By Emily Sohn, from the Minn Post:
Image and caption via Minn Post blog
“Around nine o’clock on a cold Wednesday morning in early March 2011, Alvin Schlangen pulled his white delivery van into a parking lot between a snow-covered athletic field and a vegetarian housing co-op near Macalester College in St. Paul. As soon as he parked, two police cars and a third unmarked car drove in, trapping him there.
Schlangen was not expecting this, at least not today. Nonetheless, he was prepared. On the sliding door of the van’s passenger side, he had attached a no-trespassing sign, which read:“PRIVATE – Not a Public Area! Warning to ALL State and Federal Officials and Informants: You must have an appointment and permission from the owner to enter.” Continue reading
.From Heather Callaghan, on the Activist Post:
“Last September, Alvin Schlangen and his many supporters witnessed a victory when three charges were dropped against him in Hennepin county, Minnesota thanks to jury nullification.
But now he is facing six charges in Stearns county – his home county – three of which are identical to the ones he was acquitted of just a few months ago in Hennepin. Those included selling raw milk, operating without a food license, and handling adulterated food.
If Alvin’s motion is successful, those will be thrown out, but he will face three more misdemeanors including failing to maintain proper temperature for organic eggs, selling meat that should not have been possessed (?), and removing or disposing food embargoed by state food safety inspectors.” Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:
“First, the judge in the administrative case launched by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture against Alvin Schlangen put a hold on the agency’s attempt to score a quick legal victory against the farmer. The MDA fileda motion in a state administrative court for summary disposition against Schlangen, growing out of MDA administrative hearings earlier this year in which Schlangen was declared in violation of Minnsesota dairy and food licensing regulations by distributing food to members of his food club.
As part of these latest proceedings, the MDA (via the Minnesota Attorney General) asked the judge in the case to rule in its favor because Schlangen hadn’t filed the requisite responses in the agency’s administrative case earlier this year by the required deadlines. Schlangen’s FTCLDF lawyer, Nathan Hansen, argued that the farmer didn’t have proper legal representation to handle the paperwork. Several days ago, the judge denied the MDA’s request to penalize Schlangen for being late in filing his papers, and asked some pointed questions of the MDA. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert on The Complete Patient blog:
“You might think the Minnesota Department of Agriculture would regroup and reassess after being handed its head by a Minneapolis jury that acquitted Alvin Schlangen of misdemeanor charges just two months ago.
But no, the agency is pushing full speed ahead in a separate administrative case it filed months ago–one of three cases, together with the Minneapolis case and another misdemeanor case in Schlangen’s home of Stearns County that were filed against the farmer in connection with his food club’s distribution of food to more than 100 members.
The MDA clearly is more confident taking its case to a judge, rather than a jury, which isn’t required in an administrative case such as this. The administrative case is potentially less onerous for Schlangen– the judge in this case can order Schlangen to obtain a food license and discontinue distributing raw milk, but can’t penalize him for ignoring his orders; that would require the MDA to appeal for criminal penalties, and could put the case before a jury…again. No, this is more about harassment, requiring an expenditure of time and energy by Schlangen and his lawyer from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Continue reading
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.” Continue reading
From David Unze at the SC Times:
A Nov. 2 court hearing has been scheduled in Stearns County District Court for a Freeport farmer who faces charges that allege, among other things, that he sold raw milk.
Alvin Schlangen was found not guilty last month by a Hennepin County jury of selling raw milk, operating without a food handler’s license and handling adulterated food.
In Stearns County, Schlangen faces those three charges and three other misdemeanors that accuse him of failing to maintain proper temperatures for eggs he was selling, selling meat that he shouldn’t have and removing or disposing of food that had been embargoed for disposal by food safety inspectors….”
From David E. Gumpert, at the Complete Patient blog:
Some of Alvin Schlangen’s suporters at a rally. Complete Patient photo.
“When I spoke with Alvin Schlangen a few days ago, I asked him how he felt about having been in the shadows of the food rights movement the last couple of years, prior to his trial.
Yes, there had been a demonstration on his behalf last May, but the lion’s share of the attention from the media and from people like me who follow the expanding food rights movement had gone to people like Daniel Allgyer, the Pennsylvania Amish farmer who served a Maryland food club, James Stewart and Sharon Palmer in California of Rawesome Food Club fame, and Michael Schmidt, the Canadian raw dairy farmer under on-again-off-again legal pressure from the Ontario government. Continue reading