BB Gun

The Montana Supreme Court reversed a man’s conviction of assault on a peace officer. The man thought he was pulling a prank on a friend when he aimed a broken BB gun out of his front door, but he actually aimed the gun at a police sergeant, who was there to tell him he had been banned from a casino. The man, who was sentenced to eight years in prison, did not use a “weapon” pursuant to state law.

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Dinosaur Fossils

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling in favor of ranch owners, finding they are the sole owners of dinosaur fossils discovered on their property. The Montana Supreme Court answered a certified question concluding that dinosaur fossils were not a “mineral” and belonged to the surface estate, and that decision requires a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs. 

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Pipeline Construction

A federal judge in Montana revised his April ruling blocking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit 12, a key permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would have allowed construction across hundreds of rivers and streams along its route. The permit still cannot be used to construct new pipelines but can be used to approve utility work, and maintenance and repair work on existing pipelines. 

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