Davis: The Rule Of Fear Trumps Rule Of Law
The Prison Pimps

Overcriminalization Redux -- Meow

Lewis has been sentenced, in a manner of speaking, to home confinement. For two years, he is not to leave his home, unless he is in a cage. If he meets those conditions, charges of reckless endangerment against Ruth Cisero will be dropped.

Lewis is a cat. He is a surly cat. From time to time he has pounced on unsuspecting pedestrians, including an Avon salesperson, who, of course, sued Lewis' owner, and was paid money for her torubles.Purrfect Madness

How did the case of a wayward cat find its way into the Connecticut criminal courts?

Ms. Cisero was charged under Section 53a-64 of the Connecticut General Statutes, reckless endangerment in the second degree, a Class B misdemeanor. The statute reads in pertinent part as follows: "A person is guilty of reckless endangerment in the second degree when he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a risk of physical injury to another person."

In this case the conduct was apparently owning a cat with dangerous propensities and permitting the cat to range free out of doors. There do not appear to be any reported cases in Connecticut of a pet owner being prosecuted under this statute.

The sentencing judge, Patrick Carroll, is a stern, no nonsense jurist, known statewide for clearing his docket and not permitting cases to linger. In this case, he granted the cat owner's application for a program called accelerated rehabilitation. If she keeps her cat under control and performs 50 hours of community service the case will de dismissed, and she will be able to report truthfully that she has never even been arrested.

Apparently, folks turned up in droves at the Bridgeport courthouse to watch the proceedings. The New York Times even saw fit to run a story, and photo of the defendant, but not her ward, in today's paper. Forget rape, murder and robbery -- it is feline rights that move people.

Let me see if I get this right: It is now potentially a crime in Connecticut to let your cat out of the house?