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Jimmy Torano Suspended?

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  • #61
    This has nothing to do with Mr. Torano's case in particular, and I have no knowledge whatsoever of the details of that case. However, to be able to discuss the subject of the Hearing Committee and whether or not the process is fair productively, IMHO it is important to understand some things about the USA Eq Hearing Committee and how it operates.

    The Hearing Committee is made up of volunteers, at least 20% of which must be Active Athletes as defined by the USOC Constitution, meaning pros and others riding or driving at the top levels of competition nationally and internationally in the 7 FEI disciplines. The make-up of the Committee is designed to reflect a cross-section of the people in the different breeds and disciplines that are part of USA Eq.

    While the Hearing Committee as a whole consists of some 45 members, the entire Committee seldom, if ever, hears a particular matter. Instead, an individual hearing may be held with a quorum of as few as 3 committee members. Therefore -- just as with a judge and a jury in a courtroom -- the people deciding the issues are different from case to case. They decide those issues based on the evidence presented, the arguments of counsel, and the applicable rules. As I understand it, the committee members get no compensation and they pay their own expenses.

    The respondent (accused) is allowed to be represented by counsel and to present such evidence as may be relevant in an evidentiary hearing. My recollection of the process (without going back to check the rule specifically) is that following the decision at the hearing by the panel of the Hearing Committee, the respondent may appeal the decision to the larger Hearing Committee. He/she may then seek arbitration, which would be another full evidentiary proceeding in front of a panel of 3 neutral arbitrators conducted under the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA).

    It is not a perfect system, but -- just as the system of a judge and jury -- it is the best one we have come up with so far. If anybody has suggestions for improving it, I'm sure USA Eq would be happy to hear them.

    FYI, the current members of the Hearing Committee are as follows:

    MRS. JEAN T. BLACKSTONE
    MRS. T. V. W. CUSHNY
    MR JAMES C WOFFORD
    MR LARRY J BACON
    MR. MIKE BAKER
    DR. SAMUEL J. BARISH
    MRS. SALLY S. BEHNKE
    MR. WASHINGTON D BISHOP
    MRS. FERN P. BITTNER
    MR. JAMES C. BROWN
    MR. J. WILLIAM CRAWFORD
    MS. MARY ANNE CRONAN
    MR. DEREK DI GRAZIA
    MR. ROBERT S. DOUGHERTY
    MR. KEVIN J. FREEMAN
    MR. JOHN H. FRITZ
    MS. NONA GARSON
    MS. LENDON F GRAY
    MRS. ANNE GRIBBONS
    MS. HILDA C. GURNEY
    MR. KARL V HART
    MR. ARTHUR HAWKINS
    MR. STEPHEN O. HAWKINS
    MRS. CECILE K. HETZEL DUNN
    MR. BRENT A. JACOBS
    MS. DIANNE JOHNSON
    MRS. VALERIE J. KANAVY
    MS. KAVAR KERR
    MR. FRANK V. LLOYD
    MR. J. ASHTON MOORE
    MR. WILLIAM J. MORONEY
    MR. DAVID J. O'CONNOR
    MR. STEFFEN PETERS
    MR. GLENN T. PETTY
    MS. KATHLEEN H. RAINE
    MRS. JESSICA RANSEHOUSEN
    MR. ROBERT A. RIDLAND
    ROBERT C. ROST DVM
    MRS. MARSHA H. SHEPARD
    MR. WYATT A. STEWART III
    MS. GAY TALMEY
    MRS. EVE LLOYD THOMPSON
    MR. ALVIN R. TOPPING
    MRS CHRISTINE S TRAURIG
    MRS. JUDITH F. WERNER
    "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry

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    • #62
      While I do agree that it seems that they have a system in place where you can defend yourself, the fact is that the horses at a show are not actually secure. Some people are going to get caught up in something that they are not actually responsible for and end up paying a great deal of money to defend their good name, and it does not seem (and granted all I know is from what I read in the USAE mag and here)like everyone is treated equally, which is a shame.

