Last September, Alvin Schlangen and his many supporters witnessed a victory when three charges were dropped against him in Hennepin county, Minnesota thanks to jury nullification.
But now he is facing six charges in Stearns county – his home county – three of which are identical to the ones he was acquitted of just a few months ago in Hennepin. Those included selling raw milk, operating without a food license, and handling adulterated food.
If Alvin’s motion is successful, those will be thrown out, but he will face three more misdemeanors including failing to maintain proper temperature for organic eggs, selling meat that should not have been possessed (?), and removing or disposing food embargoed by state food safety inspectors.
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Alvin is expected to go to jury trial again possibly early this year, although Judge Thomas Knapp has not set a date. He is giving each side three weeks to file written arguments in response to the motion to dismiss the three charges similar to the ones he was acquitted of in Hennepin.
Defense attorney, Nathan M. Hansen, wishes that the charges Schlangen was already acquitted of in Minneapolis also be dropped in this case as part of “one continuous indivisible court of action motivated by a unity of purpose.”
Alvin, an organic farmer, doesn’t produce the raw milk; he provides it along with other fresh food options to his members through his farm club called Freedom Farms Co-op. Food Farm Freedom Coalition explains:
Alvin Schlangen is a peaceful farmer who connects people with the food sources that meet their high standards for health by providing private access under lawful ownership of farm animals. the member owners pay the Amish farm family for labor to milk the leased 100% grass-fed cows, manage the pasture, store the feed, etc….The balance of food options are purchased by the club, for the members. The group has multiple farm sources providing real food to member families – very efficiently, with lots of volunteer effort.
It seems that the legal battles small farmers face are never ending – they endure a lot of stress and financial burdens. Alvin’s battles have been raging for more than two years now with threats of fines and prison, and he has been the target of multiple raids and inspections. His many supporters have flocked to help him at rallies which Alvin attends and speaks, even signing a food declaration of independence.
Although the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is aggressive towards its small farms and farm clubs, Minnesota has a trove of liberty to combat it: informed jurors.
These are the people who helped Alvin in September when he was tried for “crimes” that harmed no one. Do you see how the county came back around trying him for the same charges in Hennepin and adding other arbitrary violations? Technically he broke the law (or codes), but the jury has the power to say “So what?” and keep him a free man. This is how bad laws are nullified in the face of constant persecution. Please read and distribute information about jury rights and additional guidelines in the Citizen’s Rule Book.
Responses are pending to find out if there is more we can to do lend our support. We will post updates accordingly. The greatest thing we can do is make sure we know our juror veto rights and spread the word to others.
Activism & Jury Nullification:
Fully Informed Jury Association
Read other articles by Heather Callaghan Here
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