Agenda 2016

May 21, 2016

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles


Animal Cruelty Prosecution: Pitfalls and Progress

Registration and Breakfast
7:30 – 8:45

Introduction and Welcome
8:45 – 9:00
Stephen Wells, Executive Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Prosecuting Animal Cruelty Cases 101
9:00 – 10:30
Debbie Knaan, Deputy District Attorney and Animal Cruelty Case Coordinator, LA County
Mark Kumpf, Director, Montgomery County Animal Resources Center, Dayton, OH
Lora Dunn, Interim Director and Staff Attorney, Criminal Justice Program, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Moderator: Lindsay Larris, Los Angeles Regional Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund

The nuts and bolts of it all. This panel will address the common issues investigators and prosecutors confront with animal cruelty cases. From the basics of managing the crime scene to issues at sentencing and on appeal, the speakers will walk us through a case and highlight how to avoid the more common pitfalls that can derail an animal abuse case.

10:30 – 10:45

Veterinary Forensics
10:45 – 11:45
Farshid Shahriar, DVM, MVSc, PhD, President, Animal Diagnostic Laboratory Veterinary Pathology Services and Consulting, Tustin, CA
Moderator: Joyce Tischler, Founder and General Counsel, Animal Legal Defense Fund

The importance of using a forensic veterinarian in any animal abuse case cannot be overstated. Dr. Shahriar will demonstrate how compelling and powerful the findings of a forensic veterinarian can be while illustrating the current capabilities of forensic veterinary medicine.

11:45 – 12:45

Jury Selection in Animal Cruelty Cases
12:45 – 2:45
Rich Matthews, Senior Trial Consultant, Juryology, San Francisco, CA
Moderator: Lora Dunn, Criminal Justice Program Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

One of the most common requests ALDF gets from prosecutors is how to handle jury selection in an animal cruelty case. Working with Mr. Matthews, ALDF sponsored the first actual study of this issue, using 18 mock juries over three days and three different fact patterns, to gather actual data on this issue. You will learn everything about our findings while, at the same time, likely coming to the realization that almost everything we were taught in law school about jury persuasion is wrong.

2:45 – 3:00

Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: Police Shooting Dogs
3:00 – 4:15
Diane Balkin, Contract Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Karen L. Snell, Civil Rights Attorney, San Francisco, CA
Moderator: Kelsey Eberly, Litigation Fellow, Animal Legal Defense Fund

It happens every single day: a police officer uses deadly force to “deal” with a barking dog. If you’ve had the chance to see “Of Dogs and Men” you know how heartbreaking these cases are. Beyond the visceral reaction to the carnage, the question must be asked: What can we do to stop these senseless killings? From § 1983 litigation to legislatively mandated law enforcement training on canine encounters, Attorneys Balkin and Snell will address the scope of the problem and outline the tools to fix it.

4:15 – 4:30

Legislative Options: How to Strengthen California’s Animal Cruelty Laws
4:30 – 5:45
The Honorable Joyce E. Dudley, District Attorney, Santa Barbara County
Kevin Weichbrod, Deputy District Attorney, Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office
Moderator: Jeff Pierce, Litigation Fellow, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Many animal protection attorneys share the view that the real victories will come for animals via the legislature rather than the courtroom. From mandating investigation and arrest at the inception of a case, to elevating animals to victim status at sentencing, there is a lot of fertile ground here. Our two experts will plow that ground in this session with a focus on both the theoretical and the political/practical viability of these concepts.

Closing Remarks

Lindsay Larris, Los Angeles Regional Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund

ALDF Hosted Reception
6:00 – 8:00



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