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…
* 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]
* 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]
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.
* 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]
* 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]
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….
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.
Speaking of the Supreme Court, which Kash visited yesterday, the justices just struck down a 1999 law aimed at banning depictions of animal cruelty — especially so-called “crush videos,” in which women kill animals by stepping on them with fabulous footwear.
The vote was 8-1. The opinion was by Chief Justice Roberts; Justice Alito dissented. For more, see links below.
If this tiger reminds you of your pet cat, you are an idiot.
There’s a Chris Rock joke about the Siegfried & Roy tiger attack: “That tiger didn’t go crazy, that tiger went tiger.” With that in mind, I bring you this latest decision from the Tenth Circuit, via the National Law Journal:
An insurance company does not have to pay a Kansas family $100,000 for an accident in which a Siberian tiger attacked and killed their daughter during her senior photo shoot, a federal appeals court ruled this week.
On Monday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that Safeco Insurance Company of America does not have to pay damages in a wrongful death suit because the homeowners policy bought by the tiger’s owners excluded coverage for business pursuits.
I’ll admit, it took me a second to appreciate what was going on here. As it turns out, the only actor that behaved reasonably in this situation was the tiger (and the Tenth Circuit)….
Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner told the New Yorker he is like his cat, Dinah: "playful, but with a streak of cruelty."
It’s hard to find someone to love who also loves you. It’s a lot easier to find an animal with which to establish a loving relationship. Just make sure it’s not too loving.
Many lawyers are proud pet owners, bringing cats, dogs, small wolves, iguanas, and/or flying squirrels into their apartments and homes. Your ATL editors hold mixed feelings about the four-legged set. Elie and Kash are all in favor of bringing furry things into your bed, though he likes dogs and she likes cats. Meanwhile, Lat dissents.
This brings us to the question for today’s Above the Law roundtable:
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