      Comment


      • #63
        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I don't agree with the above---all that's needed is to determine the average amount, if any, of contamination present in a large number of horses in the same environment as the ones that are in question. It's not necessary to learn how it got there. Certainly, if every competitor runs the same risks of being unfairly penalized, it would be in everyone's interest to participate in such a study. The winter circuits are coming--large numbers of horses will be sharing the environment in question.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

        Yes having all the horses at WEF would be in the same environment but not all would be exposed to the same care by the same people. A truly scientific study would be to take a small group of horses within a confined research area off limits to public traffic and (unfortunately) expose them to small amounts of cocaine orally and take blood samples regularly to establish metabolism rates and then test the theory by having cocaine residue on the GLOVED hands (to prevent human positive tests!) of caretakers during grooming/preparing of feed etc. and again take regular samples of blood for positive tests. With this information in a controlled environment it is possible to establish the likelyhood of the possibility of environmental contamination from a horse exposed to a caretaker with a drug problem or a visitor with one who encounters the horse. To just randomly apply it at a horse show has no controls on exposure.

        On the subject of hearing committees. Again I have to say that if you are an up and coming rider like Jimmy then hiring the big gun lawyers to get you the slap on the wrist penalty that others have received may be out of reach of the pocket book. I had tried to leave specific names of penalties out of it but Nicole Simpson recently (within the last year) beat a charge of giving cocaine to a horse in her care by the environmental exposure defense. And as I remember the big deal with it was they had hired several lawyers to hammer the point home with the committee. So the question begs: why did she get one penalty and Jimmy get another? The drugs and medication rules are necessary so that lame horses aren't drugged to competition readiness or hot ones sedated to improve performance. Ela is right. The system does seem to run contrary to the US Constitution basic right of innocent until proven guilty and go with guilty, prove yourself innocent. Until that changes no one will be safe.
        \"The credit belongs to those people who are actually in the arena...who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions to a worthy cause; who at best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, fail while daring greatly, so that their

        Comment


        • #64
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lillian:
          I still stick by my comments about a two-month suspension not being long enough. I did not refer to Mr. Torano directly, although I will admit this thread is about him. I should have been more clear because I was not singling Mr. Torano out. In general, I believe that if you are caught giving banned substances to a horse(s), the punishment must be more severe. It has to be a deterent, and obviously, 2 months ain't cuttin' it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          Perhaps in some cases, the suspensions may not be tough enough, but...

          People also have to realize that a two month suspension is very serious. Let's say, for instance, you are a trainer. You run a H/J facility where you teach lessons and go to shows. Let's also say that it is the middle of the show season (of which you are on the road every week). You are suspended for two months (for whatever reason). It is not an easy punishment. Granted that for a very serious offense, it isn't so bad...but when you think about it....
          This is their life! It's their business. If they are not showing horses for clients and training at shows, that is a huge cut in their income! It affects their life in every possible way...because this is what their life revolves around! It is not cheep to run a respectable facility, and any cut in income and be extremely costly! I am sure someone will respond to what I am saying with a comment similar to, "well then they shouldn't break the rules." Well, life is a b****, and the horse world can be too. I know people whose horses have been drugged overnight at shows. How do you control that? AS far as it affecting the person's whole life...Take Mr. Torano for instance....if you have ever seen Danielle ride, and his training with her, you can see that they are an excellent team....it isn't easy to lose a member of your "team," not even temporarilly. You lose a lot from a suspension. You lose A LOT money, and perhaps your good name (which is something that is very hard to get back).
          I agree that the system is far from perfect, and I agree that people need to be punished for any violations to the rules...but unless you are looking through the eyes of someone whose whole life revolves around this sport, it is difficult to understand how much a suspension can affect someone.
          I admit that I always checking the list of suspensions in the mag, but I do not and will not form an opinion about someone who I don't know. We never definitely know the real story, but only what the Committee has decided is the real story.
          I do have confidence in Mr. Torano and some others who have been under the glare of the Committee, and I am confident that he will not lose his good name over this incident.
          I have always worried about the horses when we are not there...and it only makes you wonder, who will be victim of a crime they didn't commit? And who will slide through the system scott free?

