Appellate Court Grants Hearing in Tommy Chimpanzee Rights Case
Hearing scheduled for February 2017 in Manhattan, NY
Nov. 29, 2016, New York, N.Y.—The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department has scheduled for oral argument the Nonhuman Rights Project’s appeal on behalf of captive chimpanzee Tommy.
At the hearing—scheduled for the January 2017 Term (exact date TBD)—a panel of five appellate judges will consider questions the NhRP presented in its Oct. 28, 2016 appeal from a lower court’s Dec. 23, 2015 denial of its petition for a writ of habeas corpus and order to show cause on Tommy’s behalf. Among these questions:
- Does the capacity to bear duties and responsibilities have any relationship to being deemed a “person” for the purpose of demanding a writ of habeas corpus under the common law of New York and CPLR Article 70, as articulated for the first time in Anglo-American law by the Third Judicial Department in Tommy’s first case in 2014?
- Did the lower court err in failing to consider the petitioner’s affidavits demonstrating that chimpanzees have the capacity to bear duties and responsibilities after the Third Department in Tommy’s first case in 2014 took judicial notice that chimpanzees do not?
- Is a chimpanzee a “person” for the purpose of common law habeas corpus as a matter of common law equality?
To read all the documents filed in conjunction with this appeal, visit this page.
Case No.; Name: 162358/15 (New York County) “THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC., on behalf of TOMMY, Petitioners-Appellants, v. PATRICK C. LAVERY, individually and as an officer of Circle L Trailer Sales, Inc., DIANE LAVERY, and CIRCLE L TRAILER SALES, INC., Respondents-Respondents.”
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About the Nonhuman Rights Project
Founded in 1996 by attorney Steven M. Wise, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) is the only civil rights organization working to achieve actual legal rights for members of species other than our own. Our mission is to change the legal status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them. Our current plaintiffs are members of species who have been scientifically proven to be autonomous: currently, great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales. We are working with teams of attorneys on four continents to develop campaigns to achieve legal rights for nonhuman animals that are suited to the legal systems of these countries. Our first cases were filed in December of 2013.
About NhRP President Steven M. Wise
Steven M. Wise began his mission to gain rights for nonhuman animals in 1985. He holds a J.D. from Boston University Law School and a B.S. in chemistry from the College of William and Mary. He has practiced animal protection law for 38 years and is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. Professor Wise taught the first class in “Animal Rights Law” at the Harvard Law School and is currently teaching “Animal Rights Jurisprudence” at the Lewis and Clark Law School and Vermont Law School. He is the author of four books: Rattling the Cage – Toward Legal Rights for Animals; Drawing the Line – Science and the Case for Animal Rights; Though the Heavens May Fall – The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery; and An American Trilogy – Death, Slavery, and Dominion Along the Banks of the Cape Fear River. His TED Talk from the TED2015 Conference in Vancouver, Canada was released in May of 2015, and has nearly one million views.