Support dogs can help witnesses testifying during trials in MIchigan, court says

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By: Associated Press

(Source: https://goo.gl/7eYsF4 License: https://goo.gl/OOAQfn)

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Dogs that make witnesses more comfortable at trial have received a thumbs-up from the Michigan appeals court.

A southwestern Michigan man convicted of criminal sexual conduct claims the jury may have been influenced by the presence of Mr. Weeber, a black lab who sat at the feet of a girl while she testified in Berrien County court.

But the appeals court says the dog didn’t bark and may not have been visible to the jury. Jordan Johnson’s conviction and six-year prison sentence were affirmed this week.

The appeals court says Judge Angela Pasula had authority to allow the dog at trial to protect and assist witnesses. Mr. Weeber is owned by an assistant prosecutor.