          So that's just my ten cents (definitely more that two).

          "Just when you thought something was idiot proof, they go and make a better idiot...damned evolution"
          --------------------------
          I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
          -- John Keats

          Comment


          • #65
            As I stated earlier on this board, the inconsistency of punishments is a problem.

            What is the difference between the Simpson/Gonda case and the Torano case? If the evidence in the S/G case (and the amount found in the horse's system was the same or less), why did the hearing committee rule drastically differently?

            Portia, it is helpful of you to explain how the "system" works, however it seems that there is a considerable difference between theory and practice.

            If said hearing committee is, in fact, the "jury" I do not believe they would (or should) have been privy to any previous infractions by the defendant. I doubt that is the case with this instance, as Weatherford pointed out.

            I do not condone the use of banned substances, but I do think we are in desparate need of a level playing field.

            I have been witness to such a hearing (albeit twenty plus years ago), and I can tell you first hand, it is quite different than Portia imagines.

            Comment


            • #66
              I believe Nicole Simpson's name has been dragged through the mud as much, if not more than Jimmy Torano's, even though she only got a "slap on the wrist. I don't know if that means anything or not as far as "guilt" or "innocence" is concerned.

              I don't support or condemn either of them. I don't have enough facts to do that. I do know that Mr. Torano has picked up at least one rather big client recently, so I guess it hasn't hurt his name but so much.

              The results of the hearings, to us as outsiders, does seem unequal...But, that is based on what we know, which isn't much.

              I think it speaks very well of Mr. Torano that he seems to have many supporters. That, to me, speaks in higher volume than some other criteria in choosing a trainer, or a friend, for that matter.
              \"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.\" -- Ralph Waldo E

              Comment


              • #67
                Well as owners of horses, we could make this much easier on our trainers. Simply by signing the line where it states, on the entry, trainers signature. This in no way makes anyone a professional, but it does alleviate the responsibilty factor over to the owner. Many trainers who meet clients at shows, require this. The animals are not under their care or custody.

                Having done this for an untold number of years, I feel it's the way to go. If in fact you feel strongly in this matter. What about the owner who can't make the shows, you ask. Then it is up to the owner and trainer to figure it out.

                Comment


                • #68
                  <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lauriep:
                  It was a thread last spring, I think, but I don't remember spec.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                  Debated it quite endlessly as I recall... [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

                  Here it is, in case anyone wants to wade through 9 pages.

                  AHSA Hearings thread

                  Couldn't possibly be a point made here that wasn't already made 18 times already [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]

                  Gee, Jimmy - glad to hear about your "up & coming" status, you spring chicken, you [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Sparky -- the rules are quite clear, in my opinion. If you choose to break them, then you must suffer the consequences. I have absolutely no sympathy for a trainer (or owner, for that matter) that knowingly drugs a horse, then gets a mere 2 month suspension (or less). Lose income? Boo hoo. Perhaps, if trainer/owners knew going in that if caught, they'd potentially lose a year of income, they may think twice before breaking the rules. I'm only hoping some day that I can find a trainer that DOESN'T break the rules....do they exist??????

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sparky22:

                      Let's also say that it is the middle of the show season (of which you are on the road every week). You are suspended for two months (for whatever reason). It is not an easy punishment. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      Ya know what, that's the thing about punishment, its not supposed to be EASY.


                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
                      This is their life! It's their business. If they are not showing horses for clients and training at shows, that is a huge cut in their income! It affects their life in every possible way...because this is what their life revolves around! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                      And I would like to think that if their lives really revolved around the horses (and not the $$) they wouldn't dare to get involved in something as stupid as drugging a horse.

