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Court overturns DOJ’s McKittrick Policy


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On Jun. 21, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled in favor of WildEarth Guardians and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance when it found that the government may only have to prove that an alleged defendant in an Endangered Species Act “take” case knew they were taking an animal, even if they had no prior knowledge that the animal they were taking was a species protected under ESA. This overturns the U.S. Department of Justice’s long-standing “McKittrick Policy,” which instructs attorneys to only prosecute ESA take cases if there is evidence that the alleged defendant knew the biological identity of the animal at the time of the take. Under ESA, take is defined as, “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct” in regards to an ESA-listed species In 1998, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Chad McKittrick’s conviction of a criminal misdemeanor for shooting an endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in Montana. McKittrick claimed that he thought he was shooting a wild dog and petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision but the appeal was denied. Since the [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/court-overturns-dojs-mckittrick-policy/

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