From Kimberly Hartke:
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund Files Appeal in Wisconsin
Vernon Hershberger appears at the Sauk County Courthouse in Baraboo in May. Photo Gary Porter. Via JS Online. Click image to go to post in which this photo originally appeared.
Falls Church, VA–July 3, 2013–The absolute right to private, unregulated, direct trade with a local raw milk producer is being fully tested in the heart of “America’s Dairyland.” The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund decided to appeal the jury verdict of farmer Vernon Hershberger in the recent case, State of Wisconsin [Plaintiff] v. Vernon Hershberger [Defendant]. The appeal was filed in District IV of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Likely, the case will be reviewed by a three-judge panel. Continue reading
The prosecutorial crackdown on raw milk in both Canada and the United States doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s part of a larger political context. For example, it’s sometime jarring to see echoes of raw milk trials in reports of such high profile cases as that of Bradley Manning, who is charged in connection with the release of sensitive material to Wikileaks. Reading Chris Hedges account of the legal maneuvering that went into setting the stage for Mannings trial triggered flashbacks of what went down for Vernon Herschberger in Wisconsin recently. Here’s a snippet of Manning’s story, from Truthdig.com:
“FORT MEADE, Md.—The military trial of Bradley Manning is a judicial lynching. The government has effectively muzzled the defense team. The Army private first class is not permitted to argue that he had a moral and legal obligation under international law to make public the war crimes he uncovered. The documents that detail the crimes, torture and killing Manning revealed, because they are classified, have been barred from discussion in court, effectively removing the fundamental issue of war crimes from the trial. Continue reading
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
From Kimberly Hartke at the Weston A Price Foundation:
But please jail the sustainable farmer who humanely raises his animals and provides the best of chemically-free, nutrient dense food…yeah, throw that criminal in jail! — picture and caption via Farm Food Freedom Coalition, on FB.
Baraboo, Wisconsin—June 3, 2013 —Less than a week after the jury acquitted him of three criminal charges, Eric Defort and Phillip Ferris, attorneys for the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), move to have the judge revoke the terms of the bond and jail Vernon Hershberger.
In January 2012 Vernon Hershberger was arraigned at the Sauk County Courthouse on four criminal misdemeanor charges for violations of the state food and dairy code; after appearing before Judge Guy Reynolds, he was released on a $500 bond with the bond containing conditions he was not to violate. Continue reading
Unlike the recent worldwide March on Monsanto, Vernon Herschberger’s recent court triumph is getting ink in the mainstream media. Here’s an excerpt from a story in the Wall Street Journal, of all places:
“Raw-milk proponents celebrated a Wisconsin farmer’s acquittal on three of four counts related to selling unpasteurized milk and cheese, bolstering their hopes of legalizing the products in America’s Dairyland.
Jurors found Vernon Hershberger, a 41-year-old Loganville, Wis., farmer, innocent of producing milk without a license, selling milk and cheese products without a license, and operating a retail establishment without a license. He was found guilty of one count of breaking a holding order issued by the state in June 2010, which barred him from moving any of the food he produced without a license. Continue reading
From Rick Barrett, in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Image via Peace News Network. Click pic to go there now.
Baraboo — Dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger was acquitted on three of four criminal charges early Saturday morning in a trial that’s drawn national attention from supporters of the raw, unpasteurized milk movement.
Jurors in Sauk County District Court deliberated about four hours, until nearly 1 a.m. Saturday, before returning a verdict of guilty on one charge of violating a holding order placed on products on the Hershberger farm, following a raid on the farm in the summer of 2010.
The 41-year-old farmer faces up to a year in jail and $10,000 in fines on that conviction. A sentencing date will be announced later, said Judge Guy Reynolds. Continue reading
From Daniel McAdams, writing for the Ron Paul Institute blog:
Vernon Herschberger and family. Photo via Complete Patient blog. Click image to go there.
“The trial of Vernon Hershberger for the crime of selling healthy, unprocessed milk to informed and willing customers is sadly a damning commentary on the times in which we currently live.
This humble yet learned Amish farmer faces the ruin of his farm, his family, and jail time in a trial that highlights the utter depravity of the so-called authorities who claim the right to rule over the rest of us. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:
“Defense testimony from one of Vernon Hershberger’s buying club members since 2004, Joseph Plasterer, as to how he came to seek out the farm’s food.
Plasterer: “We were looking for some natural milk sources, in early 2004.”
Defense lawyer: Did you come and meet the Hershbergers?
Plasterer: “Yes. We asked if we could be part of the farm…
Defense: Did you have a reason?
Plasterer: “My son was not thriving…”
Judge Guy Reynolds: “Sustained”
Plasterer: “We wanted access to unprocessed food that was higher quality than would not be available from the stores.”
Judge Reynolds: “Sustained. Strike the answer. The jury is to ignore that.” Continue reading
Here’s the message Rawsome foods co-founder Aajonus Vonderplanitz sent out to people on his email list recently in connection with the Hershberger trial. Presumably, this represents his own views on the case, and the issues around it:
“Hi, healthy-food lovers,
I am in Baraboo, Wisconsin immersed in a real-life satirical trial, droning with irony. The trial is the persecution of our dedicated and brave farmer Vernon Hershberger. This jury trial is about food-safety but the judge ruled that food-safety cannot be discussed in the trial. The charges are about contaminated RAW MILK but the judge ruled that raw milk cannot be discussed in the trial.
Governments do not want a true and factual hearing on raw milk in this Hershberger-case because their raw-milk junk-science would not hold to rational jurors minds. Thankfully, we have four very good attorneys representing Vernon that are working diligently for him/us in the midst of outrageous and incoherent courtroom injustices. Of the first 2 days of trial, I estimate that the judge has illogically ruled 65% for the irrational requests of the State and 35% for rational requests of Vernon. Fair trial? Continue reading
The trial of Amish raw milk man Vernon Herschberger is unfolding this week in Baraboo Wisconsin. American food rights journalist David E. Gumpert has published many blog posts detailing the pre-courthouse skirmishes in the case, intended for the most part to avoid dealing with the larger raw milk and food rights issues at stake and focusing the case purely on the purported regulatory improprieties Herschberger is charged with. If you haven’t been following David’s “The Complete Patient” blog lately, do scroll down there to read some of the backstory. Here’s an excerpt from David’s latest report from the Baraboo courthouse:
Raw milk farmers Michael Schmidt and Vernon Herschberger, at a raw milk event in Wisconsin, from when Michael was still allowed to travel. Photo via Modern Farmer. Click to go there.
“I had assumed that the tension and drama in the Vernon Hershberger raw milk trial would build gradually over the expected five days of the proceedings, culminating in a verdict that would either acquit him or possibly send him to jail for up to two-and-a-half years. Continue reading