Juror bails out De Vaul

November 24, 2009
Dan De Vaul embraces juror number five as he leaves the jail

Dan De Vaul embraces Juror Number Five as he leaves the jail

By KAREN VELIE

After voting Dan De Vaul guilty of safety and building code violations, Juror Number Five posted bail for the rancher who chose to go to jail rather than evict the homeless from his property.

“My son may not have the best Christmas, but it was the right thing to do,” said Mary Partin, a single mother who manages a radiology office, also known as Juror Number Five. “I couldn’t sleep last night knowing he was in jail.”

Partin said she caved to judicial pressure even though she believed De Vaul innocent of all charges.

Yesterday, Superior Court Judge John Trice offered De Vaul five years of probation in exchange for up to 90 days in jail along with a $1,000 fine. De Vaul elected to go to jail in an attempt to continue to provide thirty needy people with a place to live.

Trice sat bail at $5,000 pending a notice of appeal.

devaul 017De Vaul was found guilty of having unpermitted mobile homes, excessive vehicles as well fire hazards on his property including an extension cord to a tent.

“Count how many cords are coming out of the ceiling in the courthouse snack room,” Partin said.

“The frustrating thing for me is that the county asked him (De Vaul) to keep a sex offender on the property and supplied a trailer for him to live in. Then they charge (De Vaul) for having that trailer on his property,” Partin said.

Supporters of De Vaul question how he could have had a fair trial when half of the jurors and all but one witness were county employees or involved in law enforcement.

“Juror Number 12, who has two family members in law enforcement, said ‘you are stupid’ after I voted not guilty on all charges,” Partin said.

Trice pulled Partin out of deliberations twice to talk to her.

“I asked him why I was being singled out and why he wasn’t also talking to those with strong opinions on the other side,” Partin said. “He got angry and said we are here to talk about your views.”

ABC Bonding agent Frank Eggers talks to Mary Partin

ABC Bonding agent Frank Eggers talks to Mary Partin

In October, De Vaul’s attorney Jeff Stulberg filed a motion for a new trial because Partin said she reluctantly agreed to vote guilty on the two counts after Trice reprimanded her and some of the jurors harassed her.

On the first day of deliberations, Partin said Juror Number Two claimed that with his wife’s position as a county probation supervisor and his job in law enforcement, he knew more about the case than he should know.

Last week, Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy disagreed with De Vaul’s lawyers’ arguments that misconduct by Trice had tainted the jury. After oral arguments, Duffy immediately began reading from a previously prepared statement, leading observers to believe he had written his decision before hearing arguments.

In addition, De Vaul’s supporters wonder why Duffy, who served as the best man at Trice’s wedding, didn’t ask another judge to hear the motion.

De Vaul runs Sunny Acres, a clean and sober living facility, on his ranch on Los Osos Valley Road. He has housed between 30 to 75 low income and homeless people on the 72 acre property at any given time over the past nine years.

For more than 10 years, three neighbors of the vehicle-littered property, including former San Luis Obispo Councilwoman Christine Mulholland, have lodged complaints accusing De Vaul of code violations.

Opponents of De Vaul contend the property provides an unsafe environment for those who live there.

Earlier today, De Vaul’s appeal attorney Neil Tardiff, working pro bono, filed a notice with the San Luis Obispo Superior Courts that he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling. Attorney Stulberg has also waived his fee.


45 Comments

  1. Moderator says:

    I don’t like to see long preachy comments, let alone two consecutive, long preachy comments from the same user, so the first one was deleted. CCN Moderator

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  2. seekingtruth says:

    I can see how #5 would give in to the pressure of the jury. Most people today seek the route of least resistance. Thankfully, #5 has a conscious, and she acted on it when the pressure was gone. Good for her. I wish the government would leave this man alone, as he is hurting no one and he is helping many.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  3. Booty JuJu says:

    Forget about real estate. It’s done. Forty percent of Californians are underwater on their mortgages – they owe more than their crib is worth. Forty percent. The official unemployment rate in CA of 12 plus percent is a joke. Try more like 20% for a realistic number. The Average Joe is p*ssing himself while the government feeds him lies and false hope of a “recovery”. Not gonna happen.

