A name change costs just over $100 through the probate court in New Hampshire. It involves a simple form and a super fast hearing in front of a judge. (So fast it was over just after I got my camera rolling! Literally, less than 30 seconds.) However, when you are a known activist with a message of ending the idea of the violent monopoly state, a simple name change could get far more expensive. This one is going to cost 100 hours of community service, plus having a year of jail hanging over my head for two years, the arrest, bail conditions, and time blown in court.
While judge Edward Burke of Keene district court should have dismissed the ridiculous case against me for victimless ID “crimes” outright, he ultimately issued a sentence today that from his perspective, made sense to lay out. The state police prosecutor asked for a $500 fine, 60 days in jail, and 10 months suspended. Since I was facing two “class A misdemeanors”, Burke could have gone draconian and hit me with two years in prison. Ultimately, after statements from me and my business partner Mark Edge, Burke sentenced me to 100 hours of community service (50 per charge) and hung twelve months in jail over my head for two years.
His sentence was also smart from Burke’s perspective because it still appeases the state’s power over others while at the same time disincentivizes me from appealing the case to a de novo (“from the beginning”) jury trial. Why not appeal? Well, it was my plan to appeal if I was hit with significant jail time (more than a couple weeks). Consider my experience in 2011, where despite beating one of my two charges at a jury, the robed man there sentenced me to a 50% greater sentence than Burke had for both of the charges at the initial bench trial! So, jury de novos have their own risks, at least until NH statute can be changed to prevent de novo trial judges from sentencing harsher than bench trial judges.
Burke has in recent years made some pro-freedom rulings when he threw out the outrageous “NO TRESPASS FOREVER” order banning from the entire Cheshire superior court property several liberty activists (including myself) as written by the Sheriff. Burke later tossed out (more…)
Thanks to reporter Meghan Pierce for this well-researched feature article that focuses on several Free State Project early movers in Sunday’s Union Leader. The front page, above-the-fold article is very detailed and lengthy. It shows the various viewpoints of the participants and how we’re united by the cause of human freedom. No haters are quoted in the piece, but of course there are plenty in the comments. The haters better get ready, cause more FSP movers are coming to NH every week!
If your libertarian movement isn’t getting this kind of press where you live and if you feel nearly alone, as I once did in Florida, then the Free State Project is the solution! Go check out the 101 Reasons to Move to NH, sign up for the FSP, then start planning your move. You won’t regret it. NH is where freedom has a chance and libertarian-types can actually have an impact. This article is more proof of our relevance here. Libertarians just aren’t relevant elsewhere. See you in NH!