Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon D. Hershberger has lost his appeal of the misdemeanor guilty verdict imposed last year by a jury and Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Guy D. Reynolds. In a 25-page opinion issued Thursday, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld Hershberger’s conviction for violating a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection holding order. Hershberger had appealed his May 2013 conviction to the Appeals Court District IV on three grounds. He claimed he had been prohibited from: introducing expert testimony and other evidence purportedly showing that there was no factual basis for the state to issue the holding order, introducing evidence about an unredacted version of the holding order, and presenting evidence to support his theory of the defense. The appeals court judges found in each instance that the trial court’s ruling was legally correct. The holding order prohibited Hershberger from selling or moving dairy and meat products from his farm without permission during the time the holding order was in force. All parties, including Hershberger, agreed that the defendant violated the holding order the day after it was issued, which was a criminal offense. A Wisconsin holding order is good for 14 days. Before he faced trial, Hershberger and his legal counsel were prohibited from making any collateral attack on the order, including any testimony or evidence, on the basis that it would not be relevant. The court also permitted a redacted version of the order to be introduced at trial. Hershberger was found guilty of the offense, which could mean up to one year in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine. The trial judge denied his motion for a new trial. Hershberger argued on appeal that the rationale for the holding order was “factually baseless.” A Barbaboo, WI, jury had found Hershberger not guilty on three other counts charging that the dairy farmer lacked necessary licenses required to legally operate in the state. That was enough for the food freedom celebrities and raw milk advocates, who hung around town for the trial, to declare a big victory for Hershberger. Thursday’s appeals court decision means those interests may have spiked the ball too early, especially if the colorful raw milk advocate has to do any jail time. The appeals court found that Wisconsin officials are immune from collateral attacks on judicial orders and judgments and administrative orders. Therefore the trial court was correct in granting the state’s motion to prohibit it. “The court found that he ‘could have requested a contested hearing and an informal hearing to challenge the order and in the process … contested the adequacy of the grounds for the holding order,’ but that he ‘did not avail himself of that right.’” As for Hershberger’s due process rights once the holding order was issued, the court said state agricultural rules do provide an opportunity to request a hearing on whether adequate grounds exist for the hold. The appeals court judges also said there are three clear regulatory paths for review of a holding order. Hershberger insisted he had no way of knowing his rights under those administrative appeals procedures. “In sum, we conclude that the circuit court properly prohibited Hershberger from collaterally attacking the factual basis for issuance of the holding order, that the circuit court properly prohibited Hershberger from introducing into evidence an unredacted version of the holding order, and that the circuit court’s evidentiary rulings did not deny Hershberger his asserted constitutional right to present a defense,” the appeals court ruled.