An Open Letter to “Judge” Edward Burke

Edward BurkeToday, I paid a visit, under duress of course, to Keene “district court”. Video of the event will be posted to FreeKeene later on, and you can hear audio and my thoughts on tonight’s Free Talk Live. Unfortunately, this morning “judge” Edward Burke interrupted me before I could get to the appreciative comments I had intended to share with him. I was inspired to write him a letter with my thoughts, especially after one of the “court” bureaucrats told me that I “wasn’t allowed” to communicate with Mr. Burke. Considering I have not consented to their process at all, and there is no evidence of an agreement between us, I’m not sure how that particular bureaucrat could make such a claim. I’m presuming she was uninformed. Here is my open letter to Edward Burke. I will be sending a signed copy to Mr. Burke via private delivery signature service.

Mr. Burke,

Earlier today, I had intended to tell you of my appreciation for some of the decisions you have made recently. I will do so now, as I have the opportunity. I’d like to thank you for your recent “not guilty” decision in Nick Ryder’s “speeding” case, your sensible decision to allow multiple recording devices into your “court”, allowing camera panning, and the reasonable ways you handled Russell Kanning and David Krouse’s “driving without registration” cases. Also, a while back I was pleased with how you handled David Manning’s “illegal U-turn” situation. You appear to be a reasonable man and I hope this letter finds you and approachable mood.

Before I continue, I’d like to apologize for the rather unusual situation you have been put in. I do not know you, but I would like to imagine that in your private life you are very nice man who is appreciated by your many friends and family. The situation I refer to is one you’re probably already aware of. I imagine you’ve been advised on the fact that liberty activists have been moving to town here in Keene. You’ve no doubt noticed us in your courtroom as most of us remain seated when you enter. I hope you understand, we are just doing our jobs. One of our jobs is to stand up, or in this case sit, in support of others who are being targeted for “consensual crimes”. Unfortunately, we do not have enough numbers to operate regular sittings in your “court”, otherwise you would see us outside the occasion when your “business associates” decide to do their “business” with one of our friends or associates.

I realize your “business associates” are just doing their jobs and you’re just doing your job as “judge” of the Keene “district court”. Unfortunately, the job you are doing is playing a decisive role (“judge”) in the part of a system that leads to the harming of uncounted innocent lives. I have admittedly not researched your case history, but I am familiar with my personal experience observing cases in your courtroom. I know for certain that you have been the man whose decisions have resulted in peaceful people having their freedom stripped from them by men with guns who put them in cages. This, I do not appreciate, and I know I’m not alone.

I can promise you that more liberty activists will be coming to Keene. As you can tell from your experience, this means things are going to change, more than they already have. I’d like to make a an unsolicited suggestion on how to handle these changes:

Please stop hearing cases that do not involve a victim. If you would do this, you would likely never see another liberty activist in your courtroom again. Plus, you’d be saving a lot of people a significant amount of money and time. I understand that part of your job is probably to raise revenue for the “City of Keene”. However, I would rather your job be arbitrating disputes involving allegedly damaged parties, and awarding restitution, or in extreme cases, incarcerating. If that described the job you were doing, people would likely be singing your praises rather than protesting.

If you choose continue to hear cases involving “consensual crimes”, prepare yourself for more activists paying more attention to the job you do. The liberty movement in New Hampshire is decentralized. I cannot control nor predict the actions of those activists who choose to focus their efforts in Keene. You can expect all kinds of peaceful outreach and protest. We are changing hearts and minds. Perhaps yours will be included. Many of us have a vision for a 100% consensual society. I invite you to learn more about how we can get from here to there.

