Wednesday, June 07, 2017

New York Appeals Court Dismisses Suit Opposing Kaporos Ritual

In a 3-2 decision, a New York state appellate court has dismissed a mandamus action seeking to require the New York Police Department and the New York City Health Department to enforce various Health Code, animal cruelty and other laws to stop the Orthodox Jewish ritual of kaporos.  The pre-Yom Kippur ritual involves using live chickens (which are later slaughtered) in an atonement ceremony.  In Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos v New York City Police Department, (App. Div. June 6, 2017), the majority held that mandamus is available only to enforce a non-discretionary duty on the part of government officials.  Here the laws that plaintiffs seek to require defendants to enforce involve judgment and discretion of law enforcement officials.  Justice Gesmer (joined by Presiding Justice Andrias) dissented.