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


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.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I thought the sentencing would be good drama, so I went to the court to check it out last Monday. It was pretty much filled with DeVaul supporters. I came in a little late and had to stand for a while until I found a seat when one of the supporters phone wouldn’t stop ringing and had to leave. The stench of old alcohol permeated the audience seating area, to the point where I got up and left.

Clean and sober – my eye! You bleeders got hoodwinked again.

I just sent in an email to the editor of New Times asking why “sober living facility’ in the Colin Rigley article on St. Dan de Vaul’s Sunny Acres, weren’t capitalized, and whether it was just hearsay. Christine Mulholland wrote a piece, “Out my window”, that she could not get published by either the New Times or Telegram Tribune. In it she described the horror witnessed by her and her neighbors, and described in official county records, of animal abuse and cruelty. Before the homeless Dan was building a motocross track until stopped. I think he should try toxic waste, actually, perhaps storage casks from Diablo. I think a man should be allowed to do with his land what he wants, before he is thrown into prison for recklessness.

Goyo you just made juru with that one, you are so right, you never own land, you only rent it, from the government for a short time, until you can’t pay the taxes, or there is an illness in the family, then someone else buys it and you are ______! I want a deal, out right no strings, just how much for the freaking land and then leave me the ____, alone! Not that I like sex offenders but I think Mullhorn was more worried about one of them crossing the road, then the view, a valid concern addressed the wrong way, now give me some plus signs because, I don’t know how!

“Attorney Stulberg has also waived his fee.”

…Just as long as this stays in the press. I had a friend who was being shafted by her landlord and she called Jeffrey Stulberg. Stulberg’s first question: how much are you paying in rent? Her answer was $1200. His next words were, “I’m gonna pass.”

Two words: Stockholm Syndrome

My hope is that somehow we can find a way to help Mr. De Vaul bring his operation up to code. Are there Contractors out there that are willing to help?? I would bet that there are. We cannot allow a few people to insist that the view from their deck is more important than human suffering. That would be a true crime! Who else out there is willing to step up and help???

Obviously not all of the stench in this county emanates from north of the Grade.

The exception that proves the rule.

Cheseburger will help, if some one gives me gas money to get there, scared to ride my bike and I would need my tools also, pick me up in L.O. Van Curraza will help too, as long as the waves are only so so and not perfect.

The Duffy/Trice connection is priceless.

This is beginning to sound like a made-for-TV movie for the holidays.

Mary, may the good Lord shower many blessings on you and yours. Ms Mulholland may the devil him self have something special for you Be-e-a-atch!!

As for Trice. Accussed of misconduct and found that there isn’t any and after he presures Mary?? Give me a break. Trice is a piece of you know what. Again our local Gov. officials from the court to SLO cops thinking they are better than the rest of us who pay these sad sacks wages. Not sure if Trice is elected to Judgeship but if he is, I say to everyone remember this!!!!!!!!!

Number one, I do not believe for one moment that the prosecutors in this case had the “safety” of any of DeVauls lodgers in their true hearts.

I do not think that any real public service was improved by this trial.

And i truly hope that when Devaul is forcibly removed as the juggernaught wants, that a large flock of buzzards take up residence upon the fence-posts of this property and consume roadkill for the unobstructed view of the neighbors on hot windy days.

And I hope Laguna Lake turns into the fetid swamp that they deserve.

Let’s entertain a counterfactual. It’s not hard to imagine some accident at Sunny Acres caused by the shoddy conditions — a fire perhaps — that hurt or killed someone and the first question on everyone’s lips being, “Why didn’t the County prevent this? These buildings clearly weren’t up to code! Typical government incompetence.”

As cynically self-interested as Mulholland may be, no one should have any illusions about Sunny Acres and its Al Sharptonesque leader:


Thanks for the link mccdave, The street view is beautiful.

So he must have a plane, I googled my house, same trashy seen, so what most people don’t have time to be critical of others, or planes, idle minds are the devils workshop!

1 2 3