Our justice system allows for a lot of great things. It can ensure that a crooked CEO gets his comeuppance. It can ensure that everyone (mostly) gets the same treatment when charged with a crime.
It also permits morons to sue cats. That's less inspiring.
Sometimes journalists who originally reported some of the stories we discuss unintentionally write funnier descriptions then we could ever hope to write. This is particularly true when it comes to an archived New York Times story from November 29, 1877, regarding an altercation between a woman named Mary, a monkey named Jimmy and their ensuing court case.
Bottle-Alley, a place the New York Times described as an area where "personal misunderstandings" between "Italian noblemen" are "settled" with "their favorite weapon, the stiletto," was home to a street minstrel named Cassio Dillio, an organ grinder with a "large specimen of the monkey tribe" named Jimmy by his side. One day, as Cassio grinded his crank and Jimmy danced a jig, a "Robust daughter of the Emerald isle," Mary Shea, decided to give little Jimmy a piece of candy as a token of appreciation. Once Jimmy began to chow-down on some sweet nectar, Mary tried to have a little fun with him by snatching the candy from Jimmy's mouth. Jimmy "thereupon assumed a decidedly aggressive attitude" and bit Mary's finger. Cassio and Jimmy were arrested and to court the case went.
Upon hearing the case the judge stated, "If Mr. Darwin were prosecutor in this case, he might succeed in convincing me that the statues authorize the holding of criminal monkeys, but I do not think I can legally commit him." Miss Shea protested, but to no avail. Jimmy removed his velvet hat, climbed atop the judge's desk and attempted to shake his hand. And, although we couldn't find an official document to back this up, it is reported that the official police blotter for the case read: "Name: Jimmy Dillio; Occupation: Monkey; Disposition: Discharged."
If history has taught us anything it's that there is a reason for that whole separation of church and state thing. If you give the church too much power of attorney they can go ape shit and sue bed posts for toe stubbings or--somehow more realistically--leeches for infesting a Swiss pond.
In 1451, some leeches were in a pond near Lausanne, Switzerland. Some guy thought there were too many leeches in this pond. The local Bishop took the pond leeches to court on the count of there being too many leeches in the pond. No, this is not a list about the five most awesome things you can do after massive cerebral hemorrhaging.
When it comes to most Ecclesiastical court cases against animals (and there are quite a few) it isn't usually customary for the offending animals to be present for the silly proceedings. Yet, the Bishop was instructed to bring the slimy creatures in to the local magistracy so that they can hear the notice they were being served.
"Will the defendant, uh... stop doing that?"
The leeches were gathered in a pile before the court and were told they had three days to leave the area. We can only hope that after said ruling was announced, the leeches simply slithered stupidly in place in fierce defiance of the law like a bunch of invertebrate James Deans, effectively enraging the court. In truth, the leeches did not respond, nor comply with the court's demand because leeches, from any region of the world, always and only speak leech. We're not even sure if they have ears.
"You're tearing me apart!"
The initial threat in the case of God v. Leeches, for some reason, didn't work. The court responded in kind by taking another course of logical legal action: they performed an exorcism on the leeches. Apparently, this worked. Granted, the leeches didn't pack their shit and proclaim "Fuck Switzerland!" as much as they just kind of died, or, as we're sure the Ecclesiastical court probably likes to remember it, "exorcised until complete and utter fucking annihilation."
While some embrace bestiality enough to splatter it across a seemingly endless array of hardcore porn sites, others, like 1700s New England Puritan minister Cotton Mather, took a far more rational stance as he stood atop a metaphorical mountain and boldly declared, "THAT SHIT IS FUCKING GROSS!!"
Mather: Hard on sin, harder on animals. In a completely nonsexual way.
It was in a 1662 New Haven, Connecticut that Mather came across one Mr. Potter. Potter was a frisky 60-year-old whose wife's vagina was not feral enough for his tastes seeing as he had been sodomizing animals since the tender age of 10. This, of course, is why video games are a good thing to have around your kids.
Guess who never misses an opportunity to use this pic? Fucking Cracked, that's who.
Potter's wife was in no way oblivious to Potter's buggery, as Mather accounts, "His wife had seen him confound himself with a bitch ten years before; and then he excused his filthiness as well as he could unto her, but conjured her to keep it secret." Mather continues his account with what we think is one of the greatest sentences ever written: "He afterward hanged that bitch himself and then returned unto his former villainies, until at last his son saw him hideously conversing with a sow." The hung bitch in question is the animal, not his wife.
Once word of Potter's animal sexing got around, he and his bestial sex buddies were picked up by the authorities. There is no account of the legal proceedings that took place, so we'll just assume the court case began and ended like this: "Mr. Potter, you are being charged with the heinous anal defilement of a formally reputable lot of stock. We, the court, find you guilty on the grounds of I just vomited in my mouth a little. Court is adjourned."
For his many sexual escapades, Potter was sent to the gallows and, in a rather horrible twist on the idea of victimizing the victim, so were his animal booty calls.
Did you know that Americans aren't the only ones into bestiality? Apparently, the French do it too. Jacques Ferron was one such Frenchmen as he was caught giving a she-ass (or as Cotton Mather may have put it, a "bitch-ass") the business end of his penis in Vanvres, France, in 1750. Once the due process of law kicked in to high-gear he was found guilty of donkey-banging and was sentenced to hang.
If, like us, you are desensitized to life's more debauched moments then this story probably isn't very captivating to you. But, here's the twist.
French animal law stated that when a human and a non-human creature copulate, both must be hung by the neck until dead--regardless of the fact that the animal was just standing there practically begging to be plowed. But the people of Vanvres found this law appalling and banded together to do something about it. All of the citizens, including a local priest, collectively signed a petition on behalf of the bitch-ass stating that they had known the "she-ass for four years, and that she had always shown herself to be virtuous and well-behaved both at home and abroad and had never given occasion of scandal to anyone" therefore, "they are willing to bear witness that she is in word and deed and in all habits of life a most honest creature." As a result, the donkey was acquitted of all charges.
Now, if that isn't forward thinking, we don't know what is. Granted, Ferron was still hung, but forward thinking none-the-less. There is hope for us after all.