Cheshire Sheriff Heroically Nullifies Immigration Enforcers, Creating NH’s Only Sanctuary County!

Sheriff Eli Rivera

Sheriff Eli Rivera

Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera has been making headlines this week for his compassionate stance against working with federal immigration enforcers. Rivera, a longtime fixture in the community and multi-term sheriff, announced via his website last week:

After taking some time to reflect on this current issue, as Sheriff, I’ve decided that the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office will not seek to enter into an agreement with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to enforce federal immigrations laws. Furthermore, we will not participate in raids, stings or operations that are solely intended at locating an undocumented person or persons. Any representative of ICE requesting our assistance must have an active criminal warrant issued by a judge or must be actively pursuing a criminal investigation that relates to public safety for us to participate.

It’s a welcome policy in a place where being brown or black makes one stick out like a sore thumb, given the population here in Cheshire County is about 96% white.

According to the Sentinel’s report on Rivera’s announcement Keene Police’s acting chief, Steve Russo has yet to comment on the issue, but his late predecessor Brian Costa‘s position was similar to Rivera’s, saying, “We have no interest going forward, nor do we have the resources for deputizing our officers as part of ICE to go out and seek illegal or undocumented immigrants…We govern ourselves by our mission statement”, which says KPD is “to protect life and property and to maintain order within the City while assuring fair and respectful treatment of everyone.”

Costa said of that mission statement in his interview with the Sentinel earlier this month, prior to his untimely passing, “It’s not just a group of words…It’s how we do business.”

Brian Costa

KPD’s Late Chief Brian Costa

It sounds like Sheriff Rivera is on the same page as Costa. In his excellent statement, Rivera continues:

In addition, we will not ask a person their immigration status or detain a person based on an administrative civil detainer that is not issued by a judge. As Sheriff, I do not want undocumented immigrants to fear the Sheriff’s Office, instead I want them to be able to approach and speak to any of my deputies without the fear that they will be turned over to ICE. If in the course of our duties we happen to come across an undocumented person we will handle each encounter in a way we deem appropriate for each situation…

 

If you are an undocumented person in Cheshire County and feel uncertain about approaching law enforcement for fear they will turned you over to ICE, feel free to call me, Sheriff Eli Rivera, at the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the WMUR report on Rivera’s policy, some control-freak politicians are butthurt over this. Good. Unlike those cowardly politicians, kudos to Rivera for having the courage to do the right thing and truly protect the people of Cheshire county from the evil hands of the federal government. It would be better of course if Rivera would also stop cooperating with the feds on other victimless crime enforcement, like the insane War on Drugs, but this is a BIG step in the right direction.

I’m glad to live in a place where law enforcement acts more human, more often, than anywhere else I’ve ever been. You’ve got Rick Van Wickler, Cheshire County’s jail superintendent who is also a longtime speaker at Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a compassionate group of mostly former police which you may remember as being previously called, “Law Enforcement Against Prohibition” until they expanded their mission to include other issues where police reform is badly needed,  Van Wickler has been a constant presence in Concord at state house hearings about drug legalization, speaking strongly in favor of any efforts to end prohibition in New Hampshire.  He also runs his jail much more compassionately than the supermajority of the others in the United States.  Add to that, a relatively calm and approachable group of Keene police, and now this excellent news from Sheriff Rivera.

Thank you, Eli. You’ve earned my vote in the next election. The land known as Cheshire county in the Shire should be a sanctuary for all peaceful people. Your immigration policy helps us get closer to that ideal. Next step, NH seceding from the United States! Viva New Hampshire!

Libertarian Jilletta Jarvis Announces Campaign for NH Governor in 2018!

Libertarian Party of New Hampshire secretary Jilletta Jarvis officially announced her run for governor in 2018 at last weekend’s LPNH convention in Concord! Here’s her first campaign speech as delivered to the convention where she discusses ending prohibition of cannabis, lowering taxes, ending DUI checkpoints, ending civil asset forfeiture, and supporting state rights. She promises, “As governor of New Hampshire, I would never sign a bill that took away freedoms from New Hampshire citizens.”

