Friday, March 27, 2009

Next Up: Texas and Anmal Welfare Laws

I saved Texas for last. I think going through a few states and seeing the code and seeing how the states apply the code gives you a good overview of how states treat animal neglect and abuse cases. Texas should be up this weekend.


This is my rants and ramblings about issues I see in Animal Law. You should no more use this blog as legal advice then you should expect Alan Shore to come to court and save your ass in one hour or less. Just because a lawyer says it does not make it set in stone. It takes 2 lawyers, a judge, a set of facts and a whole lot of words to decide any case. I tend to not post a lot of actual case law because it will make your brain bleed. Its already all out there and most of it online. What you read here--and any time you DO NOT HIRE ME AND PAY and create an attorney client relationship, is just what I think on that day about that subject and what I may argue for my client to kick your clients ass.

THE CODE is only half the story in any legal issue. The CASE LAW, as discussed way back in the first few posts, is just as important as the Code. The code is applied to people and facts with lots of discretion and flexibility. That is intentional. Code law and case law must be taken together to form a whole picture for any predictive value on how any particular case gets handled. Because laws are subject to interpretation and sometimes do not get changed for years after the courts have moved on, you can't take the code as being a complete set of instructions any more then you can take a courts ruling with no basis in a code of laws to go unchallenged. I have half a ton of case law books that are made up of appeals because this is not science, its an art form.

Once you have code and case law understood, then you begin to see how it applies to the facts in your case. Its is the job of an attorney to make arguments based on the code and the case law that will favor her client. Its the job of the opposing counsel to make opposite arguments in favor of his client. Then a judge and or jury decides who is more convincing. Judges also much spend a lot of time trying to decide which lawyer is making a better argument about what the code says and what judges that came before him did. Most of this happens in papers exchanged before anyone steps into a courtroom. Same code, same case law, but years of arguments to decide the same set of facts.

That is what we are taught in law school--not how to fill out the paper work, but to be able to see the same words and make then say our client is right and the other guy is wrong. In recent years, like the last 2, there has been a move to teach law students other skills too like knowing 1/100th of what a paralegal does about filling out forms, but making the winning argument is what we do. Or at least try to.

If law were just a matter of plugging in the Code to a case we would have no need for our legal system. A computer could do that. That is not how the game is played. But in all cases, the first place to look should be the Code. Not the last and only place, but the first. Then let the games begin.

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