You have several choices, those I could think of are listed here from best to worst:

  1. Stop hearing cases without a victim. This choice allows you to make history, as the first government judge to only decide cases against those who have harmed others. Peaceful people will retain their freedom, time, and money. We will all be wealthier as a result.
  2. Continue enforcing bad laws, while being more reasonable in the few cases involving liberty activists, their friends, and associates. This option buys you and “the state” some time. You get to continue “business” as usual and minimize bad publicity. Rest assured, the activists will keep coming in anyway, and government people will eventually have to start “doing business” just like the rest of us. On a consensual basis.
  3. Crack down on liberty activists. While this option would likely satisfy some in the short-term, (For instance, this morning, one of my associates overheard one of your security bureaucrats suggesting that liberty activists all be thrown in jail.) it would only result in a very short-term existence for the legitimacy of “the state”. Like Obi-Wan in Star Wars, if you strike us down by putting us in cages, our ranks will grow stronger and faster than you can imagine.

I hope you make the right choice. The world is watching.
Ian Freeman
FreeKeene.com Blogger

P.S. A portion of the appreciation I describe in the first paragraph was going to be the fourth sentence I spoke to you today, but you interrupted right before I got to it. I fully expected to be interrupted, so I’m sorry I didn’t make it the first sentence.

UPDATE 10/30: UPS Reports the letter delivered:

Tracking Number: 1Z A17 5T8 03 5464 736 0
Service: GROUND
Weight: .10 Lb
Shipped/Billed On: 10/28/2008
Delivered On: 10/29/2008 11:18 A.M.
Delivered To: KEENE , NH , US
Location: FRONT DOOR

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30 Comments

  1. Perhaps this judge is a liberty-minded individual (maybe a recent convert). Not that it is honorable, but perhaps he just needs the cases presented in a certain manner in order to rule in favor of liberty.

  2. 🙂

  3. Ian, I have never, ever seen anybody write a letter like that to a judge in my entire life. You must have elephantitis of the balls or something Ian.

  4. Hopefully he can come to see that violence isn't the best way to help people. It's a shame how much potential goes wasted because people are convinced that the ways they're used to are the best alternatives.

    I wonder, did you printed version include a CD of the Market For Liberty, or at least a link? I don't have too much hope that he'll listen, but maybe he will. The Market For Liberty was a life-changing book for me and maybe it will bring another person to the "side" of voluntary interaction and honoring our neighbor's choices.

  5. If the judge were to stand for liberty it would have huge ramifications. Just imagine the dumbstruck faces on bureaucrats if they saw the judge acting on his own principles rather than acting on the one principle most bureaucrats act on- which is to completely give up their minds and follow the orders of higher ups.

    It would be sooo nice to see a government official thinking for himself for a change, rather than take the word of others as gospel.

  6. Keep up the good work! Hopefully the man in the robe will see that many of us are beginning to seek a paradigm shift.

    Stay safe everyone

  7. Very nice. Did they drop off their paperwork about the trial date on the couch? 😀

  8. Your letters are awesome. I think I will model some of my own after them when they become necessary.

  9. "You have a few choices, listed from best to worst:"

    I predict that this will get you in trouble. In "legalese", limiting people's choices usually involves the threat of force by the state. If he believes you are attempting to limit his choices, he may misinterpret that as a threat of force.

    The letter is good, but a bit hot. I believe this makes it too easy to dismiss, and thus works against the goal of winning hearts and minds. That's my unsolicited advice.

  10. I think it's an excellent letter. I only partially agree with the most recent comment. I would have simply expanded it to "It appears to me that you have several choices" so that it's merely an honest opinion rather than sounding like you're issuing him an ultimatum which sounds more confrontational. Doing it this way I think would have been more accurate as just an honest and intelligent assessment of the reality of the choices available and sharing that information with him.

