Saturday, February 21, 1998
Helen Hankins, Clinton Oke, et al.
Bureau of Land Management
Elko Field Office
3900 E. Idaho Street
Elko, NV 89801
REF.: Unauthorized Use Notice and Order to Remove, February 19, 1998
Dear Ms. Hankins, Mr. Oke, et al.:
You letter of the above date and subject matter, addressed to the Western Shoshone National Council, c/o Raymond Yowell, is a wholly improper communication on an issue currently being litigated in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, case no. CV-S-97-327-HDM (RLH).
The title of that case clearly indicates that the Western Shoshone National Council is a party plaintiff and that the Bureau of Land Management, with Helen Hankins, District Manager, and Ann Morgan, then State Director, personally named, are parties defendant. Summons were served by hand on each of these defendants, as shown by returns filed with the Court.
The Complaint in that case enumerates several counts against the Bureau of Land Management and asks for judicial relief specifically "against the United States Bureau ot' Land Management (BLM), to prohibit it from enforcing its grazing regulations on Western Shoshone livestock operators."
The Bureau of Land Management is represented in this litigation by Margo D. Miller, Trial Attorney, U. S. Department of Justice, General Litigation Section, Washington, D.C., according to filings with the Court. Attorney Miller's filings have directly engaged the issues of applicability of BLM grazing regulations.
It is basic due process that all communication between the BLM and the Western Shoshone National Council on matters within the scope of the litigation be conducted within the framework of the judicial process. This is particularly true on matters going directly to the central issues of the case.
The Western Shoshone National Council hereby informs you that it considers the issuance of your Notice and Order to constitute harassment of the Council and evasion of judicial process. This extra-judicial communication is especially flagrant since it contains explicit threats against the livelihood of individual Western Shoshone persons, members of the class of Western Shoshone people whose interests in these issues are represented by the Council and Chief Yowell. Such communication is a violation of basic ethical standards governing the conduct of litigation.
It does not appear from the Notice and Order that Attorney Miller has had any notice of this extra-judicial action by the BLM. By copy of this letter, we hereby request that Attorney Miller undertake to restrain the BLM from any further communication and threats against the Council or any individual Western Shoshone person on matters at issue in the current litigation.
We also hereby request the Court to take notice of this matter as evidence in support of the Council's motion for a preliminary restraining order, filed February 6, 1998.
Raymond D. Yowell, Chief
Western Shoshone National Council
cc: Margo D. Miller, Esq., Attorney for the Federal Defendants
Honorable Howard D. McKibben, Chief U.S. District Judge
Lance S. Wilson, Clerk, U.S. District Court, Nevada
Roger W. Jeppson, Esq., Attorney for Defendant Oro Nevada