This week, newer mover-to-Keene Steven Johnson tried his hand at a speeding ticket trial against newer Keene cop Luke Antin, who appears to be a decent guy. Steven heroically refused the plea deal and appeared for trial before judge Edward J Burke, in Keene District Court… but not really.
See, Keene District Court normally occurs in Cheshire County courthouse’s courtroom one. At 8:30 in the morning on November 7th, as usual, dozens of people had filed obediently into courtroom one, awaiting Burke’s arrival. Little did they know, however, that Burke had appeared in the smaller, upstairs courtroom three at 8:30am sharp.
This is a smart move – it prevents the average court attendee from seeing someone actually take a speeding charge to trial. (Based on the large number of youtube views on speeding ticket trials – people are very interested in this subject.) Sure, we give the court victims fliers to encourage them to not take a plea deal, but it’s another matter entirely for them to witness someone actually doing it.
So, courtroom three contained four people: Burke, Steven, KPD officer Luke Antin, and the cameraman – me. Thankfully, we can record the court proceedings in New Hampshire, so the trial can be seen by the world. Here’s the video:
Of course, Steven was found guilty, but he got them to waste a half hour of their time in court, and ultimately was given a suspended fine. We later had a pleasant conversation off-camera with officer Antin outside the court and Burke asked me after I’d packed up my camera who I thought was going to win the election! I told him, whoever wins, we lose.