In honor of Earth Day I bring you a decision from a court in New York granting Constitutional standing as legal persons to two chimpanzees(and then partially revoking the standing).[read_more]
A nonprofit, the Nonhuman Rights Project [“Nonhumans”], filed suit in state court in New York to obtain a writ of habeas corpus for two chimpanzees being held at SUNY Stonybrook for research purposes. In simple terms, a writ of habeas corpus is the right to petition the courts to force a governmental actor to bring charges against a person or release them.
So the NonHumans filed the same case in Manhattan (a legally questionable act as they had already had their day in court).
On April 20, New York Supreme Court (this is their basic trial level court) Judge Barbara Jaffe granted the Writ of Habeas Corpus.
The chimpanzees now have the ability to have charges brought against them or be released.
While NonHumans everywhere celebrated their victory, Judge Jaffe became a little squeamish about her broad declaration of humanity to NonHumans.
Without prompting from the parties she issued a new order striking the words habeas corpus from her order! Now the chimpanzees merely have the right to try to prove they are being unlawfully detained. Upon proof of being unlawfully detained they will be released.
So as far as New York is concerned, can Judge Jaffe legally marry two chimpanzees, or a human and a chimpanzee? Is it possible to defame a chimpanzee?
We do not elect judges in Virginia, and our system is not perfect. Still, if elections yield judges like Judge Jaffe, I’ll stick with the system we’ve got.
Read some of the NonHumans website, it’s interesting.