                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>It is not cheep to run a respectable facility, and any cut in income and be extremely costly! I am sure someone will respond to what I am saying with a comment similar to, "well then they shouldn't break the rules." Well, life is a b****, and the horse world can be too. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      What's that saying about if ya can't stand the heat? Oh yeah...get out of the horse show business! Boo freaking hoo b**** or no b**** a hard life is NOT ever an excuse to break the rules. I'll be sure to try that one the next time I get pulled over for speeding "well officer my job is really tough..."

                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>You lose a lot from a suspension. You lose A LOT money, and perhaps your good name (which is something that is very hard to get back).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      Argh! And you should lose a lot of money, and time, and your good name if you're illegally drugging horses. If you sign up to play the game then no whining about the rules. It's punishment! By definition you're going to lose something, and should too if this is ever going to work as a deterrant.

                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>but unless you are looking through the eyes of someone whose whole life revolves around this sport, it is difficult to understand how much a suspension can affect someone. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      Their life sadly enough isn't revolving around the sport if they have to drug horses to get them to perform properly.

                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I admit that I always checking the list of suspensions in the mag, but I do not and will not form an opinion about someone who I don't know. We never definitely know the real story, but only what the Committee has decided is the real story.
                      <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      Agreed, no part of my post was meant to attack Mr Torano (who incidentally I didn't know existed until today). Rather I thought you made some interesting points I could argue...Not that I'm argumentative or anything [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                      Jess
                      *`*`*

                      \"I\'ve this creeping
                      suspicion that things here are not as they seem...\"

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Comparing the drugging charges to speeding charges is like comparing apples to oranges unless you are comparing pictures taken of someone driving. When someone is pulled over for speeding, the officer stops and tickets the person behind the wheel who is actually driving the car. In these cases, the trainer is not proven to have administered the substance, only that he/she is the person responsible for the horse. While it is nice to think taking responsibility for your horse would make a difference, just signing your name under trainer only makes you the soley liable party in case of an infraction. Anyone could give the horse in question a substance and you would never know, but you would be held responsible--doesn't seem fair to those of us who don't give our horses anything because we have to defend ourselves when the environment is not secure. And how many times have people been noted as not having done something prior and it being the first time only to be slapped with an outrageous fine and suspension? While it is good in theory, there are some substantial flaws.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Hay, oats and water. The good old days. That's when trainers trained and good horses won.

                          Use the Force.
                          Man plans. God laughs.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Duffy:
                            I believe Nicole Simpson's name has been dragged through the mud as much, if not more than Jimmy Torano's, even though she only got a "slap on the wrist. I don't know if that means anything or not as far as "guilt" or "innocence" is concerned.

                            <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                            Duffy...do you have to drag OJ's wife into EVERYTHING. Hasn't the poor man been through enough???

                            Sorry couldn't resist....back to your regularly scheduled programming
                            [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                            *Behind every good woman lies a trail of men*

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Some of you don't understand what I am saying....it is difficult to prove what happened to a horse...where it could have come across an illegal substance...who gave it to them. It is not as cut n' dry as when people are caught. The horse can not say...."well, there was this guy at the bar, and he well, bought me a drink..." NO. Horses cannot say what happened to them. Sure, it is the responsiblilty of the trainer...but I know trainers who would never do anything like that, who have gotten fined for such things. I can't recall who said it, and I don't feel like going back to quote them, but somone remarked tha tif they did it...they deserve a harsh punishment...or something along those lines. Yeah, they do...but how exactly DO you prove it? Do you see what I am saying? It is a big deal to be suspended. TRainers end up with a lot less finances coming in..and who really knows if the trainer did it or not...no one really does but the trainer.
                              Someone also remarked (this time I am going back to see who it was)...Palomino...that they SHOULD lose a lot of money. YEah, I am not saying a guilty person shouldn't...but how do we really know they are guilty? Unless somone catches the trainer, or someone sees them. Sure, you are at a show, the trainer will sign for a horse...but there is noone watching out for the horses 24/7. How do we REALLY know what happened? The Committee can investigate, but like I said, the horse isn't going to talk.
                              Palomino (I'm not trying to attack you or anything...but this is interesting) you said a person's life is not revolving around the sport if they are drugging horses...but AGAIN...how do you know it was the trainer?
                              There are just so many flaws in the system in general. If only the horses could talk to us! BUT they can't. The lives of so many could be much better, and the people who deserve to be punished could be punished, if only the horse could talk!

