Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Can Learn A Lot From Comics

Sometimes even I'm surprised at what turns out to be well-grounded. I was reading Atom #10 (Dec 1963-Jan 1964). The second story in that issue is called The Mysterious Swan-Maiden, in which Jean Loring is required to act as defense counsel for a swan.

Now looking at it, I thought that citation looked ridiculous, but when I typed it into Google (and Google corrected a minor error by asking if I wanted "fitzh abr barre pl 290"), I was taken to this page from a book on Privacy and the Constitution, where indeed the topic of animals being guilty of crimes is discussed:

The reader will see in this passage, as has been remarked already of the Roman law, that a distinction is taken between things which are capable of guilt and those which are not--between living and dead things; but he will also see that no difficulty was felt in treating animals as guilty.

Gardner Fox (who wrote the story) obviously knew his legal precedents! I should add that this discussion comes in a section on liability (i.e., torts), and that animals can not really be brought to criminal trial; that's a little bit of literary license.

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