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.