An appeal filed by San Luis Obispo rancher Dan De Vaul after his misdemeanor convictions for violating fire safety and vehicle storage laws was rejected by a San Luis Obispo Superior Court appellate panel on Friday.
Signed by Judges Martin Tangeman, Barry LaBarbera, and Ginger Garrett, the appeal decision concluded De Vaul had no legal basis for arguments that he should have been able to present evidence that breaking the law outweighed a potential greater harm and questions of juror misconduct.
The rancher has long argued that he was unfairly prosecuted, saying he provides a valuable service in housing the homeless and offering a substance abuse program to help people on his 70-acre Sunny Acres ranch on Los Osos Valley Road outside San Luis Obispo.
Jeffrey Stulberg, who represented De Vaul in the case, said outside his office Friday that he hadn’t yet read the decision and no decision yet has been made about how to proceed with the case. But Stulberg said that De Vaul has the option to appeal to a higher court to avoid potentially being remanded in County Jail.
The prosecutor who handled the case — Craig Van Rooyen — wasn’t available for comment on Friday, according to the District Attorney’s Office.