You’d think the Vernon Herschberger raw milk case was going to be the trial of the decade the way the prosecutors are pulling out all the stops to stack the deck in their favour with pre-trial maneuverings. But now a new factor, Vernon’s Amish faith and its relation to the legal system, has been brought into play.
David E. Gumpert has the story:
“At today’s (Friday) hearing, the issue was freedom and protection of religion, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
That issue came up when Judge Guy Reynolds sided with the state in agreeing, at the prosecution’s request, to block retired pathologist Ted Beals from testifying on behalf of Hershberger. Prosecutors argued that Beals’ testimony was irrelevant, because the case was about licenses, not health and sanitation issues. Continue reading
During one of Michael Schmidt’s trials, a Toronto Sun journalist was called to the stand to give testimony about an interview he had done with Michael just the day before. In this case, the Sun clearly didn’t want to make an issue about it. A quick call to the office to clear it with superiors seemed to be all that was needed. The request was made in that morning, and the reporter was testifying the very same afternoon. Not that it’s a practice we’d want to encourage, for all the many reason David cites in his story.
From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:
“A lawyer for one of the journalists, working for a Wisconsin NBC television station, argued that the subpoena shouldn’t be issued since the reporter’s “testimony is not relevant, let alone ‘highly relevant,’ because he did not observe the purported crime.” The lawyer, Drew Shenkman, with a Washington, DC, firm, added, “Moreover, the State has failed to show that the information sought ‘is not obtainable from any alternative source,’…as the continued sale of raw milk products can be shown through countless other sources.” Continue reading
The Zinniker farm, in Wisconsin, has been one of the flagship biodynamic farms on this continent for some 70 years. They’ve been dairying for decades. It’s sad to read about their apparent defeat on the raw milk front, by agents of the DATCP, in spite of what sounds like great support from their community of customers. David has the story.
From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:
“Strong community support can be undermined by the realities of life, unfortunately. Mark Zinniker, owner of a Wisconsin farm together with his wife, Petra, recounted during the panel discussion just how that can happen. The Zinnikers were among the plaintiffs in the now-famous ruling by Judge Patrick Fiedler in 2011, in which he declared that Wisconsin residents don’t have the right even to own a cow, or if they do, to drink its milk. Continue reading
Falls Church, VA, Aug. 28, 2012 ( GlobeNewswire ) – Wisconsin dairy farmer, Vernon Hershberger of Loganville, has retained the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) to represent him in his upcoming criminal trial on four misdemeanor counts for alleged violations of the Wisconsin food and dairy code. The trial was originally supposed to take place on September 25 in Sauk County Circuit Court in Baraboo but Judge Guy Reynolds has postponed the trial until January 7. The judge has set aside five days for the trial.
Hershberger had been representing himself since the criminal complaint was filed against him in January 2012. FTCLDF vice president and Wisconsin attorney, Elizabeth Rich, will be litigating the case. Rich has over twenty years experience in the Wisconsin courts. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:
“Prosecutors seeking to jail Vernon Hershberger for distributing his farm’s food privately to members of a food club betrayed their nervousness yesterday when they filed motions intended to limit the evidence the Wisconsin farmer can present to a jury.
The lawyers for the Wisconsin Attorney General filed a series of “Motions in Limine“, which are designed to shield a jury from hearing information that could be prejudicial to one side or the other. Most commonly, such motions are used by defendants in serious criminal trials who want to prevent the prosecution from presenting incriminating medical or financial information. Continue reading
From Liz Reitzig at the Farm Food Freedom Coalition
Wisconsin raw milk farmer Vernon Herschberger.
Baraboo, WI—Food sovereignty activists from around North America will meet at this tiny town on March 2 to support Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and food sovereignty. Hershberger, who has a court hearing that day, is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land him in prison for three years with fines of over $10,000.
The Wisconsin Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) targeted Hershberger for supplying a private buying club with fresh milk and other farm products. DATCP has charged Hershberger with, among other things, operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly denies this, citing that he provides foods only to paid members in a private buying club and is not subject to state food regulations. “There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers,” says Hershberger, “this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.” Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert, on The Complete Patient blog:
“Wisconsin’s Attorney General has signaled his willingness to go ahead with the possibly provocative step of throwing dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger into jail.
In a package of documents sent to Hershberger, the Wisconsin Department of Justice included a letter to Judge Guy D. Reynolds, in which Assistant Attorney General Eric D. Defort complains about “what the State believes are violations of the Court ordered conditions of release.” He adds: “In view of the apparent violation of the Court’s orders, the State respectfully asks this Court to address the issue of bail at the next hearing.” The next hearing is next Friday, March 2, at which a demonstration in support of Hershberger is scheduled to take place. Continue reading