An Oregon women facing 55 counts of felony animal neglect, 48 of which are due to her neglect of horses, failed to appear at the start of her trial that was supposed to start Tuesday in Yamhill County Circuit Court. The woman, Susan Swango, 82, also failed to appear at a pre-trial readiness hearing on January 20th.
After failing to appear Tuesday morning, Swango did call the court that morning and stated that she believed the case had been resolved in her favor, and had transportation issues. Judge Cynthia Easterday reviewed emails provided by Swango’s court appointed “legal advisor”, and then issued a warrant for Swango’s arrest for “failure to appear”– having already issued an arrest warrant previously for multiple failures to appear at pre-trial hearings.
Easterday also moved to revoke Swango’s previous waiver of attorney which was previously granted at a contentious hearing in which was also covered by NW Horse Report back in July. During that hearing Swango was repeatedly scolded by the Judge for inappropriate comments and disruptions.
The previous hearings and interactions raised many questions among those following the case about Swango’s ability to competently represent herself in the trial. It appeared that the past incidents and statements from Swango– combined with the review of emails shared by her count appointed advisor– led to Easterday believing that Swango was not competent enough to represent herself in the case.
Swango did however appear in court later that morning and the warrant was then recalled. Public defenders were appointed to Swango by Judge Easterday to represent her going forward. The trial was then cancelled, along with a separate trial scheduled for January 27th for Fraudulent Use of a Credit Cart.
A status hearing has now been scheduled for mid-February. Contact information for Swango’s count appointed attorney was not immediately available for NW Horse Report to seek comment before press time.