In the fifth and final article of this five-part series, I discuss the current state of animal cruelty laws in the state of Minnesota and how these laws could be improved to provide a clearer standard for the public. To learn about the history of animal cruelty laws and its evolution, click here to start from the beginning of the series.
The Gerard decision cemented the court’s prior opinions by holding in a published opinion that justification is a fact question within the providence of the jury. However, because all of the court’s prior decisions on justification have been unpublished, the court should have gone further and clarified the parameters of the justification standard in its decision. The adoption of a clear standard in published decision is necessary because it would have precedential value, and judges across Minnesota would be able to use a uniform standard to instruct jurors on how to apply justification to the facts of a case.