State Representative Dick Marple again faced down Concord district court judge Kristin M Spath in their final round recently – his trial. At previous hearings and the trial, Marple has wowed observers by shouting at the judge and getting away with it as well as using long-talked-about court theories like refusing to cross the bar. (You can see his other hearings here and here.) He’s challenged jurisdiction from the beginning, and despite Spath’s ruling that she has jurisdiction, Marple still refused to participate in the trial they held for him on April 18th.
Instead he verbally sparred with Spath again for nearly 20 minutes before she proceeded with the show trial. Marple continued to refuse her invitation to cross the bar and sat in the audience through the state’s lone witness against him. Spath ended up taking the matter under advisement after the close of the state prosecutor’s case and later issued her ruling via a mailed order.
In the order, she found Marple not guilty of the misdemeanor “prohibitions” charge regarding his driver’s license, as the state neglected to present any actual evidence, but found him guilty of “driving after suspension”, sentencing him to $310 in fines, all suspended for six months on condition of Marple not getting any further moving motor vehicle violations in that timeframe.
Trial watchers had expected this light punishment for the 85-year-old state representative, who was able to get away with talking to a robed-person in a way that trial observers have ever seen. Most people who tried Marple’s approach would probably be arrested for “contempt of court” and thrown in jail. Was he able to talk back to the judge because Marple is a state rep? Perhaps because he’s elderly? Both?
Regardless, the big question now is whether or not he’ll appeal to the NH Supreme Court. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for any further developments!
Chris Waid (right), safely demonstrating for NH independence, in the median on Main St. in Keene in 2016.
On April 20th, Manchester police conducted another DUI checkpoint, believed to be the first of 2017. As always, Cop Blockers and more than a dozen other liberty activists came out with signs redirecting peaceful motorists away from turning down Bridge St, where they would have hit the checkpoint.
Longtime Manchester Cop Blocker Riaz Kahan stated that the interdiction was a major success, with 90% of cars that were intending to turn towards the checkpoint being redirected to another route, avoiding unnecessary police harassment. Manchester police conduct at least a few of these checkpoints per year and activists from all over the state are attracted to help. It’s another unprecedented level of activism that happens easily and regularly in New Hampshire, since there are active migrations of libertarians moving here. (Check out 101 reasons why, here.)
However, for the first time in the history of Manchester’s checkpoints, an activist was arrested. Not for DUI, but for crossing the street, walking toward the checkpoint.
Chris is a weekly co-host on syndicated radio show Free Talk Live, where we discussed the arrest on last Friday’s show. He’s a rare breed – a business owner who is willing to put his very freedom on the line. If more business owners had this level of courage, they could just ignore the government rather than obey them, and the government would have to go away.
In addition to standing up for freedom of the press, Chris is an active police accountability activist, with many hours logged in the streets, recording cops. It is his right to stand where he wants, so long as he’s not actively interfering in police investigations. By standing in the median, he’s taking his risk and the police have no obligation to protect him, especially from himself. If they try to use the argument that them yelling at him was for his own safety, that hopefully won’t hold up in court. We’ve been in medians frequently for activism in Keene and police here have been mostly respectful towards us. By the way, Chris is a homeowner in Keene, to which he moved his linux hardware business, Think Penguin in early 2016.
He’s currently facing a “Disorderly Conduct” Class A charge – the police’s favorite catch-all to target people they don’t like. Of course, we’ll continue to follow Chris’ case closely here on Free Keene, so stay tuned.
Several longtime cannabis freedom activists at the 2017 Concord smoke-out.
Since 2009, on April 20th at 4:20pm people from across New Hampshire gather in front of the State House in Concord to commit mass civil disobedience by smoking, vaporizing, or otherwise consuming cannabis in public. As has happened in previous years, we were again joined by multiple state representatives including Libertarian Caleb Dyer of Pelham, NH as well as Keene’s Ward One Democrat, Joseph Stallcop, and Republican Glen Aldrich of Gilford.
This year’s event began with speakers at 3pm including representatives Dyer & Stallcop, me explaining the right of Jury Nullification, and Libertarian Party of NH chairman Darryl W Perry. The overcast weather threatened rain which thankfully never materialized and the temperature was cool and pleasant with a couple dozen already in attendance at 3pm by the street, smoking cannabis and chalking messages on the pavement. As we closed in on 4:20pm (the time that cannabis is used in celebration globally) the numbers of attendees swelled to easily over 100 people.
