NHCLU Files Motion Challenging Border Patrol Checkpoints!

Border Patrol in Derby Line, VT

Border Patrol Agents Hassle Us Over Recording Video of their Checkpoint

Good news! The privacy-invading internal border patrol checkpoints that appeared in New Hampshire’s North Country this summer have been challenged in court by the NH Civil Liberties Union!

From their press release:

As stated in the ACLU-NH’s motion, during these border patrol checkpoints, the Woodstock Police Department (“WPD”) and the New Hampshire State Police separately worked in concert with United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to circumvent the independent protections provided by the New Hampshire Constitution against dog-sniff searches in the absence of a warrant or reasonable suspicion. Specifically, federal CBP agents used dog-sniff searches in situations where New Hampshire law enforcement would have been barred from conducting similar searches. Resulting evidence from these federal searches was then turned over to state law enforcement for drug prosecutions. (more…)

Vermin Supreme Sues City of Concord over Free Speech Denial

Vermin Supreme for President

Vermin Supreme gets the ladies.

2020 is a long way off, but longtime presidential contender Vermin Supreme isn’t resting easy. His attorneys filed a civil suit against the City of Concord, NH and some of its bureaucrats on Friday in the federal district court over Concord’s denial of a permit for a pony protest.

According to the thirteen-page suit, Supreme had requested a permit from the city bureaucrats to protest outside Gibson’s Bookstore where Hillary Clinton will be holding a book signing event on Tuesday, December 5th. Supreme’s plan was to bring ponies to the public property near the bookstore in protest. From the suit:

Part of Mr. Supreme’s long standing campaign platform has centered on socialized distribution of equine companions which some have interpreted as commentary, satire, and political parody about a political system that rewards candidates who promise free benefits without discussing cost or practicality.

A bureaucrat with the Concord Health & Licensing Services Department, Eugene Blake, told Supreme’s agent that there were no general restrictions on having ponies outdoors at that location and that ordinarily he would grant the permit to have ponies at that location. However, Blake admitted the Concord police directed him not to grant a permit for the ponies on that day, and at that location, specifically because no one wanted to interfere with Clinton’s book signing.

While I’m generally opposed to asking permission to exercise one’s rights, Supreme doing so has managed to allow the city gang in Concord to back themselves right into a free speech violation. Whether that was Supreme’s intention or not, now they’ve been sued for violating the free speech provisions of the US Constitution and NH Constitution as well as the right to due process. The suit further alleges that not only was Supreme denied the permit but the bureaucrats did not provide any administrative process for appeal of the decision.

Supreme and his attorneys are requesting damages, attorneys’ fees, an injunction forcing the city to issue the permit, and a trial by jury. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

Police Pay Out $275,000 For Illegal Wiretapping Arrest in Manchester

Alfredo Valentin

Alfredo Valentin, Hero

How many spankings in their own courts must the governments of New Hampshire endure before they finally learn their lesson? Three years ago, Weare police settled for over $57,000 to then-Free State Project president Carla Gericke for arresting her for recording them on the side of the road.

Now Manchester police are shelling out $275,000 to Alfredo Valentin who was arrested for recording the police on his smartphone inside his own home during a drug raid. Police were raiding Valentin’s home searching for evidence against another man, Christopher Chapman. Though police already had Chapman in custody from an earlier arrest, they went ahead with a full swat raid against Valentin’s house, including, “firing incendiary devices through the property’s windows, kicking in the doors, and entering the property SWAT-style with semi-automatic weapons—damaging property, terrifying the two women who were still in the house, and creating an unjustifiable risk of accidental death or injury”. This according to the one million dollar lawsuit against Manchester brought by the excellent NH Civil Liberties Union.

Valentin was never charged for anything drug-related, only for “wiretapping” police. A lower court judge in NH ruled back in 2015 that even secretly recording police was legal in New Hampshire.

