How the jury made their decision in the Alvin Schlangen raw milk case in MN

From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:

“What were the key factors that swayed the Minnesota jury to acquit food club operator and farmer Alvin Schlangen three weeks ago?

Schlangen’s lawyer, Nathan Hansen, told me he thought the fact that Minnesota Department of Agriculture investigators in their courtroom testimony were inconsistent in defining “occasional” raw milk sales may have swayed the situation. One investigator said three or more purchases during any month and another said six purchases a month exceeded the bounds of “occasional”.

The  MDA in its defiant statement issued immediately after  the acquittals were announced September 20 suggested that the jurors agonized and could have gone either way except for some unknown arbitrary issue or another–” the fact that the jurors deliberated for as long as they did shows that they found the decision a difficult one to make.”

In fact, neither assessment is correct, according to the jury foreman, Eric Hemingway. No, the disagreement on how “occasional” was defined (the Minnesota statute limits dairies to “occasional” sales of raw milk) “wasn’t really up there” as an issue  in jury deliberations, Hemingway told me in an exclusive interview.

And, contrary to the MDA assessment, the reason the  jury took nearly an entire day (spread over parts  of two days) was because the judge had  provided highly detailed instructions for determining guilt “beyond  a reasonable doubt, and  we tried to  be very methodical in going through his instructions.”

In the end, there were two key factors in the decision to acquit, Hemingway explained. First, the fact that no one got sick from Schlangen’s food was very  important. One of the three misdemeanor charges accused Schlangen of providing “adulterated or misbranded” food, and  the absence of illnesses suggested no adulteration. According to Hemingway, a Minneapolis-area investment adviser, “No one was injured…If anyone had gotten sick,  that would have weighed on me.” …”

Read more on The Complete Patient blog.



Filed under News

3 responses to “How the jury made their decision in the Alvin Schlangen raw milk case in MN

  1. Gary

    I sure hope that this case in the USA can be of some influence to our cases before the courts in Canada.

    • While Juries have been severely weakened in the US by many means, if you do not have juries in Canada, I am sad to say that I do not think there is any long term hope for any justice coming about.

      We need major changes in both of our systems. They are both shams, constructed to convince lazy foolish people that the system is about justice. It is most certainly not. It is the same as the monarchy that preceded it, but tries to convince you that it is not.

  2. Sounds to me as if this jury really did not understand nullification at all. The the defendant just lucked out with these dummies. Their consideration of anyone getting sick has NOTHING to do with this law being a bad law that violates inalienable rights. Even if people had gotten sick they still should have acquitted as that would be a matter for the civil courts. Jurors are not getting any smarter these days.

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