Animal Advocates File Brief in Federal Appeal of Controversial “Crush” Video Case

Posted on August 29, 2013

Animal Legal Defense Fund Argues for Prosecution of Houston Puppy and Kitten Torturers

For immediate release:

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

nicole-richards-crush-article-imageHOUSTON — Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), along with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a landmark federal case against a couple accused of making animal torture videos for viewers’ sexual arousal—also known as “crush” films. Last August, defendants Ashley and Brent Wayne Justice were arrested in Houston and charged with violating the “Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010” (“the Act”) by producing and selling obscene videos of Richards torturing dogs, cats, and other animals. On April 27, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Sim Lake, in the Southern District of Texas, ruled that the conduct in the videos was not obscene and the Act infringed upon the First Amendment rights of the defendants. Last Friday, federal prosecutors filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit. ALDF’s amicus brief supports this appeal, arguing the Act is limited in scope to obscene videos of animal torture for the sexual gratification of viewers. The brief also argues that obscene animal torture does not warrant First Amendment protection under the definition of obscenity articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to ALDF, these custom-ordered videos are intended for the sexual pleasure of viewers and constitute “obscene” criminal animal cruelty. In one such video, a provocatively dressed Richards strangles and steps on a screaming cat. Richards inserts a dagger into the cat’s anus, rips his skin off, chops off his paws with a cleaver, pulls out internal organs, urinates and spits on the animal, articulates sexual slurs, and then chops his head off.

“Animals are horrifically victimized in these videos for the sexual gratification of paying customers,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “The Constitution does not protect the vile industry of animal abusers who profit from the obscene suffering of sentient beings.”

Copies of the amicus brief are available upon request.

39 thoughts on “Animal Advocates File Brief in Federal Appeal of Controversial “Crush” Video Case

  1. Karla says:

    Send me the petition. I want to sign it to put them all in jail for doin such things. I can’t read the story it would tear my heart out. Come on what is wrong with PEOPLE! Just because they are animals they still feel!

  2. Lisa Sarinelli says:

    THANK YOU, ALDF, for speaking for those creatures who have no voice! I applaud the attorneys who choose to work for your organization and support the work you do.

  3. marisol mcdonald says:

    this is too much these sick people needs to go to jail

  4. Clare says:

    This is despicable! Absolutely horrifying!! People like this deserve to rot for the rest of their pathetic lives! On another note, it is inspiring to read what ALDF is doing to combat atrocities such as this. I would very much enjoy reading the brief =]

  5. suzy pearson says:

    This pervert needs to be punished harshley, NOW, not later before more animals lose their lives to this scumbag of a human, WHY do these people do this????? For fun, to get attention, I wish we could do this to them, I have no respect for these low lifes. This is WHY we are demanding stricter, tougher laws for abusers of animals. Outrageous how many of these get away with murder, next will be humans

  6. Noramary Robertson says:

    As an animal rights activist and therapist I believe the individual(s) producing, distributing and viewing these heinous acts of the sexual torture and murder of helpless animals, should be prosecuted and serve severe prison sentences, in conjunction with court ordered therapy!
    This is equally as criminal as human (snuff pornography)films and should carry the same judicial sentencing penalties!

  7. George Perry says:

    These people are sick ass barbarians. I hope they are charged with murder and get twenty years in jail. God will judge these horrible people.

  8. Ren says:

    What can we do about it, anything? I just left the judge a voicemail. This has to be grounds for him to loose his position.

  9. Jennifer Roth says:

    These are barbarians with no regard for life. The individulas who would purchase this trash are just as bad. This couple should be locked away forever. Society has no use for them.

  10. Jessica says:

    These barbarians should get the same treatment. Stick a knife up their rectum and hear them scream. In my book they are not human and they obviously don’t feel so what will therapy do? If they want to act inhumane they should be treated with more severe cruel and unusual punishment.

  11. Fighting alongside many friends against this heinous animal torture for years has opened my eyes to how truly depraved a human soul can become.
    There is nothing more horrible than what you will find in these vicious animal murders.
    These evil animal crushers have also threatened that they will use babies in the future.
    I feel no doubt that they already do in underground films.
    Animal predators do not continue to find satisfaction in killing animals. They do move on to humans.
    They all need stopped and now. No judge should ever rule in favor of such a sinful and criminal act.

  12. Marie Trout says:

    I am so sick I don’t know what to say. Stop this immediately. Please let us know what to do!!

  13. dori butterick says:

    if we continue to except this sick behavior we are know different I choose to protect the animal not this sick low life society I will continue to fight, animals cant speak but guess what I can and you are the lowest of lowest creations’ on earth, we will continue to enforce laws to stop you and guess what your karma will be a bad one

  14. Jean-Marie Jones says:


  15. Therese Burchianti says:

    Thank you ALDF for continuing to prosecute!
    It is absolutely unbearable to hear about these atrocities! Please continue to set precedent, and maybe we will see some justice! Animals must be protected…please People, do NOT ever, give away animals Free to Good Homes! This is what can end up happening to them.

  16. Nina C. says:

    This kind of monstrosity leaves me speechless and turned my stomach upside down. There are no words for this, however we need to use our voices to stop these kinds of inbred degenerates from ever feeling like they can do anything like that again! No one should ever believe they can get away with making, buying or promoting videos or pictures of the sort.

  17. Rob Smith says:

    My one consolation is that within 50 years we will have run out of cheap oil. Not only will we not have anymore cheap energy, we won’t even be able to manufacture tires or anything else made out of petroleum. So no plastic “cat suits”, no cheap video-recorders, no more plastic coated fibre-optic and network cables to bring you crush videos into your home.

    Humanity will be dragged back into the Iron age. Hasten the day!

  18. Sharing everywhere, ADLF Thank you so much for your animal loving hearts!!

    1. oops, ALDF, apology offered. I am just this excited!!

  19. Irish Cornaire says:

    Thankye ALDF,those fighting to get these videos banned globally are fighting those that still upload and sell these horrific videos,keep up the good fight!

    1. Hey SisterFriend, Irish! Good to see you here, as I am honored to have worked with you all these years against animal crush. It was YOUR direction that led me. Never give up this fine fight!

  20. Irish Cornaire says:

    Never will stop Sheila,aye ye and I worked our arses off for,as far as I’m concerned even tho the founder of SC and I no longer fight this together I will always in my heart will be the ORIGINAL co-founder to SC :O)

  21. maureen smith says:

    I think it is disgusting that any so called human being could do this to start with.They need to be charged and rot in jail for the rest of their life but the people buying these videos should be sent to jail as well let all the sickos rot in jail together.I praise the aldf for fighting for this give the animals a voice.There is far too much cruelty going on in this wicked world today and to me it is all senseless, animals feel pain as much as we do how can they stand the screaming for 1. These poor animals look on us humans for love,you treat an animal right and you get so much love from them.With a lot of the things i see on here it makes me cry to see it but i have to see it to believe it.I sign all the petitions in the hope that it will do some good.Since joining facebook i have stopped eating meat because of the dispicable way a lot of animals are treated.

    1. ALDF says:

      Thanks for taking the first step toward ending animal suffering!

  22. Barbara DelGiudice says:

    I think they should be charged with murder for doing such things. Animals feel just like human being and are loving and intelligent. But unfortunately the law won’t do that. If we can get them punished at all, it will be good. Thank you ALDF for helping!!!

  23. Barbara DelGiudice says:

    These acts are horrifying. And these people may someday move up to doing this to people!!!

  24. Julie Landmichael says:

    this is most idiotic,iname,backward barbarians on the planet,,i can,t wait until you selfish cretins are eluminated for good, i propose that:y: all are hunted to extinction,or send you to syria,! you,ugly cowerds you need a mask Karma is going to get you why dont you try iton a person, on will be able to defend herself, you are nothing but rubbish!

  25. otis henry says:

    … thanks to all who have (aldf & our other friends)focused on this “newest” atrocity. i had wondered & thought as has been said – the link is self centered sexual (un)satisfaction. there are many perversions in this world & this is one of the worst ! i find it abhorant th@ a judge would see this as allowable. depravity must not prevail. to know & act rightly is the one law to abide by.

  26. Carol Wells says:

    Ashley & Brent Wayne Justice give new meaning to Darwin’s theory of evolution. This is not a sex video, but a psycho video. These two sub-humans need psychiatric help and need to be locked away. Karma will be waiting for them. What you give out into the universe alway comes back to you.

  27. Tia says:

    On what grounds was this “not obscene”? Please explain this part!
    Then, take away every possible liberty of these people; put them away forever and beyond. I am happy to pay the taxes.

  28. Johnny Glass says:

    These videos should be banned globally. The makers and purchasers should be jailed. Those people hurt our feelings by killing and torturing helpless animals to get profit from sick and violent perverts. That has nothing to do with the right for “free speech”, for it is a propaganda of violence. The judge must be fired. The crush videos are illegal, so the law should be enforced, not evaded!

  29. Suzanne says:

    These videos should not only be banned but the participants should be severely punished. I have nothing but total disgust for the “sicko” judge who made this decision. One thing for sure not only the people who make this evil stuff but people who buy the fifth and the judge who just for all intents and purposes condoned it won’t get off so easy when they go before God. Do they not know he sees all this as well as we who abhor it???

  30. Chris Masseo says:


    Take a look at the background on this US District Court Judge Sim Lake who threw out the case on these animal killers. This judge is just as guilty as these low-life humans. He protects the animal killers freedom of speech while ordering the Bible removed from a display on the grounds of the Harris County Civil Courthouse! That is only the beginning.

    In 2006, Judge Sim Lake sentenced Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling to the minimum possible sentence under federal guidelines, 24 years, with significantly less time actually expected to be served by Skilling. Judge Lake imposed this rather lenient sentence despite federal laws that would have allowed for significantly longer sentences to act as a deterrent for other white collar criminals.

    Here you have a Judge that lets the criminal in the Enron case that destroyed thousands of people’s lives off with a lenient sentence and now let’s animal killers get away with murder atrocities on animals so you have a pattern with this Judge Sim Lake. Why does he get re-elected?

    This Judge is an outrageous example of the “liberal decay” of this country. If our own government is surprised at his lenient rulings and organizations like Humane Society of the US, PETA, ALDF are shocked by his ruling to let these atrocities take place unpunished, what does that tell you about the mind of Judge Lake? He is as guilty as the perpetrators. Thankfully, we have prosecutors and the ALDF to appeal but it should never have had to get to that level. See this link on this judge and become informed about the people who are in your counties and states, check out their histories so you can make informed voting decisions!

    1. AmandaM says:

      Chris Masseo, you are sadly mistaken. You cry out about ‘liberal decay’ of our country. WTF? You are also pathetically mis-informed. A ruling on whether the Bible shall be displayed in a government building has NOTHING to do with animal cruelty. Btw, our founding fathers specifically wrote the concept of ‘separation of church and state’ into the guiding principles of the democracy of the United States of America. That was because escape from religious persecution prompted these men to form a new union here in North America, which would be free of the proscribed adherence to specific religious sects as was the case in Europe. Sim Lake’s decision on Enron criminals doesnt convince anyone he is a liberal. Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skillings were big Conservatives that ripped off Enron employees and stakeholders and laughed all the way to the bank. If anything, I would question whether Judge Sim Lake was in their pockets. Once again, neither of those rulings has anything remotely to do with animal cruelty, it just shows how you are trolling and looking for a place to dribble your T-Party bullcr@p.

  31. Heidi Cox says:

    I donate monthly to ALDF to help put these disgusting people behind bars if not forever than at least until they are too old to ever do this crap again. Sick, sick people!

  32. How can the torture of innocent dogs and cats cannot be cruel. These people should be punished to the extent of the law. I know the cruelty laws are different in Texas then in New York. Animal cruelty is a felony and should be punished for what this couple did to these animals.

  33. AmandaM says:

    Judge Sim Lake should be disbarred on the basis of incredible stupidity. So animal torture for the purpose of sexual gratification is ok? Then those kinds of videos involving children are a heartbeat away also. They were recharged after Sim Lake first let them walk, people in Texas dont like this better than anyone anywhere else. Prosecute these cretins. They need to be off the streets.

  34. Alison Bush says:

    I find it hard to understand how any legal system on learning of such acts of cruelty to a living creature finds actst acceptable within statutory regulations for country/ state. The cruelty inflicted on animals is aclearly planned intentional and undertaken solely for financial gain and sexual gratification of selected humans. The death of animal has to be seen as unnecessary brutal immoral murderous act and should be prosecution.

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