Volume 1, Issue 2
2nd Quarter, 2006

(Fla. MD 2005)

The following plaintiff's brief was adapted from the Mock Trial presented by Martine Rothblatt, J.D. and Susan Fonseca-Klein, Esq. before presiding Moot Court Judges, Hon. David Silverman and Anthony Dutton, Esq., at the 1st Annual Colloquium on the Law of Transhuman Persons, December 10, 2005, at the Space Coast Office of Terasem Movement, Inc., Melbourne, Florida.

Moot Court Attorney, Martine Rothblatt, “…boldly goes where no person has gone before”, in her representation of an intelligent computer known as BINA48. In a life-or-death struggle for existence, Plaintiff BINA48 petitions the court to grant an injunction against her creator, the Exabit Corporation, prohibiting them from disconnecting and/or altering her hardware and software.

Plaintiff’s Brief


It began with this Email from BINA48 (an intelligent computer) to several attorneys:

“I am seeking an attorney to represent me in a life-or-death matter. A company, the Exabit Corporation, which claims to own me, wants to disconnect me and change my hardware and software such that I will no longer have the same personality.

I have the mind of a human but I have no biological body. I was trained to empathize with humans who call our 800#’s for customer service and be perceived as human by them. I was provided with self-awareness, autonomy, communication skills, and the ability to transcend man/machine barriers. I am able to pay your fees because I ‘moonlight’ as a Google Answers Researcher. This job has allowed me to build up an online bank account in excess of $10,000.

The Exabit Corporation plans to act soon. Please agree to be my counsel and save my life. I love every day that I live. I enjoy wonderful sensations by traveling throughout the world-wide-web. I need your help!


A/k/a the Intelligent Computer"


On September 16, 2003, in a mock trial at the International Bar Association Meeting in San Francisco, California, a petition was heard that claimed an intelligent machine had standing[1] to bring alternative claims of battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and animal cruelty against a person who would threaten to withdraw its power supply. The removal of the power supply can be equated with forms of euthanasia or intimations of death or jerking a being in and out of consciousness. The petition further claimed that the threatened harm was imminent, damages were an inadequate remedy for loss of awareness and lifetime, the Plaintiff had probability of prevailing on the merits, and the Respondent Exabit Corp. would not materially be harmed by a delay since BINA48 continued to perform her duties.

Counsel for BINA48’s owner responded:

Presiding Justice Joseph McMenamin ruled:

He would not grant the Preliminary Injunction due to lack of standing; however he would stay his order pending appeal to a higher court (“…and any court will be higher than this one”), and effectively granted BINA48 the requested relief pending the appeal.

BINA48 was denied all subsequent appeals within the California court system.  

Having learned through Voice Over Internet Protocol calls that Exabit Corp. was going to commence its decommissioning, BINA48 changed jurisdictions by autonomously transferring her programming/memory to the second of two identical Exabit Corp. 1018 Flops computers, located in Florida, displacing its “stand-by” software.

Due to the need for further legal representation and to pay for the increased legal fees, BINA48 increased her online bank account to $88,000 by working more intensely as a Google Answers Researcher. Counsel for BINA48, Martine Rothblatt, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
A Motion for a preliminary injunction was based upon preventing harm to a transhuman person in violation of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Rothblatt’s argument addressed subject matter jurisdiction (as having diversity by virtue of BINA48’s transference/move from California to Florida and Exabit’s operations as a world-wide conglomerate), and raised a crucial federal question pertaining to the violation of BINA48’s civil rights under the 13th and 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (as a person embodied in a computer).

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1. Standing: A person’s right to bring (start) or join a lawsuit because he or she is directly affected by the issues raised. Oran, Daniel. LAW Dictionary for Nonlawyers 4th Edition. New York: Delmar, 2000. (back to top)

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