A little more than a week ago we covered the ongoing battle of Vernon Hershberger with the Wisconsin legal system. Hershberger was raided by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, citing a failure to have proper retail licensing for distribution.
He subsequently had his raw milk stocks destroyed by injecting blue dye, had his farm shut down, and was arrested.
While in jail, he signed an agreement to comply with a ban on distribution and posted a $500 bond to gain his release. However, after further thought, Vernon considered the spurious accusations and decided to declare his own food independence; he cut the tape and resumed his farming and distribution. He has been looking at potentially 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for his resistance.
In March, people flew in from all over the country to attend a support rally prior to Hershberger’s first court appearance. A full-length documentary, Let Them Eat Grass (trailer below) will soon be released that will give full documentation to Hershberger’s plight, as well as highlighting the activism which has perhaps aided in his trial being repeatedly postponed.
We are happy to report a new development in this case.
A rally had been announced ahead of Vernon’s latest trial date of the week of January 7, 2013. However, it looks the momentum – a vigorous defense issued by his attorney, Elizabeth Rich – has pressured yet another postponement, this time for several months or longer.
According to a letter sent by the Hershbergers:
Members and Friends,First a very big Thank You to you all for your prayers and all the other means of support that have been rendered on our behalf! We appreciate it very much! Sometimes the load gets to be pretty heavy. It sure was good to see the work that the Lord did today in the way things worked out. We trust that he has a special plan for letting this all happen in this way!
Yes! The trial has been postponed … at least 4 months but maybe longer than that. This is all due to the wonderful Attorney that we have and her quick wit, with which she handled the proceedings today. The State proposed to kick out all professional witnesses from testifying at trial due to this being a case about license and not about raw milk. They had persuaded the Judge to do it their way when Elizabeth brought up the 1st amendment issue in that I have a sincerely held religious belief that I would not take anyone to court. Therefore the only options I had when the holding order was put in place was to take it to an Administrative Court or to disregard it. Being that we don’t believe in taking someone to Court our only option was to disregard the Holding Order and face the consequences. She asked for permission to file a brief in regards to the first Amendment rights. The State claimed they don’t have time for something like that over the Holidays with the trial so close. The Judge said he will give us time to file the brief and in order to give each side the time that they need we will have to postpone the trial and that was that. We will have a scheduling conference call on Jan 4 to decide the dates for any up coming hearings and the trial.
We are hoping this will give everyone a chance to enjoy their Holidays in a more relaxed way and spend more time with family and friends.
Vernon, Erma, and Crew
David Gumpert, writing for The Complete Patient adds that the complexities on both sides were raised on issues such as “jury nullification, legal intent, attempts to block witnesses from testifying, differences in how to define ‘consumers’, the extent of DATCP’s authority, and any number of other issues … and this all before the trial began.”