Animal Law: Habeas Corpus and Nonhuman Rights – C07

Hot Topics Track
Animal Law Section

Session C: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

About the Program
The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) works to secure fundamental legal rights for nonhuman animals through litigation, advocacy, and education. This program will provide an overview of the NhRP’s ongoing efforts to change the common law status of chimpanzees and elephants from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “legal persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily liberty and bodily integrity.

You Will Learn

  • How common law courts can recognize fundamental rights for nonhuman animals through the writ of habeas corpus
  • Case law updates regarding the NhRP’s common law habeas corpus litigation, including a lawsuit on behalf of three captive elephants in the State of Connecticut

Colette S. Griffin, Howd & Ludorf LLC, Hartford

Attorney Griffin is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. 1983) and Quinnipiac College School of Law (J.D. 1987). Ms. Griffin is a partner with a focus on workers compensation.  She routinely defends corporations and their insurers in the Workers Compensation Commission for the State of Connecticut, arbitration and mediation venues. Her practice areas include workers’ compensation litigation, insurance defense litigation, and Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist.



Jessica Rubin, UConn School of Law, Hartford

Professor Jessica Rubin is the Director of the University of Connecticut School of Law’s Legal Practice Program. She was instrumental in creating Desmond’s Law, which allows Connecticut courts to appoint advocates—law students under supervision—in animal cruelty cases. Professor Rubin actively supervises students and appears in court to advocate for justice in cases of animal cruelty. She is widely regarded as an expert in the field of animal law and is a graduate of Cornell University and the Cornell Law School.



Steven M. Wise, Nonhuman Rights Project

Steven M. Wise is the founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, a civil rights organization working to attain legal rights for nonhuman animals. He has practiced animal law for nearly forty years. Wise has taught “Animal Rights Jurisprudence” at the Harvard, Stanford,  Lewis and Clark, St. Thomas, University of Miami,  Vermont, John Marshall, and the Autonomous University of Barcelona  Law Schools. He has written four books and twenty-two law review articles on aspects of animal rights jurisprudence. Leading academic law journals have cited and/or discussed Wise’s legal theories at length, including the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, NYU Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Wise gave a 2015 TED Talk on the work of the Nonhuman Rights Project and his work and the work of the Nonhuman Rights Project is the subject of the 2016 D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus /HBO documentary, “Unlocking the Cage,” and his work with the NhRP has been repeatedly covered by national and international media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, le Monde, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. Steven M. Wise has a BS in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary and a J.D. from Boston University Law School.


1.0 CLE Credits (CT: 1.0 General; NY:1.0 AOP)