SHOULD DOGS BE ALLOWED ON WITNESS STAND?
Over defense attorney’s objection, Judge Maryanne Gilliard allowed the dog above, to also take the stand with the victim at the courthouse (720 9th St Sacto CA)
Now knowing that nearly 75% of the population has some affinity for dogs, it would seem that having the dog up on the stand would likely make the jury feel emotionally for the victim no matter what was said during the trial. Witnesses have to be competent to testify, so even if the witness is developmentally disabled, that is apparently sufficient to testify against the alleged culprit. As to what extent, who knows since we were not there at the trial.
Nonetheless, could we claim that a baby, or a child, or a favorite friend should be allowed to give comfort to a testifying witness? and that such person get to be on the witness stand to give comfort to someone who was afraid to testify? At what point does the line get drawn that therapy dogs get to be in full view of the jury, because it can give comfort? We aren’t saying it is wrong completely, but we think the dog should not be in view of the jury. In other cases (out of state), the dogs can be there, but must be out of the view of the jury.
If you have ever seen Judge Gilliard in court, then you probably aren’t surprised that she allowed the dog, we assume it was in full view of the jury since the article does not say the dog was hidden.