Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning
"I plan to go back to the community (of fellow cat abusers and killers) and work to repair all the damage that has been done."
-- Nico Dauphiné
Dr. Nico Dauphiné strutted out of Superior Court in Washington on December 14th as a free woman and no doubt laughing up her sleeve all the while at the corruption and utter imbecility of the American judicial system. Thanks to the mindless generosity of Judge Truman A. Morrison III, all that her attempted poisoning of a colony of homeless cats in Meridian Hill Park last spring cost her was a measly $100, or the equivalent of a local parking ticket. (See photo of her above grinning like the devil.)
If she is like most cheap-ass, penny-pinching academics, she will squeal from here until she is interred about being forced to part with her precious shekels but other than that she could not have many complaints. After all, under District of Columbia law she could have been fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to serve as much as one-hundred-eighty days in jail.
Even though her fine has been earmarked for the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, it is highly unlikely that the cats' caretakers, who first discovered the rat poison and antifreeze in their feeding dishes, will see so much as a red cent of it. In addition to receiving a one-hundred-eighty-day suspended sentence, Dauphiné was ordered to perform one-hundred-twenty-hours of unspecified community service and placed on probation for a year. During that period she has been ordered to stay away from cats.
Dauphiné, who proclaimed her innocence throughout the proceedings that culminated in her conviction for misdemeanor animal cruelty on October 31st, did not utter either a syllable of contrition or accept any responsibility for her heinous conduct. Rather, she put the time allotted her by Morrison to good use by groveling on the carpet for a new sinecure that will enable her to finance another feline killing spree.
"I plan to go back to the community and work to repair all the damage that has been done," she is quoted as telling the court in the December 14th edition of the Washington Post. (See "Former National Zoo Employee Placed on Probation, Ordered to Stay Away from All Cats for a Year.")
By community she sans doute is referring to that closely-knit gang of inveterate cat-haters and killers known as ornithologists and wildlife biologists. She also only refers to the damage that has been done to the cat killing movement as opposed to the damage that she has done to it.
She additionally told the court that she was "very ashamed" to have disappointed her supporters and colleagues and that she knew that she faced an "enormous task ahead" in regaining their esteem," CNN reported on December 15th. (See "Ex-National Zoo Employee Sentenced in Attempted Feral Cat Poisoning.")
Translated into plain and simple English, Dauphiné is not the least bit ashamed of attempting to poison the cats; au contraire, she is immensely proud of that. What she is embarrassed about is finally getting caught flagrante delicto and losing her job at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and the myriad of opportunities that it presented her to abuse and kill cats.
On that point even the loony Morrison is in agreement with her. "This is a serious offense, more serious than many misdemeanors," he gassed to the Washington Post in the article cited supra. "Her career is now in grave jeopardy and will never be what it was before she was prosecuted and convicted."
By blowing it out both ends like that Morrison was not only attempting to hoodwink the public but to excuse his irresponsible decision to let off Dauphiné scot-free. In fact, he has freely admitted that simply being convicted was punishment enough for her.
Much more importantly, both he and Dauphiné know only too well that her time in the unemployment line is destined to be exceedingly brief in that ornithologists and wildlife biologists comprise a criminal fraternity where cat killers are always welcomed with opened arms. It therefore would not be surprising if she has not already been flooded with job offers from universities and various other cat-hating groups.
After all, seemingly every university in the the country is chock-full of not only feline defamers, but professors who kill, cut up, and use cats as guinea pigs in order to collect data that they in turn employ in order to justify mass slaughters of them. Their specialty, however, lies in brainwashing feeble-minded cretins like Dauphiné into committing the criminal acts that they are too cowardly to commit themselves. (See Cat Defender post of July 18, 2011 entitled "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Killed.")
Back during the 1980's, a conviction on an applicant's curriculum vitae was sufficient in order to secure a position as a vice president at the Wall Street investment bank of Drexel Burnham Lambert and ornithologists and wildlife biologists, being every bit as thick and totally unscrupulous as those inveterate thieves, look after their own in pretty much the same fashion. Only recently, serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson parlayed his atrocities into both fame and fortune. (See Cat Defender post of August 7, 2008 entitled "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank.")
