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Court: Ban seafood caught with nets that harm tiny porpoises
Court Watch | 2018/07/27 23:32
A judge has ordered the U.S. government to ban imports of seafood caught by Mexican fisheries that use a net blamed for killing off the vaquita, the world's smallest and most-endangered porpoise.

Judge Gary Katzmann, of The U.S. Court of International Trade, on Thursday granted a motion after three environmental groups filed a lawsuit seeking a ban on seafood caught with gillnets in part of the Gulf of California, where the vaquita live.

Some scientists estimate that there could be as few as 15 of the vaquita — Spanish for "little cow" — left. The court noted that experts believe they could be extinct by 2021 without intervention.

Their numbers have been severely reduced illegal fishing and by the gillnets, which are used to catch a variety of shrimp and fish.

The nets are hung in the water to catch seafood. The Mexican government has banned their use in some areas and for some species, but allows it for other species.

There also is illegal fishing in the vaquitas habitat for the Mexican totoaba fish, which goes for high prices because its swim bladder is considered a delicacy in China and reputed to boost fertility.

The Justice Department, which had opposed the ban, did not immediately answer an email seeking comment.

The groups that filed the suit are the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Animal Welfare Institute.



State Supreme Court returns stalking case to lower court
Court Watch | 2018/07/23 06:44
The South Dakota Supreme Court says a judge did not adequately explain why a Rapid City woman's Facebook complaints against her neighbor constituted stalking.

The Rapid City Journal reports that a judge in 2016 granted Sarah Thompson's request for a protection order against Wambli Bear Runner over Bear Runner's frequent antagonistic updates against Thompson. The two women had been dating the same man.

One of the posts read, "I'll forever be watching #your enemy unless I get an apology!"

The high court ruled that the circuit court did not show why Bear Runner's comments qualified as stalking. The case has been returned to the lower court.

South Dakota's law against stalking notes harassment can come through verbal, digital, electronic or even telegraphic communication.


City attorney criticizes law used to arrest Stormy Daniels
Court Watch | 2018/07/18 13:42
An Ohio city attorney has recommended that the state law police cited to arrest porn actress Stormy Daniels should not be enforced.

In a memo to the city's police chief, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein says Wednesday that future charges filed under that law will not be prosecuted. Klein has also dismissed charges brought against two other employees arrested with Daniels.

The law states dancers at "sexually oriented" businesses are prohibited from touching customers and vice versa.

Klein says the law is "glaringly inequitable" because its applicability depends on how regularly the employee performs. He also says employees who touch police are not in violation because on-duty public officials are not legally considered patrons.

Daniels' lawyer says he applauds Klein's decision. Messages seeking comment were left Wednesday for Columbus police.



Demonstrators force Fox crew from Supreme Court broadcast
Court Watch | 2018/07/15 00:03
demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday following President Donald Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

People shouted obscenities at Bream and her crew, crowded around and touched crew members as they prepared to air Fox's 11 p.m. Eastern hour from the location two hours after the nomination, she said.

"I've been in the middle of many protesters and signs and chanting and we all do our jobs," Bream said Tuesday. "But last night had a different feel to it."

Bream said Fox felt specifically targeted, although she said other reporters had a difficult time with the crowd. Disturbed by the scene, Fox executives made the decision to move to a nearby studio. Bream had been at the court for several hours, doing live reports during several programs.

The incident on an emotional political night exposed Fox News to a threatening atmosphere frequently faced by reporters at other news organizations at Trump rallies. CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta recently described how an elderly woman swore at him and tried to get him to leave one of Trump's recent rallies.

Bream, who has covered the Supreme Court for 11 years, said that often during demonstrations security separates demonstrators from the press with barricades, but they weren't on duty Monday night. She recalled only one other similar situation, but that happened during daylight hours.


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