  11. WOW. Wish I'd thought of a letter like that. Advice: Again, edit it down by about ~50%. Too many words, & "high-falutin' " phrases…Also, be very, *VERY* careful w/**TONE of VOICE**. "T of V" *also* applies to **writing**. Why give "them" any more "ammo", by careless use of phrases that could too easily be mis-interpreted, either intentionally or not. Sure, ***WE*** on here all know what you mean, but how will "*THEY*" hear it???…Can hardly wait to hear more! GO!, TEAM, GO!…(who's in charge here, where?, what?, who?… "WE THE PEOPLE, IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION…ARE ENDOWED BY OUR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS, CHIEF AMONG THEM BEING *LIFE*, *LIBERTY*, & (the pursuit of): *HAPPINESS*….

  12. Good suggestion, Dale. I've changed it to:

    "You have several choices, those I could think of are listed here from best to worst:"

    (I haven't sent the actual letter yet, so changes can still be made.)

  13. It's a ridiculous letter. All the stuff in quotes is just too arch. The court is not there to make money for Keene (or any of the other municipalities in the district that the court serves). Only a small amount of fines (I think the couch thing might be one if you lost) are paid over to the complaining municipality. Motor vehicle and most other fines go to the court system itself.

    The judge has no choices. He has sworn, as a lawyer and as a judge, to act in accordance with the constitution and laws of NH and the rules of the court. He is not going to decline to hear cases based on somebody's evaluation of victimhood. He is not going to crack down on activists because of their views or because they are annoying (they are probably less annoying than some of the drunks). Nor has he given them or will give them special breaks because of their activism or views.

    Defendants get breaks all the time in the NH courts. You folks are nobody special. In any given case, the hammer will fall eventually. But the next case will start the same way, break after break. That's how it's done.

  14. Curt Springer, your clarification only makes it worse, if the judge presides over cases where the fines go directly into the courts coffers then that makes the situation even more unfair than it appeared before you clarified. Your clarification makes it even more clear that by fining people, the judge is directly benefiting from his extorting money from people for arbitrary crimes.

  15. The judge gets whatever salary. It makes no difference to him personally whether any fine is collected.

  16. Curt Springer said "The judge has no choices. He has sworn, as a lawyer and as a judge, to act in accordance with the constitution and laws of NH and the rules of the court."

    What should the judge do, then, when the laws contradict the constitution?

  17. MIKE: Re: post #76207…I think, that the judge would(must?) "default" to the *law*, not the Constitution. Any Judge/Law/Constitution, Federal, State, local. The law can be more easily *changed*. The Law can be more easily "interpreted". Any judges' ruling can be appealed to a higher court. Also, any Judge is *only* supposed to rule on the facts/evidence presented in any given case. So when no Constitutional issues are raised by either party, the judge has no grounds to bring the Constitution into it…Mike, "What should *WE* do, when a law contradicts the Constitution?"??… Hope that answers your question. Anybody w/more formal legal education is invited, & *REQUESTED*, to correct any errors of fact in what I've posted here. That'll help both Mike & I…~E~…

  18. It's part of the function of the judiciary to decide which laws are constitutional and which aren't. In the case of this judge, at the lowest level of the state court system, he can invoke prior rulings that a law is unconstitutional. But if something novel arises, it has to go up to the NH Supreme Court if it involves the state constitution, and possibly the federal courts if it involves the federal constitution. I'm not sure of the mechanism, whether the judge would rule according to the law as written, leaving it to appeal, or if he would pass it up to the supreme court and ask for a ruling on the constitutional points in question. This kind of stuff rarely happens at the district court level. It starts more often at the superior court level, where felonies and civil suits other than small claims are filed.

  19. The judge gets whatever salary. It makes no difference to him personally whether any fine is collected.

    Yeah and a non-commissioned sales person has no incentive to sell anything…

  20. There was a time when perhaps judges were more interested in income. It used to be that there was a municipal court in each town, the judge was a part-timer who was also a practicing lawyer, and most likely (I don't like to say stuff I don't know for a fact) the fines went to the town and the finances of the court ran through the town books. But that was a generation ago. The district court system was intended to professionalize the lowest-level court and remove conflicts of interest. The judges work full time for the court and are not allowed to practice law on the side. The existing municipal courts were allowed to remain until the sitting judges retired. I could be wrong but I think they are all gone now. I think NH did a good job with this and I honestly think the judges don't think about the income aspect of fines when rendering verdicts or pronouncing sentences. It would be a violation of their sworn oaths and judicial canons if they considered it.

