Federal Judge issues Hearing date on wild horse “Press Freedoms” case


Wild horses offloading into the "closed to the public" facility Broken Arrow after capture from the range out of public site

Wild horses offloading into the “closed to the public” facility Broken Arrow after capture from the range out of public site

(Reno, NV) Today during a status conference hearing on the matter that has become known as the “First Amendment” wild horse case, Hon. Judge Larry Hicks set a date for a hearing on the issue. Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education, is plaintiff against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in issues surrounding access to (and information of) wild horses from capture through ultimate disposition (adoption, sale or death).

Council for Plaintiff, Gordon Cowan of Reno, told the court that BLM had not engaged nor presented any real effort toward settlement.

Council for the Defendant, Erik Peterson of the Department of Justice, told the court he did not think settlement was possible.

The Judge set the date for February 19, 2013 in Reno Federal District Court.

This case began as BLM restricted access to view holding facilities and roundup observations and was originally filed during the Silver King operation of 2010. Discriminatory access, selective access and access that serves only a government position at issue in this case created a landmark Ninth Circuit decision that upheld the Plaintiff’s contentions that this case  served the public interest and was not “mooted” (not over) simply because of the cessation of a roundup. The lower court must allow arguments to historic and continued conduct that it had previously disallowed.

To quote the Ninth circuit Court of Appeals: The relevant question is not whether the BLM prohibited Leigh from observing the horse gather altogether; as in California First Amendment Coalition, the issue here is whether the viewing restrictions were unconstitutional. On that question, the district court failed to conduct the proper First Amendment analysis. The district court did not consider whether horse gathers have traditionally been open to the public, whether public access plays a positive role in the functioning of horse gathers, whether the BLM has demonstrated an overriding interest in the viewing restrictions, or whether the restrictions are narrowly tailored to serve that interest.”


These cases, investigations and supporting documentation, are supported solely by Wild Horse Education, a registered Nevada non-profit.

For “comic relief” this video was sent to Ms. Leigh prior to a hearing on the Silver KIng Matter in 2011

The “member of the public” talking to Lili Thomas is Laura Leigh.


Categories: Legal