Gracia Hearing Day 3

From our wonderful court observer, Daniel Sigmon:

Greetings All,

I will do my best to weave a narrative for you from the day in this
installment of what is turning into the trial of the century it seems. I was
only able to be present in the morning. The information from the afternoon
is taken from the copious notes that [name omitted] graciously took this

I arrived this morning at around 8:45 and the courtroom was open. I was
early but the room was a buzz with activity. Both councils were going
through notes and making terse requests of each other. The mood was
definitely different this morning.

From the very beginning of proceedings the lead prosecuter was extremely
belligerent and non cooperative, even hostile at times. There were VERY few
people on the prosecutions side of the courtroom today. There was definitely
a backed into the corner kind of desperation emanating from that side of the

At the very beginning of the actual session the defense demanded that the
prosecution state for the record who they were representing since it had
been stated several times in several different ways, Did they represent SPCA
or the Constables office.

Testiimony began today with us finally getting to see the original
complaintant. Prosecution finally agreed to bring him in, a pilot for
express jet and an insurance inspector. He looked like a bewildered puppy.
Clearly an naive animal lover that thought calling SPCA meant he loved
animals and a good deed would be done.

Then the prosecutor called the lead constable up to the stand. What followed
was an agonizingly SLOW examination by the prosecutor where she asked a
million questions to establish the deputy's training and background. (Which
contained law enforcement continuing ed in animal cruelty and correspondence
courses). The came the photos once again, the prosecution showed photo after
photo and asked about what the officer saw. At one point defense complained
that the prosecution was needlessly drawing this out. The judge admonished
her that "we are trying to move this forward counselor." Apparently no
effect. She spent basically the time from 9:45 AM until around 4:30 with the
constable. Basically setting the scene for the court. More time was spent on
the abandonment motivation today. Trying to cover the butts of the
investigators and officers involved.

Defense was finally given the witness at 4:30. Cross went until around 7:00
PM. The defense raised the issue of the nature of the property with the two
houses and the reason that it was called abandoned. Apparently it also came
out in the trial that the original warrant contained non of the cruelty
verbiage that is required by state law to demonstrate cruelty to animals.
The defense also spent some time trying to get out of the constable how she
arrived at her choices of animals to seize. The warrant originally contained
a small number, then was changed to all of the animals and they ended up
taking something in between, Lots of arbitrary calls being made.

After the trial concluded, the lead defense attorney took a wonderful, sweet
elderly couple up to see the judge. They had been boarding their birds while
they were on vacation with the Gracias. Their birds were seized. The quietly
and plaintively asked for their birds back and were met with unpleasant,
"Fran Drescher-esque" protests of the prosecution that no birds where going
anywhere until the trial was over. The judge then asked the male
investigator of SPCA to help them find their birds. They were to bring their
paperwork that proved ownership of the birds with them to court when the
hearing resumes on Friday and he would make a ruling at that time. Amoung
their birds is a 9! year old canary! We all hope that poor old soul is not
one of the birds that this terrible miscarriage of justice has claimed.

No matter what happens, the Gracias will keep fighting. If the ultimate
ruling is against them they are prepared to file an appeal.

See you all on Friday.


Thank you yet again and, with a little luck, I’ll get to join you tomorrow.  Hearing resumes at 10:00 AM on Friday.

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