    In contrast to NH, NY kept its municipal court system with part-time non-professional judges and it is scandalous. There have been some articles in the NY Times this year, I think.

  21. Curt Springer – Whether or not the JUDGE is swayed by the remunerative aspect of fines, the SYSTEM surely is, and the judge…unless he's honest and has principles, and where would we fine one of those?…is going to hear any case placed before him. The "legal" profession is a closed clique, and they surely do support each other.

  22. Well sure, somebody is looking at the books. I don't doubt that every so often they raise the fines in the standard schedule. But I don't think there is any basis for saying that judges are pressured to return more guilty verdicts to bring in more revenue.

    And the judge will hear any case placed before him precisely because he is honest and has principles. He will not act capriciously like some mini-tyrant picking and choosing which laws and judicial standards he feels like complying with, and which he does not.

  23. Ian get over it man. You tried to talk to the judge when he was still calling the docket. That's a courtroom norm and if you were in his courtroom alot you should know that. I'm sorry you had to go thru this over a couch but this about a couch in a yard. Why the city is upset about a couch in yard I don't know. (seems like there is more to the story then your telling us) Your turning this into to something more than it is. Your acting like the city took your first born and sent them to GITMO. Come on man……your better off fighting for a cause better than a couch. Like focusing on the soon to be Democratic majority in D.C. to overturn the Patriot act.

  24. Here is Burkes phone number and address:

    (603) 352-6168

    Edward J Burke

    2 Lilac Ln

    Keene, NH 03431

  25. Wow, Clint, publishing a judge's phone number and address so the self-righteous nut jobs on this site can harass him and his family. How peaceful. Gee, I wonder why the complainant in "L'affaire du Couch" didn't feel comfortable talking to Ian directly. After all, you folks are just so pleasant when confronted by others who don't necessarily share your, um, "unique" worldview.

  26. One cool thing about NH is that very few officials have had unlisted phone numbers. Even the governor has a public listing for his home in Hopkinton. This is because NH people tend to respect each other's privacy and don't call for frivolous or harassing reasons. But you can get to people high in the food chain if you need their help.

    Please don't harass the judge or anybody else and drive them all to unlisted numbers.

  27. After all, you folks are just so pleasant when confronted by others who don’t necessarily share your, um, “unique” worldview.

    Well, you seem to know so much about us and what we believe, why don't you explain for posterity's sake what our worldview is for future readers of this board?

    Of course, you can't because you either don't know it or you don't understand it. It's so difficult for statists like yourself to grasp such simple concepts like "government is force", "don't initiate the violence of the state on others", "don't force others to pay for a government program just because you want it" and "power corrupts absolutely". The Golden Rule can be so confounding!

    No, understanding any of that would suit your agenda as a troll and it's far easier for you not to make an honest effort to comprehend our worldview so you can continue being a smug, superior, self-righteous asshole in your posts.

  28. We as a people have to ask ourselves when and where to to take a stand. Ian did just that. Now when we will we, as free people, ( for now ) will have to find the courage to stand up for what our forefathers fought for. Lets take back our FREEDOM!

  29. I know Eddy Burke, he is a scumbag to 10th degree. He always has. His whole family are scumbags. His middle kid is a fk up. Semi retarded works construction and takes drugs and drinks most of the day away. His wife is a functioning alcoholic, like most of his family. Her name is Kathleen Kennedy, from the Kennedy Information Systems company. It was sold several years back for millions. All the Kennedy's are alcoholics, homosexuals (admitted and living so) or whores. One had her kids in high school. Others live in the their parents apartment buildings.

Care to comment?