Exonerating the Innocent: Habeas for Nonhuman Animals

Wrongful Convictions and the DNA Revolution: Twenty-Five Years of Freeing the Innocent, Cambridge University, 2017

U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18-16

23 Pages Posted: 9 May 2018

See all articles by Justin F. Marceau

Justin F. Marceau

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Steve Wise

Nonhuman Rights Project

Date Written: May 9, 2018

Abstract

It is hard to conceive of a greater blemish on our justice system than the punishment of innocent persons. The idea of imprisoning or executing an innocent person almost defies the human capacity for empathy; it is nearly impossible to imagine oneself in such circumstances. Advances in science and the work of non-profits like the Innocence Project have made the exoneration of more than 300 people possible. And while the struggle to liberate unjustly incarcerated persons must continue, and should be accelerated, the cruelty of punishing innocents is not limited to the incarceration of human animals. It is time to consider the need to liberate at least some nonhuman animals from the most horrible confinement. These nonhuman animals are unquestionably innocent, their conditions of confinement, at least in some cases, are uniquely depraved; and their cognitive functioning, much less their ability to suffer, rivals that of humans. It is time to seriously consider habeas type remedies for nonhuman beings.

Suggested Citation

Marceau, Justin F. and Wise, Steve, Exonerating the Innocent: Habeas for Nonhuman Animals (May 9, 2018). Wrongful Convictions and the DNA Revolution: Twenty-Five Years of Freeing the Innocent, Cambridge University, 2017, U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18-16, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3176104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3176104

Justin F. Marceau (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

Steve Wise

Nonhuman Rights Project ( email )

Coral Springs, FL
United States

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