Although it may seem absurd, it was not so rare that in the Middle Ages there were court cases against animal species. This seems to emphasize the link between man and "beasts" in those times. In fact a court case, also with a defense lawyer, it is said in Glurns's legend, which in 1519 was literally invaded by a rodent population.
These were so many to push the peasants of Stelvio, having threatened their crops, to turn to the judge of Glorenza to put the mice under prosecution.
At the hearing were also invited the mice that, as we said, were assigned a defense lawyer but did not serve much and the animals lost the cause. The procedure lasted from October 1519 to May of the following year and there were many arringies and testimonies but in the end, though losing, the defense lawyer managed to set some conditions.
The judgment ruled that rodents would have to go to a reserved area beyond the left bank of the river Adige. The ordinance ruled that it was necessary to build a bridge to allow rodents to pass and that at that time, dogs and cats would be forced into the houses so as not to disturb the exodus. Younger or weaker mice could stay up to being able to reach the area assigned. And so, the mice went to their new land.
But it's not over here!
In fact, rats could appeal to the United States Supreme Court after one of the nine members of that court, Antonio Scalia, came into possession of acts of the medieval process during a visit to the village. The story that was translated into English as "The Trials of Mines of Glurns" was delivered to Antonio Scalia by the former mayor of Glorenza, Alois Riedl. The American judge, having read the papers, seems to have appreciated the sentence but would have also suggested the possibility of appeal to the mice.
Can the case be reopened?