We must always keep watch over any targeted small farmer - enemies of food freedom wait for people to relax after a battle is won, and then strike again when they think no one's watching. This classic MO happens all the time. For instance, in most of the front-yard garden debacles - we cheer when there's a win, but the bureaucrats always come back in full force - when the cameras are off, behind closed doors, when the protesters have gone home. As tiresome as it is, we must never let up - because they don't.
Alvin Schlangen was acquitted in Hennepin County, Minnesota of the following three charges: selling raw milk, operating without a food license, and handling adulterated food.
But in January he was brought up on six charges in his home county of Stearns, including the same three that were just dropped against him in September.
Here is a quick recap to update:
- After the acquittal, Alvin was charged again, in a different county, for 6 counts including the 3 he was just vindicated of.
- Alvin petitioned to get just the 3 identical charges dropped.
- Each side had a few weeks to submit letters, one of which was Alvin's attorney requesting to have the same three charges from before dropped.
- Alvin is arguing that this would be serial prosecution - a milder form of Double Jeopardy.
- But Judge Thomas Knapp disagreed and said they were different "crimes," although similar, happening 10 days apart and involving separate foods.
- The Double Jeopardy Clause (5th Amendment) encompasses four distinct prohibitions: one is subsequent prosecution after acquittal.
- Schlangen argued that both county allegations "were from the same behavioral incident or continuous course of conduct," but the judge is moving forward and another trial will take place with Alvin on the defense.
- In Blockburger v. United States (1932) -- the government may separately try and punish the defendant for two crimes if each crime contains an element that the other does not. (Source) That's probably the judge's touchstone.
- Schlangen, however, was only asking that the three same charges he was acquitted of be dropped - not all six.
- The 3 additional misdemeanors include: failing to maintain proper temperature for organic eggs, selling meat that should not have been possessed (?), and removing or disposing of food embargoed by state food safety inspectors.
- Important - his method of food distribution is NOT a retail establishment. Find an explanation of his food membership here.
- New trial date not currently set - will update accordingly.
What saved him in the courts last time was jury nullification when he was tried for "crimes" that harmed no one. Informed jurors can look at the evidence, but say "so what?" and let him go free. This is how bad laws are evaporated in the face of constant persecution - because this WILL keep happening.
Here are the ways we can help Alvin Schlangen:
- Please read and distribute information about jury rights and additional guidelines in theCitizen's Rule Book.
- Activism & Jury Nullification: Fully Informed Jury Association.
- Distributing FIJA Literature in Front of Courthouses.
- Printable, sendable jury rights brochures from FIJA.
- Contact Governor Mark Dayton - a contact form appears here. We can voice complaints about the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's ongoing (lengthy and expensive) persecution of people who want to eat the food they want to eat.
- A direct way to help Alvin is by donating to Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund on his behalf. FTCLDF is a non-profit organization set up to directly help persecuted farmers like Alvin with their legal battles.
- Attend or share info on upcoming support rallies - will update.
- Do not contact the judge.
- Share this article to let people know the updates and how to help.
Any suggestions for help or info on rallies are welcome. It would be great to get the jury info to Stearns County residents.
If you see the story I'm talking about on your Facebook feed - could you please kindly share this or any other update on that page?
Updates on Alvin Schlangen Since September Victory:
Judge Won't Drop Acquitted Charges in New Trial Against Raw Milk Farmer
After Victory, Raw Milk Farmer Faces Same Charges in Different County (Updated)
More info on Alvin:
Read other articles by Heather Callaghan Here