I’ve not heard of this before, but apparently some jurisdictions are allowing dogs to take the stand. Not to testify, of course, but to help uniquely situated victims answer questions under direct and cross-examination. The New York Times recently covered this novel legal question and all of the thorny legal issues accompanying it:
“The new role for dogs as testimony enablers can, however, raise thorny legal questions. Defense lawyers argue that the dogs may unfairly sway jurors with their cuteness and the natural empathy they attract, whether a witness is telling the truth or not, and some prosecutors insist that the courtroom dogs can be a crucial comfort to those enduring the ordeal of testifying, especially children.”
The arguments for both inclusion and exclusion are compelling and persuasive. (Full article here). We Peashooters are canine-o-philes, but as an attorney I can’t imagine how distracting this would be for the jurors and the lawyers.
One little fella piped right up and offered to help me on my next trial, but given his attitude I’m pretty sure he’d be held in contempt of court: