Doggie Witness Support Person?

I don’t know how I came across it, but this website has some reallly interesting articles. For example, this article posted the other day raised an idea I never considered. What if an alleged victim was allowed to have a doggie, instead of a person, as her witness support “person”? Apparently it happened in the case referenced in the article.

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Jane Doe would make a really good doggie support person.

California’s Penal Code section (868.5) that authorizes a witness support person specifically says the witness may have up to two “persons” as support. Does “persons” include doggies? Doubtful. That said, if a judge allowed it with no statutory authority does a defendant have any legal ground to stand on to oppose it? I’m no expert, but my guess is that as a defendant accused of a terrible crime, I would be worried that having the alleged victim testify with a cute doggie next to her might elicit more sympathy and emotion from the jury than if a human being was next to her. Just a thought.

Published by Jenny Brandt

About Me: sociology, african american studies, chicano/a studies, critical race studies, and criminal law scholar. public school kid from kindergarten-J.D. Former public defender. I am a post-conviction guru. Appeals. Sentencing. Withdraw Pleas. Habeas. Published author in the Criminal Law Bulletin and California Defender. "I do it for the joy it brings, because I'm a joyful girl, because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world." Why I started JJC: My PD buddy suggested it. What and who JJC is inspired by: public defenders I have worked for, with, and next to. my clients who have battled things no one should and are still here. innocence and guilt and everything in between. My coworkers, who fight just as hard as the PDs I love, for many of the same reasons. My husband who was once voted "most Christ like" (every Jewish girl's dream). My Corgi who loves everyone. The constitution. Tabloids. My mom, for giving me a voice. My dad, for teaching me what to say. My brother, for teaching me how to say it.

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