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Andi Elliott: Open Letter to Idaho State Bar, Sheriff’s Association, Governor and Attorney General

February 26th, 2010 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

To: Idaho State Bar
Idaho Sheriff’s Association
Office of the Governor
Office of the Attorney General

Re: Jefferson County Prosecutor Robin Dunn
Jefferson County Sheriff Blair Olsen

Dear Sir:

As the defendant in a criminal trespass case that has been scheduled since November, I am writing to express my concerns with the actions of the above county officials. It was my intent to wait until after the trial today but now, late yesterday afternoon, (after a witness from Boise and supporters from out of state have traveled to Idaho Falls) I have been told that it is rescheduled until May 4th. This last minute request for delay is inexcusable and especially in light of the fact that just last week in court, Mr. Dunn told the judge that the trial would take an hour. Also, I assume, that a timeframe of 6 months is still considered under the Constitution to be a “speedy” trial.

I have been charged with criminal trespass and you would think from the actions of the prosecutor and the time and resources devoted to this case that it is a capital murder offense. A Jefferson County Deputy (we have his written statement) asked me to go offer assistance to the owner of a dog who had been hit by a car and had multiple broken legs and had been left in the owner’s yard in the snow trying to nurse 7 or 8 puppies for, at that point in time, 3 days. Because of the failure of Sheriff Olsen to enforce Ch 25-3511 of the Idaho Codes, the dog was allowed to suffer “needlessly” for 5 days before help from outside of the county arrived and took the dog to the vet.

As the president of The Humane Society of the Upper Valley for 6 or 7 years, I have worked with the JCSD on many animal cruelty issues since 2002 and have even been written into a Jefferson County court order when the cruelty situation warranted it. (Ben Juenke Animal Cruelty probation violation.) HSUV continues to receive referrals from the JCSD for assistance with animal welfare issues as the county officials have stated that animals are not priority and therefore there no monies have been budgeted to deal with these issues. HSUV has picked up the bill for years and even at one point, with an especially horrendous case, I personally paid $2000 of a $2400 bill, so that Sheriff Olsen wouldn’t be stuck with such a huge expense.

In this current case in Mud Lake, ID, I was instructed by a JC Deputy to go to the home of the owner and offer assistance to the owner which I did on NOV 22. (The deputy’s statement corroborates this.) Upon arrival and seeing the condition of the dog from a neighbor’s yard (I had the neighbor’s permission to park in her drive). I immediately called for a deputy. The dog obviously needed medical care. It appeared that the dog had two broken legs that later was confirmed by veterinary x-rays. I offered to pay the vet bill and asked that the state vet be called out for an opinion; both of these options were rejected by the Sheriff. And so, the dog was left in the snow without care.

I returned home and sent pictures to the media and the Humane Society of the United States who immediately stepped in to try and help this dog. On the 5th day, someone who had seen the story on the media, drove from Boise and with the permission of the owner, took Barbie and her puppies to his vet in Ada County. He was later charged with felony grand theft by Olsen and Dunn. Please note, that to this day, the owner, Raul Torres, has not been charged with animal cruelty.

On the 23rd of Nov, I was cited for criminal trespass. Since then Prosecutor Dunn has amended the charges twice and even yesterday, the eve of the trial. Evidently, he couldn’t prove the trespass charge so my charges and dates continue to be “expanded”. Mr. Dunn has been reluctant to be forthcoming with my attorney and the judge to say exactly what I am being charged with…multiple days, sending out agents, etc. He appears to be grasping at straws here.

Also, I find it amusing that Mr. Dunn has delivered to my attorney a stack of my editorials and transcripts of radio interviews I have written and discussed on air dealing with animal and political issues over the years…something I have done my entire life. I am under the impression that my First Amendments rights are still in affect, even though I now live in Jefferson County. Nor did I realize that Mr. Dunn is my most ardent “reader”.

Additionally, Mr. Dunn has gone out of his way to describe me as an “animal rights activists” though a year and a half ago, I explicitly explained to Sheriff Olsen and a half a dozen others in a meeting in Dunn’s office that included a representative of Humane Society of the United States that I am NOT an animal rights’ activist. I am however an animal welfare advocate which is especially needed in Jefferson County as county officials refuse to do their duty as required by law. It now appears that someone who “advocates” enforcement of Idaho law regarding animal welfare is a criminal only in Jefferson County.

