Animal Law Review

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In May of 2016, the Connecticut Legislature passed Public Law 16-30, informally called Desmond’s Law. This law allows courts to appoint supervised law students or volunteer lawyers to advocate for the interests of justice in animal cruelty cases. Desmond’s Law institutes a novel approach to animal cruelty cases—advocates support the prosecution and sentencing of individuals charged with animal cruelty offenses and promote enforcement of historically under-utilized anti-cruelty laws. Based upon the author’s personal experience conceiving and implementing Desmond’s Law, this Article aims to aid legislators, judges, and advocates in creating legislation modeled on Connecticut’s Desmond’s Law. This Article also aims to support the implementation of legislation modeled on Desmond’s Law by providing guidance for the creation of animal advocacy programs within law schools. This Article is the first of two articles about Desmond’s Law. A second article will evaluate its successes and limitations. The second article will also present data analyzing use of the law, impact of the law on outcomes in cruelty cases, and significance of the law on broader criminal justice issues.

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