    Around seventy percent of our economy is consumer based. Stick a knife in it, it’s done. How pathetic is it that our society now vests all its hopes and wishes for thriving, indeed survival, on a yearly ceremony we have come to call Black Friday. I’m told that “consumers” in Paso were caught on video chanting, dancing and wringing the necks of chickens in the WalMart parking lots the other day in the hopes of winning supernatural favor for that race down the aisle to the flat-screen TV loss leaders. Can anyone confirm this?

    So, we can continue to delude ourselves about the prospect of returning to a reality that was never real and sustaining the inherently unsustainable. That’s ok then. But the trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn’t give a f*ck what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn’t “spin.” Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management, sensitivity training or diversity quotas. These days, Americans don’t like reality very much because it won’t let them push it around. Reality is an immoveable force and the only question for human beings in the face of it is: What will you do about it? It’s astonishing that so many so-called smart people don’t get this.

    Understand this: They’re flat-out lying about the employment figures issued in the government’s name. They’re willfully ignoring the utter bankruptcy gripping government at all levels. Most of all, they persist in promoting the lie that this economy can return to the prior state of reckless debt accumulation (aka “consumerism”) that has made us so ridiculous and unhealthy.

    I understand the awesome power and stamina of Moron Culture in the USA, in everything from the way we inhabit the landscape, the fiasco of suburbia, to the way we feed ourselves – an endless megatonnage of microwaved Velveeta and corn byproducts – along with the popular entertainment offerings of Reality TV, NASCAR ovals, and the hideous, gigantic evangelical church shows beloved in the zombie Heartland. For f*cks sake, if such a concept as “an offense in the sight of God” has any meaning at all, then surely the way we conduct ourselves in this land is the epitome of it – though this is hardly an advertisement for competing religions, who are themselves over-supplied with morons, be they closeted sado-masochistic Southern Baptist teleministers, Vatican-approved child molesters, or mullahs dispatching suicide bombers to the marketplaces frequented by housewives and their children.

    But when reality comes a calling, as it always does eventually, that is a bad crazy day. A hard pillow to sleep with. Reality doesn’t care if the dog peed on your homework…or you had car trouble this morning…or the tattoo on your neck got infected.

    Reality will soon take us out to some woodshed of the national soul and beat the living crap out of us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  4. mccdave says:

    The Brits did “America’s Most Embarrassing Parents” thirty-five years ago, probably because their empire died sooner than ours:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzXGhZebNOo

    I’d agree with Professor Booty except for one far more disturbing possibility: that the U.S. might actually be able to go back to business as usual. People keep buying Treasury bills and the Chinese keep their currency undervalued, so we still have some room to run before we reach the end of the leash and suddenly choke ourselves. And the belief in property-based easy wealth is definitely seeing a recovery:
    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2009/11/flipper-in-trouble.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. cheseburger says:

    Van Curaza, went to rehab there/lived there. Now he is excepted back in the lineup,( that’s terminology for take off spot in a surf break, he has been behaving much better and I think the stay at the Devaul ranch, did him a world of good, you could be paying for him, if he went to prison and now he’s a famous surfer again, that has more time, to pay back many!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. cheseburger says:

    After building a sewer half way, smack dab in the middle of town, getting shut down, for the dumb move in the first place, they expect L.O. to pay for the whole project, get real, good old boys live in L.O. too, and they won’t stand for it, it will be spread out, at the last minute, I would bet my life on it, since it’s not worth much anymore. Sewer cost should be shared through out the county, and this is related because everybody has to ____, even Devaul.

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  7. cheseburger says:

    Booty,I love this so true, we get bent over all the time out here, the dam CSD took $3,200, just like Hurst did, only who do I sue? The county of San Luis, Los Osos pays as much property tax as anybody else in the county, how come half of it is dirt roads and pot holes? Where’s my money San Luis county, you slapped me with a $25,000 bill do I get the $3,200 hundred back or do I have to sue? I think this may be what booty is referring too! I endorse booty’s negative 13 comment, he’s right!

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