Trial against bear activist continues

Vernon. Dan Perez, defense attorney for bear activist Danielle Varon, called for the dismissal of two charges against her. Varon is accused of tampering with a bear trap designed to catch a nuisance bear in Vernon Township.

27 Jan 2020 | 01:11

Defense attorney Dan Perez called for a dismissal of two charges on Jan. 21 against Danielle Varon, a bear activist who is accused of scaring a bear away from a trap on April 3, 2019.

Perez said there was a confusion in state statues.

Varon is facing charges of obstructing a governmental function, which could land her in jail for up to six months, hindering the lawful taking of wildlife and maintaining a public nuisance.

Three witnesses appeared in court before Judge James Devine giving their testimony

Tyler Hausamann of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Police continued his testimony from Dec. 17.

Video and still photography were presented, marking specific times as the bear advanced toward and away from the trap, in relation to Varon’s green Fiat being in the area.

Both the conservation officer and Comet Security guard Joseph Chavarria testified that Varon’s car could have influenced the bear’s decision to retreat from the trap area.

Perez argued that Varon’s former residence on Gray Rock Drive connects to Telemark Drive where the bear trap was situated and Varon would need to drive by to reach her home.

Perez mentioned another close proximity resident also owns a similar dark-colored Fiat.

A third witness, village resident Heather DiMichele, accused Varon of three episodes of excessive speed and reckless driving in the Great Gorge Village parking lot on the date of the bear trap encounter.

Perez questioned the relevancy of this witness.

After Perez's call for dismiss, Devine asked Perez to prepare a brief on the discrepancy in two weeks from the trial date.