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Animal Law Podcast #50: Justin Marceau on Animal Law and Criminal Punishment

By Mariann Sullivan — July 24, 2019

On this episode of the Animal Law Podcast, I speak once again with Justin Marceau, author of the controversial new book Beyond Cages: Animal Law and Criminal Punishment. We discuss why he believes there has been an overemphasis on criminal prosecution of animal abuse as a strategy for systemic change and what types of cruelty he believes are, and are not, appropriate for traditional forms of criminal prosecution and punishment. He also discusses the fundamental importance of informing the fight to protect animals with current thinking regarding racism and mass incarceration and how the the punishments we traditionally use for animal cruelty crimes are not only ineffective in addressing institutionalized violence, but potentially are counterproductive in that they can be responsible for causing increased criminal behavior.

Justin Marceau is Professor of Law and the Animal Legal Defense Fund Professor at Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. He also serves as the reporter for the pattern criminal jury instruction committee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and as an inaugural member of the animal welfare committee (PAW) formed by a proclamation of the Governor of Colorado to advise the First Gentleman on strategies for improving the protection of animals in Colorado. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Justice for Animals Award and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar’s Gideon Award.

Marceau’s research focuses on criminal law and constitutional law, particularly as those areas intersect with social change. He specifically writes in the areas of Habeas Corpus, Constitutional Law, and Animal Law. His current research is at the intersection of animal law and criminal law.

His work has appeared in some of the leading academic publications, including the Cambridge University Press, the Yale Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review. He has lectured on his research in the U.S. and in Europe, has been retained as an expert witness in criminal and civil cases, and received grants and awards for his research from a variety of organizations. He has also maintained a law practice while teaching at DU, representing indigent persons, persons sentenced to death, and a wide range of public interest non-profits.


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