People listen to San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman at Centennial Park in Blanding, Utah on Saturday, May 10, 2014. (Trent Nelson/AP)
Dozens protest U.S. control of public land

Dozens of people rode all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles on an off-limits trail in Utah on Saturday to protest what they called the U.S. government’s overreaching control of public lands.

San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge said 40 to 50 people, many waving American flags, drove about a mile down Recapture Canyon and then turned around. Hundreds attended an earlier rally at a nearby park.

“There were no problems whatsoever,” the sheriff said.

About 30 deputies and some U.S. Bureau of Land Management law enforcement personnel watched protesters drive down the canyon, about 300 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

Recapture Canyon is home to burials and dwellings from Ancestral Puebloans from as long as 2,000 years ago. Juan Palma, BLM state director, said in a statement that riders may have damaged artifacts and that BLM will “hold the lawbreakers accountable.”

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, the protest’s organizer, has said it was designed to show that the federal agency is not the “supreme authority” and that local residents have a right to have their opinions heard.

Associated Press

Washington, D.C.
Justice Dept. wins cell-records case

The Justice Department’s use of cellphone tracking in prosecutions that do not end in a conviction need not be disclosed to a civil rights group attacking the practice, an appeals court ruled in a privacy rights case.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued under the Freedom of Information Act for records that included case names and docket numbers of prosecutions in which the government obtained tracking data without a warrant. The group argued that it was in the public interest to learn the role that warrantless tracking played in the cases.

“The government, having brought the full force of its prosecutorial power to bear against individuals it ultimately failed to prove actually committed crimes, has a special responsibility ... to protect such individuals from further public scrutiny,” the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said in a 2 to 1 ruling. Disclosure would “constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

Friday’s case concerned physical tracking through a cellphone’s GPS, which can determine a person’s location by receiving signals from global positioning satellites, the ACLU said in court papers.

— Bloomberg News

Tornado strikes homes in Missouri: A tornado seriously damaged homes in a small town east of Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday, but there were no initial reports of injuries. Officials said the twister touched down in Orrick. Television news footage showed it tore through several homes It flattened some other buildings, felled large trees and flipped cars over. The tornado struck about 5:40 p.m local time.

— Reuters