Law Enforcement

No Charges For Adams Deputies In Yantis Death

Adams County shooting official investigation photos from AG file.

Adams County shooting official investigation photos from AG file.

After what seemed to many an agonizing delay, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has finally released the final report on the shooting of Adams County Rancher Jack Yantis by local sheriff’s deputies. No charges will be filed.

Based on the reports, we can see why no charges will be filed. Many factors obviously play into the decision, but it is obvious that witness reports differ widely and there is little chance a trial would have been allowed in Adams County where sentiments against the deputies ran high.

To the GUARDIAN it appears to be a very sad example of “the fear factor” playing into perceptions of imminent danger following remarks between Yantis and one deputy regarding the killing power of the deputy’s rifle which had been fired repeatedly at Yantis’ bull that had been struck by a vehicle on U.S. 95 on Nov. 1, 2015.

The ultimate justification for shooting Yantis seems to be one deputy fearing for the life of his partner and then both deputies firing at Yantis which is sometimes known as “contagious fire”…like a motorist running through a red light before it turns green and the cars next to it doing the same.

We have attached the documents from the investigation which provide insight into the decision to not prosecute the officers.

Adams County Yantis FINAL Decline Letter

Fact Sheet

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. The Attorney General feels that no jury would be able to determine the truth of the testimony made by the various witnesses. But, He alone could determine who told the truth and who may have shaded the truth to their own advantage. That brings our Attorney General to the level of JOB’s wisdom.

    I would think that every jury has the right and obligation to evaluate the facts and determine the truth. Too bad this system does not wish to afford that right to the citizens of Idaho empaneled on a jury.

    Is the next step for this elected official to waive all Grand Juries in favor of his special powers to evaluate all violations of law? If so, the legal process will probably grind to a halt due to the substantial delay in making a decision. It took the filing of a Tort Claim before any comment from the AG’s office.

  2. Shouldn’t that be a grand jury’s decision?

    Much like the St Louis (Brown) fiasco, when witnesses’ don’t agree, it is for a grand jury to decide if there is enough evidence to charge. Investigation just puts the pieces out there…

    Im no district judge, but that smells!

  3. Vote 'No' next opportunity
    Jul 29, 2016, 1:17 pm

    The AG has lost my vote forever by intentionally confusing and delaying this matter enough to let the county and the cops slip out of it.

    Press conference: I do not believe for a moment that the AG really had such and difficult time describing the timeline and details of the event he’s been studying for months. The stumbling theatrics of the AG during the descriptive press conference are intended to cause the public to sense that event is nearly impossible to clarify. A sheet of paper on a table? Really? Show us the computer diagrams and photos you’ve been using during the ‘investigation’. What a bunch of crap sir!

    The fog of war is the go to excuse for nearly all of copper misdeeds. When looking closely at how the police departments function one notices they intentionally interject non-officers and minimally educated dispatchers into the middle of what could easily be person to person communications. This is done to preserve the fog of war excuse when the cops screw up. Cops on seen could have spoken directly with the rancher with today’s technology, but police departments refuse to leave the error prone third-party communication relay model.

    I also think the lawyers on the Yantis side screwed up by allowing repeated interviewing of the witnesses thus allowing the police and AG to create enough confusion to sink the case. You’ve got to be stupid to allow more than one statement on such an important topic. It is a well known psychological fact that a person’s memory of a dramatic incident changes over time. For example, look at some old pictures for and notice the variance between current memory and facts on the photo.

    I request the feds try this case because the locals decided not to on the night it happened, and since that time the locals have employed known strategies to damage the case.

  4. I won’t vote for Wasden again strictly because of the delay.

  5. The only way for this to heal is for the Adams County voters to vote out the Sheriff and not rehire either of the deputies. All three need to move on with their lives elsewhere.

  6. Rod in SE Boise
    Jul 30, 2016, 12:09 pm

    Seems like no one involved in this incident acted (or reacted) as they should have.

  7. This is what a “police state” looks like.
    The “authorities” can shoot you 12 times in the back and say it’s not a problem.
    So far in 2016, over 500 US citizens have been killed by cops. Last year 990 were killed. Where are the half-mast flag days for us?
    Phony, made for TV “terrorist” attacks, cops as terminators, crooked politicians, corporate owned elite pandering media, crippling national debt, outrageous levels of incarceration…
    Time to shut down the control of our country by the rich few, time to bring back the guillotines.

