What to Expect on Tuesday’s 10AM LVND v. MDA Court Date – 10/13/15

On the morning of Tuesday, October 13th, at 10am at the Cook County Courthouse, the Berglund family, many organizations, myself (Greg Gentz), and most importantly many community members I have spoken to are hoping for a large turnout of quiet support.  I would like to encourage anyone who has the time or can arrange for the time off from work, to at a minimum come between the hours of 9:30am to a bit past 10:00am, and if you can, stay throughout the hearing.

Please arrive early for security screening (metal detector) and seating in the courtroom (first row seating is reserved, as is a section of seating for the media, and the rest is first-come-first-serve). No one will be allowed to stand in the courtroom.  Please leave metal items (i.e. pocket knives, restricted weapons, etc.) in your vehicles to help our deputies with the potential large volume of persons attending the hearing.  No hand bags, purses, briefcases, hats or recording devices will be allowed in the courtroom. It would be best to leave cell phones in your vehicles as anyone that creates distraction in the courtroom will be immediately removed.  If you forget you have restricted items on your person, you will be asked to return them to your vehicle.

The goal is to assemble for a quiet, respectable show of support with our presence, for the farm, all small farmers/gardeners and private men/women who wish to associate with them; so the MDA can feel that support.  I cannot tell people how to show their support, but our request is that people will refrain from pickets, chants or attention getting clothing.  Our intent is to have the MDA, media and public observe an everyday cross section of our community and those who support our local Lake View Natural Dairy and all small farmers/gardeners.  Even more importantly we want them to observe people who hold dear our constitutionally protected right as men and women to make choices for our own families and enter into private associations that we rightfully choose.

I, and likely others, will be on hand to speak with people, that wish to, about the issue being heard in court.  After the hearing, Zenas Baer, the farm’s attorney, has agreed to speak at the courthouse if supporters wish.

I want to be very clear in my personally held great respect for our Cook County Sheriff’s Office.  As I have said before, the Sheriff’s Office is knowledgeable about this issue, and has acted in an exemplary manner in carrying out their mission to protect an individual’s rights and to uphold the federal and state constitution.  I wish that any impact that I can have on the day’s events be peaceful, respectful and “low stress” inducing to the sheriff and deputies working to ensure our safety at the courthouse.  I would truly ask that we all give them our verbal thanks for their service and as an acknowledgment of the personal risk they place themselves in daily.

In addition, during the time I was a Cook County Deputy Sheriff, I testified in front of Judge Michael Cuzzo and I have great respect for him as our elected judicial officer in our region.  I believe he is a man with firm regard for the law and who fairly applies justice in our court.  Our quiet respect in his court room has been and will be noticed.

There are several outcomes possible at the end of the court hearing that is estimated to be one hour.  The judge has the ability to rule at the hearing, but this is unlikely.  It would be more likely that the arguments from the MDA and the farms attorney will require a written ruling from the Court on a future date.  What is important here, in my view, is that we all continue to realize that this is very well one step is this process and an appeal to the MN Appellate Court is likely.

I would like to impart to the MDA that we will be here for the long haul.  With those intentions in mind, I have reserved the ITV room across from the Commissioners Room (regular Commissioner’s meeting will be in session, so please be respectful concerning noise outside this room) from 8am to 12pm for overflow seating if the courtroom is full.  I have been told that the ITV room can hold around 30 seated persons.  This room is downstairs from the courtroom and there is additional seating in the hallways also.

It’s a lot to ask, but think of the message that will be received by the MDA if the building was at its maximum, even after an hour long court hearing. The message to the MDA would be deafening in symbolism.  Audio and/or video from the courtroom are not currently available.

Coffee and snacks in the ITV room will be provided by Java Moose, Holiday Gas Station, FIKA Coffee, Gene’s Food, Cook County Coop and Organic Consumer’s Association, please thank them!