Friday, June 23, 2017

Court tosses DOJ policy on prosecuting wildlife killers

Court tosses DOJ policy on prosecuting wildlife killers E&E News By Amanda Reilly A federal court yesterday threw out a long-standing Justice Department policy on prosecuting killers of protected wildlife only if the hunter knew the target was a listed species. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona found the "McKittrick Policy" was "outside the range of prosecutorial authority" given to DOJ under the Endangered Species Act. "The government does not need to prove the defendant knew that killing an endangered or threatened species was illegal or that the animal he or she shot was protected under the law," the court's opinion says. "The responsibility for any mistake falls on the defendant." Conservation groups cheered the ruling by Judge David Bury, a George W. Bush appointee. "The end of the McKittrick Policy is a crucial victory for critically imperiled animals including Mexican wolves and grizzly bears," said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, in a statement

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