On June 9, the NH Supreme Court released the long awaited ruling in the case of City of Keene v. James Cleaveland, et al (aka Robin Hood of Keene). It looks like Robin Hood of Keene is heading back to court for the request for injunctive relief, the rest of the case was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Here are three relevant portions of the decision:
“[W]e conclude that the trial court correctly determined that enforcing the City’s tortious interference with contractual relations claim would violate the respondents’ First Amendment rights. Given this conclusion, we need not reach the respondents’ argument that the tortious interference claim is also barred by the State Constitution. (more…)
Today is my birthday, and where else would I want to be at 8:30am except in Judge Burke’s courtroom, awaiting another parking ticket arraignment? Last time I tried the “dead fish” strategy: I didn’t speak during arraignment, I barely spoke during trial, and I was predictably railroaded by the prosecution. Judge Burke found me guilty of two parking violations and fined me $10.
The trial and everything leading up to it costs the court (and therefore the taxpayers) far more than the $10 collected in “revenue”. Not only is it costly for the government to prosecute this victimless crime, it’s also time consuming: the prosecutor was kept busy filing paperwork, gathering witnesses, and preparing his arguments. The entire parking enforcement (which only consists of 2 people) was incapacitated for nearly 4 hours while sequestered for trial. How much money can the city government collect in 8 parking enforcement man-hours? Well, that opportunity was lost because I chose to take these tickets to trial.
If you think this is stupid, you might be surprised that I agree with you. What a waste of time and money! But remember — I didn’t set the system up this way — the people calling themselves “the government” did. And they can stop this charade at any time by simply dismissing the parking tickets. What would they have to lose? They’d certainly have a lot to gain.
Anyway, this time, I chose a new strategy: Go to arraignment with a piece of paper already written out, explaining that I want to plead GUILTY, except the paper is *UNSIGNED*. Once Judge Burke accepts this piece of paper, it becomes part of the record. It is now on the record that I want to plead guilty.
You’d think that would be enough, but Judge Burke did something interesting. He entered a plea of NOT GUILTY on my behalf. Why would he do that? The answer can be found in the following short video from court this morning:
In short, my point was: The judge has demonstrated bias against me, the defendant. Judge Burke is presuming (without evidence) that I am subject to the laws of the State of New Hampshire, but that is one of the elements that must be proven by the prosecution! How can I be forced to be at arraignment if the Judge is not presuming jurisdiction?
What do you think about this strategy? My next step is to file a motion to reverse the plea and motion to have Judge Burke recuse himself because of the bias he demonstrated. He is protecting the prosecutor and doing his job for him by assuming one of the essential elements of the crime: jurisdiction. Without jurisdiction, the case must be dismissed, but he’s not going to let that happen, is he?
Heroic activist, blogger, entrepreneur, and Free State Project participant James Cleaveland was sentenced in Judge Burke’s courtroom in Keene, New Hampshire for the charges of “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest”. His charges stem from a June 30th incident in which James was video recording police. According to officer accounts, James was ordered to move back from an “active scene,” and he complied. After complying with the first officer’s request, a different officer demanded he move back further. He refused and was arrested. (more…)
Darryl W Perry walked into the Cheshire County House of Corrections this Friday. He walked out today, Monday. However, according to Mr Perry, he was not corrected.
Darryl was sentenced $163 in fines for the offenses of “Residency” and “Operating a Vehicle That is Not Registered”. What that means in plain English is that Darryl has a valid driver’s license in Arizona, but the State of New Hampshire alleges that Darryl is a resident of New Hampshire and must change his license over to New Hampshire.
New Hampshire law specifies that an inhabitant is not necessarily a resident, and Darryl asserts that he is not a resident. Therefore, he is not required to apply for a new license. Even if he wanted to, Darryl points out that he lacks the documents the State needs to prove residency. Even if he were able to acquire the forms and signatures necessary, he still wouldn’t be granted a new license because he has a warrant out of South Carolina (also for victimless crimes).
Darryl kept his spirits high throughout the experience. He had a celebratory lunch before going in and plans to have a celebratory supper now that he is out. Darryl produces a daily podcast and content at http://FPP.cc
Wow, who knew it could be so easy? I received a parking ticket in August while getting my hair cut at Moda Suo salon in town. The stylists at Moda did a great job, by the way — and they take bitcoin! I walked down to city hall to challenge the ticket and was given an arraignment date. That means I was told to appear in court to plead either guilty or not guilty. When I appeared to plead not guilty, the prosecutor said, “Are we really going to court over a five dollar ticket?” He dismissed it. Victory!
Since I document and upload my daily life to YouTube, I can share with you video of the entire process. In this playlist, watch as I receive the ticket, go to City Hall to challenge it, and then eventually walk out of court victorious.
Thank you, Jason Short, for doing the right thing and dismissing this ticket. I have another parking ticket to challenge next month. Let’s see if the next one gets dismissed, too. I’ll be ready for court just in case. Think of it: a whole trial just to extort $5 from me? Going to trial costs them way more than that. Will they stop ticketing my car? Will they increase the fine for a parking violation? Will they abolish parking enforcement altogether? Time will tell.
It always catches me by surprise when a public official continues to express belief in an incorrect analysis of law. Yesterday afternoon in Keene, a chalk artist was approached by a bailiff who exited the front doors of the court to issue a pseudo-order to stop chalking. Classifying the chalking as ‘disorderly conduct’, a vague legal term to which chalking does not apply, the authority figure retreated when questioned about his statements and suggested that he would contact Keene police. A KPD SUV rolled by, and another officer walked past the chalking and into the courthouse, but no further action was taken. And, the chalking remained over 24 hours later!
I suppose this was simply an incident in which one bailiff had an incorrect interpretation of the rights of people to express themselves. It was respectable to see the issue dropped once the false information was corrected. One longs for a day when chalking itself does not cause such an elevation of the emotions for bystanders and authority figures.