MR. CORLETTA OBTAINS RARE ACD IN ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE IN RURAL COUNTY
Animal cruelty cases, usually involving dogs, are treated the same way as human assault cases in rural counties. Defendants are often vilified and PETA gets involved. This makes the disposition Mr. Corletta obtained even more remarkable in People v. B.J. (Town Ct., 9/20).
In a rural county known for tough prosecution of animal cruelty cases, often with involvement from PETA and the community, Mr. Corletta obtained a remarkable disposition, a Conditional Dismissal.
Here, the dog was found in poor condition in a house that was subsequently condemned and torn down for being filthy. However, there was insufficient proof the dog had not been properly fed or nourished, and there were several other animals in the house. After the dog was taken by the Humane Society, it was quickly restored to good health. It was simply living in filthy conditions. This did not rise to the level of Animal Cruelty under the applicable statute.
The dog was essentially cleaned up by the Humane Society and adopted out. Mr. Corletta, analyzing the facts, and parlaying the insufficiency of the proof with the fact the dog was easily restored to good health, made a Motion to Dismiss. Rather than oppose the motion and engage in lengthy litigation, the District Attorney agreed to an ACD, agreeing to a dismissal of the case if Mr. Corletta’s client, who had no prior criminal record, was not involved in any further problems over a 6-month period. The record was sealed, and the client suffered no disability.
This is a remarkable disposition in a county where people often go to jail for these charges. The case is a good example of advocacy, notwithstanding what one’s personal views might be about a matter. The practice of law is about dispassionately analyzing the facts and law and doing the best possible job for the client.