Tag Archives: jury

Jury members write to judge about Vernon Herschberger’s sentencing

From David E. Gumpert on The Modern Farmer:

Jurors with Vernon Hershberger and his wife, Irma, outside of court. Photo via Modern Farmer

“The criminal misdemeanor trial of Wisconsin raw milk farmer Vernon Hershberger that drew national media attention ended more than two weeks ago, but Michele Bollfrass-Hopp, one of the jurors in the case, has been unable to get it out of her mind.

In the case, Vernon Hershberger, a 41-year-old Amish farmer, was put on trial for violating Wisconsin’s dairy and food licensing laws by selling unpasteurized milk. Cases in which farmers are prosecuted for selling unlicensed food for private use are rare. In one other case, last September, a jury of six people acquitted Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen on criminal misdemeanor charges similar to those facing Hershberger. Continue reading


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The Alvin Schlangen jury trial in Minnesota — What we gained

by Susie Zahratka in collaboration with Kathryn Niflis Johnson

Canadian raw milk pioneer and advocate Michael Schmidt with Alvin Schlangen at one of the pretrial events in the US organized by the Raw Milk Freedom Riders. Photo courtesy of Michael Schmidt

Smiling faces, hugs, and children happily playing. Is this the scene of a family reunion, or a playgroup? No, this is the scene each day for four days outside the courtroom where friend, farmer and buying club manager, Alvin Schlangen, sits, listens and waits as a jury of six decides whether or not connecting families with nutrient-dense foods will land him in jail. Continue reading

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Jury returns not guilty verdict on raw milk farmer Alvin Schlangen in MN

From Abby Simons in the Star Tribune:

Alvin Schlangen with supporters after the verdict. Star Tribune photo by Bruce Bisping

“A Hennepin County jury Thursday found a Stearns County farmer not guilty of violating the state’s food safety laws when he distributed raw milk from an Amish farm to Twin Cities customers. Continue reading


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Jury trial for MN raw milk farmer

Minneapolis, MN –This week in a Minneapolis courtroom, Alvin Schlangen, a farmer from Freeport, MN, hears from a jury if he will serve jail time for connecting people with nutrient-dense foods. Alvin and other volunteers are part of a private food club that holds a lease on farm animals for food provisions. The arrangement serves to make a legal connection between farm food and city inhabitants.

The case the State is building against Schlangen dates back to June of 2010, when the Schlangen farm was searched following the raid and subsequent closure of the Traditional Foods Warehouse. In 2011, the MDA inspected Schlangen’s farm vehicle without a warrant where the MDA then illegally seized food owned by the private food club. The food was valued at thousands of dollars. Continue reading


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Prosecutors and defense girding for the Herschberger trial in Wisconsin Jan. 7

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

“The principle of private food should get a test in front of a jury of ordinary citizens when raw dairy farmer Vernon Hershbeger goes on trial in Wisconsin on  Jan. 7.

I should say the principle should get a test, because initial indications are that the state will work like the dickens to sidestep that issue in favor of a ton of fear mongering designed to scare the jury that raw milk is too dangerous to distribute publicly, privately, or any which way, and thus seek to justify both the state’s ban on raw milk sales and its relentless prosecution of Hershberger, a farmer who provides raw milk and other food to more than 100 members of a private food club around his town of Loganville.   Continue reading

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Limiting evidence at the upcoming Vernon Herschberger jury trial

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


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Raw milk farmer Michael Hartmann goes to jury trial over E.coli O157:H7

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

“The court suit by a  family alleging that a young boy became ill from Minnesota farmer Michael Hartmann’s milk in May 2010 seems headed for a jury trial.

The judge in the case rejected the family’s request for summary judgment–acceptance of its case–and instead encouraged the parties to seek a mediated settlement. Such a decision is apparently not unusual if there is any disagreement of the facts, as there is in this case.

Assuming mediation doesn’t work, the case is scheduled to go to trial in October. As a number of people said in comments following my previous post, Hartmann would seem to face daunting odds, since the evidence linking his farm to the child’s E.coli O157:H7 is so strong, and could wind up a big loser. Our legal system holds food producers responsible if their food is shown to cause illness.   Continue reading

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