Judge Overrules Press Block by Chalking 8 Prosecutor

As published at freeconcord.org.

Judge William Lyons overruled an objection to a recording notice made by attorney Gregory Muller on Tuesday, November 15 just prior to the trial of Wesley Gilwreath. Wesley was among the first two arrests at the Manchester police department on June 4, 2011. He and Ademo Freeman were arrested for chalking on the building of the station during a police accountability rally. In the hours following the initial arrests, activists and their property were seized by police for a number of legally questionable reasons.

The day prior to the trial, I had submitted notice to record to the clerk. As is usual, just before the proceedings got underway, both parties were presented with the notice. With my name listed on the recording form as the correspondent, Gregory Muller objected, claiming that I had a ‘vested interest’ in Wesley’s trial. The judge failed to see how my ability to record a third party’s legal proceedings could cause any ill-gotten gain. To the objection, the judge asked, “Do you have any legal authority for the proposition that one vitiates their standing under the first amendment, by virtue of having charges arising out of the same incident?”

On September 21, I myself had my first pretrial hearing relating to the arrest. Handling the video coverage for Free Concord was Neal Conner, who was also arrested, though on this date Mr. Muller never issued an objection (and as you can see in the video coverage, the recording is done openly while I refer to the fact that the videographer is also an arrested witness).

In retrospect, I should have responded earlier to the assertion that myself and Wesley were co-defendants. It was inaccurate to relate our charges, and I appreciate Wes’ speaking out in the courtroom on that fact. I was arrested almost a full block away and two hours following Wes’ seizure. This Friday, November 18 is my own Chalking 8 trial in Manchester district court. It will be open to the public and filmed by local independent media. See the prosecutor’s attempt to block the Free Concord camera below, and stay tuned for full coverage of Wesley Gilwreath’s trial (which wrapped with a verdict ‘taken under advisement’) coming soon.

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