Read more about the article Happy’s Hapless Helpers
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Happy’s Hapless Helpers

In a short decision, a New York appellate court affirmed the denial of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus brought by Steven Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project on behalf of Happy the Elephant. This was no surprise, particularly because the same court had reached the same decision in a case brought by the same lawyers just three years ago. Indeed, Mr. Wise sought to have the case heard in another part of the state in order to get around the court’s earlier rejection of his theories, claiming, in a bit of refreshing candor, that the case should be heard in remote Orleans County, which had no connection at all with the case, because the courts in the Bronx, where Happy lives, “aren’t amenable to his arguments.” (more…)

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Read more about the article Judge Dismisses Elephant Habeas Petition
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Judge Dismisses Elephant Habeas Petition

As everyone but Steven Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project expected, a judge in the Bronx dismissed a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of Happy the Elephant on the grounds that an elephant is not a person with standing to invoke the writ. Before turning to the decision, I’d like to set the stage by talking about another famous New York City habeas corpus case. (more…)

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Elephant Habeas Case: Connecticut Appellate Court Holds Elephants Are Not Persons

Mother and baby elephant
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It will surprise no one except Steven Wise that in today’s case, Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. R.W. Commerford & Sons, Inc. (Conn. App. Ct. 2019), the court affirmed dismissal of a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of three elephants in a zoo on jurisdictional grounds, as the elephants are not persons with standing to petition for writs of habeas corpus. I’ve written about the case twice before, at its inception and following the lower court’s decision denying the petition as frivolous. (more…)

Continue ReadingElephant Habeas Case: Connecticut Appellate Court Holds Elephants Are Not Persons
Read more about the article Elephant Habeas: Happy’s Case Is Bound for the Bronx
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Elephant Habeas: Happy’s Case Is Bound for the Bronx

Springtime in the Bronx! The spring is sprung, / the grass is riz, / I wunna wheah the boidies is? The lawyers who purport to represent Happy the Elephant on a petition for a writ of habeas corpus have failed in their quest to have the case heard in remote Orleans County rather than in the Bronx. Never has so much time been spent litigating a question of venue for the “benefit” of an elephant. And rarely has forum shopping been so blatant. As I reported in December, Steven Wise, the lead lawyer, said that the reason he chose such an out-of-the-way venue was that “local courts aren’t amenable to his arguments.” In other words, the appellate court in the Bronx has already considered and rejected Wise’s arguments. Wise lost the venue argument, of course, and then sought reconsideration and also leave to appeal. (more…)

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Read more about the article Elephant Habeas Case: The NhRP Really, Really Does Not Want To Litigate Happy The Elephant’s Case In The Bronx
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Elephant Habeas Case: The NhRP Really, Really Does Not Want To Litigate Happy The Elephant’s Case In The Bronx

Happy the Elephant has very strong views about venue for her, ah, quixotic habeas corpus case. As I noted in December, a judge in Orleans County, New York, ordered the case transferred to the Bronx, where Happy lives at the Bronx Zoo. Recently, Happy has filed a motion to reconsider and a motion for leave to appeal. All of the papers are available on the website of the Nonhuman Rights Project. (more…)

Continue ReadingElephant Habeas Case: The NhRP Really, Really Does Not Want To Litigate Happy The Elephant’s Case In The Bronx

Persons

I noticed several days ago that Karen Hinton, the PR representative of Steven Donziger and the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, was also the representative of Steven Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project. What are the chances? I tweeted about the coincidence of her involvement in two cases I’ve been following very closely, which was probably a bad idea, as it got me embroiled in my least favorite kind of argument—a Twitter argument. It’s 2018 and I should know better. It also drew in a writer named Linda Monk, who accused me of “mansplaining,” broke the first rule of HLS (don’t talk about HLS), and engaged in a meta-argument with me about what is or is not an ad hominem argument. You can look up the argument on Twitter if you feel that you want to squeeze the last dregs of misery out of 2018. But Karen and Linda made a point I want to respond to. “What a hypocrite!” they seem to say. “You think that Chevron (by which they mean Chevron Canada) is a legal person that should enjoy the benefits of limited liability in the Lago Agrio case, but you think that Happy the Elephant is not a person and has no right to issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.” So what’s the deal? (more…)

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Read more about the article Elephant Habeas Case: Steven Wise’s Forum Shopping Apparently Fails
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Elephant Habeas Case: Steven Wise’s Forum Shopping Apparently Fails

Steven Wise is very keen on treating animals like people, but he also seems to treat rural people like unsophisticated rubes. As you’ll recall, Wise and his group, the Nonhuman Rights Project, brought a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Happy, an elephant at the Bronx Zoo. He brought the case in rural Orleans County, New York instead of, you know, the Bronx:

Curiously, the case was filed in Orleans County, on the shore of Lake Ontario. The county’s largest town, Albion, had a population of 8,468 as of the last census. Why there? Because, Wise told the Post, “local courts aren’t amenable to his arguments.” Apparently this is consistent with New York’s statutes on venue in habeas corpus cases. We’ll see how the judge in Albion feels about Wise bringing the circus, or the zoo, to his or her courtroom.

(more…)

Continue ReadingElephant Habeas Case: Steven Wise’s Forum Shopping Apparently Fails
Read more about the article Elephant Habeas Case Proceeds
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Elephant Habeas Case Proceeds

A judge has issued an order to show cause why Happy, the elephant, is not entitled to relief on a writ of habeas corpus. In habeas cases there are procedures for denying petitions at an early stage, without issuing the writ, and the judge’s failure to do so here makes me sad. I’m not going to repeat everything I’ve said about the frivolousness of Steven Wise’s quest to make non-human animals people in the eyes of the law. I do hope that when the judge reaches the merits, she does the right thing. (more…)

Continue ReadingElephant Habeas Case Proceeds
Read more about the article He’s Back! Steven Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project Seeks Habeas Corpus For An Elephant
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He’s Back! Steven Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project Seeks Habeas Corpus For An Elephant

The Nonhuman Rights Project, under the leadership of Steven Wise, has sought a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Happy, the elephant, who lives in the Bronx Zoo in New York City. Why? According to the New York Post, Wise said that his group “is moving onto elephants because it ‘ran out of chimpanzees in the state of New York.'”

Curiously, the case was filed in Orleans County, on the shore of Lake Ontario. The county’s largest town, Albion, had a population of 8,468 as of the last census. Why there? Because, Wise told the Post, “local courts aren’t amenable to his arguments.” Apparently this is consistent with New York’s statutes on venue in habeas corpus cases. We’ll see how the judge in Albion feels about Wise bringing the circus, or the zoo, to his or her courtroom.

(more…)

Continue ReadingHe’s Back! Steven Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project Seeks Habeas Corpus For An Elephant