You thought police body cameras would help with police transparency? Well, think again. The motion cites RSA 105-D:2 XII, a terrible statute that appears to criminalize editing, copying, sharing, and even displaying any BWC footage. Though the section starts by saying it, “shall apply to law enforcement” agencies who use BWCs, later in part XII, it claims “all persons” are subject to the insane restrictions. It’s an obviously unconstitutional restriction on the people’s right to free speech and to be the free press. See Article 22 of the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights:
Free speech and Liberty of the press are essential to the security of Freedom in a State: They ought, therefore, to be inviolably preserved.” Among other things, the statute also instructs police to not record interactions with other police employees, meaning any conversations between them is off-the-record.
Manchon received the footage from his discovery request as he prepares his defense on a ridiculous pullover by Hillsboro police. According to Manchon, he was pulled over wrongfully on an long-cancelled restraining order. HPD dispatch misinformed patrol officers that the order was still in place. It was originally put in place by his girlfriend over a non-violent misunderstanding and then it was removed in January after they were able to get back on good terms. They currently live happily together, I know that because she is my friend. She is pregnant with his child, hence, she was also with him in the car on August 12th, when HPD officers pulled them over:
Despite being informed by the couple that the restraining order was no longer in effect, the officers refused to research the restraining order to confirm the claim, instead arresting Manchon and charging him with “Disobeying an Officer”, then later changing that charge to “Resisting Detention”, by allegedly not getting out of the car fast enough for their liking. Later in the month, when visiting Hillsboro District Court for a right-to-record event, Manchon stopped by HPD headquarters and was arrested again for “Disorderly Conduct” and “Breach of Bail” for allegedly asking his viewers to contact Hillsboro Police at (603) 464-5512 to let them know how they feel about their corrupt police activity. It is not illegal to encourage people to redress their grievances with government thugs. In fact, Manchon and his attorney won against similarly frivolous charges in Claremont District Court last year. You can watch that full trial video here.
Hopefully the legislature will update this terrible statute to protect the people from criminal charges for sharing BWC videos and make BWC videos even more transparent and accessible without requiring criminal charges to get the videos in discovery, as right now the statute claims the videos are “for law enforcement purposes only” in part XIII. Obviously this restriction on access is also a violation of Article 8 of the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights:
Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.
According to Manchon, the Hillsboro District Court has scheduled a hearing on the requested “protective order” for Monday Sept 25th, at 11am.
Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this ridiculous case and please do share, copy, and display Manchon’s video so Hillsboro’s scum prosecutor can charge dozens of people for exercising their free speech. Speaking and sharing is a right, but if we don’t stand for our rights, we’ll surely lose them.
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:
O’Donnell approaches Manchon in a apartment building parking lot and seizes his beer, then after Manchon refuses to show ID, O’Donnell puts him in cuffs. All the while, Manchon is explaining to O’Donnell that he’s going to have to let him go, pointing out O’Donnell should have conducted his investigation of the beer prior to cuffing Manchon. Once he does look at the bottle, O’Donnell looks embarrassed as he uncuffs Manchon and lets him go.
Despite having backed down on enforcement within the Council chambers, Press NH Now’s video shows the enforcement of this victimless “crime” of “open container” continues unabated on the streets. Thank you to Press NH Now for his service to police accountability.
The saga of the State Thugs vs the Peaceful Noone Family continues with this sentencing hearing after Shalon Noone was found guilty of the bullshit “Child Endangerment” charge earlier this Summer. If you missed the trial video, see it here.
Since it was charged as a “Class A” misdemeanor, Shalon is appealing the charge “de novo”, which means “from the beginning”. That means she’ll get a whole new trial in “superior court” in front of a jury this time. So, this sentencing hearing will not really mean anything unless she decides to not move forward with the appeal.
