Saturday, June 15, 2013

Vernon Hershberger Sentence and Fines Are Decided

Heather Callaghan
Vernon Hershberger and Family

Vernon Hershberger's recent verdict was mostly victorious on the three counts held against him for distributing fresh food to members without licensing. A jury found him guilty on the last count for breaking a holding order which held the maximum punishment. For the last three years, he's had a threat of 2 years prison and $10,000 in fines looming over until that fateful fifth night of trial.

Vernon said after the verdict:
Praise the Lord! Now I can feed my community again.
Just days after, Wisconsin's Department of Justice went after him and pressured the judge to jail him immediately. "This case was about one person believing that he was above the law. That was the underlying theme," said Department of Justice attorney Eric Defort. At the sentencing yesterday, the State (prosecutor) was pushing for $3,000 in fines, a year of probation and payment for probation supervision costs. 
Defense attorney Glenn Reynolds (no relation to judge) plans to challenge the holding order conviction, saying:
If the jury found him not guilty on the need to have licenses, there was no legal basis for the holding order.
The State really wants to crucify this guy - I mean how dare he think he can feed people without their permission. 

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund attorneys Glen Reynolds and Elizabeth Rich reported on Vernon's sentencing Monday.

Vernon was fined $1,000 and assessed a $511 in court fees by Judge Guy Reynolds at the Sauk County Courthouse in Barboo. He was facing up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000 for last count he was found guilty of by jury for violating the holding order which prohibited him from distributing food. A couple of supporters at the hearing wrote checks to cover all of the fine and court fees! Vernon was given no jail time and no probation.

Agents had ruined his food in a 2010 raid by pouring blue dye into a giant bulk tank, ruined his personal food, stole his computer and files and left his family with two days' food. So breaking the tape was also a practical measure. He didn't let his homegrown food rot and go to waste. Imagine agents coming in and locking up your refrigerator....

Without Vernon violating this order he would not have had the opportunity for a jury trial that rocked Wisconsin.

I haven't said this much before, but I think Vernon's deep peace from his belief in God speaks volumes. He doesn't bow down to State idols but trusts God for protection. I think Vernon was less ruffled by it than many of his supporters! Dear State, you are not God - people really can decide for themselves what healthy foods to eat. 
Jurors at this trial got to learn a lot about food choices, biology, food law, jury rights, and government aggression. After his sentencing, the jurors who voted guilty on the holding orderapologized to Vernon.

They didn't know:
it was based on the farmer not having the licenses the jurors ruled he didn't need. They were meeting his wife, Irma, and some of his ten children. The jurors were asking about becoming members of his food club AND buying raw milk.
[...] 
in the ultimate slap, a cadre of new converts from among individuals who came to the case with nary a passing interest in raw milk and nutritionally dense foods.
The jurors were bused in from a remote location and were made to fear and believe that his supporters would harm them - they saw a peaceful truth entirely different from the illusion.

Vernon is happy to finally get back to farming.

Look into donating at Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to support Vernon and his family through this battering of legal aggression. More help could be used for covering the legal costs of this dragged-out case.

For additional information on raw milk: realmilk.com

Locate YOUR real food source! 20 Places to Find Local Food and Family Farms Near You

Background stories from most recent to earliest:

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.

Read Other Articles by Heather Callaghan
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