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LIVESTOCK PREMISE ID CASE IN JUDGE'S HANDS
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 -- 2:55 pm
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director


A hotly contested court case is now in the hands of a judge.

Last week, Clark County District Attorney Darwin Zwieg filed his final brief in a case that pits the Old Order Amish against the government.

In Wisconsin v. Emanuel Miller Jr., Zwieg alleges the Loyal area farmer stands in violation of a state law requiring all properties where livestock live be registered with the state.

Miller admits as much, but claims the rule infringes on his religious beliefs.

According to testimony during an evidentiary hearing in the matter, those in Millerís faith fear eternal damnation if they abide by the law, which they feel could be a precursor to the biblical ĎMark of the Beastí.

In his brief, Zwieg notes a sincerely held religious belief should not give groups the ability to ride roughshod over the law. He cites several cults, including Heavenís Gate; the 39 members of that group committed suicide, believing aliens would take their souls away to another level. A sincerely held belief, Zwieg writes, that was wrong.

He also says the state has a compelling interest to promote food and animal safety, human health and the economy. He points to testimony from DATCP employees, who stated mandatory premise ID would greatly improve their ability to respond to an animal disease outbreak.

If one life is saved by the law, the stateís interest is compelling, Zwieg concludes.

An attorney representing Miller has already filed her final brief.

The case now goes to Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon Counsell for consideration.

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