Last year, the Libertarian Party of NH achieved major party status for the first time in two decades, meaning our ballot access is finally equal to the big two parties. That means LP candidates can easily qualify for the ballot just by paying the same fee the other two parties do, rather than having to slave away and throw thousands of dollars at collecting petition signatures. The LPNH is already recruiting candidates for statewide races in 2018, so be sure to get involved!

Cop Block Founder Ademo Freeman Is Out of Jail After Major Bail Reduction!

Several weeks after his roadside arrest for possession and trafficking of cannabis in Warren County, Ohio, Cop Block founder Ademo Freeman is out of jail! He announced the exciting news on last night’s Free Talk Live (click to listen to his call) that his bail had been reduced from $75,000 to $5,000, he’s finally been indicted, and one of his felony charges for possession was dropped. He is now facing two felonies, but the early charge removal and recent plea deal offer suggest that the prosecution does not want to take this matter to trial.

Now that he’s out of jail on bond, he’ll be able to better prepare for his trial, unless they offer him an even better plea deal, which he has indicated he’d be willing to negotiate. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

Virgil Vaduva and Ademo Freeman, After Ademo's Release!

Virgil Vaduva and Ademo Freeman, After Ademo’s Release!

Also, this excellent article was written by Ademo while in jail. Sounds like he’s had a major paradigm shift to peace, as I once did. Right on, brother.

Cop Block Founder Ademo Freeman Offered Plea Deal Before Indictment

Ademo Freeman in Warren County Jail

Ademo Freeman in Warren County Jail

In February, Cop Block founder Ademo Freeman was arrested in Warren County, Ohio after a questionable roadside search of the car he was driving, on multiple felony counts of possession of and intent to distribute cannabis. Saturday night, he called from jail into my talk radio show, Free Talk Live, to update us on the situation.

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

Keene Police Chief’s Shocking Death A Major Loss to Community

Brian Costa

Brian Costa

I was shocked to hear the news on WKBK earlier this week that Brian Costa, Keene’s police chief since 2015, had died in his home one week ago. I was even more surprised to learn he was just 46 years old. Unlike his predecessor, Brian treated me like a human being. He was kind, respectful, and approachable. Surely he and I disagreed on various subjects, but that never stopped him from being willing to work with me where we agreed. The few times I’d interacted with him in his too-short-a-term as police chief, I was impressed with his humanity and professionalism. Though I didn’t know him well, I wish I did.

Years ago when I moved here, as many activists do, I had an axe to grind with the police. The police, as the enforcement arm of the state, were obviously the bad guys. However, as one of the original Cop Blockers, (Badge #5) out in the streets as often as I was, it didn’t take me long to begin connecting with the Keene police as fellow human beings (instead of mindless statist automatons, which is easy for us libertarians to think about police if we don’t know them). The most memorable early paradigm-shifting encounter was my ride-along with KPD’s Shane Maxfield, nearly a decade ago.

At various different activist events in Keene, (the home of Cop Block) I encountered Brian Costa on multiple occasions, who prior to becoming chief was one of KPD’s two captains. However, due to him being a captain, his responsibilities were more management than they were patrol, so our contact was fairly limited at that time.

Meanwhile, Costa’s predecessor as chief, Ken Meola had gone from having breakfast monthly with Sam Dodson and me, to pretending like I didn’t exist for years after the drinking game arrests.

Imagine my pleasant surprise then, when one day shortly after Brian’s appointment as Keene police chief, I was standing out in Central Square, distracted by something on my phone. As I looked up from my device, there he was right in front of me! Brian was dressed in his full Keene police uniform, as any other patrol officer would be. He explained that he’d seen me from his walk downtown and he wanted to introduce himself.

I’ll always remember that about him. I was struck by how humble he appeared. Not only was he not above walking the streets like any other KPD officer, but that he would take time to come over and say hello was really impressive. I was happy to meet him officially and grateful to be treated like a human being by KPD’s chief for the first time in years.

