I’m sick to my stomach and upset. Mostly at myself because I am not able to risk violating (due to being out on at least two bails) this absurd new ban on all recording devices at the Cheshire “superior” courthouse.
Yes, it’s another unsigned order, this time from the top of the circuit and superior courts (this applies to all courts in Keene, and only Keene).
Freedom of the press and freedom of speech is a huge joke. The court bailiffs this morning were gloating and reveling in their new power to control activists.
Anyone bringing a recording device into the court may be caged for “contempt of court”, which is a “power” of the robed man to lock you in a cage for a possibly indefinite period of time. Apparently this is all justified because they feel “intimidated”.
You read that right. Media are being threatened with a cage in the so-called land of the free. It’s only a matter of time now before some brave reporter steps up to violate this outrageous ban.
Here’s an OCR of the order, which you can see as a PDF here:
This Order is made pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 54 in an exercise of
the undersigned’s general supervisory responsibility for the administration and
operation of the New Hampshire Circuit Court. Specifically, this Order is meant
to apply to the facts and circumstances at the district division of the 8th Circuit in –
In recent months certain members of the public have caused disruptions
of the court’s ability to conduct business in Keene. In addition to their refusal to
abide by court rules related to the conduct of trials and conduct in the courtroom
in general, these members of the public have also congregated in the court’s
lobby for extended periods of time making it difficult for other members of the
public to conduct business with the court and, in particular, creating conditions
and disturbances which have obstructed court staff from performing their duties
in an orderly way. Additionally, these members of the public have, on occasion,
accosted the presiding judge as he enters and leaves the building in which the
court is housed, creating an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation and a
legitimate fear for the safety and well-being of the judicial and nonjudicial staff at
Based upon these conditions and facts, and mindful of the holding of the
New Hampshire Supreme Court in State v. Moquin, 105 N.H. 9 at 11 (1963) that,
” … it is the duty and responsibility of courts to be alert to protect the judicial
processes from being brought into disrepute and to act vigorously when
confronted with acts or conduct which tend to obstruct or interfere with the due
and orderly administration of justice … ” it is ordered as follows:
1. No cameras or audio equipment may be used at any time in the court’s
lobby or anywhere in the public area of the court’s leased premises;
2. The provisions of District Court Rule 1.4, made applicable to the Circuit
Court, related to the use of cameras, broadcasting equipment and
recording devices during courtroom proceedings shall be strictly enforced.
Except under situations where advanced notice is not possible due to the
timing of relevant events or other pertinent factors, all requests to bring
cameras, broadcasting equipment and recording devices into the
courthouse housing the 8th Circuit District Division shall be made in writing
on a form prescribed by the court, no later thao 48 hours prior to the court
hearing sought to be recorded;
3. Members of the public entering the court facility for purposes of
conducting court business will be expected to conduct that business
expeditiously and leave the premises immediately thereafter;
4. Members of the public entering the court facility for purposes of observing
a scheduled event(s) in the courtroom will be expected to conduct
th~mselves according to the instructions of the presiding judge, refrain
from any conduct which disrupts the proceedings and leave the premises
immediately upon the end of the court session.
This Order is effective on the date it bears and shall be enforced through the
contempt powers of the court.
Edwin W. Kelly
New Hampshire Circuit Court
July 1, 2011