The NhRP Wins Absolute Right to Appeal in Chimpanzee Kiko's 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 affirmed the Nonhuman Rights Project’s absolute right to appeal from a lower court’s Jan. 29, 2016 refusal to issue a writ of habeas corpus or order to show cause on behalf of captive chimpanzee Kiko.
In a decision issued Nov. 10, 2016, a panel of five Justices granted the NhRP’s motion for reargument of the Court’s denial of its motion for leave to appeal “as of right” under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) 7011. “Upon reargument” the Court granted the NhRP’s motion and “recalled and vacated” its Oct. 25, 2016 decision denying the NhRP’s Motion to Reargue. It also recognized the NhRP’s absolute right to appeal the lower court’s refusal to issue a writ of habeas corpus or order to show cause.
“We never doubted that we had an absolute right to appeal the lower court’s decision and are delighted that, after nearly a year of litigation, the Court has recognized our absolute right to appeal on behalf of Kiko,” said NhRP President Steven M. Wise.
In legal analysis the NhRP presented in its Nov. 1, 2016 Petition for a Writ of Mandamus, it asserted that under CPLR Article 70 the right to appeal the refusal to issue a writ of habeas corpus or order to show cause is absolute and nondiscretionary.
“That New York State allows for an appeal of an adverse habeas corpus decision is one of several reasons we chose to begin our long-term litigation campaign here in New York,” Wise said. “The ancient writ of habeas corpus—historically used by unfree humans—is an extraordinarily powerful means of testing the unlawfulness of an individual’s imprisonment. And that’s exactly what we’re working to do for Kiko.”
The NhRP is now preparing for oral argument, scheduled for the February 2017 Term (the precise date and time will be announced as soon as the Court makes it available).
“The lower court dismissed our appeal because it believed itself bound by the Third Department’s decision that only a being who is able to bear duties and responsibilities could be a legal person for any purpose and that chimpanzees lacked that capacity,” Wise said. “We look forward to pointing out the flaws in the Third Department’s decision in oral argument before the First Department and taking another step towards achieving recognition of Kiko’s legal personhood.”
For an overview and detailed timeline of the NhRP’s litigation on behalf of Kiko from the period Jan. to Nov. 2016, visit this page.
Case No.; Name: 150149/16 (New York County) “THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC., on behalf of KIKO, Petitioners-Appellant, v. CARMEN PRESTI, individually and as an officer and director of The Primate Sanctuary, Inc., CHRISTIE E. PRESTI, individually and as an officer and director of The Primate Sanctuary, Inc., and THE PRIMATE SANCTUARY, INC., Respondents-Respondents.”
# # #
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.