Article written by DAVE TARTRE
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A photographer appeared before the 9th Circuit on Monday to defend press freedoms against the federal agency that barred her from attending a roundup of wild horses in Nevada.
Laura Leigh sued in September 2010 for a temporary restraining order that would stop the Bureau of Land Management from conducting a wild horse roundup in the Silver King Herd Management Area, which is about 150 miles north of Las Vegas in Lincoln County.
Leigh wanted to get close enough to take pictures of what is also called a horse gather, which the bureau organized under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which put the federal government in charge of the herds of feral horses that have roamed the west since they were brought centuries ago by Spanish conquistadors.
As the bureau refused to let Leigh access the roundup, citing public safety concerns, she claimed that the bar would prevent her from closely monitoring the bureau’s methods. She also sought to prevent the use of helicopters to chase down stray horses.
After the roundup occurred, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks ruled that Leigh failed to show that she had been treated worse than other members of the media or “that the BLM has placed any specific barriers to her access to or observation of these specific gather activities.”
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit seemed reluctant Monday to consider Leigh’s First Amendment arguments. Read full report >>