No Contempt of Court, No Inspections for Now!

After Lake View Natural Dairy’s attorney, Zenas Baer, finished presenting all the arguments (constitutional and other) and the State Attorney, Kimberly Middendorf, responded, Judge Michael Cuzzo made his current ruling.

Judge Cuzzo stated that he was “staying the order of inspection” that had previously been issued by him in his court due to the issues that were presented at today’s hearing.  He further clarified to Middendorf that the previous order of inspection could not be used, at this time, by the MDA to inspect Lake View Natural Dairy.  He said that he is going to take up to 90 days (he commented that he hoped to not take that long) to review the arguments presented to determine the jurisdictional validity of the order (whether the MDA has the right to make the inspection in the first place).  Judge Cuzzo will issue his ruling in writing and when it becomes public it will be posted on this site.

The State Assistant Attorney Middendorf’s argument (through the “MDA’s Memorandum of Law) to limit the hearing to only find whether or not David Berglund was found in contempt of court or not, was fully rejected.  Not only did Judge Cuzzo agree to consider the many arguments brought up by Zenas Baer, but Judge Cuzzo also found that David Berglund had made a “good faith argument” as to why he had refused the inspections and ultimately the Order to Inspect granted previously by the court!  Simply, the judge found that David Berglund was NOT IN CONTEMPT OF COURT!  (UPDATE:  3/13/2015 An “OrderFollowingHearing” (a written summary by the judge about what happened in court on Monday) was filed today at the court.  This is different than what the judge is taking up to 90 days to decide upon.  It clarified that the contempt of court finding is also temporarily denied for 90 days pending issuance of the final order in this matter.  It is logical however, to believe that if the inspection order were found not valid, David Berglund would be found innocent of contempt of court.  I will rely on the good faith argument the judge acknowledged to continue to be a positive protection for David.)

I don’t know if everyone, even at the hearing (there were approximatelty 150-200 people at the courthouse) understood the magnitude of what it meant for a judge to “stay” his own order for inspection.  First of all, I can’t say any judge would do that.  Some may say, “I ordered it, so you’re gonna do it!” (not all though).  It just goes to support the respect and admiration we should have for Judge Cuzzo personally.  He should be included in the fairest of men sitting that bench.

There is still more to come.  Judge Cuzzo’s decision is forthcoming.  It is not certain how he will consider these arguments.  However, I am confident that they will have sound reasoning, whatever they may be.  We will all have to decide how to voice our support for Lake View Natural Dairy at that time.  If the decision is in favor of the dairy, it is almost assured that the ruling would be appealed by State Attorney’s Office/MDA.

For now, we need to keep the momentum going.  We need people to spread the word, share these posts and articles with anyone you choose.  Go to the Lake View Natural Dairy-Fund and contribute to the fight and the farm costs of everyday operations that are also mounting.  Farm-to-consumer Legal Defense Fund has started the battle by funding Zenas Baer (the farm’s attorney) directly in these early stages and Pete Kennedy has also written an article on the issue.  We are all preparing for a  long protracted court battle.  This case could potentially take years to litigate, please help us all prepare for the long battle.

Attention Cook County residents, Commissioner Gamble was at the hearing and afterwards stated he was going to formulate a Memorandum of Support for the farm to continue it’s selling of products of the farm and residents to be allowed to continue to conduct private relationships with the farm.  This memorandum of support would be voted on in a future commissioners meeting as to whether each commissioner is in agreement or not.  Your commissioners need to hear from you on how you want them to decide on this matter (find you commissioner here).

These are some of the first actions we can take.  We must keep the moment going forward.  PLEASE subscribe to this blog so that each time a posting occurs you will get it automatically.  I will be posting future actions that need to be taken (like writing other representatives, etc.), when future court dates will occur, even if the Berglunds need help at the farm if they need to travel elsewhere for court (contact me if you can potentially help at the farm and live in the area, they would likely need you to come out a couple times before this were to happen so they could feel comfortable).

We are no where near the end.  This is only the beginning.  But what a great and wonderful beginning!