Thursday October 31, 2013
Minnesota’s relentless decade-long pursuit of dairy farmer Michael Hartmann finally ran off the road, when a state judge ruled earlier this month that the state conducted an illegal search of the farmer’s truck.
In a strongly worded 30-page opinion, Minnesota Judge Erica MacDonald ruled that a state trooper, with help from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, illegally searched Hartmann’s truck and seized raw milk and cheese after a stop in December 2012. The trooper was allowed to stop the truck when he couldn’t see the rear license plate, the judge said, but once he found that the plate was just dirty, and that there was a front license plate, he was obligated to send Hartmann on his way, since there was no violation of motor vehicle or traffic laws. Instead, the trooper called the MDA, which told him to search the truck and confiscate product.