Critters Documents Legal, Laws, and Regs

Feld Entertainment Inc vs. AWI et al RICO case court documents available

I converted a static copy of the Feld Entertainment Inc vs. AWI et al RICO case docket sheet into a web page with links to court documents I’ve downloaded from PACER.

This case is the second covered in my upcoming book, “Ringling Brothers: The Greatest Show in Court”. Feld Entertainment Inc, parent company for the Ringling Brothers circus, is suing several animal welfare groups under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act. This was in response to an earlier, multi-year court case, ASPCA (now AWI) et al vs. Feld Entertainment Inc, where the groups sued Feld under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). There are over 600 separate entries and thousands of documents for the ESA case, so it’s going to take me some time before I have the docket page and documents posted for it.

I have most of the documents for both cases, other than those having to do with day to day business, such as a lawyer being added or being terminated, orders that only reflect what’s written in a memorandum, and so on. Both cases are still ongoing and I’ll update my copy of the dockets as I download new court documents.

Documents Environment Government Legal, Laws, and Regs

Sackett v EPA – Administration Record Index Documents

I received a CD with Administrative Record documents I requested via FOIA from the EPA. These documents were submitted by the EPA based on a request from the Sacketts in the Sackett et al vs. Johnson et al court case, otherwise known as the Sackett vs. the EPA. This case received a very narrow decision in the Supreme Court last year. I’ve retrieved most of the PACER court documents and am planning on posting these this week.

Thankfully, the Administrative Record documents came with a spreadsheet index, which I converted to a basic HTML table (Sacketts vs. the EPA Administrative Record Documents). Much simpler to post online when you don’t have to individually link the large titled PDFs.

An interesting thing about the Administrative Record documents is the photos. I’m not a geologist, but I found the photos of the Sacketts’ lot to be rather convincing that yes, they were filling in a wetlands. In addition, the Sacketts’ neighbors were the ones to file a complaint because, evidently, the work the Sacketts were doing was causing water to back up into the neighbor’s place.

The Sacketts claimed ignorance of the need to see if they required a Clear Water Act permit before filling in their property. I find this less than credible when you consider that the Sacketts run an excavation and construction business. In addition, there’s also the fact that the previous owners were aware the land was designated a wetlands.

Interesting what you can find with a simple FOIA request. Which, by the way, the EPA responded to quickly and efficiently.

I’ll have more on this case at a different web site (since this one is about document access) when I have all the pieces (and I have the extra time). In the mean time, feel free to explore the Admin Record documents, and the court documents later in the week. You can definitely find out more about the case just by searching on “Sackett vs EPA” online.

Documents Legal, Laws, and Regs

Aaron Swartz Documents to be Released

The prosecution documents related to Aaron Swartz are to be released after personally identifying information is redacted.

This is a good decision, both in the release of the documents and the removal of personal identification. We need to examine the process, not instigate a witch hunt.

I agreed with Aaron about the need to make documents, such as those in PACER and JSTOR, available to the public. Where I disagreed with him is in the method. Hence this web site.

Documents Government

Trashing the EPA

I’m angry about the Republican intransigence regarding a vote for Gina McCarthy.

The Republican senators state that there’s a ‘lack of transparency’ to the actions of the EPA. They use the same old tired excuse that the previous head, Lisa Jackson, used an email alias. They ignore the fact that Jackson’s formal email address gets over a million emails a year, and is thus entirely useless when it comes to necessary communication. They also ignore the assurances, given again and again, that Jackson’s alias address is used when fulfilling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

As for those FOIA mandates, no agency is perfect, but the EPA is most decidedly trying.


Untangling the Web – A NSA FOIA Request

The NSA has recently declassified its internet research how-to manual, Untangling the Web: An Introduction to Internet Research (PDF), and evidently someone grabbed it via a FOIA request.

It’s 600 pages, folks. It is going to be a slow download. It’s also based on 2007 technology, which is something like 1 1/2 internet generations ago. Still, it is an interesting look at how that never-talked-about agency, the NSA, works.

(h/t Frank Paynter)