On behalf of New 49'ers, I have just spent most of the last 2
weeks in court (Redding, California) helping to defend 3
prospectors over there who were being prosecuted for panning and
hand sluicing. While we and several others helped, Shasta Miners
took the lead and deserve the credit for winning this very
This case was like World War 3, with the Department of Fish & Game
really wanting to win against these prospectors.
The trial was finished yesterday evening, and the 12-person jury
spent all of today deliberating. Here follows the email I just
received from Diana Clayton of the Shasta Miners:
This was a good day for Shasta County Miners and Prospectors.
We won the day. The verdict came in about 5:15 PM. The jurors
deliberated from nine in the morning until 3:30 and again for a
few minutes after 4.
Robert Szuch and Vivian Reynolds were found to be not guilty.
Brian Reynolds received a mistrial (hung jury 6 to 6). The judge
asked for a settlement conference on next Thursday the 12th at
about 1:30. His words in court was he wanted to see what they
could to resolve it in conference. I can't imagine that they would
want to retry the case.
Donna, Randy and the attorneys along with Brian, Vivian and Robert
had a chance to talk to some of the jurors.
Some of things they had to say was quite interesting. What was it
about Brian that hung the Jury? The answer was due to the evidence
photos. First, the jury thought the photos could have been
presented better. But I think what they were trying to tell us,
was the photo of the hole that Brian was supposed to dig had a
picture of the pick and it appeared what he was doing seemed to
undercut the bank, which caused harm. Remember, 6 of the jurors
The jurors we talked to pretty much said the DFG biologist had no
impact on them (the jurors).
One of the jurors said this was akin to a family outing such as
going for a swim, he saw the whole thing as that minor.
The jurors we talked to didn't think any of the attorneys did a
really good job of presenting evidence specifically pointing out
the photos and they were not very good.
I did contact tyler at Channel 7 news. He said they are happy for
us and that he would follow up with a story. I am not sure whether
it meant he would follow up on the late news or follow up with
Thanks to all who walked the extra mile to help us out.