Then, early in 2016, Brian called me out of the blue and asked me for help. There was a bad batch of heroin that had been hitting the streets and leading to overdoses. He had reached out to me as the publisher of Free Keene (Keene’s most popular blog and a Google news source), hoping that I would help get the word out about the bad batch of drugs. Of course I would. Though I’m against the war on drugs and it was Brian’s job to enforce it, we found common ground in the goal of harm reduction. I told him I’d get on it, thanked him for thinking of me, and immediately published this article about the bad dope. When I share goals with someone, despite our differences, I’m willing to work with them to accomplish our common goals. This builds bridges between people on opposite sides of other issues, increasing the likelihood of further communication and a growing mutual respect. Brian understood this, and he earned my respect by being a decent person.

Now, he’s gone from this world, and WAY too soon. Whoever is chosen as his permanent replacement has some BIG shoes to fill. I really wish I could have gotten to know Brian better. I feel like I missed out. (more…)

NH House Passes Historic Bitcoin Protection Bill + Cannabis Decrim Passed by Record 89%!

Will New Hampshire become a haven for bitcoin and cannabis?

Will New Hampshire become a haven for bitcoin and cannabis?

Today was a historic day in the New Hampshire state house. Two very important bills were passed and if they make it through the senate and governor will ensure that New Hampshire is the best place to be a bitcoiner as well as decriminalize cannabis.

In 2015, a bill (HB 666) was passed that spooked many in the international bitcoin community as it added cryptocurrency to the “money transmitter” statutes. This caused at least one bitcoin business to cease doing business with customers in New Hampshire and quite a bit of buzz about New Hampshire losing its vaunted crytpo-friendly status. How did this happen in a state with the largest concentration of bitcoin enthusiasts per capita? Honestly, we were caught off-guard, but now that’s all changed. In 2016 a state house committee to study cryptocurrency was formed, whose meetings I attended and video recorded.

After hearing from multiple NH bitcoiners in the committee meetings, state representative Barbara Biggie stepped up and filed a bill, HB 436, that proposed to repeal NH’s lone statute regulating cryptocurrencies. Here’s video from the public hearing on HB 436. As Darryl and I pointed out at the hearing, the bill as filed wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for. It created a new definition and exemption for “virtual currency” in the statutes, but still left in statutes a definition and regulation for “convertible virtual currency”. We explained to them that this was confusing and they should be striking the regulation for “convertible virtual currency” rather than creating the additional terminology.

You know what? They listened AND did us one better! The commerce committee amended the bill and turned it into the best possible protection for bitcoin businesses in New Hampshire! The amended bill completely exempts from the money transmitter statutes:

Persons who engage in the business of selling or issuing payment instruments or stored value solely in the form of convertible virtual currency; or receive convertible virtual currency for transmission to another location.

101 Reasons Film Logo

101 Reasons Why Liberty-Lovers Like YOU Should Move Here Now!

I don’t think anyone expected the language to be that good, but there it is. This is essentially the opposite of what New York did with it’s business-killing “bitlicense” regulations. Today, the full New Hampshire house of representatives passed HB 436 by a vote of 185-170!

In other exciting state house news, the state house outdid their previous record of 81% voting for cannabis decriminalization, which was set in 2015. This time, 89.8% of the state house members that voted today (318-36), voted for HB 640 which would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, up to five grams of hashish, and cannabis-infused products. If this bill makes it through the senate and governor (who allegedly is friendly to decrim), then people over 21 years of age who are caught with these products will only face a violation instead of a misdemeanor, as they do today.

UPDATE: Liberty Lobby‘s Darryl W Perry just informed me that the state house also voted to add chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions for prescribing medical cannabis, 301-47.

UPDATE 2: The house also passed HB 160, 302-46 which adds PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for prescribing medical cannabis.

UPDATE 3: Home grow of medical cannabis (HB 472) also passed the house, 213-118.

Stay tuned here to Free Keene for more exiting news on the frontlines of freedom! Better still, if you love liberty, start planning your move to New Hampshire and help us advance liberty. We’ve already got 101 Reasons Liberty Lives in New Hampshire, and as more libertarians, voluntarists, and liberty-loving anarchists move here, it just keeps getting better and better!