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December 30, 2008

Should the Delaware DOC consider the Monty Python "it's resting" defense?

DP sketch This local story from Delaware, headlined "Lawsuit begins with end of parrot: Inmates' rights questioned after man not allowed to make call," was just made for blogging. As detailed below, the story has a serious side (even though it also demands spending time watching this classic comedy video):

The death of Freddy the parrot could be debated in federal courts. It also could raise questions about the right of the accused to get "one phone call" after being arrested.

Thomas Goodrich charges in a lawsuit he filed this month that he never got that call, causing his expensive and beloved blue and gold macaw to starve to death.  Goodrich alleges he was held on a misdemeanor warrant in Young Correctional Institution for 12 days, unable to get word out to anyone to help him post bail or get food to his pet parrots....

The lawsuit names Department of Correction Commissioner Carl Danberg and former Young warden Raphael Williams as defendants and asks for $250,000 in punitive damages from each.... Beyond the question of the deceased pet -- and echoes of Monty Python's dead parrot sketch -- legal experts said Goodrich's lawsuit raises a serious issue about the rights of an accused to secure his or her freedom, most commonly through a phone call....

In the suit, Goodrich slams prison officials for lacking compassion and being "irresponsible" when such "animal cruelty was taking place." In addition to damages, Goodrich also asks the court to force the department to "adopt a facility 'Mission Statement' " to treat all inmates fairly and prevent a similar situation in future.

Martin Mersereau, with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said if true, the situation was "absolutely appalling" and "horrific." Mersereau, who handles cruelty cases for PETA, said the group regularly goes after people for such neglect and said that kind of abuse "is a jailable offense" and prison officials should be held accountable.

December 30, 2008 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

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