Friday, May 24, 2013

It's Easier to Get Juries to Convict When You Don't Let Them Understand What's Going On, Raw Milk Division

Cream DropIt's Easier to Get Juries to Convict When You Don't Let Them Understand What's Going On, Raw Milk Division:
Followup on the "raw milk" prosecution against Wisconsin farmer
Vernon Hershberger I
blogged about last week
 from the
 [link fixed]:

every time the words "raw milk" are about to come up during the
proceedings, the jury is ushered out of the room. It happened
Monday morning and again Tuesday afternoon.
It would be funny if conviction for Hershberger didn't mean jail
time -- for a father of ten children....
The state is arguing that Hershberger violated the law by
selling milk (raw) while he was not licensed. But here's the
problem: licensing requires that milk producers sell to a licensed
processing plant. If you don't sell to a plant, you aren't
licensed. At issue is not the fact that Hershberger failed to
obtain a license, but that he cannot get a license, period, to sell
milk because he was no longer shipping to a plant. Instead, he was
attempting to sell raw milk directly to buyers or buying club
"members" who had purchased shares in cows. But no one is allowed
to say that.
Judge Reynolds ruled in the prosecution's favor before the trial
started that there will be no discussion of whether Hershberger had
criminal intent in not obtaining a license, no discussion of the
safety of raw milk and no discussion even of why his farm was
raided in 2010.......
A telling moment during Tuesday's testimony was when Teresa
Butterworth, witness for the prosecution and employee of DATCP's
Bureau of Food Safety & Inspection whose responsibility it is
to license and maintain dairy farm records, could not tell the
defense what dairy plants do. Lead defense attorney Glenn Reynolds
(no relation to the judge): "What do dairy plants do?" Butterworth:
"I don’t know." Later she stated: "I just process the
By circumscribing so narrowly the rules of engagement before the
trial even began -- despite the defense attorneys' best efforts --
the state is counting on the jury to also just process the
The Madison Capital Times reports
on the mass public support
for Hershberger.