That rosy assessment of Dauphiné's prospects is further buttressed by the many letters that her friends, colleagues, and supporters sent to Morrison arguing in favor of, not leniency, but rather her complete innocence. The Smithsonian, which employed, trained, and protected her right up until her conviction, may even eventually rehire her once the uproar generated by her criminal activities dies down.
It even is conceivable that it, which receives almost a billion dollars annually from the taxpayers, is footing the bill for her defense. If not, there certainly is not any shortage of bird and wildlife advocacy groups who would be more than willing to assume that responsibility.
If Morrison truly were concerned about the state of Dauphiné's finances, the proper thing for him to have done was to open up his silk purse and spot her a couple of hundred grand in order to tide her over this rough patch in her career. If, on the other hand, he was too cheap to have done that, he should have passed the hat for her.
On a much more fundamental level, Morrison's grave concern for the middle-class Dauphiné's financial well-being stands in stark contrast with how jurists treat the poor and working class. Instead of suspended sentences, kind words, and compassion, they are brusquely hustled off to the hoosegow and their families are left to fend for themselves as best they are able.
Once they are returned to society their jobs are long gone and sometimes their abodes and families as well. It is totally inconceivable that any jurist would cry out his peepers for them like Morrison has done for Dauphiné.
Added to that, Dauphiné's crimes are far more egregious than those of the average offender. Besides, she has enjoyed every advantage in life that most of them have been denied.
If Morrison were worth a hill of beans as a judge instead of behaving like the stench of the bench he would reserve his compassion for those offenders who truly are worthy of it instead of squandering it on a hate-filled cat killer. There is a place in sound jurisprudence for compassion and leniency but for one middle-class elite from the federal bureaucracy to bestow it on another as an act of professional courtesy is definitely not it.
Morrison also dishonestly argued that Dauphiné did not belong in jail because she did not have a prior criminal record. Although that is technically true, he surely was well aware that while she was a graduate student at the University of Georgia (UGA) she made quite a name for herself by illegally trapping dozens, if not indeed hundreds, of cats at apartment complexes in Athens and then handing them over to shelters to be killed. Furthermore, since UGA supplied her with the traps that makes it and, by extension, the state of Georgia complicit in her crimes.
She therefore has a long history of killing cats. The only thing that changed when she came north to Washington was her tactics and even that is problematic. For example, Assistant United States Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Chambers told the court that Dauphiné had pressured apartment managers in Washington to ban the feeding of cats on their grounds. It therefore is highly likely that in addition to poisoning cats in Meridian Hill Park she also may have reprised the tactics that she employed so successfully in Athens.
"She attempted to take a life," Chambers' colleague, Clare Pozos, told the court in arguing that Dauphiné should receive counseling as opposed to time in the clink. Morrison also vetoed that suggestion by, once again, arguing that her conviction alone was sufficient.
On that point he, uncustomarily, made the correct decision but for the wrong reason. Specifically, a career criminal such as Dauphiné is beyond any help that the field of psychology can provide. In dealing with low-life scumbags like her society can either lock her up permanently or idiotically turn her loose so that she can continue to kill cats with impunity; there is not any middle ground.
In one of those rare moments where they actually indulged in telling the truth, Pozos and Chambers admitted as much themselves. "Instead, the defendant has advocated for the elimination of feral cat populations through euthanasia," they wrote in court pleadings cited by CNN. "The government is concerned that by attempting to poison cats, the defendant intended to effectuate the message her public works and advocacy were unable to achieve."
The sentencing, which originally had been scheduled for November 21st, was pushed back to December 14 because on November 14th Dauphiné unceremoniously fired her attorneys, William R. "Billy" Martin and Kerry Brainard Verdi, from the high-powered Washington law firm of Dorsett and Whitney. In their stead she has retained Molly Cannon of O'Toole, Rothwell, Wassau and Steinbach.