                              "Just when you thought something was idiot proof, they go and make a better idiot...damned evolution"
                              --------------------------
                              I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
                              -- John Keats

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                OK...that was a little discombobulated (sp.), but as you can see by the time...it is late! Sorry for all those typos and stuff! I need ot learn to proofread!

                                "Just when you thought something was idiot proof, they go and make a better idiot...damned evolution"
                                --------------------------
                                I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
                                -- John Keats

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  By the way...I was just reading something over b4 I go to sleep...the comment I made about life being a b**** is not as clear as I thought. I meant that "manure happens." Things aren't always fair...things happen that are out of our control. I didn't mean that they should break the rules bc things are tough...I meant that they can't control everything (such as what happens to the horses sometimes). And if you had quoted a little further, it would have been a bit more clear (at least it seems that way to me. Sorry if I didn't make that very clear! That's the ol "proofreading" thing coming back to haunt me again!

                                  OK...sleepy time!

                                  "Just when you thought something was idiot proof, they go and make a better idiot...damned evolution"
                                  --------------------------
                                  I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
                                  -- John Keats

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    Lillian...yes, they do exist! There are many!

                                    "Just when you thought something was idiot proof, they go and make a better idiot...damned evolution"
                                    --------------------------
                                    I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
                                    -- John Keats

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      as such an insurmountable issue...

                                      So your staff does drugs...isn't it the responsiblility of the trainer to hire people with integrity?

                                      Shouldn't there be an advantage to running a "clean" outfit?

                                      While I share some of lauriep's employment history, I can only attest to the fact that I absolutely never saw any evidence of illegal drug use on the part of the staff while I was employed by those we both worked for--then again, she and I didn't work there at the same time. But the prospect of indirect contamination because of drug use by staff as described by some posters here was not, IMO a real possibility anywhere I worked while I was working there. I still think the scenario is pretty unlikely unless staff is grossly negligent...if this is the case, why shouldn't those who hire competent, caring, ethical staff members (and pay them accordingly) have an advantage?

                                      As far as the stable area being "insecure," if this is seen as the case, I can only suggest that round the clock staffing by ethical and trustworthy employees be considered as a real possiblity. Of course there is that problem of hiring staff and paying them according to their competence and ethical standards.

                                      I still think that the notion of "environmental contamination" should be examined...though I disagree with Gayle's contention that the environment needs to be controlled: I contend that those horses who are in the open environment as it exists now IS the control group that we should be studying. Determining how a contaminant reaches a horse's system is only valuable once it is concluded that large numbers of horses share such exposure.

                                      Definitively closing the loopholes that have allowed some to escape charges while others are hit with the books is the only answer.

                                      [This message was edited by M. O'Connor on Oct. 20, 2001 at 09:54 AM.]
                                      Inner Bay Equestrian
                                      Facebook
                                      KERx

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                                      • #79
                                        Boo Hoo indeed if you DID NOT do it!! Moral of the story..walk through the tents and "accidently" drop a few pinches of an illegal substance into the feed tubs of your "favorite" trainers and watch the suspensions mount! All due respect to the "list" on the hearing committee but some of them need to have "emeritus" after their names! When are you too old/jaded/biased to make an informed decision? Just because the list is long, doesn't mean the depth of understanding is as deep as the list is long.

                                        Betsy
                                        Lead, follow, or get out of the way...
                                        The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.

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                                        • #80
                                          lillian, YES, they do exist and Jimmy Torano happens to be one of them. He did not break any rules, yet he is suffering the consequences of the unfairness of, (contrary to a court of law,) being guilty unless proven innocent. And how do you prove your innocence? By the way, I also have no sympathy for trainers or owners that drug their horses.

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