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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Federal court: California water cutbacks for endangered species not scientifically justified

Posted March 18, 2010 by Brandon Middleton
In an important victory for victims of California's regulatory drought, a federal court has ruled that water restrictions meant to protect endangered salmon and other species are based on flawed science. Given that the federal government has "completely abdicated" its responsibility to use the best available science and minimize harms to human beings, Judge Wanger has ordered an injunction of the NMFS salmon biological opinion. There were will be a hearing tomorrow to decide the exact form of injunctive relief.

The decision, issued this morning, is available here. More thoughts to come later. Here is the court's conclusion:

Click here to read COURT'S CONCLUSION
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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