Hunters have Hindi where they want him

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1998:

WOODSTOCK, Illinois– – Hauled
to the McHenry County Jail in striped shirt
and jeans on February 4 for alleged contempt
of court, Chicago Animal Rights Coalition
founder Steve Hindi may spend the next five
months writing his memoirs––if he isn’t
Noted for daredevil undercover
videography and for flying the CHARC
paragliders between oncoming geese and
hunters at the now defunct Woodstock Hunt
Club, Hindi, 44, stays alive by accurate risk
assessment, and when he called ANIMAL
PEOPLE the night of February 17, there was
more worry in his voice than editor Merritt
Clifton had heard before, in frequent conversations
that began soon after Hindi, then a
hunter himself, saw the 1989 Labor Day
pigeon shoot at Hegins, Pennsylvania, and
was so appalled that he challenged organizer
Bob Tobash to a fist-fight.

Within a year Hindi gave up his
guns, became a vegan, and evolved into the
animal rights movement’s most innovative
and effective anti-hunting activist––and the
most hated, not just because he may have shut
down more hunting events than all the rest of
the cause put together, but also because he
has the background, investigative skill, and
media flair to expose hunters’ secrets.
In the McHenry County Jail, Hindi
is surrounded by hunters doing time for everything
from arson to zonking out on drugs––
and guards who may have been pals of the late
Woodstock Hunt Club owner, Earl Johnson,
a former cop. Johnson died of a heart attack
in November 1996 while Hindi was in jail for
the first time on the present charges.
The case began when Johnson sued
Hindi for allegedly harming the hunt club
business by keeping geese out of shooting
range, and sought a temporary restraining
order to halt Hindi’s flights. The order was
issued by McHenry County Judge James
Franz––who has been accused, though not
convicted, of improperly throwing his weight
around in other cases, including his girlfriend’s
May 1997 divorce.
Scheduled to protest outside the
hunt club the next day, Hindi didn’t receive
service of the TRO until after that weekend.
When another protester was hit with a similar
TRO, however, Hindi asked that protester’s
attorney, Richard D. Grossman, partner of
Hindi’s own attorney at the time, Lou Bruno,
what the order meant. Hindi has contended
ever since that Grossman told him a groundbased
demonstration probably wouldn’t violate
the TRO. Bruno allegedly neither raised
that point nor called Grossman to the witness
stand. Franz socked Hindi with six months in
jail for contempt. Then, annoyed that Hindi
went on a 16-day hunger strike, Franz repeatedly
delayed Hindi’s release––ordered by a
higher court––pending the outcome of an
The appeal was eventually denied,
but by then Hindi had new attorneys, Judith
and Rich Halpern, who in November 1997
alleged to the 19th Judicial Circuit Court that
Bruno grievously misrepresented Hindi.
As of February 3, the Halperns and
Hindi thought they had negotiated a plea bargain
settlement with the McHenry County
prosecutor of all remaining charges. The next
day, however, McHenry County officials
denied makling a deal. Franz hit Hindi with
the maximum time left on his original sentence.
A first-level appeal was denied. That
means Hindi will stay in jail, barring unexpected
intervention by the Illinois Supreme
Court, until either his sentence is fully served
circa July 4––or some of the violent men
around him take his head as a trophy.

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