I recently had a hearing at the DMV where the Keene police prosecutor, Jean Kilham, attempted to prove that I am a “resident” and that therefore I have to get a NH driver’s license. I argued that “residency” is something that one must voluntarily seek. Originally, Kilham had brought criminal charges against me for not getting a license, but then dropped them before the trial and told me she was going to go after me via a DMV administrative hearing as the burden of proof was lower.
She has succeeded, as expected, in having DMV administrator Michael King rule in her favor. According to his 12-page “Decision”, I will no longer have the “privilege” to drive in New Hampshire starting Novemeber 5th. The document does claim on the final page that there are “appeal rights” regarding the decision, as outlined by RSA 263:76. The word “rights” might make you think you have a right to appeal. However, on a trip to the Cheshire “superior” court, I was informed that there would be a $250 filing fee in order for me to use my “right” to appeal.
I filed a motion to waive the filing fee, citing that RSA 263 says the court “shall” rule in the case of appeal, which sounds obligatory. I also cite the NH constitution’s bill of rights, article 14, which states that legal remedies should be free. Finally, I cite a religious objection to funding an unjust and unfair system. Judge John C. Kissinger denied that motion citing Lamarche v McCarthy 158 N.H. 197 (2008). In that case, the NH Supreme court re-iterated several previous rulings that basically claim that NH Article 14 doesn’t say what it says. The judges claim that NH Article 14,
“was designed to abolish, not fixed fees, prescribed for the purpose of revenue, but the fines which were anciently paid to expedite or delay law proceeding and procure favor.”
This is what NH Article 14 actually says:
[Art.] 14. [Legal Remedies to be Free, Complete, and Prompt.] Every subject of this state is entitled to a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries he may receive in his person, property, or character; to obtain right and justice freely, without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws.
This is a fine example of how in “legal land” even words that appear clear and understandable by the average person are “interpreted” by men and women in robes to mean something very different. Basically, the court’s view of Article 14 is that it was to prohibit paying for justice, meaning bribery – the court is totally fine with “fixed fees” for the sake of “revenue”. So, the courts can fix that fee at whatever number keeps the average person from filing an appeal, and it’s totally legal!
Additionally, after receiving the “decision”, on Marc Stevens‘ recommendation, I filed a motion to rehear/reconsider with the DMV. Of course Kilham objected and DMV administrator Michael King denied the motion. Stevens recommended this for the purposes of preserving objections for appeal.
So, what to do? I have a moral objection to paying fees to “the state”, but even if I were to pay the $250 filing fee, the total cost of complying with the DMV’s ransom demands are much lower than the filing fee. According to the “decision”, I can have the “privileges” restored if I do the following:
- Jump through their hoops to get a NH driver’s license.
- Pay a $100 “reinstatement” extraction to the DMV if the suspension lasts longer than 15 days.
Because of the importance of the issue of “residency” and consent, I really want to get this case heard by an actual robed man rather than a DMV bureaucrat, but I don’t want to pay the filing fee due to moral and constitutional objections. There is one other option and that is to fill out a ridiculously invasive “financial affidavit” in the hopes that the filing fee would be waived. Thankfully, I no longer own any assets since I dedicated my life in the service of god to the Shire Free Church, so filling out the form was pretty simple. I’ll be dropping it off with this notice of appeal and a new motion to waive the fee today. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this case.