In court pleadings posted online, Cannon has indicated that she plans to either seek a new trial or to appeal Dauphiné's conviction. So, in the end, Dauphiné may ultimately get to hold on to her beloved $100 and even be allowed to forgo performing the community service ordered by the court.
Despite the absurdity of Dauphine's sentence, the Washington Humane Society (WHS) has been salivating all over itself like the village idiot in the throes of an epileptic fit. "Justice was served today," the organization's Lisa LaFontaine chirruped in a December 14th press release. (See "Nico Dauphiné Sentenced to One-Hundred-Eighty Day Suspended Sentence, One-Hundred-Twenty Hours of Community Service.") "Every animal regardless of breed, age, condition or any other factor, deserves protection from cruelty and abuse."
After the poison was found in the cats' food dishes, the WHS, to its credit, used footage taken from surveillance cameras in Meridian Hill Park and outside Dauphiné's swanky digs on Fifteenth Street in the city's northwest quadrant in order to arrest her and it was that evidence which ultimately led to her conviction. (See photo above of her returning home after poisoning the cats' food.)
In hindsight it now appears clear that the WHS never would have arrested Dauphiné if it had known beforehand that she was a big shot Ph.D. working for the highfalutin Smithsonian. That is attested to by not only LaFontaine's sottise but the WHS's unwillingness to demand that Dauphiné be jailed and banned from ever going near another cat for so long as she continues to breathe and pollute the air all around her.
The WHS's categorical refusal to investigate the Smithsonian's systematic abuse and killing of cats also makes a barefaced liar out of both it and LaFontaine. That is because while she was employed there Dauphiné was fitting cats with surveillance cameras in order to study how they interact with birds.
Such systematic abuse raises a myriad of anti-cruelty issues that the WHS is too craven to touch even with a twenty-foot pole. First of all, where does the Smithsonian get its cats? Secondly, under what conditions are they kept? And, most important of all, what happens to them once the Smithsonian is finished with them? (See Cat Defender posts of November 18, 2011 and July 12, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role" and "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals.")
Given Dauphiné's record in both Athens and Washington, there can be little doubt that she systematically killed every single cat that she got her slimy, blood-soaked tentacles on and that her crimes had the full support of the welfare bums at the Smithsonian. Yet, LaFontaine and the WHS, charged with upholding the anti-cruelty statues, have turned a blind eye to this continuing wholesale slaughter of totally innocent and defenseless cats.
"Without a doubt there is more work to be done to bring the District of Columbia's feral cat population under control, and we will continue that work in conjunction with District of Columbia law in a safe, responsible and humane manner," LaFontaine pontificated in the press release cited supra.
That is big talk to be sure but it has very little correlation with the actual work of the WHS. Not only is it too craven to go after the Smithsonian, but it completely ignores the dastardly deeds committed against cats and other animals every hour of the day by vivisectors at governmental and private research laboratories in and around the nation's capital.
It also stands idly by running off at the mouth while the National Zoo mistreats its inmates with impunity and it will not lift so much as a finger in order to protect circus and farm animals. Worst of all, it operates two notorious killing factories in Washington that systematically exterminate thousands of cats each year. Like PETA, it is so morally warped that it actually considers its mass slaughter of innocent cats to be humane.
Much more importantly, cats and their caretakers in Washington are playing against a stacked deck because the president of the United States appoints all judges and prosecutors, both local and federal, that serve in the District of Columbia. Since the Smithsonian is part of the federal government, the government actually was serving as both defendant and prosecutor in this case.
Under such a perverted arrangement there was not any way that the cats and their caretakers could have received anything remotely resembling a fair hearing. The situation is analogous to a rugby team being allowed to bring its own officiating crew to a match.
If the legal doctrine of standing still carried any weight, such a glaring conflict of interest never would have been permitted. Dauphiné instead would have been tried either in a state court or by a special prosecutor appointed from outside the federal bureaucracy.