Just a portion of the excellent crowd, photos courtesy Justin Campagnone
Event organizer and executive director of the 420 Foundation, Shire Dude emceed (and live streamed) the event. As the crowd gathered directly in front of the state house close to 4:20, we heard from speakers including Carla Gericke of the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, the executive director of the NH Cannabis Freedom Festival, Rick Naya, and medical cannabis consultant John Padellaro who told us how cannabis helped him with his inoperable brain growth. Padellaro also said, “I don’t support legalization. I support ending prohibition.” This sentiment was echoed by speakers Perry and Gericke, with Gericke also calling on New Hampshire’s new governor, Chris Sununu, to pardon all peaceful drug offenders and end funding for “Granite Hammer”. Perry and representative Dyer’s speeches focused on the current legal status and future of cannabis reform in New Hampshire while Naya reflected on the previous 420 rallies and people we’ve lost to prohibition. In his off-the-cuff speech, representative Stallcop of Keene told the attendees, “we need to stop looking at each other in terms of left or right. I see, in all honesty, there is right and there is wrong…We will stand together as one people and say that this is our decision, this is our choice.” (more…)
Marple has been charged for driving without a license and has argued that the court has no jurisdiction over him as he is not “operating a motor vehicle”, which he says is a legal term that only applies to people traveling for commercial purposes. Despite Marple filing an exhaustive legal memorandum outlining the various cases on which he bases his position, the robed woman cited her own court cases:
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has also consistently ruled that the operation of an automobile- upon a public highway is not a right, but” … only a privilege which the state may grant or withhold at pleasure …. ” State V; Sterrin, 78 N.H. 220, 222 (1916), citing Comm.v. Kingsbury, 199 Mass. 542. The Court, in State v. Sterrin, at 222, also cited State v. Corron, 73 N.H. 434, 446 (1905), which references a liquor licensee, by stating: “The statute confers a privilege which the citizen is at liberty to accept by becoming a licensee, or not, as he pleases. Having accepted the privilege, he cannot object to any conditions which have been attached thereto by a grantor with power to entirely withhold the privileges.”
Translation: “There is no right to travel safely on the roads without asking your master government’s permission first. We are in charge here and you’ll do what we say, or else.”
State Rep Dick Marple campaigns at the polls.
Spath then went on to have the trial date for Marple driving without the state permission slip set for April 18th at 12:45pm in Concord district court.
However, it doesn’t end there. Marple has since filed an 11-page “Affidavit of Truth – in Commerce – Second Demand” with the NH Secretary of State’s office and the court. In the affidavit, Marple challenges jurisdiction again, saying the court needs to show the signed “instrument” where he consents to their rule and further demands a jury trial. He says Spath’s stand on her alleged jurisdiction is an “abuse of discretion” and cites more court cases claiming that the state may not interfere in your personal business. He demands the case be dismissed with prejudice, saying that Spath’s claim that he voluntarily chose to acquire a license is false. Marple says he was under duress to contract for the license: (more…)
As reported over at Photography is Not a Crime today, a veteran of the US Marines, Billy Spaulding, recently attempted to pay a parking fine in pennies at Manchester city hall. Initially, police responded and lied to Billy’s cameraman, claiming he wasn’t allowed to record them without informing them. The cop claims, “You have to advise us that you’re recording us. You can’t record audio.” The reality is that recent New Hampshire court precedent says otherwise – not only can you record police in New Hampshire, but you can secretly record them. Unfortunately the videographer appears to have shut off the camera as a result of the cop’s lies. Based on the comments on the youtube video, he now knows better.
Amazingly, he’s already been offered a one year prison term plea deal, despite the fact that the grand jury has yet to even return an indictment! Now, it’s highly likely that they will hand down an indictment, but regardless – it’s pretty clear that the prosecution doesn’t want to have to take this to trial. While Ademo had said previously he’d accept a plea of six months (he’s already done one awaiting trial), it doesn’t sound like he’s willing to take the year deal without having seen discovery or even the indictment. Otherwise, he’s doing alright in the jail. You can listen to the full interview here – the link jumps you straight to that part of our Saturday show.
Ademo would love to hear from you. Here’s the address at which you can send him mail. Sorry, the backwards-ass jail in Warren County won’t let you send him books.
Warren County Jail
C/O Adam Mueller – 61437
P.O. Box 309
Lebanon, Ohio 45036