On the 29th of January, Mr. Dunn called Tracie Hotchner, host of Dog Talk Radio that has a listening audience in some 15-20 states. Ms. Hotchner has provided notes of her conversation with Dunn and a follow up podcast. During this interview, he called me a “hillbilly” from “Tennessee” (I am originally from Virginia). He admitted that he did not like me and is biased against me. Mrs. Hotchner would be glad to provide a copy of her notes.

Sheriff Olsen has failed to enforce Idaho law that has been explained to him in depth by the The Humane Society of the United State Director of Animal Cruelty, Adam Parascandola, in Washinton, DC. And this is not the first time…in a case about a year and a half ago, half-starved horses, (which I am told belonged to a friend of Olsen’s) were allowed to needlessly suffer. When the state vet saw pictures of these horses, he immediately went to the property and placed the horses under the care of a local vet. No animal cruelty charges were filed against the owner but I was charged with trespass because I drove down a dirt lane with a dead end sign. Pictures indicate a “no trespassing/keep out” sign on a fence post that to a reasonable person would be applicable to the pasture. So, for the first time in my entire life, I have a criminal record…only in Jefferson County would this happen.

It is important to note that several years ago, Sheriff Olsen called me at home and told me four things: he called me a newcomer (I had only lived in Jefferson County since 2001); he told me I was un-welcomed in Jefferson County; he told me that I was to butt out of the animal welfare business; and I was told that I didn’t understand how things were done here in Idaho. I maintain that the concept of humanness is universal to modern society. (Please note that I have lived all over the US and been involved in cruelty cases since I was 15 and have never had a sheriff call my home to try and intimidate me. I told many people about this incident at the time it occurred as a form of “documentation”. My former attorney also knows of this incident.)

Additionally, Sheriff Olsen has made a habit of threatening the media… three occasions now as they have covered stories of animal abuse in the county. (Ch 3 KIDK can verify this information.) My copy of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press. Also, Olsen has written an op-ed piece that appeared in the Post Register while this case is ongoing. Is this acceptable behavior from a sheriff?

As a resident of Jefferson County, I am more than weary for having folks telling me that I need to be careful as it is not good to have a sheriff angry with you. I am well aware that I have a target on my back. I am also aware that ID codes are being enforced arbitrarily by this Sheriff and Prosecutor. Judges and attorneys outside of the county have advised that this is not legal BUT that they were not surprised to hear that this occurred in Jefferson County. A handful of residents have contacted me with their own stories of abuse of power. I am sure that some of these scenarios have reached your office before now.

As I have worked with deputies in surrounding countries on animal welfare issues, I am told that not only is the JDSD uncooperative with concerns of animals but in other areas of law enforcement demanding cooperation between counties. This is something that definitely bears looking into by supervising authorities.

A conclusion can be drawn that here in Jefferson County, we have a sheriff and prosecutor who are out of control and abuse their power. This trespass case is receiving the attention (even at the national level) that one would think would be more deserving of a capital murder case. (31 people subpoenaed) And from reading an article in the newspaper, Jefferson County is the only county in Idaho who refuses to participate in a form of an “insurance pool” to help offset costs should indeed our county have a significant case. This in itself shows unwise leadership and with this current leadership, Jefferson County officials should look into purchasing an “umbrella” policy. Do our Jefferson County officials know better than every other county in this state? I think not.

As a resident and taxpayer of the county, I expect a full accounting of the time and resources that have been devoted to this case to be made available for public scrutiny upon completion of this mockery of our justice system. AND still, no charges have been filed against the owner of the poor animal that suffered immensely.

If this letter does not suffice, please advise me of the formal process for filing a complaint against Sheriff Olsen and Prosecutor Robin Dunn.

Thank you.

Andi Elliott
Jefferson County, ID 83425

BTW, The Humane Society of the United States has twice now in the last year and a half offered to provide free training for the JCSD and each time, the offer has been rejected. An offer of free training in enforcing Idaho Codes is rejected??? What could possibly be a reasonable explanation for this?

Andi Elliott
Patriotic Resistance Idaho State Coordinator
Tea Party Patriots Idaho State Coordinator
Idaho District 2 Coordinator Anystreet.Org
Member of the American Grand Jury

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Property Rights | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. Daniel Haggard Says:

    I’am very interested in speaking with you about the jefferson county courts and probation. I am currently on probation for a 2 year stint along with a 1k fine. it was for a first time dui and first time anything. Because of some of my comments i made to the jefferson county probation office of about my opinion on the corruption of both departments i am writing a research paper about the system in lieu of a alcohol education class if i could speak with u personally i would really like to hear your story and put it down in this paper. After its complete i am gonna send it to the state rep to see what he thinks. thanks for listening.
    Daniel Haggard

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