Keene radio host Ian Freeman jailed over couch

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Ian Freeman will spend 100 days in jail because he questioned the legitimacy of a system which would penalize him for having a couch in his yard and conduct his trial in secret.

Keene resident Nick Ryder wrote on the Free Keene blog that the courtroom at Freeman’s trial Friday afternoon at Keene District Court in Keene, N.H., was stacked with police “to try and outnumber the liberty activists.”

Judge Edward Burke had hardly arrived in the courtroom before ordering Freeman jailed for 30 days for contempt of court and the proceedings moved to another room where spectators would not be allowed to hear what happened.

When word finally filtered out of the closed proceeding, Freeman had somehow gotten two more 30-day sentences for contempt and 10 days for refusing to pay a fine for having an illegal couch. The official reasons for the contempt charges were not immediately clear.

“It was oppressive,” said Dale Everett, 40, of Keene. “They had a notice posted obviously targeting us, liberty activists, saying that anyone who didn’t stand for the judge would be ‘subject to sanction.’ So I left. I wasn’t prepared to get arrested today.”

Freeman is the owner and host of the Free Talk Live radio show, which airs six nights a week on approximately 45 radio stations nationwide. Free Talk Live is an open format show, where callers can bring up any topic, with no caller refused. The hosts bring a libertarian perspective to the ensuing conversations.

The controversy began in August when Keene housing inspector Carl Patten visited Freeman’s duplex, half of which he rents out, and cited him for a couch on his tenants’ side of the yard.

Freeman said at the time he did not believe the city had a right to tell him whether he could have a couch on his yard. The couch was decorated for Halloween, complete with a pumpkin and lounging scarecrow.

After refusing to pay the fine and being threatened with arrest at his first hearing, Freeman attempted to negotiate with the city.

Patten claimed that he cited Freeman after receiving a complaint. Freeman said he would remove the couch if given an opportunity to speak to the original complainant, “like an adult, instead of calling in men with guns.” The city refused and demanded he come to trial Friday, where he was jailed for contempt almost immediately.

“The Judge sees himself as royalty,” wrote Jim Johnson of Winchester on the New Hampshire Underground forum, “no one may question or disrespect his benevolent self.”

Code enforcement activity has been on the rise nationwide with the failing economy reducing local governments’ revenues and local bureaucrats desperately trying to take money from anywhere they can get it, using any excuse.

Free Talk Live recently interviewed one victim of code enforcement, 83 year old Ageda Camargo of La Quinta, Calif., who is being harassed by bureaucrats there over a garage which was converted into a bedroom decades ago, before she bought the house.

When the laws are unjust, as the vast majority of today’s laws are, then a court of law will dispense injustice. Freeman’s protest of the injustice done to him has not gone unnoticed. Many liberty activists have said the court’s action has motivated them to get even more involved.

“The tyranny was stifling,” Everett said. “It’s the kind of experience that makes you rethink everything. And just to be clear, I don’t mean rethinking everything in terms of backing off. Quite the opposite.”

This article was originally published at Homeland Stupidity.

  • LiveFreeOrDie

    OLIVER, it's people like you who pose the greatest threat to freedom. Why? Because you are a pathetic boot-licking coward. You are not truly free–yours is only an illusion of freedom. You are bound in the chains forged by your own fear. No man is free, or worthy of freedom, who hasn't the courage to fight for it–and, deep down in your yellow gut, you know this to be true. You mock others for their courage to stand up for their liberties, because that's what cowards do best–it is a coward's only comfort among the brave.

    Crawl back into your Peter Pan world OLIVER. And, until the weight of your chains become to heavy, you can keep clapping for Tinker Bell. Consider yourself fortunate that others will continue the fight to break the chains in which sniveling cowards like you would have us all bound–indeed, misery loves company.

  • Curt Springer

    I've never met Oliver but he sounds like most any of my neighbors in Danville. When you diss him or people like him you are dissing most of us who lived here and were reasonably happy with things before some of you even knew whether NH was the upside-down right triangle on the left or the right-side up one on the right. No we are not idiots, we know there are abuses of power and sometimes government just gets in the way for no good reason.

    I've already said that if my town pulled this crap on me that they pulled on Ian with his couch I would use the legal means available to me to make them back down and put them on the defensive. I'm sure Oliver would, too. There'd be none of this pathetic sniveling about being put in a cage.

  • Curt Springer

    I just scrolled up and read Oliver's comment about the judge deserving a medal. I disagree with that. I think the judge showed poor judgment, no pun intended. I don't think his punishment of Ian within seconds of opening the court is emblematic of the kind of justice I want to see in NH. But that doesn't make him evil. People make mistakes. I don't know for certain but I'm sure or at least hopeful that he could be asked to reconsider his decisions.

