War on Chalk Escalates at Cheshire County Fair

Today I chalked a hopscotch on the sidewalk in front of the bitcoin booth. The first person to enjoy it was a man in his 60’s who asked, “May I?” before hopping along with the pattern. Children and adults alike opted to jump through the chalk squares. For about twenty minutes.

Laurie, the woman who appears to be in charge of the vendors at Cheshire County Fair, came over to me and told me that it had to go. She said that we can’t have children slowing down the foot traffic. She also informed me that we were “already on probation” because of our previous violations (stepping out of our booth to meet people who were walking over to talk to us, wearing a gun, and not wearing a shirt). She later returned and poured water on the chalk.


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:


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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