The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) reached out to Latham & Watkins for support in filing an amicus brief in People v. Jimenez. This case involved a defendant who had been indicted with various offenses, including aggravated cruelty to animals, after striking and severely injuring a small companion dog during an altercation. The defendant moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the grand jury proceeding was defective because the prosecutor failed to instruct the jury on the justification (“choice of evils”) defense — through which an acquittal is sought based on the argument that the crimes committed were necessary to prevent greater harm from occurring.
The amicus brief was referenced multiple times during oral arguments, with the New York Court of Appeals ultimately finding that the justification instruction was unwarranted. The court’s decision helps prevent the improper and unreasonable application of the “choice of evils” defense in animal cruelty cases.
The Latham team included associate Tené Johnson and partner Chris Clark, with support from Tracy De Witt, Megan Dran, Brendan Hickey, and Rachel Kohn.