  8. Anyone familiar with Idaho law regarding possession of a firearm while intoxicated?

  9. Vote 'No' next opportunity
    Jul 30, 2016, 7:56 pm

    Steps toward credibility for police and government in the USA:

    1) Don’t be a lying sack of dung. Don’t abuse your power. Use a body language expert and lie detector expert during interviews.

    2) Stop teaching jittery jumpy young men they should kill when they feel a twinge of fear. Stop helping them get away with murder.

    3) Place a value on civilian life one step greater than an officer, and place that sense of duty in the officers mind daily. Yes even people who show harmless contempt, perhaps especially those people. Yes really, put it on the law books. Place a value on civilian life one step greater than an officer, and place that sense of duty in the officers mind daily. Yes even people who show harmless contempt, perhaps especially those people. Yes really, put it on the law books.

    4) Lifelong tracking of officers. Preset conditions causing career termination without exception. Not everyone gets to be or remain a cop.

    The results will initially be very high officer turnover as the ego-driven gun enthusiasts leave the profession. Eventually leading to stability with a different brand of policing where the general public is no longer teaching their children that cops are the most dangerous encounter they will ever have. As it is now, that view of police has been intentionally created by the police. It is reality for much of our society.

    Also Butch Otter and friends have a hand in this by preserving the stone-aged laws making it legal to have a bull on a paved roadway at night. How stupid is that?

  10. Foothills Rider
    Aug 1, 2016, 12:10 pm

    …does anyone else find it odd that the Adams County Prosecuting Attorney has a “hotmail” address, and not a personal/county domain?


    “This is likely the most critical piece of physical evidence since it indicates that Jack actually
    fired his weapon and, at least to some extent, corroborates the officers’ stories.

    a .20 caliber bullet was found on the scene. —

    There is NO solid explanation as to how that bullet, if fired from Jack’s gun, came to rest in the middle of the scene.”

    The FBI ballistics expert who tested the .20 round could not conclusively
    establish that bullet was from Yantis’s .204

  12. @Foothills Rider… good catch, if you go to their website there is an official email address for the prosecutor’s office so why would a government official perform such business on a personal email?

    Link to the official county email contacts

  13. Since it appears the county prosecutor used their personal email for this official business have they turned over all their personal emails to the Attorney General?

  14. Foothills Rider
    Aug 2, 2016, 1:19 pm

    @JJ – right! How much of this is hidden on Hotmail e-mail correspondence not reviewed by the AG? Plus, Wasden’s letter was sent to Hotmail, not the county domain. Something not right with this.

    EDITOR NOTE–We agree that all e-mails should be subject to scrutiny by AG as well as the public as long as it is within the open records law. In many small counties the prosecutor has a private practice and we suspect that is the reason for the hotmail account.

  15. Send a Freedom of Information Act request to the NSA. They have those emails, as they archive/steal every email sent, and you might ask for Hillary’s missing emails while you’re at it.

  16. Las Vegas Rebel
    Aug 12, 2016, 2:19 am

    Vote No- I love your idea on #4. Tracking officers would help root out those that are not qualified to be officers and be more easily identified when they try to hop from one agency to the next after leaving one under less than honorable circumstances. (And in my opinion we should not stop at police officers. Teachers should also be tracked nationwide for the same reason.).
    I also agree that it is completely asinine that Idaho has open range for livestock on state highways. Motorists’ and livestock safety should be paramount when traveling down the highways of our state day and night. Clearly the open range law puts both at risk for injury or death unnecessarily. Ranchers and ITD should work together to build proper fencing to keep the animals off the highways.

  17. Vote 'No' next opportunity
    Aug 12, 2016, 2:53 am

    Cops should never be cops again after the first time fired. Too much jar-head, not enough respect for anyone else. Unbelievable number of these yoyos been fired multiple times, each time building more contempt for the public.

    And ya can’t tell me a police department didn’t know the past.

  18. read this… and watch out if you come in contact with this maniac. He should be in prison… but cops don’t arrest cops…

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