The [Animal] Law of Evidence

Colin Miller over at EvidenceProf Blog examines the evidentiary issues underlying an animal cruelty prosecution in Texas.  In  Vevrecka v. State, 2009 WL 179203 (Tex.App.-Hous. 2009), the defendant was charged with cruelty to five dogs found on her property (their condition was so dire that 4 were later euthanized).  As part of her defense, the defendant wished to present evidence of her past treatment of animals in her care.  The court denied her request.  She was convicted and then appealed.  The appeals court upheld the conviction.  As Professor Miller explains:

I think an analogy explains why this was not sufficient habit evidence.  Assume that Vevrecka were accused of child endangerment/abandonment regarding her children and wanted to present “habit” evidence concerning her diligent care of children in her role as a Big Sister or temporary foster parent.  This might be evidence of some type of habit by the accused, but it would not be evidence of a habit relevant to her trial for child endangerment/abandonment regarding her children on an everyday basis.

Read the full post here.

David Cassuto