Moreover, the litmus test for prosecutors in all animal cruelty cases is that they seek substantial jail time for those accused; otherwise, such efforts are merely for show. In this case, the meager outcome hardly justifies the time and money devoted to apprehending and trying Dauphiné.
Nor does the legal establishment's whitewashing of her crimes contribute anything positive toward curbing similar conduct in the future by either Dauphiné in particular or ornithologists and wildlife biologists in general. If Morrison had so much as a single brain in his gourd he, at the bare minimum, would have given Dauphiné a lifetime ban on coming within so much as a hundred yards of any cat.
Morrison's inexcusable conduct is further compounded by the fact that the United States Government, led by the thoroughly despicable United States Fish and Wildlife Service, commits a myriad of crimes against cats each year and therefore no representative of it can hardly be said to be a disinterested party in cases such as this one.
If the collusion of the WHS, prosecutors, and Morrison to spare Dauphiné any jail time sounds like a familiar refrain from a very old song it is because that is essentially what München prosecutor Beate Miksch and presiding judge Gerhard Simon did back in August in order to set free amateur ornithologist Ernst Bernhard K. after he tortured to death a cat named Rocco with pepper spray and water in December of 2010. (See Cat Defender posts of August 17, 2011, August 8, 2011, and January 19, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Killer," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period.")
Despite the severity of the crime and Ernst K.'s guilty plea, Simon fined him an outrageously paltry €1500, which was to be paid to Tierschutzverein München, and placed him on probation for three years. Like Chambers and Pozos, Miksch did not ask for any jail time.
Another thing that the two cases have in common is the misplaced sympathies and priorities of the judges and prosecutors who tried them. In Ernst K.', case, both Miksch and Simon lavished all of their concern on him because he was old, allegedly ailing, has a sick wife, and had received, as well as distributed, hate materials. Never once did either of them utter so much as a syllable of compassion for either Rocco or his aggrieved owners.
The same perverted morality was the order of the day in Morrison's courtroom as he and prosecutors were too preoccupied with salvaging Dauphiné's precious little career as a cat killer to dispense either a modicum of justice or to protect cats living in Washington and elsewhere.
In both cases, neither the prosecutors nor the judges had any intention of punishing the abusers. Instead, both trials were carefully choreographed charades designed to deceive the public into falsely believing that a semblance of justice had been meted out when instead a green light had been given to ornithologists and wildlife biologists to continue killing cats.
The one difference that distinguishes the cases in that Tierschutzverein München took its campaign to secure justice for Rocco to the streets and right up to the courthouse door; by contrast, WHS sold out to the feds and then ran away and hid.
The conclusion is every bit as unmistakable as it is undeniable. Simply put, judges and prosecutors in Washington and München place zero value on the lives of cats. Moreover, they could care less about the rights and sentiments of their owners and caretakers.
Since neither humane groups, prosecutors, nor judges are willing to protect the lives and rights of cats, that job falls by default to their caretakers. In particular, Dauphiné's activities must be closely monitored from here on by private citizens because it is a foregone conclusion that she will kill again in the near future.
Her lenient sentence is doubly tragic in that not only has another cat-killing ornithologist escaped justice but Morrison has passed up a golden opportunity to engage in a little worthwhile social science research. In particular, since Dauphiné so glories in shanghaiing cats into becoming her personal guinea pigs, Morrison could have repaid her in kind by for once turning the tables on her.
"We'll get a better grade of prisons when we get a better grade of prisoners," is how former governor of Georgia Lester G. Maddox responded to federal criticism about the abominable conditions that prevailed in his state's prisons back during the 1970's. Most critics scoffed at that idea but he possibly could have been on to something.
In particular, it would have been interesting to see if having a Ph.D. incarcerated in one of Washington's hellhole jails led to any measurable improvement in conditions there. Also, since Dauphiné attended school in the Peach State it would be almost as if she were doing the old segregationist a favor by putting one of his theories to the test.
Photos: Cornell (Dauphiné) and CNN (Dauphiné on the prowl).