Judge Burke Sentences James to Jail, Suspended

Heroic activist, blogger, entrepreneur, and Free State Project participant James Cleaveland was sentenced in Judge Burke’s courtroom in Keene, New Hampshire for the charges of “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest”. His charges stem from a June 30th incident in which James was video recording police. According to officer accounts, James was ordered to move back from an “active scene,” and he complied. After complying with the first officer’s request, a different officer demanded he move back further. He refused and was arrested.

The allegation by police is that James’ refusal to move when ordered is what resulted in his “disorderly conduct” charge, and the physical movement of his recording arm when arrested is what resulted in a “resisting arrest” charge. Both charges are Class A Misdemeanors that are each punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $1000 in fines. On December 30, 2014, Judge Burke found James guilty of both charges in Cheshire County District Court. Yesterday Judge Burke sentenced James to 1 and a half years in jail, suspended on the condition of “good behavior,” plus $625 in fines. James has decided to appeal this decision to Superior Court. A date is not yet set for the new trial.

Here is video from the first trial of James Cleaveland, in which he defends himself “pro se.”

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35 Comments

  1. Should James appeal to a jury trial or a “bench” trial (just a judge)? Which do you think would give him a better chance of being found “Not Guilty”? I think he should appeal to a jury and represent himself rather than hire a lawyer, since the public will connect with him better. He’s a likable guy who is gentle and soft-spoken, and he’s clearly in the right here. I can’t imagine the public has the stomach for *another* arrest over recording police. By now recording is a well-established in the mind of the public.

  2. This is not about recording the police, this is about a douchebag refusing to follow a lawful order. Too bad Burke didn’t send the retard to jail, because he certainly deserves it.

  3. It wasnt lawful. It may be legal but it isnt lawful. Police cant just order people around. The Police and judges involved could be sued one day and if they think their masters can save them from that they are delusional.

  4. what exactly was unlawful about being ordered to move back?

  5. What exactly was lawful about it?

  6. What a rigged system. Even if guilty of these, which he is not, there is no way jail time should be given , let alone one year. How do you guys not ostracize that disgrace of a prosecutor while in public. You shouldn’t give that ugly thing , the time of day.

  7. I will continue to model good behavior for Jean Kilham (the female prosecutor) by opening doors for her, smiling, and making polite conversation. Just because she ruins my friends’ lives does not mean I should stoop to her level. On the contrary, her behavior indicates to me a lack of positive role models, and so it is even more important to be nice.

  8. is that the best you have to try and answer me? it was a legal order imposed for his own safety since he didn’t realize the danger at the time. akin to drunk driving laws. now since you’re involved, would you like to tell us what was unlawful about it?

  9. Gary … shut the fuck up, you moron. How about you call upstairs to your Mom and see if dinner is ready for you?

  10. Your behavior indicates to me a lack of good parenting, premature toilet-training and mental illness.

  11. The cops, according to the prosecutor, ordered him “to leave”. That is not a lawful order. This guy has the right to film the cops, as long as he doesn’t “interfere” with an investigation. His mere presence doesn’t fit that description.

  12. Yeah it is, actually. This guy has no right to “film” cops in the middle of a law enforcement action, especially when it is deemed by the police that he is interfering with them.

    James The Retard doesn’t get to make the determination on his own whether he is interfering or not. The cop told him to move, he didn’t, and the rest is history.

  13. Please post a picture of your mother so we can judge what you think is ugly. Better still, how about posting a photo of your sister/wife? I’ll bet she’s a real looker.

  14. The one bringing charges bears the burden of proof, so I think one of the elements of this “crime” alleged is that this is a “lawful order”. Logically, one would have to prove the order was a “lawful order” to prove the charge. What is unlawful about the order? Maybe nothing. Does that mean it is a lawful order? I mean, why couldn’t I or you or anyone else go around ordering people around. There’s no law against it. Does that mean it is a “lawful order” necessarily? If I order pancakes at Denny’s there’s nothing particularly illegal about making the order, so should I abduct someone and file charges if they accidentally get mixed up and bring waffles?

  15. Ok, I looked up the scripture.

    http://gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/lxii/644/644-2.htm

    IV. (a) Whenever a peace officer has probable cause to believe that a serious threat to the public health or safety is created by a flood, storm, fire, earthquake, explosion, riot, ongoing criminal activity that poses a risk of bodily injury, or other disaster, the officer may close the area where the threat exists and the adjacent area necessary to control the threat or to prevent its spread, for the duration of the threat, until related law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service operations are complete, by means of ropes, markers, uniformed emergency service personnel, or any other reasonable means, to any persons not authorized by a peace officer or emergency services personnel to enter or remain within the closed area.
    (b) Peace officers may close the immediate area surrounding any emergency field command post activated for the purpose of abating any threat enumerated in this paragraph to any unauthorized persons, whether or not the field command post is located near the source of the threat.
    (c) Any unauthorized person who knowingly enters an area closed pursuant to this paragraph or who knowingly remains within the area after receiving a lawful order from a peace officer to leave shall be guilty of disorderly conduct.

    V. In this section:
    (a) “Lawful order” means:
    (1) A command issued to any person for the purpose of preventing said person from committing any offense set forth in this section, or in any section of Title LXII or Title XXI, when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that said person is about to commit any such offense, or when said person is engaged in a course of conduct which makes his commission of such an offense imminent;
    (2) A command issued to any person to stop him from continuing to commit any offense set forth in this section, or in any section of Title LXII or Title XXI, when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that said person is presently engaged in conduct which constitutes any such offense; or
    (3) A command not to enter or a command to leave an area closed pursuant to paragraph IV, provided that a person may not lawfully be ordered to leave his or her own home or business.
    (b) “Public place” means any place to which the public or a substantial group has access. The term includes, but is not limited to, public ways, sidewalks, schools, hospitals, government offices or facilities, and the lobbies or hallways of apartment buildings, dormitories, hotels or motels.

  16. Better chance w/ jury or judge? Who knows, hard to say? Spending money on a lawyer would be a huge waste unless you have lots of extra money to burn laying around. James did pretty well at trial so it would be tough for a lawyer to really do much better in the trial portion. Where James could have done better in my opinion would have been in the pre trial discovery. Challenge whether there is evidence that any of their codes actually apply to anyone like Marc Stevens says. Challenge corpus delicti, jurisdiction. Also would say James could go more into depth challenging some of the “sacred cow” type unspoken presumptions. Like when the cop just states he is a “peace officer”, maybe object on the grounds that it calls for a conclusion or speculation (which Burke might just overrule since authoritarians enforce the “rules” selectively) – if the objection is overruled, then you could challenge with something like “How do you know you’re a peace officer”? Why should we just accept his conclusion at face value? He has a costume?

  17. are you really trying to stretch here that far? ordering waffles from denny’s and a man with a gun that is suicidal are completely different. but you did admit that order was not unlawful and so your argument is moot.

  18. interfere could also being taking up their time with his dumbass antics while they are trying to deal with a more serious situation.

    also was he told to leave completely or just an area that put him in danger?

  19. I open carry in case your verbal insults become physical. Then you’re a rabid human because I like dogs.

  20. by this, it is my understanding he did violate a lawful order given to him for his own safety. am i wrong?

  21. This statute is part of the cannon of Statist religious scripture and as such it is an article of faith. Is the guy in the costume a “peace officer”? What actual evidence was presented?
    Why is his conclusory statement “proof” any more than if James stated under oath “I am the King of this realm?” Would we let James testify to that and then declare himself immune by virtue of “sovereign immunity”? What if he wore a crown? But we let a guy in magic jewelry/costume just declaring his “authority”? Why should we presume this code applies to James as an individual? Of course Burke, here acting as a presumed arbiter of the proceedings apparently operates under a certain set of presumptions. That he is uniquely qualified to interpret the scripture of statism due to his status as one of the anointed chosen ones of the invisible higher power of “state”. This is symbolized by the black priest-style robe sanctimoniously signifying his “authority” as one of the chosen ones of “state”, that he has partaken of a magical ceremony in which he made a religious oath to the invisible higher power of state to uphold its scriptures. So since the charge hinges on these faith-based presumptions I do not think it is logical to presume we can really prove it one way or the other objectively through such a process. Where I find reason to doubt/reasonable doubt is: Why should I believe this guy is a peace officer? Why should I believe these religious laws of statism apply to anyone to begin with or that they should be used to persecute peaceful people not harming anyone? Why should I believe the robed one is a magical authority? Did James defy the cop? Probably. That still has no element of injury so fails as a criminal charge, and as you allude to James might not have known the whole situation so as far as the mens rea of culpability there is another layer of doubt, so while he probably did defy an arbitrary self-proclaimed authority figure, there is no “guilt” to speak of. They are just using this process of law as a pretense to perpetrate a predatory lawsuit and take his six hundred bucks. That’s what statutory “law” is, for the most part, a faith-based belief system used to justify institutional extortion. The real criminals are Burke and the prosecutor and the thug cops, the mobsters operating the organized extortion ring. Their theocratic justification for their violent greedy behavior doesn’t impress me.

  22. “Violent greedy behavior” in telling him to step back for his own safety? reaching to far right now.

  23. How do a handful of pariahs ostracize a respected member of the community? Just curious…

  24. Cool, I conceal carry to get a tactical edge on morons who broadcast they’re armed by open carrying.

  25. I would have you down in a sleeper hold and disarmed in a heartbeat, pantywaist. You freetards all talk tough, but that’s where it ends – just talk.

