As over 100 liberty activists gathered for my sentencing hearing at federal court, two brave activists challenged the unconstitutional recording ban at the federal courthouse. One is Frank “Footloose” Staples, a longtime freedom advocate who is not afraid to throw himself into the gears of the evil system. The other is NH State Representative Jason Gerhard, who spent a dozen years in federal prison for standing with tax freedom advocates Ed and Elaine Brown. When he was released a couple of years ago, he jumped right back into activism.
While there are ridiculous recording restrictions in existence at New Hampshire state courthouses, the feds are even worse. In NH state courts, one can easily record in a courtroom, but security goons will threaten people who try to record in the other areas of state courthouses. Federal courts however, completely ban all recording devices, nationwide. The ban, “Rule 53“, has been in place since 1946 and has never been successfully overturned. Recording devices are also prohibited by NH Federal District Court “local rules” 83.8.
Will Footloose and Rep Gerhard have success by openly violating the ban, giving them standing to argue their case in court? We’re about to find out, as both were arrested Monday morning while recording at the security checkpoint. Both were cuffed and then issued tickets for violating 102-74.385, a misdemeanor. That code states:
Persons in and on property must at all times comply with official signs of a prohibitory, regulatory or directory nature and with the lawful direction of Federal police officers and other authorized individuals.
Footloose argues that the court is a “public forum”, as stated on its own signage in the lobby, so any order by the police to leave is not a “lawful order”. Gerhard is standing on the constitutionally protected right to a free press. Here’s the video of their arrests: