Thursday, September 11, 2008


Here's some frakking bizarre news out of Paris: a dog has been allowed to appear as a witness in a murder trial. And I thought the United States justice system was messed up at times.

Is it not the right of the accused in France to be able to cross-examine witnesses against you? How do you cross-examine a dog?

The dog apparently barked when confronted with the accused party. Can't a dog be coached to bark and growl as a response to people it doesn't know? How can you determine if the dog was coached or not?

Couldn't you run this bizarre little experiment outside the courtroom, with a vet or a cop or somebody supervising the dog, then put the person on the stand to testify as to the results? And then that person could be cross-examined, where s/he would then have to testify in cross-examination (under penalty of perjury) that the dog was not coached. And also, to be forced to admit that the fact the dog barked doesn't actually mean anything at all!

Apparently, the French judge praised the animal for his "exemplary behaviour and invaluable assistance." Could that possibly be an actual direct quote, as cited in the story? Wouldn't it really have been something more like "whoza good witness?! You are! Yes you are!"



Anonymous said...

Zoiks! you forgot to mention the dog's name is Scooby Doo. "Like, the defense lawyer should have an easy time with this one, Scoob!"

Weren't they working on a dog-translator that would record responses and then recognize tonal pitches in the barking patterns and give things like "I'm hungry" or "let me outside" or um,... "guilty?"

the mole

Brad said...

Witnesses get coached all the time.

Roland Deschain said...

I can see it now.

A riot breaks out in the courtroom after one of the lawyers has a Milk Bone fall out of his suit pocket, prompting accusations of bribing a witness.

The purgery, the arrests...I only hope that Court TV is there to film it. It'd make for a fun few minutes!