  26. “But we let a guy in magic jewelry/costume just declaring his “authority”?”
    Come on, you’re not that obtuse and deliberately misleading in your argumentation are you? Are you honestly stating that you believe the police officer simply declared his own authority one day?
    That’s the main flaw in your messaging, you (typical collectivist, grouping you radical awesome individuals) speak and act as if “the state” magically appeared one day because those who work in and represent it willed it to be for their own selfish and nefarious purposes. I know you like to call them sheeple and slaves, but people know bullshit when they hear it.

  27. A good point, George. But it’s not as if you or Sammy have made any head-road here yourself. Do you really believe that daily postings on this one blog, postings whose only relevant content is naughty language and half-baked mockery, has dissuaded pro-liberty activism in New Hampshire in any meaningful way? Are ungainly attempts at lampooning really all that you have? Such ineptitude you’ve shown! When I was a child and the Soviets entered Budapest, at least they had tanks to bolster their demands. All you bring to your readers is the mental image of a wagging finger, a dull-eyed appearance, and a gap-toothed grin. Isn’t there any other way that you can assert yourselves? How about a parade? Or maybe sky-writing? Perhaps you could direct and produce a parody? Wouldn’t those be better ways to get your passions across to your adversaries? At least with those approaches more people would see them. Give it a thought.

    Cheers lambs.

  28. I’ve been viewing this from the perspective of why Cleaveland needed to be arrested in the first place. His only action that precipitated the police to approach at all was his recording of a police investigation following the phone call of a suicide complainant. If a suicide risk was imminent, why were police more concerned with the peaceful actions of a single independent journalist? Shouldn’t the suicidal individual’s own safety have taken priority? And if the police were in any way concerned with Cleaveland’s proximity to this debacle, why the arrest after he was determined to be harmless? Once the threat of harm by police was determined to be nonexistent, they should have just left Cleaveland alone to do his job. Instead they made it an issue about obeying orders and arrested him. Very much an overreaction on their part. Even greater was the overreaction of charging and trying him afterwards.

  29. You’re correct George. Selfishness preceded the state. But that’s precisely why the state itself has become the odious institution that it has. Because selfish people are employed by it. The state has power and authority, so that makes it an excellent vocation for selfish people to achieve success. In what way would you expect this to come about any differently? It’s not like there are many people with the power and/or strategic positioning to stop them. And the few that have that power just join in the plundering. Why fight them, when you can just join them and enjoy the spoils? The only ones left to put the cog in the machine is the rest of the riffraff. And most of them do nothing at all.

    Take you for instance, George. You advocate the approach that people should just mind their own business, especially when government agents decide to assert themselves unreasonably on others. Of course, you won’t mind your own business when you note others standing against the state’s unreasonable demands. Quite the contrary in fact. You decide to pick sides. Invariably George, you always side with the authorities, whether they’re wrong or not and despite any evidence that contradicts their own claims. This knee-jerk reaction to shut your eyes and obey, George, has never once discouraged the state. In fact the state prefers it that you submit. That makes it easier for them to subjugate you. Mohandas Ghandi understood this. In fact he addressed it frequently. You’re educated. You’re wise. Why haven’t you learned this I wonder?

  30. Drac, I don’t give a shit about any of these people and I enjoy trolling them. They act like obnoxious children and disrupt a community, I’m simply returning the favor. I have no interest in engaging them on an intellectual level for the same reason I don’t want to debate flat-earthers, creationists and birthers.
    I find the whole notion of flooding a state with transplants with the intention of hijacking the political structure and balance that’s been shaped by generations of people over hundreds of years nauseating. And all because your beliefs are so fringe you get even can’t one of your own elected dog-catcher in your diaspora state across the country.
    You seem like a sincere person who’s experienced actual tyranny and oppression and not simply a parking ticket. Best of luck to you.

  31. I’m not pro-state Drac, I’m anti-them. Childish, disrespectful and, ultimately, counter-productive, just like them.

  32. a year and half in jail costs them $150,000k. what a victory ! take the jail time after of course wasting their resources on appeals etc

  33. jurors are usually government or union workers who slavishly worship the state. Chose the jury trial, if only to cost the bad guys as much time and resources as possible.

    follow the Danish model of resistance

  34. Oh, that money wouldn’t be wasted. It is a great investment by the community, keeping one of the cultists off the streets for 1.5 years. And it’s no where near that expensive, not cheap but well worth it. Shit, we’ll add a special line item to the budget to imprison all of the free keene idiots if that’s what you’d like. Money very well spent if we get to jail Bernard, Cantwell, Ean, etc.

  35. So sorry Sammy, you’re wrong. The supreme court has ruled that citizens have the right to film public officials in the performance of their public duty, so long as they don’t ‘interfere in such action. This guy was arrested for contempt of cop, not for interfering with an investigation.

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