I Plead Guilty, Judge Says No

Today is my birthday, and where else would I want to be at 8:30am except in Judge Burke’s courtroom, awaiting another parking ticket arraignment? Last time I tried the “dead fish” strategy: I didn’t speak during arraignment, I barely spoke during trial, and I was predictably railroaded by the prosecution. Judge Burke found me guilty of two parking violations and fined me $10.

The trial and everything leading up to it costs the court (and therefore the taxpayers) far more than the $10 collected in “revenue”. Not only is it costly for the government to prosecute this victimless crime, it’s also time consuming: the prosecutor was kept busy filing paperwork, gathering witnesses, and preparing his arguments. The entire parking enforcement (which only consists of 2 people) was incapacitated for nearly 4 hours while sequestered for trial. How much money can the city government collect in 8 parking enforcement man-hours? Well, that opportunity was lost because I chose to take these tickets to trial.

If you think this is stupid, you might be surprised that I agree with you. What a waste of time and money! But remember — I didn’t set the system up this way — the people calling themselves “the government” did. And they can stop this charade at any time by simply dismissing the parking tickets. What would they have to lose? They’d certainly have a lot to gain.

Anyway, this time, I chose a new strategy: Go to arraignment with a piece of paper already written out, explaining that I want to plead GUILTY, except the paper is *UNSIGNED*. Once Judge Burke accepts this piece of paper, it becomes part of the record. It is now on the record that I want to plead guilty.

You’d think that would be enough, but Judge Burke did something interesting. He entered a plea of NOT GUILTY on my behalf. Why would he do that? The answer can be found in the following short video from court this morning:

In short, my point was: The judge has demonstrated bias against me, the defendant. Judge Burke is presuming (without evidence) that I am subject to the laws of the State of New Hampshire, but that is one of the elements that must be proven by the prosecution! How can I be forced to be at arraignment if the Judge is not presuming jurisdiction?

What do you think about this strategy? My next step is to file a motion to reverse the plea and motion to have Judge Burke recuse himself because of the bias he demonstrated. He is protecting the prosecutor and doing his job for him by assuming one of the essential elements of the crime: jurisdiction. Without jurisdiction, the case must be dismissed, but he’s not going to let that happen, is he?

Triumphant Return to High School Outreach

Today Ian Freeman and I went to Monadnock Regional High School in Swanzey, New Hampshire to hand out “Philosophy of Liberty” flyers to the students as they left for the busses. You may remember that this used to be a regular event for Keene activists back in 2011 and 2012. We successfully handed out dozens of flyers to students, and some even stopped us to ask a few more questions about the material and ideas. It was a successful outreach event, and I intend to continue sharing these pamphlets with curious minds. Here’s the video from today:

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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.
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Keene Voters Enslave Their Neighbors

The Free Staters are upsetting local bureaucrats again. This time they tried to return freedom to the people by limiting the amount of money local politicians can demand from them. The politicians weren’t happy.

One of the school board members said, “We don’t need a very small minority of people in this community — that do not in any way represent the will of the people — telling us how to do our job.”

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What Happens If You Don’t Speak at Court?

Who says court has to be boring? In Keene, 5 activists turned out to support me for a simple parking ticket arraignment. We laughed and joked as one wore a winter hat despite the court rules of decorum prohibiting headwear. We watched as the obedient slaves took their whippings and pled guilty to a bunch of vicimless crimes. Then it was my turn.

I decided ahead of time that I was going to try an experiment: I would remain silent. Would the judge get mad? Would he compel me to speak by threatening arrest? It turns out, he ended up acting as my defense attorney! Watch this 2-minute clip:

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