Lucie Thompson

Lucie Thompsn

The 11th District Court of Appeals in Warren has upheld the conviction of a woman whose horses, chickens, ducks, a pig and a dog were taken from her by animal enforcement authorities.
Meanwhile, Lucie Thompson has filed a federal civil suit against the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County and others alleging civil rights violations.
Animal Welfare League received a warrant from Trumbull County Central District Court Judge Thomas Campbell to seize the animals in November 2017. Thompson lived in the 7100 block of Warren Sharon Road in Brookfield at the time – she now lives in Girard – and the league responded to complaints from passers-by, some of whom also launched a social media outrage campaign.
Most of the animals were taken to Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, Ravenna, while the league accepted the dog.
The league charged Thompson with animal cruelty, and she was found guilty at trial in May 2018 by Campbell. She received a sentence of 1 year of probation, but Campbell also ordered permanent removal of the animals.
Campbell had gotten the case after the then-judge of Trumbull County Eastern District Court, Brookfield, Robert Platt, recused himself because he is law partner of Thompson’s trial attorney, George Gessner.
In her appeal, Thompson challenged the validity of the transfer of the case from Platt to Campbell, and Campbell’s authority to issue two search warrants and decide the case.
Thompson also appealed Campbell’s decision to seize the dog without a hearing; the legality of seizing the chickens, ducks, pig and horses; that the law she was convicted under does not apply to dogs; that Campbell abused his discretion, because she was not supplied with an inventory of the seized animals; that Gessner was ineffective; and that Campbell did not follow orders from the appellate court issued after the appeal was filed.
promoIn a 19-page opinion written by Judge Matt Lynch and handed down Nov. 25, a three-judge panel said each of Thompson’s claims was without merit or, in the case of the inventory argument, waived because a motion to suppress was not filed prior to trial.
The court upheld the conviction and sentence saying the trial testimony “primarily established abuse relating to the fowl, horse and pig,” specifically “to their lack of food, water and shelter from the elements.”
The civil suit, filed Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court, Youngstown, names the league; Happy Trails; Humane Agent Harold Firster, who investigated the case; Brookfield Township; Brookfield police Detective Aaron Kasiewicz and Cpl. Ron Mann; Campbell; and Platt.
The suit alleges Thompson was the victim of illegal searches and seizures, and that she was not granted due process. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The suit reiterates some of the same arguments turned aside by the 11th District, including that the transfer to Campbell was not valid and Campbell did not have jurisdiction; Thompson was not given an inventory of what was seized; and the dog was improperly seized.