Darryl W Perry and Ian Freeman at the 2017 ACLU 1st Amendment Awards Dinner

Darryl W Perry and Ian Freeman at the 2017 ACLU 1st Amendment Awards Dinner

NHCLU head attorney Gilles Bissonnette worked with attorney Richard Lehmann on the case. In a press release published at IndepthNH.org, the NHCLU’s Bissonnette said, “This settlement recognizes that the right of citizens to observe and record the police is a critical check on the use of power and force by law enforcement…The police need to understand that individuals who are recording their work without interference have a constitutional right to do so, and it is not cause for their arrest.”

Major thanks to the NHCLU for their excellent work holding Manchester police accountable. Too bad its taxpayers who have to foot the bill instead of the terrible, oppressive officers themselves.

Brandon Pinney Victorious in Court in Free Speech Case vs NH State Police

Brandon Pinney Fuck Cops

Brandon Pinney Awaits Trial in a “Fuck Cops” Handmade Shirt

After being found guilty last year in Keene District Court of “disorderly conduct” for telling state police to “fuck off”, NH-native Brandon Pinney appealed to a jury trial. I’m happy to announce that thanks to a hung jury, Brandon is victorious, as the state has decided to not retry the case. In an email, Brandon says:

Just letting you know that the deadline has passed for the state to retry me and the hung jury stands. While i am disappointed I was not fully exonerated i am glad and fortunate that in my case a jury of my peers was able to see that the situation did not unfold as the state presented it.

For the full initial district court trial video, you can check out this post. At the time, he heroically wore a “FUCK COPS” homemade t-shirt into court. Free speech includes the right to say unpleasant things to government officials. The district court judge, Edward Burke, was wrong to uphold the charge against him and it was good to see some jurors could see the situation clearly. This is a clear free speech issue, and in the long run the state would have lost in its own courts. Brandon stated further: (more…)

Two Newspaper Appearances in One Day!

NH's Top Newspaper Regularly Features Libertarian Activists

NH’s Top Newspaper Regularly Features Libertarian Activists

I’ve long stated that libertarians in New Hampshire are making a bigger impact than anywhere else. That’s because we’ve concentrated our efforts here as part of an ongoing NH Freedom Migration, and turns out – concentrating activists in one geographic area actually works! Besides the haters who target our activists, you can also tell we’re effective because the media not only writes about our activism regularly, but also reaches out for comment on other issues that don’t even directly involve us.

This happens here because libertarians in New Hampshire are a relevant political force and we cannot be ignored, like happens to libertarians in other states.

Today, I had the honor of being included in two different newspaper articles, in two different newspapers.

First up, Union Leader reporter Meghan Pierce’s story about Dublin’s counterproductive new paraphernalia ordinance that was their top story of the day today. I was given the last word in the piece. Thanks Meghan!

“Apparently the chief (Suokko) and town council just can’t let go of the insane war on drugs and just have to keep pushing to extract more money and obedience from peaceful cannabis users who are our neighbors, co-workers, and friends,”

(more…)

NH Committee to Study Cryptocurrency – 2017 Meeting Video

New Hampshire’s Committee to Study Cryptocurrency meets for its required 2017 meeting. They question state regulators after the Cryptocurrency Protection Act has been in place for a few months. They ultimately decide to recommend no further actions against or for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Here’s the full hearing video:

I explained to the panel that Bitcoin businesses had opened or moved to NH because of the buzz about the cryptocurrency protection act that passed this summer. Regardless of whether the statutory change would have affected those businesses, the publicity surrounding it was good for NH’s image in the crypto-sphere.

Looks like it’ll be a while before New Hampshire has financial freedom across-the-board. When I offhandedly suggested to the panel that all money transmitter regulations should be repealed, they unanimously acted like their rules somehow stop terrorism and drug dealers. Pointing out that South Carolina has no money transmission statutes made zero impact.

It wasn’t the place to take the discussion any further, but it’d be great to see a libertarian state rep introduce such a repeal. South Carolina doesn’t have any more drugs or terrorism than anywhere else.