DxE Wins Motion for New Jury and Trial Location
The #SmithfieldTrial is moving to Washington County, Utah because the judge agreed it would be a challenge to find an impartial jury in Beaver County.
On Friday, August 19th, DxE investigators Wayne Hsiung and Paul Darwin Picklesimer won their motion to change venues in the upcoming Smithfield animal rescue trial. Utah Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox agreed that Smithfield Foods, a major employer in Beaver County, and local law enforcement had biased people in the county against the defendants. The motion was filed following recent events in Beaver where local Sheriff's deputies told animal rights activists who were talking to residents about Smithfield that they “are not wanted in this community” and that they may be killed.
Audit the Audit, a popular YouTube channel that covers police interactions, published a video about the interaction between activists and officers in Beaver. (8/31 update: The video has over 900,000 views, and that number continues to rise!)
Following the change in venues, the #SmithfieldTrial will now take place in Washington County, Utah. This is a win for the legal case, as the jury pool in Washington County is more progressive and less financially dependent on Smithfield.
In Beaver County, Smithfield Foods employs nearly double the number of people who are even eligible for jury duty. Only 175 people in the county are eligible for jury duty, and Smithfield employs around 300 people in the county. The judge agreed that this was an obstacle for finding an impartial jury. While this acknowledgement of bias is a victory, the judge also showed his own bias against animal rights supporters when he stated that part of his reasoning for granting the change of venue motion was a fear for people's safety because of animal rights protestors inciting people. To the contrary, it is Beaver police who threatened and intimidated peaceful animal rights activists trying to do outreach on public property. I hope the people of Washington County are less biased against animal rights than this judge is.
As a result of this change in venue, the trial has also been delayed to October 3-7 (and we anticipate it may last into the following week). Our trial support convergence will now be October 3-11. If you can join us in Utah in October, please register for free -- or re-register even if you registered for the previous dates -- at dxe.io/utahsignup.