The #SonomaRescueTrial is happening now
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We, the undersigned, write to demand immediate action to rectify the abuses of the factory farming industry around the world, and protect whistleblowers who expose this misconduct and help the suffering animals.
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About the Right to Rescue
Sonoma County, CaliforniaSept. 21, 2023
Today, defendant Priya Sawhney took a deferred entry of judgment plea deal, meaning charges will not be filed against her if she completes the terms of the agreement which include community service and two years of probation. She said, “There were some strategic disagreements between my attorneys and me about prioritizing my best interests versus the interests of the animals. This case is bigger than me or any of us. It’s about suffering animals who deserve to be rescued. I trust Wayne to represent them as well as anyone could.”
Sonoma County, CaliforniaSept. 6, 2023
Yesterday, Sonoma County District Attorney Robert Waner told Cassie's lawyer that he will be dismissing her from the case on Friday. We can only speculate as to why he’s dropping Cassie's charges. Maybe he wants her brilliant attorney Izaak Schwaiger out of the case. Maybe he's too overwhelmed with the mountains of evidence of animal cruelty the defense submitted to them as trial exhibits. Watch and share today's video with this news on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Sonoma County, CaliforniaSept. 1, 2023
In the pre-trial readiness hearing today, the prosecutor made a surprising announcement -- the DA's office is amending the charges against the defendants to remove all mention of burglary and theft, leaving only trespass and conspiracy to commit trespass. This might seem like good news, but we think it's a strategic cover-up of evidence relating to the "value" of the rescued animals. This comes after over four years in which the prosecution has zealously argued that the defendants took "something" of "value" from the factory farms, and it comes on the heels of the defense filing its exhibits showing the actual condition of the animals inside Sunrise Farms and Reichardt Duck Farm. They know the animals are treated like garbage, even at "humane certified," "cage-free" farms -- and they don't want the jury or public to see that truth. Please share this video about the amended charges. Today, the court also issued a gag order prohibiting Cassie, Priya, and Wayne from speaking to the media about their case. Now it's even more important that you help us elevate this historic trial.
Sonoma County, CaliforniaAug. 30, 2023
Harvard’s Animal Law and Policy Program Director and Law Professor Kristen Stilt submitted an amicus brief in the Sonoma rescue case asserting that animals are “someone,” and that ordinary citizens therefore can use the necessity defense when they are charged in connection with animal rescue. It might seem obvious to many of us that an animal is someone, but prosecutors defending animal agriculture have tried to argue that they aren’t and that laws like the necessity defense can’t be used to defend the rescue of animals from abuse. This new amicus brief supports what we already know: that animals are individuals and they have the right to be rescued from situations of neglect and cruelty. You can read the full amicus brief here. Share this important news on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Sonoma County, CaliforniaMay 30, 2023
This morning, trial dates were set for Cassie, Priya, and Wayne. The #SonomaRescueTrial will start September 8, 2023 and it is expected to last two weeks or longer. Please share the news on Twitter! DxE is organizing a convergence during the trial to support the defendants and the right to rescue. Register for the convergence here.
Sonoma County, CaliforniaMay 3, 2023
Last night, the Sebastopol City Council passed a historic resolution to support the activists facing charges in Sonoma County for peaceful actions at factory farms where animals were openly rescued from abuse. Sebastopol is the third city to pass a resolution condemning the prosecution of animal rescuers, following Berkeley and San Francisco -- and it is the first city to do so in Sonoma County! Please help us elevate this important victory by sharing the video on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Merced County, CaliforniaMar. 17, 2023
VICTORY! The jury found Alicia and Alexandra NOT GUILTY of theft for rescuing Ethan and Jax! This is a major win for the Right to Rescue! Please share the news on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Merced County, CaliforniaFeb. 21, 2023
Merced County Judge Paul Lo granted the defense’s subpoena of Foster Farms’ records regarding the health conditions of the group of chickens that included the two who were rescued. Foster Farms will be compelled to provide evidence regarding diseased, deceased, and condemned birds from the flock that included Jax and Ethan. Previous attempts to obtain this kind of evidence were completely denied in North Carolina and Utah. This is an important victory that will certainly impact the trial, and future legal efforts. Read more in the press here.
Merced County, CaliforniaFeb. 14, 2023
New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo just wrote about the #FosterFarmsTrial in a piece powerfully titled, “Rescuing Farm Animals From Cruelty Should Be Legal.” Manjoo describes the routine cruelty at Foster Farms and examines the strategy behind the “Right to Rescue” cases before concluding that the defendants, Alexandra Paul and Alicia Santurio, “should be praised, not punished.” Help us elevate this incredible coverage by sharing it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Sonoma County, CaliforniaFeb. 6, 2023
Preliminary hearings finally concluded for Cassie, Priya, and Wayne (and Almira took a plea deal) on Jan. 19. Judge Honigsberg said he needed some time to consider the defense attorneys' 17b motions (motions to reduce the felony counts to misdemeanors), so Cassie, Priya, and Wayne went back to court on February 6, 2023 to hear the judge's ruling. He granted the 17b motion for Cassie, saying that in his review of the livestreams, he had not seen her seeming to be in a leadership role at the actions. He denied the motions for Priya and Wayne. Cassie now faces 8 misdemeanors, whereas her co-defendants face four felonies and four misdemeanors each. Trial is expected in 2023 for all four remaining defendants. Jon took the same plea deal as Almira.
Beaver County, UtahJan. 20, 2023
The University of Denver Animal Activist Defense Project hosted a “Smithfield Trial Summit” from Jan. 13-15 featuring panels and presentations by the defendants, lawyers, and jurors from this historic trial. Five of eight jurors attended and spoke about what motivated them to acquit Wayne and Paul. You can read more about the event in this press article.
Merced County, CaliforniaDec. 13, 2022
Trial dates were set today for the Foster Farms rescue case. Former Baywatch star Alexandra Paul and co-defendant Alicia Santurio are being charged with misdemeanor theft for rescuing two birds from a slaughter truck that was stopped on its way into the Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, CA in 2021. Trial is scheduled for March 7, 2023 and it is expected to last 4-5 days. DxE is organizing a court support convergence around the trial. Register to join us at the trial by filling out this form.
Washington County, UtahOct. 8, 2022
Victory! The jury in the #SmithfieldTrial unanimously found Wayne and Paul NOT GUILTY on all charges for rescuing Lily and Lizzie from Smithfield's Circle Four Farms. This groundbreaking verdict shows that the public supports the right to rescue animals from abuse. Please spread the word!
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