Statement from Daphne Pattison Silverman, Silverman Law Group
501 North IH-35
Austin, Texas 78702
Attorney representing Stopcrush.org
Thank you to each and every one of you for your love of animals and your dedication to the eradication of their torture. Before this case, I knew nothing of this industry. Having now been engrossed in the horror, I can only imagine what you feel in your heart every day as you keep this in your soul and feel their pain constantly. Because of the direction we took with the amicus brief on behalf of Stopcrush.org, your work was of direct benefit.
Status report – briefs have been filed by the United States, The Humane Society, The Animal Legal Defense Fund jointly with the Prosecuting Attorneys association, and by Stopcrush.org. After reviewing the law and the record closely and from knowing Judge Lake, I believe that Judge Lake was not adequately informed about the nature of the videos in this case and the nature of animal crush videos across the world. In particular, Judge Lake found that these videos were merely violent, did not satisfy a prurient interest and did not qualify as sexual conduct.
The law, the Constitutional basis for the law, and the factual foundation for the law have now been thoroughly presented to the 5th Circuit. The Attorney General assigned a very bright, very articulate Assistant Attorney General in the main office in Washington to write the brief for the United States. This is a clear indicator of the support that Attorney General has for this battle. Usually, cases are briefed by the trial lawyer at this level. This Assistant prepared a thorough analysis for the legal basis for this law found in the Constitution and case precedent interpreting the Constitution.
In support of the United States’ brief, the Humane Society added some arguments on the law while the Animal Legal Defense Fund focused in detail on the legislative history of the law. What remained missing was empirical data which proves the prurient interest of these materials. This is where Stopcrush.org’s work became critical. As soon as I notified your group of the gap and the need for you to fill that gap, data streamed into my computer. Years of time invested by Stopcrush.org into uncovering the videos, the mindset and intent of the depraved humans involved, told the story for these beautiful animals. 1000’s of screen shots were delivered. All of them proving our arguments. We selected about 80 of those screen shots representing the videos, the conversations showing sexual intent, and the profiles showing their origin. We filed a motion to file and seal these documents in support of our arguments. The 5th Circuit is holding their ruling until they review the briefs. This gives the Judges the chance to read the briefs, view the pictures, and determine if they find them helpful in their analysis.
As I was typing the brief, I argued that these videos are sexual conduct because they are used for masturbation and as foreplay. After making this argument, I turned back to the 1000’s of shots to make sure I had selected all of the ones I wanted to use, and a new shot jumped out at me. A series showing a torture and murder immediately followed by a sex act with a man. The circle was closed. The truth was clear. These videos are obscene.
I keep a poem taped in my calendar and in my purse at all times:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
Daphne Pattison Silverman