Judge Hicks Strikes Victory for First Amendment
Court sees Each Roundup as Separate—Allows Pubic to Observe Roundup Reno, NV (July 15, 2010)—First Amendment rights are upheld for wild horse advocate and journalist, Laura Leigh, Field Manager of Herd Watch, a Cloud Foundation program. Federal Judge Hicks strikes victory today despite his order to proceed with the Owyhee roundup. The other pending roundups in the complex such as Rock Creek and Little Humbolt have been acknowledged as separate events.
"This ruling was made by a judge that is obviously willing to listen," said Laura Leigh. “He ruled with absolute recognition of the reason our forefathers made the First Amendment first. A free press is vital to the system of government accountability in a Democratic society. I am on my way to Owyhee.... We are not done with making a stand for these amazing beings that are such a vital symbol of American Freedom."
When the BLM shut off the gather areas from public viewing they violated this concept, at least this is what federal Judge Larry Hicks conveyed in his Order.
Judge Hicks struck down the BLM’s blanket closure of public lands in the Gather area. He agreed with Laura Leigh that this "closure" amounted to a prior restraint on her First Amendment rights because she would not be able to observe and report on the health of the horses and the BLM’s management of the gather.
The Cloud Foundation hopes that this ruling will allow observation of all roundups of the public’s horses.
"Now, any member of the public may have access," explains Gordon Cowan the attorney for Leigh.