Animal Law

You'll get in less trouble if you accidently shoot the one on the right.

I’m about to tell you a story. If the story included Chicago PD shooting an innocent black man who posed no threat to them, the story would end in an acquittal, vindication for the officers, and an outraged black community starting a charity fund for his widow.

But this story involves CPD shooting an innocent black Labrador Retriever. A family pet who posed no real threat to the officers. As such, the police have been punished and roundly excoriated, and a federal jury awarded the family a huge sum for damages.

Which is fine. I mean, I agree with the jury’s decision. I just don’t like living in a world where shooting my dog is a bigger liability risk for a police officer than shooting me….

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Please give me a job.

We mentioned it briefly in Morning Docket a few days ago, but now we know for sure that dogs are marking their territory in the legal profession. Dogs are appearing everywhere from law school libraries to courtroom witness boxes.

Naturally, when we heard that the doggie-at-law phenomenon had made it all the way down to Texas, we were excited. Unfortunately, students at the Texas law school where this occurred were less than thrilled. Who doesn’t love cute, cuddly-wuddly little dogs? People who paid to go to law school and thought they could get law-related jobs, that’s who.

So who let the dogs out? Let’s find out which law school wants its students to roll over and beg for a job….

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Something we don’t really get a chance to write about that often on Above the Law is the rise of the Goth subculture in America — and that’s probably because no one cares about it. Just like how no one cared about most Goth kids when they were growing up, which led them to believe that dressing up like sad, neoclassical clowns was a good idea.

You know what, this is America, and if you want to paint your face like an inept contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race and wear chains connecting your ears to your nose, then by all means, go right ahead. I have absolutely no problem with that. If you want to look like the latest incarnation of Boy George, and thereby make your family embarrassed to be around you, then go for it.

But really, leave your pets out of it, okay? Your kittens don’t have daddy issues like you do…

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Hey little dude. FYI, don't go to Alabama.

Yesterday, there was a wonderful story coming out of Kansas Law School (gavel bang: @VaultLaw). A student there is starting the first animal cruelty prosecution clinic in the country. That’s what the scholars call “awesome.” There are simply not enough lawyers who are even familiar with animal cruelty laws. If more people know how to go after people who abuse animals, these criminals are more likely to be identified and punished.

Unfortunately, there’s an email going around a law school down south which will illustrates just how important it is for the new Kansas program to succeed and provide a model for similar initiatives around the country. There are some sick a$$holes out there, and they need to be stopped…

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Jeff Skilling

* Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s appeal was denied by the Fifth Circuit. While he remains the smartest guy in the room, the room consists of him and a half-wit cellmate whose only discernible talent is making Prune-o. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Bruce Fein, an attorney who worked on Clinton’s impeachment and called for Bush’s impeachment as well, has drafted articles of impeachment for Barack Obama. His high crime and misdemeanor? Time theft. [Politico]

* An Ohio man has been charged with a misdemeanor for barking at a police dog. When asked why he was barking at the female dog, the man calmly replied, “Bitch owes me money.” [CBS News]

Raj Rajaratnam

* The government rested its case in the Raj Rajaratnam trial yesterday. Of additional note is the fact that Rajabba sits ten feet behind his defense table, partially obstructed from the jury box. You can’t completely block Rajabba from view. You can only wish to contain him. [New York Times]

* The government has warned attorneys for former Madoff employees not to use money that might be associated with Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. That includes, for their own health, any ass pennies. [ABA Journal]

* The Fourth Circuit rules in favor of a pundit-professor, in a case about the free speech rights of faculty members at public universities. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Charlie Sheen is trying to trademark his catchphrases now. He’s overexposed like a frostbitten penis — is there anything funny left to say about him at this point? (We might try; check in later.) [Forbes]

Monty, the Yale Law library dog

In the past week, we’ve learned about the best law schools for getting rich and the best law schools according to law firm hiring partners. So let’s do one more ranking: the best law schools for dog lovers.

This ranking, as it turns out, looks a lot like the U.S. News law school rankings: there’s Yale Law School at #1, and then there’s everyone else.

How many law schools let you “check out” a certified therapy dog from the library, for thirty-minute periods of stress relief? As far as we know, YLS stands alone.

We kid you not. And this time around, YLS isn’t denying it….

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Legal Blog Watch has a perfect Friday story up on its pages. Two men were arrested for riding animals while drunk. One guy was on a mule, the other was on a horse.

But when they got to the police station, the county attorney determined that the animals did not fall within the definition of “a device in, on or by which a person or property is, or may be, transported or drawn on a highway,” to trigger a DWI arrest. And so the men were released.

OF COURSE this happened in Texas…

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Legal outsourcing makes her happy.

* Demand for attorneys well-versed in animal law is on the rise as pet owners push for recognition of their pets as family members rather than ordinary property. Which reminds me of my dog Rascal. He ate his own crap, licked furniture, and once peed on a baby. And when he died, my parents looked at me and said, “It should have been you.” [Baltimore Sun]

* Yesterday in the life of Mikhail Khodorkovsky has American diplomats crying about a traveshamockery. [Bloomberg]

* Joe Miller may allow Lisa Murkowski to be certified as the winner of Alaska’s contested U.S. Senate seat, but Miller isn’t done scrapping and a’clawing. Shine on you crazy diamond. Shine on. [Washington Post]

* 200 massholes in the Massachusetts Legislature and only 52 of them are attorneys. [Boston Globe]

* Sotomayor, so hot right now. Sotomayor. [New York Times]

* Another article about legal outsourcing. Better bone up on your trivia, slumdogs. Ouch. That one barely makes sense. [Chicago Tribune]

* The Brits have beefed up their laws against companies bribing foreign officials. Reached for comment, Mr. Bean made a stupid face. [Wall Street Journal]

Animal abusers now must tell me and my dog where they are if they live in Suffolk County.

Suffolk County, my old ‘hood, just took a huge step forward in the cause for animal rights. The WSJ Law Blog reports:

New York’s Suffolk County legislature on Wednesday signed off on a measure that would publicly name anyone convicted of animal abuse by having them report to a registry for five years after their conviction.

“Most serial killers began as animal abusers,” Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Chief Roy Gross told the North Shore Sun. “It’s a known fact: people who hurt animals hurt people too.”

Good. Great. Parents don’t want their kids hanging out at the sex offender’s house next door, and they really shouldn’t want their kids hanging out with the neighbor who mistreats and harms defenseless animals as well. People who prey on weak animals will soon prey on weak people.

And here’s the follow up legislation, which should be a no-brainer….

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U Can't Touch This (dog).

Earlier this week, we reported on the Yale Law School library apparently allowing students to “check out” a stress-relieving dog named Monty, for 30-minute periods. This precious pet perk was not offered during my time at YLS (but we barely had a library for two years, due to extensive construction).

Alas, the commenter who noted that “Monty has been withdrawn” appears to be correct. The link to Monty’s catalog entry is dead.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Booktryst blog explains why….

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