  • elkheart

    I called the office of NH governor John Lynch today. I spoke with "Mariah"(hope i spelled her name correctly. she was nice, polite, friendly, & professional.) The message i left was simple. I believe that mr. burke lacks judicial competence, & should be remmoved from the bench. in my personal case, he subborned perjury, in that he coerced me into lying under oath. he took evidence "ex parte", without disclosing that fact. he had a PRE-WRITTEN "order", that contained information not presented to the Court. If mr. burke *WAS*/*IS* a competent judge, things would have never gotten so far out of hand. step down, eddy burkah. step down howard.

  • DJ

    <blockquote cite="Jim Davidson">"The problem you authoritarians have is you don’t read. You don’t like literature. You don’t enjoy logic. You don’t think critically about anything. All you know how to do is obey, and object to anyone who won’t." – Jim Davidson


    Congrats, Oliver. Now you've become exactly what your diatribes rail against; a whiner whining about others so-called whining. Of course, hypocrisy and contradictions never stopped an authoritarian. Case in point: You wish no injustice done on one hand, yet on the other hand, celebrate that very same injustice by praising a judge who exercised the very thing! But due to the judge being who he is, any injustice done is rectified by his position, therefore making the very nafarious action just.

    Oliver, you're begging the question about a man who did not sit down fast enough, who's friends were threatened by authorities to obey or be happily thrown in jail; an unjust premeditated act where the judge and his goons conspired to throw the whole lot into a cell.

    Did you even watch the videos out there?

    If so, then it's quite a dissapointment that you'd not only condone, but worship what the judge did in this circumstance, regardless of whether Burke the Jerk had previous animosities. His goon was already in full stride to arrest Ian before the judge demanded it; now that is contemptable.

    By the way, you're engaging in an excersice of futility. Although, you already know this. Don't you, troll? For your information, it's only strengthening the Free Stater's resolve.

    There's your answer. Hopefully you can come back here more informed.

  • elkheart

    Dale, if you weren't "prepared to be arrested", then why did you go to that crooked little court in the first place? Not trying to be nasty, or anything, just wondering….And anybody know what's up with ""???….they seem to be *DORMANT*, as in , no activity since May, 2006!….PS: I heard a rumor, that "OLIVER" is *ACTUALLY*, judge burke! now *THAT'S* amazing, mister!>>>grin……

  • Oliver

    Elkheart, you think I'm Judge Burke? Ha! don't let your paranoia get the better of you. I'm just a citizen looking for amusement, and I've certainly found it.

    BTW, I read here where a restaurant owner was going to offer a Thanksgiving meal, and is hoping you guys will be there to offer some insights into your freedom program. Make sure you treat the diners *exactly* as you've treated me — the name calling, mud-slinging, the accusations, etc. You'll win friends and influence people.

  • Jason

    Like I said earlier I've thought about joining the Free State Project and moving to NH but the childish, overly emotional behavior I've seen exhibited here makes me not want to be associated with it. I've thought about moving to New England before anyway just because of the civil unions and marriage equality on offer in that part of the country, plus I just like moving around. I'm not scared of radicalism but if ya'll (you guys/vous/ the FSP people) are going to be radical don't just insult people for no reason as you have on this board. You guys are being counter-productive. The arguments stand or fall on their own. You can't make people accept them. Try listening to Stefan Molyneux at Freedomain Radio to learn more.

    Oliver, I have been in school for a while. I've studied abroad and I've seriously considered attending law school. Just because the majority of people want a law is not a good reason for a law to exist. We live in a republic, not a democracy and thank goodness. The majority of current laws in the US are bad laws. I currently live in Arkansas and it's rather repressive socially down here (especially since I'm no longer Southern Baptist) and makes NH seem like some kind of liberal paradise from what my friends say about it (including those who are not FSP people).

    The people here are coming off as whiny. They are not doing a good job of showing why this was bad on multiple levels. Our system of law and order needs desperately to be revamped. I'm sorry for some of these people who are insulting you. They need to learn that you don't make friends through insults. Please know that not all of us who are liberty-oriented are like some of the ruder people on this board. Also please remember that it's much easier to be rude on an anonymous board on the internet than in person.

    I'm sorry that you feel like your town is being taken over but the FSP people chose New Hampshire because it is one of the freest places in America. Also not all of them are radicals and many of them work in the system for reform, which is what I would do if I moved there.

  • Michael Hampton

    I'm happy to see so many comments attached to my work, even if the tone hasn't been exactly cordial.

    That said, Jason, I expect you'll be happier in a different part of the state than Keene. I would recommend Manchester, where there's a thriving group of political activists along with the various much lower key market-based activists.

    If you manage to visit, feel free to drop by on a Taproom Tuesday.

  • Lance

    Jason, I think your last comment is great. As far as anonymous internet trolls, who knows where they live, just ignore them.

    You'll like this:

    "Bad ideas, if they are to be rendered ineffective, must be replaced with good ideas. Herein lies a great weakness of the freedom supporters. Millions can damn authoritarianism but how few there are who can skillfully, persuasively, and attractively explain authoritariansim's opposite: the free market, private property, limited government philosophy! In the absence of this ability state interventionism thrives."

    -from Leonard Read's Elements of Libertarian Leadership (1952)

    I hope you do go to law school AND move to NH – the Liberty movement needs more effective, articulate people like you.

  • Stupid Amerkin

    Sounds like this black robed devil's ego is bigger then he can handle. Absolute abuse of power, but most likely he has been getting away with this for years. Follow the money and take him out.

  • Kyle Varner

    Two lessons can be drawn from this:

    1) America is becoming less and less free.

    2) If you go to court, get a lawyer and sit there and don't say a word. Going to jail for contempt of court totally sucks.

  • Juk

    I don't live anywhere near New Hampshire, but, still, …..I find this to be absolutely appalling. In this particular situation, somebody would have gotten hurt trying to put the cuffs on me. I don't care. I would have went down fighting. They would have had to taze me repeatedly and "somebody" would have gotten a broken nose. Furthermore, after the fact, there would be a massive law suit filed on my behalf filed against that jurisdiction by my very high powered attorney. I know the law. This mans' civil rights were completely tromped on like a handy wipe. Sort of reminds me of Gestapo. Just my humble opinion here, but, "this" ……..just sickens me. Maybe Michigan ain't so bad after all. No, ….(lol) …..who am I kidding? It sucks here to. Our jails aren't full enough yet? This is the excuse they use for more state funding to expand the jails? I'm sorry. How pathetic.

  • Bubuh

    When will you people wake up and realize that this ain't NEVER gonna go away with WORDS.

    Tyranny can only be Defeated by watering the Liberty Tree.

    TO ARMS. The only way to Stop this is for Every Brave American to Physically FIGHT BACK, even if means giving of their lives.


    The Towns folk should all Storm the Court House, and take that judge and anyone one who attempts to stop them, out of their office, Tar and Feather them, and send them packing, and then Take their house by force, and give it to the Homeless Shelter.

    Oh, and Tar and feathers is OK, but he will sooner or later hit another town. It would be better to put an End of his Career and Wealth before you send him packing.

  • Lonny

    I can't speak to what, if anything Ian did or whether it was legal but, If that was an example of justice in an AMERICAN courtroom, I've died and gone to visit Chairman Mao in commie heaven.

  • Ron

    I hope this Ian Freeman gets killed in 2009. He's an alcoholic, meth addict, AND a muslim.

  • Jim Davidson

    Ron, that isn't a very Christian thing to say.

    I did not know that Ian Freeman was Islamic. His Facebook profile describes him (he describes himself there) as a "Pantheist." My Greek is a little rusty, but that either means he believes in all gods, or he believes that everything is a part of God. Not exactly Islamic.

    As for his personal habit with regard to things he likes to ingest, how is that any of your business? Are you some sort of Prohibitionist, Ron?

    The future of Keene, New Hampshire, according to Ron, is his boot smashing the face of Ian Freeman, forever.

  • Jim Davidson

    Actually, it occurs to me Ian might believe in the Greek god Pan. You know, the god of woods, fields, flocks, goats legs, human head and torso, goat horns and ears? Or don't they teach you anything in school, Ron?

  • elkheart

    Jim Davidson: My understanding of "pantheist" is that it means, basically, in simple terms, that Everything that is, IS GOD. So, each & every piece of everything, including we people, is a part of God. A very near, & related word, "Pantheon", means "all the gods", of *this* religion, or faith. Like the Norse Pantheon of Loki, Zeus, Thor, etc…hope this helps…~e~…

  • Jim Davidson

    Thanks, Elkheart. I don't claim to have any greater insight into pantheism now than I did earlier. My purpose was not to criticise, nor to support, Ian's chosen religious faith. My main objective was to illustrate the extent to which Ron in 77401 was just a nasty, stinking, liar.

    I guess that point is uncontested. Anyway, Ron has been too timid to respond. Kinda sad.

  • bil

    This is an old thread-old couch,too.Ian is getting jail time for other things now. —bil

  • stupidamerkin

    This is common practice in these dens of corruption across the country. These criminal black robed devils hand out jail sentences like candy while their brain dead hired guns go along with the tyranny and illegal abuse. In my area I hold the record for getting jailed within 30 seconds for contempt. This madness is unbelievable.

    “When armed force compels compliance with mythical laws and money is demanded for its violation, power will corrupt and greed will never be satisfied.”

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." – John F. Kennedy

  • Paul

    I certainly don't think violence is inevitable SA, or necessary, or in any way beneficial, but I share your concerns.

  • stupidamerkin

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”
    -Thomas Jefferson

    “It is bad enough that many will perish believing the BIG lie, but the real tragedy are those who, have, are now and will continue to do so, defending the BIG lie.”
    R. Souza

    • oldabatt

      “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots who are simply morons”

  • oldabatt

    I thought that Maine had uneducated hillbillies but NH also has more that its share.