Independent video journalist and liberty activist Dave Ridley of the Ridley Report was recently threatened for recording in the state house by a guard, despite it being completely legal to record there:
Brandon was arrested at Surry Dam when after doing five-miles over the speed limit he was confronted by a forest ranger. We don’t know exactly how their interaction went, because Brandon did not record video. According to Brandon, the ranger berated him about the speeding and Brandon blew him off in an unkind manner. The ranger then said he would be calling the police and Brandon followed him back to his office. The ranger claims Brandon was pounding on the office door yelling at him, while Brandon says he was not pounding on the door and was in no way threatening the man.
However, the ranger’s testimony was that he was frightened and when state police arrived, Brandon told them to fuck off, and when he repeated it at the request of one of the staties, Brandon was arrested.
Here’s full video of Brandon’s trial in Keene district court from January and the sentencing hearing from February. As judge Edward J Burke found Brandon guilty, Brandon and his attorney will be appealing to a jury trial. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.
One note – during trial, Burke said nothing about his shirt, but at sentencing, wearing the same shirt, Brandon was told if he did it again it would be contempt of court. Not only can you not express yourself to police, you can’t express yourself via your wardrobe. Whatever happened to freedom? You generally don’t find it at the district court level.
It was the first official event hosted by the Free State Project after the February 3 announcement that the group had reached it’s goal of 20,000 signers on the statement of intent to move to New Hampshire to “exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property.” Liberty Forum 2016 was part celebration of all that has been accomplished over the past 15 years by the nearly 2,000 early movers, i.e. people who made the move to New Hampshire for the Free State Project prior to the move being triggered, and part conference on how to move forward. (more…)
Don’t get too excited. If you read the order, you’ll find that Judge Carroll is no hero of constitutional rights or equality. Page three of his order ridiculously cites the private Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings system as evidence of a supposed “societal desire” to regulate female toplessness. Carroll argues that because the state’s three prudish witnesses (the three snitches) don’t appreciate female toplessness and because the town gave notice of the existence of the ordinance, that somehow means the town ordinance doesn’t violate the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution or Article 1 of the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
Given that Article 1 only mentions men when it says, “All men are born equally free and independent”, is it Judge Carroll’s opinion that only men were born free and that women can be told what to wear, for the good of “society”? He’s not foolish enough to come right out and say that, but his order does make excuse after outrageous excuse for the town’s ordinance, claiming it’s constitutionally sound:
So, if the social mores were that all women must wear burqas, because seeing any skin at all bothered people, it sounds like Carroll would consider that mandate constitutional as well.
The township’s compelling interest is met in maintaining the beach as a natural resource to be enjoyed by young and old , men and women, families and single persons while preserving appropriate standards that allow the township to maintain their local values and mores…The Court does not find that the prohibition violates any constitutionally protected right…the movement “does not have ‘a right to impose one’s lifestyle on other who have an equal right to be left alone.
Though Carroll defends the right to marry either gender, he says that such marriage is a protected right, while toplessness is not. On the final page, he claims the toplessness in this case had no artistic value, while on page three he acknowledges the female nipple “has been the subject of great beauty in art”. Apparently Carroll is an art critic now, too.
Ultimately, Carroll decides the case in the favor of the defendants, but not on the excellent constitutional or equal protection arguments made by attorney Hynes, but simply on a technicality of the system: (more…)
Where do we go from here? Expert jury outreach panelists included Rich Paul of the Church of the Invisible Hand, Cathleen Converse who successfully nullified charges against a cannabis grower, Derrick J Freeman of Flaming Freedom, and Ian Freeman of Free Keene.
Big thanks to our 2015 video sponsor – Roberts & Roberts Brokerage – when you’re serious about precious metals – they take bitcoin!
Yesterday I traveled to Laconia, NH’s district court to record the trials of Heidi Lilley and B. Liz MacKinnon, who were unexpectedly cited by police for going topless on the beach in Gilford, NH. This, just a couple of weeks after Lilley’s successful “Free the Nipple” topless equality event in Laconia.
Hoping to overturn the illegal, discriminatory town ordinance, Lilley and MacKinnon teamed up with Free State Project early mover and attorney Dan Hynes.
Hynes’ line of questioning was interesting, specifically asking the state’s witnesses, which included three snitches and a few cops, how they determine someone is a woman. The all answered something about breasts, which is inconclusive. Without inspecting genitalia, which the police did not do, there would be reasonable doubt that the person is female.
Hynes argued, in a ten-page motion to dismiss (complimented by jovial Judge James M. Carroll) the ordinance is unconstitutional and violates equal protection and the right to free expression. Further, he argues the ordinance is also illegal because New Hampshire is not a “home rule” state and unless the state legislature authorizes towns to pass laws of their own, they cannot legally do so.
Here’s the full video of the trial with quick interviews of attorney Hynes and Ms. Lilley afterwards. If you want a brief rundown of the hearing, you can read the live tweets I sent during the trial here. The judge took the case under advisement and will issue a ruling by mail later. Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest in this important case.