Yesterday, a killer whale demonstrated at a SeaWorld in Orlando why it has that name. The Shamu show turned horrific when a male orca named Tilikum killed veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Brancheau was talking to the audience and petting Tilikum’s head, when he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her into the water. After some violent thrashing, the alleged killer whale drowned her.
The Sentinel reports that trainers did not ever get into the tank with Tilikum, because of his murderous past. He’s more like a serial killer whale:
In 1991, Tilikum and two female killer whales dragged trainer Keltie Byrne underwater, drowning her in front of spectators at Sealand of the Pacific, a defunct aquarium in Victoria, British Columbia.
Acquired by SeaWorld the next year to breed with female orcas, he was involved in a second incident in July 1999 when the naked body of a man who had apparently sneaked into SeaWorld after hours to swim with the whales was found draped dead across his back.
In fairness to Tilikum, he’s a majestic animal captured by humans and imprisoned for their amusement and curiosity. How many people would you kill to escape forced mating with a female orca?
An animal rights activist told the Sentinel that Tilikum is “a killer” and should have been set free years ago, and not been kept in contact with humans at SeaWorld.
It sounds like SeaWorld could be in dangerous legal waters…
Here’s an interesting question. How do we know that animals involved in bestiality don’t actually like it?
This question was recently on the mind of one New Jersey jurist. From the Philadelphia Daily News:
During a bizarre hearing [in Burlington County, NJ], a Superior Court judge dismissed animal-cruelty charges against a Moorestown police officer accused of sticking his penis into the mouths of five calves in rural Southampton in 2006, claiming a grand jury couldn’t infer whether the cows had been “tormented” or “puzzled” by the situation or even irritated that they’d been duped out of a meal.
“If the cow had the cognitive ability to form thought and speak, would it say, ‘Where’s the milk? I’m not getting any milk,’ ” Judge James J. Morley asked.
Got milk? Or milky discharge?
Children, Morley said, seemed “comforted” when given pacifiers, but there’s no way to know what bovine minds thought of Robert Melia Jr. substituting his member for a cow’s teat.
“They [children] enjoy the act of suckling,” the judge said. “Cows may be of a different disposition.”
In its weirdness, this is all very Ally McBeal-ish (although too explicit for that show).
So, how did the prosecutor feel about all of this?
If Michael Vick can learn to love animals, “be they a dog, or a cat, or … a reptile,” then surely the American courts can’t be far behind.
A couple of weeks ago, we brought you the story of a New Jersey appellate panel which declined to view the family pet as mere property in a divorce proceeding. Now a Virginia court is being asked to award damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from a pet-icide. The Wall Street Journal reports that there is some high profile pro-bono legal counsel taking up the cause of not treating animals as replaceable goods:
A lawsuit slated to go to trial next week down in Virginia could help redefine the theory — at least in that state — on what how a pet-owner should be compensated if a pet is wrongfully killed. In many states, tort law provides the owner simply gets the replacement value of a pet.
But the plaintiff in the Virginia case, represented pro bono by Orrick partner and former White House counsel Lanny Davis, feels the amount should be much higher in certain circumstances. Davis likened the case to that of a family heirloom, which has worth well beyond its street value.
Go Orrick. Family heirloom status is just the first step. It won’t be long now until I can bring my dog into the Duane Reade with the same disregard for other people’s shopping experience as parents enjoy now with their no spatial awareness/no vocal modulation street urchins.
Either that or we’ll soon see strollers tied up to stop signs up and down the east side of Manhattan.
After the jump, even the defendant in the civil suit agrees that family pets are worth more than their store bought value.
You’ve heard horror stories about messy divorces where people litigate over the family pet. Traditionally, pets are regarded as just another piece of property to be divided up among the former spouses. But that could be about to change. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
[A] second trial on the custody of the nearly six-year-old brown pooch is set to begin. [Doreen Houseman] plans to testify again that her ex-fiancé broke an oral agreement to let her have the dog after she moved out of their house.
In March, a three-judge appeals panel ordered a new trial, saying Superior Court Judge John Tomasello should not have treated Dexter as just another piece of furniture during the first trial, in Gloucester County, in 2007
Houseman argued against the speciesist system where pets are considered mere property by family courts. Houseman and various animal defense lawyers tried to use the Michael Vick case as precedent:
They suggested the judge should also weigh what was best for the dog. That had been done, they said, with the dogs that belonged to former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, after he was involved in a dog-fighting ring.
The appellate panel declined to go so far as to apply the best interests test to a dog. Apparently, tail wags per minute is not a reliable indicator.
But the panel didn’t have to apply a best interests test. The trial court judge seemed to be just enough of a jerk to give the appellate court grounds to give Houseman a new trial.
More details after the jump.
A court in the Indian state of Bihar is putting a dog on trial. It’s not the first time “Chhotu” has been in trouble with the law. He was sentenced to death in 2003, but he must have a good lawyer, as he managed to get out of the death penalty.
