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.
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…)
In this installment of AKPF #1, originally aired September 29, we are granted an anthology of president Obama’s clearest moments, including an after action report of a recently contested parking ticket in the DPRK district court system. Enjoy AKPF #1 episode, Beclear.
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.
Even teenagers can take tickets to court, as 17-year-old Renee LeBlanc proves in this trial from Jaffrey district court. Don’t miss the hypocrisy by police prosecutor Vince Boggis, who rudely refuses to meet with Renee on the record at the August “pre-trial conference”, but when called on it by her in the courtroom acts like recording his meeting with her is no big deal.
Court can be an intimidating, nerve-wracking experience. Getting your feet wet on something simple like a speeding ticket or parking ticket is a great way to gain experience and confidence. Sure, you’re probably going to lose, but there’s always the chance the officer won’t show up. Plus, in New Hampshire, not taking the plea and demanding your trial, at the very minimum guarantees you won’t have to pay for a few extra months while you await your trial date.
It also makes them have to work for their money and when found guilty you may be able to have the charge placed on file or negotiate community service rather than paying the fine, though Renee is unsuccessful at doing so this time:
Earlier this year, I was surprised by the state police with an arrest for “unsworn falsification” and “prohibitions”. Essentially, they were charging me with two class A misdemeanors for filling out their driver’s license application incorrectly. As it turns out, had I filled it out the same way two days prior, it would have been completely legal. Despite referring to me as a “customer”, they treated me like a criminal rather than simply helping me correct the mistake, as any actual business would who cares about their customers.
They alleged I used a “false” name, my given name of Ian Bernard, to apply for their license when I apparently should have used my now “legal” name of Ian Freeman. At no point until my arrest was I given any indication that this was illegal. The ladies at the DMV were aware of my use of both names, and happily processed the application. I attempted to make it clear during the trial that I did not knowingly use a false name, as I don’t consider my given name to be false, nor was I attempting to defraud anyone. No one has claimed I’ve defrauded them, ever. I honor my word, regardless of the name I use.
None of that mattered in the decision that came by mail after the trial, which found me guilty on both counts. Sentencing is still to come, but I’m facing as much as two years in prison. The last time I was in jail was 2011 for the civil disobedience of blocking a police car when they were attempting to arrest a peaceful woman for drinking alcohol in Central Square. In that case I was sentenced to 90 days in jail and nine more months suspended for two years. Will judge Burke decide that these ID “crimes”, which have no victim, deserve a more serious punishment than civil disobedience? Stay tuned here to Free Keene to find out.