NH Supreme Court Decides “Jury Nullification” Law Not A Jury Nullification Law

Rich Paul 420 2014

Rich Paul

I always thought the language in RSA 519:23-a (commonly referred to as the jury nullification statute) was weak. In fact, the state’s attorney argued in front of the NH supreme court that before it passed into law, the legislature stripped all mention of jury nullification from the original bill. From the state’s perspective, their attorney was correct, and the supreme court unanimously affirmed that the statute is not a jury nullification statute.  Here’s their seven-page decision.

The statute in question is a shadow of what it should have been. Perhaps the legislature can try again and get it right this time. Until then, whether or not a defendant will be allowed to tell a jury about nullification (which has happened multiple times thus far in NH) remains up-to-the-judge in the case, it seems.  Stay tuned to Free Keene for or NHJury.com for the latest news about jury rights in New Hampshire.

Reason has an excellent take on the news here, and FIJA’s opinion is here.

Jared Goodell Seen Visiting Attorney Charlie Donahue

While on the streets of Keene this afternoon, I saw Jared Goodell pull into the parking lot of Charlie Donahue, a local liberty-friendly attorney. I caught up with Jared and managed to get a question out I’d been wanting to ask about his now viral video where Pumpkin Fest organizer Ruth Sterling assaults and threatens him. Though Jared has previously stated that he did not plan on suing Sterling, perhaps his plans have changed. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on the Pumpkin Fest 2014 riots and the surrounding drama.

Black Sheep Rising – Ep74

Robin Hood goes to Washington..err..Concord • James hassled over his retired police cruiser – Show me the law • Infamous FL speed trap town dissolves corrupt police department • Running and losing in the primaries • The chicken coop roof is on fire • James and Garret • Show notes at: BlackSheepRising.org

Keene Sentinel Reports on Robin Hood NH Supreme Court Case

robinThanks to the Keene Sentinel’s Martha Shanahan for coming up to Concord on Wednesday to report on the City of Keene vs Robin Hood case. Here’s the story she filed:

CONCORD — The N.H. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday morning in the city of Keene’s lawsuit against six people it accuses of harassing and intimidating city parking enforcement officers.

 

The six defendants named in the case are Graham Colson, James Cleaveland, Garret Ean, Kate Ager, Ian Freeman and Peter Eyre, all affiliated in some way with the Free Keene activist and blogging group that regularly protests government actions in Keene.

 

The Robin Hooders’ attorney, Jon Meyer of Manchester, said asking the court to allow the city’s request for a buffer zone of 30 feet between the six people and the parking officers would be circumventing existing laws. The Robin Hooders have not been charged with any crime, he said. (more…)

Burke Shows Mercy in Victimless ID “Crime” Sentencing (Full Video)

burke

Edward Burke

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…)