Volume Fifteen, Issue Two, Spring 2009
Dana M. Campbell
Jonathan R. Lovvorn and Nancy V. Perry
This essay explores the legislative and legal campaign to enact California Proposition 2: The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, approved by California voters on November 4, 2008. The authors direct the legislation and litigation programs for The Humane Society of the United States, and, along with many other individuals and organizations, were centrally involved in the drafting, campaigning, and litigation efforts in support of the measure.
Courts and prosecutorial offices around the nation have started using service dogs to support emotionally frail child witnesses who are unwilling to testify but for the calming presence of a dog. Proponents claim that this new type of therapeutic jurisprudence helps bring criminal defendants to justice in cases where the testimony of the complaining witness is crucial to the prosecution’s case. Opponents fear the infringement of the defendants’ rights to a fair trial because of the dogs’ potential to prejudice a jury to come out in favor of the witnesses.
This article analyzes the legal foundations supporting the use of service dogs for emotional support of complaining witnesses in open court. Currently, the Federal Rules of Evidence give trial judges wide discretion to allow evidence presentation methods deemed effective for the ascertainment of the truth. Other federal law allows child witnesses to give testimony with the emotional support of an adult attendant or through alternative methods such as closed-circuit television or recorded statements. However, a defendant’s Sixth Amendment confrontation rights may be held violated by such alternative methods, especially after the recent landmark case Crawford v. Washington. In contrast, this is less likely to be the case if a witness gives live testimony, even with the potentially prejudicial presence of a service dog. Case precedent demonstrates that defendants’ right to a fair trial and the protection of the confrontation right have been upheld in similar cases where minor witnesses used comfort objects for support.
This article concludes that legally sound reasons exist for allowing the use of service dogs in court, but only in cases where the witness can demonstrate a truly compelling need for the emotional support and only where the proper balancing with defendants’ rights is performed.
Edward A. Fitzgerald
Wolf killing in Alaska is authorized by the Board of Game (BOG), an agency captured by hunting and trapping interests. The BOG’s wolf killing policies have generally been supported by state legislatures and governors. Alaskan courts have not halted the wolf killing. The courts have viewed wolf killing as an issue of administrative law and deferred to BOG expertise. This article argues that the courts should have invoked Alaska’s public trust doctrine, which prevents the granting of preferences over state natural resources. The courts should have also rigorously examined the BOG’s wolf killing policies and protected the wolf as a valuable public trust resource. The BOG’s wolf killing policies have not been supported by the public, leading to ballot initiatives to protect the wolf. Congress is currently considering the Protect America’s Wildlife Act, which will prevent the same day airborne hunting of Alaska’s wolves.
Marla K. Conley
Current regulations for zoos and aquariums rely heavily on standards established by industry associations, and the government increasingly expects public display facilities to self-monitor. Unfortunately, the industry associations charged with policing zoos and aquariums lack the enforcement authority necessary to ensure that animals kept in these facilities receive adequate attention or resources. This article argues that marine animals kept in public display facilities, such as zoos and aquariums, should benefit from the same level of regulatory protection as their land-bound counterparts. Even though marine animals demonstrate intellectual abilities equivalent or superior to those of land-bound animals, federal regulations allow facilities to keep marine animals in smaller enclosures with less social contact. This article discusses existing regulations for the following three levels of animals in light of their physical and intellectual needs: dolphins as compared to elephants and nonhuman primates, otters as compared to dogs, and octopuses as compared to hamsters and rabbits. Finally, this article recommends several adjustments to existing regulations for marine animals.
Nancy R. Hoffman and Robin C. McGinnis