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State v. Cleve

980 P.2d 23 (1999)

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State v. Cleve

New Mexico Supreme Court

980 P.2d 23 (1999)

Facts

The State of New Mexico (plaintiff) charged Charles Cleve (defendant) with violating the state’s animal-anticruelty statute provided in NMSA 1978, § 30-18-1 (1963). The state alleged that Cleve had violated the statute by using a wire trap to capture a wild dear. Cleve was convicted of animal cruelty and appealed. The court of appeals affirmed Cleve’s conviction on the ground that the anticruelty statute prohibited cruelty to any animal, which included wild game animals. However, the court of appeals’ interpretation that the phrase “any animal” protected all animals was inconsistent with a New Mexico Supreme Court decision, in which the court stated that the statute protected only domestic animals and wild animals in captivity. In its opinion, the court of appeals explained that the New Mexico Supreme Court’s interpretation constituted dicta and was not legally binding. The matter was appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Serna, J.)

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