Nonhuman Rights Project Wins Absolute Right To Appeal In Chimpanzee Kiko’s Case
-Hearing scheduled for February 2017 in Manhattan, NY-
The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department has affirmed the Nonhuman Rights Project’s absolute right to appeal from a lower court’s Jan. 29, 2016 refusal to issue a writ of habeas corpus or order to show cause on behalf of captive chimpanzee Kiko.
In a decision issued Nov. 10, 2016, a panel of five Justices granted the NhRP’s motion for reargument of the Court’s denial of its motion for leave to appeal “as of right” under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) 7011. “Upon reargument” the Court granted the NhRP’s motion and “recalled and vacated” its Oct. 25, 2016 decision denying the NhRP’s Motion to Reargue. It also recognized the NhRP’s absolute right to appeal the lower court’s refusal to issue a writ of habeas corpus or order to show cause.
“We never doubted that we had an absolute right to appeal the lower court’s decision and are delighted that, after nearly a year of litigation, the Court has recognized our absolute right to appeal on behalf of Kiko,” said NhRP President Steven M. Wise.
In legal analysis the NhRP presented in its Nov. 1, 2016 Petition for a Writ of Mandamus, it asserted that under CPLR Article 70 the right to appeal the refusal to issue a writ of habeas corpus or order to show cause is absolute and nondiscretionary.
“That New York State allows for an appeal of an adverse habeas corpus decision is one of several reasons we chose to begin our long-term litigation campaign here in New York,” Wise said. “The ancient writ of habeas corpus—historically used by unfree humans—is an extraordinarily powerful means of testing the unlawfulness of an individual’s imprisonment. And that’s exactly what we’re working to do for Kiko.”
The NhRP is now preparing for oral argument, scheduled for the February 2017 Term (the precise date and time will be announced as soon as the Court makes it available).
“The lower court dismissed our appeal because it believed itself bound by the Third Department’s decision that only a being who is able to bear duties and responsibilities could be a legal person for any purpose and that chimpanzees lacked that capacity,” Wise said. “We look forward to pointing out the flaws in the Third Department’s decision in oral argument before the First Department and taking another step towards achieving recognition of Kiko’s legal personhood.”
Case No.; Name: 150149/16 (New York County) “THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC., on behalf of KIKO, Petitioners-Appellant, v. CARMEN PRESTI, individually and as an officer and director of The Primate Sanctuary, Inc., CHRISTIE E. PRESTI, individually and as an officer and director of The Primate Sanctuary, Inc., and THE PRIMATE SANCTUARY, INC., Respondents-Respondents.”