Former juror posts bail for Dan De Vaul, letting him out of jail

Embattled San Luis Obispo rancher Dan De Vaul was released from County Jail on Tuesday night after a juror from his trial posted his bail.

Juror Mary Partin said she feels strongly about De Vaul’s innocence and wanted to help him. She worked with a bondsman and paid the necessary $500, or 10 percent, of De Vaul’s $5,000 bail.

De Vaul’s lawyers filed a notice of appeal on Tuesday before his release about 6:15 p.m.

De Vaul, 66, walked out of County Jail, smiling, wearing the same jeans and cowboy hat he wore Monday for his sentencing.

He hugged a few supporters, including Partin, and then returned to his Sunny Acres Ranch where he was greeted with hugs and well wishes by people who have taken up residence there.

At 7 p.m., an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting began and, outside the meeting, De Vaul vowed to continue helping the homeless and recovering drug and alcohol addicts on his ranch.

“I’m just really infuriated that all this money has been spent and authority used against what we’re doing here, helping people who come to isolate themselves and gain some self-worth,” he said. “We’re being bullied.”

De Vaul was convicted in September of building safety and vehicle storage violations.

Judge John Trice offered De Vaul probation conditions Monday that would have allowed county inspectors to visit his property every 45 days to ensure his progress in complying with county code.

But De Vaul refused and Trice sentenced him to 90 days in County Jail and a fine of $1,000.

Trice commented during sentencing that De Vaul hasn’t been a good steward of his land and, though he has good intentions, legal issues shouldn’t be confused with social ones, adding that De Vaul has consistently ignored warnings to comply with the law.

De Vaul said Tuesday that he hopes to come up with a resolution with government officials that will enable him to build a living facility for the homeless on his property without exorbitant costs for planning.

He says an environmental impact report and other studies would cost him $400,000. Then, he said, there would be the risk of his project being denied.

Partin said Tuesday she knew nothing about the case before becoming a juror at the trial.

She wrote a declaration after the verdict, saying that she felt pressured by other jurors and the judge to change her mind from voting not guilty on all nine charges.

But Judge Michael Duffy ruled against a motion for a new trial.

“I heard about him going to jail yesterday and I felt so upset that I couldn’t sleep,” said Partin, a manager of a Templeton radiology office. “I felt like I had to help him.”

De Vaul’s appeal will be heard in the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Ventura, said Becky Jorgeson, a spokeswoman for Sunny Acres.