On June 8th, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department issued its decision in the NhRP’s habeas corpus cases of captive chimpanzees Tommy and Kiko. After carefully reviewing and annotating it, we unanimously concluded that the First Judicial Department had almost no idea what the NhRP alleged in our habeas petitions, what our major arguments were, or even what relief we were seeking for Tommy and Kiko. The Court responded by creating, then rejecting, “straw man” arguments the NhRP did not make in an apparent effort to arbitrarily deny personhood and rights to Tommy and Kiko.
The NhRP has the right to have a court decide its case based on the powerful public policy arguments that we actually made. That’s why, for the first time, the NhRP decided to fully annotate the decision, making it available as a PDF and as an interactive web page via Genius Annotations. Today—the 245th anniversary of the seminal Somerset v. Stewart decision that transformed a human being from a legal thing to a legal person and ended human slavery in England—is a fitting day to publish and share it.
We think our annotations, which provide a point-by-point breakdown of the numerous legal errors the court made, will be informative to the public, the media, and anyone who wants to ensure that US courts engage in a mature weighing of public policy and moral principle no matter the issue, but especially if the issue is an autonomous being’s freedom.
In the next two to three weeks, we’ll file a motion for leave to appeal to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.