October 25, 2014
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A photographer for a wild horse protection group who says her First Amendment rights were violated when she was denied access to mustang roundups in Nevada has scored a victory in the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
A three-judge panel in San Francisco overturned a lower court ruling Tuesday and sent the case back to a federal judge in Reno to determine if government restrictions on access to roundups are constitutional.
Appellate Judge Milan Smith Jr. said in an 18-page opinion the court must balance the vital public interest in preserving the media's ability to monitor government activities against the need for restrictions if necessary for safety or other reasons.
Gordon Cowan, the Reno lawyer for Laura Leigh, says the decision is a victory for defenders of free speech.