When The Evidence Needs A Home: Best Practices for Pre-Conviction Forfeiture Statute Use

When The Evidence Needs A Home: Best Practices for Pre-Conviction Forfeiture Statute Use
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-04-01
Unit 1 Slide Deck: When The Evidence Needs A Home
Unit 2 Transcript: When The Evidence Needs A Home
Unit 3 Workbook: When The Evidence Needs A Home
Unit 4 Recording: When The Evidence Needs A Home

Animals have overlapping statuses in law. They are property, evidence, and victims of crime. Like any property, they cannot just be unlawfully seized or assigned to a different owner. And just like any victims, the injuries and pain they were subjected to must be rehabilitated. But unlike most evidence, they cannot be stored and preserved in evidence lockers for a prolonged time.

Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program’s David Rosengard joins Justice Clearinghouse to present the intricacies brought about by these elements in animal cruelty cases. David is ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program Senior Staff Attorney where he works with stakeholders across the criminal justice system in animal cruelty topics advancing animals’ position within the law.

This session’s discussion covered:

  • The overlapping status of animals and its implications
    • Their diminishing evidentiary value.
    • The need to provide animals with appropriate care, shelter, and medical attention, and the costs involved.
    • The fact that despite the animal being seized due to cruelty, they remain to be the property of the owner-defendant.
  • A look into the criminal process, and where the issue lives across the timeline as it relates to caring for the seized animals and the financial toll it places upon the entity providing the caring.
  • Options utilized to resolve the question of who maintains property interest in the animal, who bears the cost of caring for them, and how to provide the animals with the best living conditions
  • What pre-conviction forfeiture is: The states where this is available, its civil nature, the legal process involved, and the potential results.
  • Samples of pre-conviction forfeiture statutes in different states and the various directions these have taken in defining the basis and outcomes of the process, and the role of the owner-defendant.
  • Bond or forfeiture statutes as legal mechanisms to ensure that the owner-defendant covers the cost of care of seized animals or relinquishes ownership of the animals.
  • The typical concerns raised relating to pre-conviction forfeiture and how the primary purpose and the civil and non-punitive nature of the process debunk these.
  • The importance of conducting pre-conviction forfeiture hearings in a timely fashion.
  • Other challenges in a pre-conviction forfeiture due to knowledge gaps within the courts, specifics in the number of animals, and actually recouping the costs of caring for the animals.
  • The possible post-conviction options in terms of property interest in the animals which may be incorporated in the plea deal, sentencing, or probation conditions.
  • Considerations that should be central to build better pre-conviction forfeiture statutes that stress the sentience of animals, the civil nature of the process, and how this can mitigate costs shouldered by the government.

Questions from the webinar attendees were about:

  • Why bond or forfeiture statutes are seen as the gold standard.
  • The property status of animals that makes it challenging to immediately get custody of the animals.
  • Why the option of having the animal go to a different home isn’t always considered.
  • Scope and limits of creating a local ordinance equivalent of forfeiture statutes.
  • Handling cases where the defendant doesn’t have the ability to pay.
  • Why donations to the entity caring for the seized animals shouldn’t impact the bond.
Webinars in this Series with the ALDF include:

 

Or click here to view and register for other upcoming NACA  webinars on the JCH Platform.

 

Resources and Handouts

 

Audience Comments

  • “Really informative and interesting! Thanks!” — Jen
  • “Great presentation.” — Tangela
  • “The speaker was giving advice on how to streamline things based on past findings as a whole.” — Tyler
  • “How the use of a Cost of Care petition in PA compares to some other places and this brought up some things to consider when trying to use Cost of Care as effectively as possible. Thank you!” — Valerie
  • “The presenter was very knowledgeable.” — DETECTIVE

 

 

** This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care and Control Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Current NACA Members who attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo.
Additional Resources
15 days ago
After the Webinar: When the Evidence Needs a Home. Q&A with David Rosengard
Webinar presenter David Rosengard answered a number of your questions after his presentation When th […]
1 year ago
Animals as Victims: Charging and the Law
Cases on animal cruelty or neglect can be difficult to investigate or prosecute. Lack of knowledge a […]
1 year ago
Drowning in Dogs, Cats, Horses…
Animal hoarding cases are tedious – just the sheer number of animals in such cases and the logisti […]
1 year ago
Pre-Conviction Forfeiture of Seized Animals: Considerations for Justice Professionals
One of the qualities that make animal cruelty and fighting cases unique and also complicated are the […]
2 years ago
Advanced Techniques for Dog Fighting Prosecutions
For some courts, animal cruelty cases are not given as much time or attention, a complete injustice […]
X