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Dying cat not enough to bounce DUI conviction

GavelI’ll admit I’m not a cat person, unless said feline is found on the comics pages. I’ll also admit I don’t understand the lengths some people go to for their pets.

Which brings us to Christopher Brooks. He was busted for a DUI in Florida in 2010, going 84 mph and crossing three lanes of traffic to a highway exit ramp.

Brooks admitted at trial he was under the influence when he was stopped but told the jury had a good reason — his friend’s cat was sick and Brooks was the only person able to take the cat to an all-night clinic.

Brooks was found guilty but appealed, arguing he had a legitimate excuse. Last week, a state appeals court in Florida upheld the lower court ruling.

In its opinion, the appellate court didn’t buy the so-called “defense of necessity” when it comes to our four-legged friends:

Although Mr. Brooks’ wish to obtain treatment for the ailing feline is understandable, the elements of the defense and the plain language of the jury instruction compel us to the conclusion that a claim of necessity is not available as a defense to a DUI charge in Florida when the asserted emergency involves the threat of harm to an animal instead of a person.

To add insult to injury, the cat died “during or shortly after the vehicle stop,” according to the opinion.

(Or, if you’re a cat person, maybe that’s the injury.)

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