U.S. Claims Court To Hear Case Involving Unlawful Seizure of Livestock by U.S. Forest Service
from Liberty Scene
Arizona – In a published decision handed down April 4, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims denied a U.S. Forest Service motion to dismiss in a case brought by Arizona rancher Daniel Gabino Martinez asserting a Constitution Fifth Amendment taking of property in the nature of cattle. The cattle were grazing both on patented lands, and utilizing vested water sources on rangelands appurtenant to the ranch in the area at issue. The Martinez complaint alleges a taking of property without a either a court order or a warrant, and the denial of Constitutional and statutory due process of law.
Mr. Martinez is one the many victims of the longstanding policy of the federal agencies to extinguish property interests on federally managed lands such as vested water rights, improvements, forage rights and rights of ways without compensation to further their conservation agenda. Mr. Martinez purchased his rights from his predecessors-in-interest on a ranch that was established in 1882. The property interests he acquired had vested under the “local laws, customs and court decisions of the times” when the ranch was founded and were acknowledged by Congress in the Mining Act of July 26, 1866. The property rights had vested in Mr. Martinez by purchase through an exhaustive chain of title through a series of contracts, parol sales and wills dating back to 1882.
Even though Mr. Martinez offered to sign a grazing permit for those areas beyond his vested property rights, the Forest Service denied the permit because Gabino’s father, Abe Martinez, would not waive his property rights to the agency by signing a “Waiver of Permit”. The confiscation of the Martinez cattle and source of income for the ranch was part of a thinly veiled attempt by the Forest Service to drive Mr. Martinez out of business and destroy the value of his ranch. Attorney for the case is Mark Pollot of Boise, Idaho.
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