We won….

I was on the range… had no clue.

I showed up this am in the bitter cold and there was no public access point at the trap… “Who in their right mind would come out on a day like today?”…. (Never said the mind was “right” ) Could not see handling at holding. Cannot see enough to assess horses and handling, at all.

There have been areas of improved dialogue working on the Stone Cabin adoption but real access is a major issue…

I left with a head ache thinking tomorrow might be better.

As soon as I had signal I saw I had a text from my attorney Gordon Cowan “Call Urgent.”

He read me the decision with so much emotion he had to stop twice.

I could hear those that signed our Constitution into law… applaud.

BLM Must Grant Press Access to Observe “Gathers” After

Huge Loss in Federal Court

From Horseback Magazine

February 14, 2012

Wild Horse Advocate Laura Leigh Wins on All Counts in Ninth Circuit Case

By Steven Long

Photos, Laura Leigh and Gordon Cowan

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – In a Nevada case with far reaching First Amendment implications, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a ruling by a Reno federal judge and remanded the complaint of aHorseback Magazine news photographer back to his court. Laura Leigh, a freelance photojournalist on general assignment to cover massive Bureau of Land Management roundups of wild horses in the American West, sought a temporary restraining order on  grounds that her access to observe the capture process directly was being routinely denied by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

The BLM denies access to press and public to roundups it terms “gathers” in which scores of horses are stampeded and die. They are then held at taxpayer expense on vast pastures owned by private landowners when the agency controls 245 million acres where the horses could be kept for free.

It also sets up temporary holding pens where the press and public is denied on private land claiming it denies access on orders of the land owners.

Judge Larry Hicks of Reno had denied a temporary restraining order sought by Leigh in late 2010 saying it was moot since the roundups had already taken place. In the appellate court’s Valentine’s Day ruling Justice Milan D. Smith speaking for the court sternly pointed out the case became moot because Hicks was tardy in making a judgment either for or against Leigh. She was represented by famed Nevada litigator Gordon Cowan.

The case was funded by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Amicus briefs in the case were filed by The Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press and National Press Photographer’s Association. Also representing Leigh was San Francisco attorney Bruce Wagman.

Cowan, the Reno, Nevada attorney who handled the case from its inception, said “When federal appellate judges write compelling words that, ‘The free press is the guardian of the public interest, and the independent judiciary is the guardian of the free press,’ in my opinion they demonstrate their true heroism in standing guard for First Amendment freedoms. And, they give press members like Ms. Laura Leigh hope that someone is looking out for them.”

In a call from the Nevada wilderness late Tuesday to Horseback Magazine, Leigh reported she is still being denied access to observe the handling the animals in temporary holding by the contractor at Stone Cabin in Tonopah despite her victory in federal court today.

In writing for the court Smith reminded Hicks, of an 1822 a quote from James Madison, author of the U.S. Constitution, saying, “a popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Face or a Tragedy, or perhaps both.” The justice went on to say “To provide this first Amendment Protection the Supreme Court has long recognized a qualified right of access for the press and public to observe government activities.”

The BLM’s chief Washington spokesman Tom Gorey refused comment on today’s developments in the California appellate court.


7 thoughts on “We won….

  1. Nancy Z says:

    Congratulations, and a big YAHOO!

  2. arlene says:

    Dear Laura i am so happy for you I can barely control myself , Laura You fight out in the field in the cold for what you Love and want to be free you give yourself for our Wonderful deserving Mustangs , you are truly a lady of wonder, commitment is what you know so much about and i admire you for all you do, now maybe you will have the closeness you need to see and report , this is huge … God Bless you Laura, one battle down many to go……………….I hope there is time to win them………………..

  3. Ye Haw, Way to go Laura. I’m so happy for you and the horses. Your hard work has paid off. I’m so proud of you and thank God for all you do to help the wild horses. Hope you can sleep good tonight knowing that you have made a difference. Step by step……

  4. MorganG says:

    It was a good day for the horses today. This remarkable ruling, AWHPC had a roundup cancelled, no diving horses at Atlantic City and Headlight after many years as a bucking horse gets to go live his life in the sun at a mustang sanctuary. It felt strange knowing the ruling before you did Laura. We were all waiting for you to get in so you could hear the news too. Way to go.

  5. mike pliskin says:

    Laura- I know my brother Robbie has worked tiresly on these matters. I love horses too and what they represent. You are a true advocate for all living creatures and the fools who do’nt care about their sins. I really believe that you too should have a statue at the national level of yourself and a horse someday. Thank you for your wonderful work and being a champion for open access and freedom and equine humanity!

  6. Louie Cocroft says:

    I know this represents a lot of blood, sweat and tears, Laura…and a lot of burning the midnight oil. THANK YOU

  7. cssssswv says:

    Reblogged this on cssssswv and commented:
    BEST ‘VALENTINE” Ever!!! ..quoting the Author of Our Constitution!…the Judge said, “a popular Government, withOut popular information, OR the means of Acquiring it…is but a Prologue to a Face OR a Tragedy, or perhaps Both…to Provide this 1st Amendment. PROTECTION, the Supreme. Ct has LONG Recognized…a qualified Right of ACCESS for the Press and for the Public — to Observe Government. ACTIVITIES!’ (WOW…Wow! –This* Case — will Be quoted, in 1000’s to come!—whenever / wheresoever the “Public’s Right to Know” OR the PRESS * has ‘reason to Question”…if/what our Government “is Hiding’…behind its Closed-Doors!) –> YOU, Laura & Gordon will Be their HEROES!

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