Here’s the tale of doggy-style justice from BBC News:
“The court was compelled to issue a summons to the dog since the police found that it was a threat to peace and feared that it might create a law and order problem,” district official Rajiv Ranjan said.
In court Chhotu appeared to have been on best behaviour.
“Despite the presence of so many people in the courtroom the dog did not bite or bark at anyone,” the canine’s lawyer Dilip Kumar Deepak said in defence of his client.
The case continues and Chhotu has been ordered to appear in court again on 5 August, together with his owner, childless widow, Rajkumari Devi.
Recently we’ve been thinking about law-related names for racehorses. The subject came up when we were reading about how Big Brown, the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner, might win the Triple Crown and join the company of Affirmed (pictured) — the last winner of the Triple Crown, in 1978.
Hearing about a racing horse named “Affirmed” led us to start thinking about other legally-themed horse names. A few ideas:
– “Reversed” (or “Reversed and Remanded”)
We liked how it played off of “Affirmed.” But it’s “probably not the kind of message you want to send to the oddsmakers,” said a friend.
– “Cert Denied”
Kinda badass, no? We’ll put it down as a possibility.
Suggested by another friend, to continue on the Supreme Court disposition theme. “GVR” stands for “Grant, Vacate, and Remand” — which can, depending on the circumstances, be something of a benchslap. But maybe it’s too technical, appreciated only by SCOTUS junkies?
Nominated by a third friend (in the midst of studying for law-school finals). It’s erudite, but a bit short on sex appeal.
Have an idea for a law-related racehorse name, à la Affirmed? If so, feel free to leave it in the comments. If we get enough nominations, maybe we’ll hold a contest. Also, feel free to weigh in on the names previously mentioned, if you strong feelings about any of them. Update: Please make sure that your nomination complies with these naming rules (posted by a helpful commenter). Further Update: Okay, we’ve reached the 400-comment mark on this post, so we’re closing the thread. Poll to follow shortly.
More about racehorses and the law, after the jump.
Unless you’ve always wanted an Australian accent. From the Telegraph:
A New Zealand man who claimed he was raped by a wombat and that the experience left him speaking with an Australian accent has been found guilty of wasting police time.
Arthur Cradock, 48, from the South Island town of Motueka, called police last month to tell them he was being raped by the marsupial at his home and needed urgent assistance.
Cradock, an orchard worker, later called back to reassure the police operator that he was all right.
“I’ll retract the rape complaint from the wombat, because he’s pulled out. Apart from speaking Australian now, I’m pretty all right you know. I didn’t hurt my bum at all.”
Wombats are very considerate; they use lots of lube. We learned that on Animal Planet.
[Cradock] pleaded guilty in Nelson District Court to using a phone for a fictitious purpose and was sentenced to 75 hours’ community work….
Wombats are native to Australia and are not found in New Zealand. Although powerfully built and about the size of a small pig, they are very rarely dangerous. There are three species: the widely distributed common wombat and the much rarer southern and northern hairy-nosed wombats.
I read about you helping the woman with cancer who wanted to wear her hat in court.
I’m handicapped, paralyzed with a closed head injury.
I’m in a wheelchair and rarely leave my condo except to see doctors.
I’ve lived in my condo since August 1989. I brought the bird feeder from Mom’s house after she died.
Now Ms. [xxxx], the new Property Manager, has ordered me to get rid of my water and chipmunk ramp.
I’ve been here 18 years. She’s been here less than a year.
My whole outside world is my patio with the bird feeder, and water and chipmunk ramp.
I have appealed to [xxxx] Management in Buffalo Grove, IL, but they won’t help me.
I hope you will.
We’re much better at helping Biglaw associates secure pay raises, or law clerks snag clerkship bonuses. The law governing whether a Chicago condo tenant is entitled to keep a chipmunk ramp on her patio lies outside our expertise. Also, we’re not admitted in Illinois.
But if you’re a landlord / tenant lawyer in Illinois who might be willing to help our correspondent, please email us, and we will put you in touch with her. Thanks.
* Gov. Romney wins Michigan. [CNN]
* Sen. Clinton faces challenge from “uncommitted.” [CNN]
* NV Supreme Court overturns decision allowing Rep. Kucinich to debate. [MSNBC]
* Criminal prosecutions of Blackwater security guards would not be easy. [New York Times]
* Did CIA lawyers and officials implicitly sign off on the destruction of interrogation tapes? [Washington Post]
* Austrian court rules animal rights group can’t have custody of chimp; appeal will be to the European Court of Human Rights. [AP]
* DOJ to investigate Tejada? [New York Times]
* Collected news coverage about yesterday’s Stoneridge decision. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* Rest in peace, Benazir Bhutto; God knows you weren’t able to live in it. [CNN]
* That seems like a pretty good starting point for liability against the zoo. [BBC]
* We don’t know if you know Tom Goldstein, but he’s a pretty big deal. [SCOTUSBlog]
* If he could only apply all of that genius to acquiring some money to actually make a mortgage payment… [WSJ Law Blog]
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!