I run a very unorthodox campaign. I’d be that kind of governor, to be right honest with you.” He’s among four Republicans challenging Gov. Butch Otter in the primary; the others are Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman, amateur comedian Ron “Pete” Peterson, and Tamara Wells of Post Falls.

It’s not just us…

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa notes that the law that permits candidates for federal office to run as long as they’re a resident of the state they’ll represent on the day of the general election is the U.S. Constitution - and the rule applies in all states, not just Idaho. That’s why a New York resident, William Bryk, was able to file a declaration of candidacy for Idaho’s U.S. Senate seat to take on Mike Crapo in 2010, even though Bryk’s never been to Idaho.

Semanko statement on Rammell

On Friday, after GOP gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell began making comments critical of Idaho GOP leaders - comments he repeated today - as he defended his earlier joke about shooting the president, Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko issued this statement:

“Yesterday, the Idaho Republican Party made it clear that we do not condone Rex Rammell’s comments, whether in jest or not. Today, Rex Rammell’s unwarranted and reckless comments about our elected and former elected Republican leaders — including Senator Crapo and former Governor Batt — have crossed the line from civil, political discourse into a ridiculous and desperate publicity stunt. As the Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, I call upon Rex Rammell to take responsibility for his actions and apologize for his remarks as Rammell’s comments do not reflect the views of Idaho Republicans and are a distraction to the important issues facing Idahoans like the Democrats’ plan to take over health care, the lagging national economy and reckless government spending in Washington.”

Defiant Rammell refuses to apologize

A defiant Rex Rammell refused to apologize today for his joking remarks about buying hunting tags to shoot President Obama, and instead accused top Idaho Republican leaders of conspiring to sabotage his run for governor by strongly condemning his remarks. “They’re trying to ruin my run to be the governor,” Rammell declared at a press conference across from the state Capitol.

At a Republican barbecue in Twin Falls last week, during a discussion about wolf hunting tags, someone in the audience shouted out “Obama tags,” and Rammell responded, “The Obama tags? We’d buy some of those.” Widely reported, his remark prompted a storm of criticism from GOP leaders at home, as well as talk across the nation. Rammell is from Rexburg, the same eastern Idaho town where after last year’s election, elementary school children riding home on a school bus chanted, “assassinate Obama,” prompting statewide consternation and a public apology from the town’s mayor. “There’s an underlying animosity to Obama and his policies,” Rammell said. “I think it comes out in these comments.” But, he said, “I meant nothing by it. … I wasn’t serious, and it didn’t even start with me. It would’ve been rude for me to condemn the lady for saying it - this country needs to lighten up.”

Instead of lightening up, however, Rammell launched his own attacks against top Idaho GOP leaders and office-holders, accusing Gov. Butch Otter of “betraying the conservative movement” and calling his appointment of popular GOP state Sen. Brad Little as the state’s lieutenant governor “unforgivable;” criticizing Congressman Mike Simpson for “literally selling Idaho and America down the road” through votes in Congress, and bashing former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt, who also is a former state GOP chairman, for “idly standing by while the federal government was dropping wolves on our big game herds in 1995.” Rammell is a veterinarian and former elk rancher with a big grudge against former Idaho Gov. Jim Risch, now a U.S. senator, for ordering his escaped elk shot to avoid possible harm to Idaho’s wild elk herds. Risch, like the rest of Idaho’s congressional delegation, has strongly condemned Rammell’s remarks about hunting the president.

“I’ll tell you the main reason that I won’t apologize, is because of the over-the-top comments by the GOP leaders,” Rammell declared. “I am not sorry for saying the comment - I am sorry that some people took it incorrectly.”

Two citizens, both dressed casually in shorts and both of whom decided separately to show up, attended Rammell’s press conference, but he refused to take any questions from them. One, Mike Reineck, an Air Force retiree with a long, gray ponytail, said he wanted to see if Rammell had any supporters who’d show up; none did. The other, Brad Cozzens of Eagle, 45, said, “I’m an Idaho resident who’s a lifelong Republican, who finds Mr. Rammell to be an embarrassment.” Cozzens, a stay-at-home dad, said he heard Rammell on a local talk radio station make a comment he took as anti-Hispanic, and he called in to protest it to no avail. “I don’t see how anyone can take a joke about licensing the assassination of the president in any manner except highly offensive,” said Cozzens. “I don’t like Obama much, and I find it highly offensive.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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