No one dislikes the government more than I do (although some may equal my disgust with the institution), but even so it would be silly and unfair to accuse the BOP (Bureau of Prisons) of being anti-trans, in exactly the same way that it would be absurd to accuse the rain of malice because it erodes the hills. The water does not hold enmity toward the dirt; the rain only does what it does, and there are simply effects to that. In actuality, the treatment of the BOP in regard to trans people is both a stark contrast and an alarming analog to the conversion therapy camps that were more common in the 90s; by holding none of the enmity and sharing none of the intentions of the “pray the gay away” camps, the BOP is more subtle in its erasure of trans identity, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Just as the rain does not try to destroy the hillside, and is merely a result of weather patterns much greater in scope than a mound of dirt, so is the assault on transgener identity only an effect of a larger phenomenon: a widespread tendency to glance at a newborn’s genitals and map out large sections of their life for them, and then becoming irate and hostile at the suggest that an infant’s gentials may not be the best way of grouping adults into relationships, friend circles, or prisons.
It is simple, when a patient complains of a cough, for a doctor to prescribe some cough syrup, but nearly no doctor would do this, because it is myopic and narrow to treat a sympton rather than the underlying illness that causes the symptom. By treating only the cough, a doctor could easily miss the pneumonia, lung cancer, or asthma that is causing the patient to cough. Similarly, there is a Buddhist story where the Buddha is traveling with students when one of them is shot by an arrow, and begs the Buddha to pursue the attacker, so they might be held to account. The Enlightened One responds that he could do that, or he could remove the arrow and dress the wound, but he obviously could not do both. Similarly, shaking our fists angrily at the torrents or clouds that produce them has a tremendous opportunity cost and is a waste of emotional energy; instead, we could devote our time and efforts to halting the erosion, and then preventing it from recurring.
The issue at hand is not that the BOP maliciously denies transgender healthcare, because it doesn’t; the BOP fails to provide adequate care to transgender inmates, but it is because the society behind the prison industrial complex routinely fails the transgender population, largely due to apathy, although there is occasionally malice shown to these people who declare themselves to fall into the cracks of the social construct of gender, which, in the estimation of the bigoted, is sufficient for “everyone else,” and thus must work for all. It is the equivalent of telling a person who is cold to remove their coat because the speaker isn’t chilly, so how could anyone else be?
Even under the best of circumstances, being transgender is difficult. Transgender people already know in their hearts that they will never be indistinguishable from a cisgender person, but there are plenty of people who enjoy reminding trans people of that anyway, to say nothing of the myriad of minor, incidental, and accidental ways in which this is made clear to a trans person. No one ever said, “I’m going to make my life easier by dressing as the opposite sex,” because, despite bigoted claims to the contrary, such a monumental step serves only to make one’s life more challenging, at least for the foreseeable future, when it is less readily apparent that a person is trans at all.
Everyone has struggles, though, and it would be inaccurate to suggest that this is unique to trans people, or that the hardships of a trans person are unduly difficult. Rather than somehow being “worse” than the challenges other people faced, the tragedy of the trans plight lies in how utterly and easily preventable–and harmlessly so!–the difficulties are. In prison or larger society, it brings no risk or hurdles to anyone else for a person of any characteristics to present themselves as they need to in order to look in a mirror and be reasonably happy with the reflection.
The existence of transgender people, without a doubt, creates challenges for society that it is not equipped to handle, but putting trans women into a men’s prison and trans men into a women’s prison should be regarded at least as catastrophic to the involved people as placing trans men into a men’s prison and trans women into a women’s prison is regarded by those who have run out of real problems to deal with and so instead spend their time seeking trivialities about which they can be upset.
For more than a month, I have been waiting on basic items, not necessarily to reaffirm or bolster my identity as much to simply maintain it against the unrelenting, subtle forces that exist within a men’s prison to oppress, deny, and erase all non-masculine traits, with men’s prison obviously being the peaks of testosterone and toxic masculinit: emotions are not expressed, oether than anger. Imagine trying to maintain femininity in an environment entirely ruled by testosterone, much less attempting to enhance one’s feminine side such that behavior more closely matches the interior. Even if I had every resources that I’ve collected over the last decade in my life as a trans woman, simply existing as myself would be a challenge; with those resources denied me by policy, and with the meager substitutes taking now more than a month to reach me, the task is utterly impossible.
This shouldn’t be taken as necessarily the fault of the BOP, just as rain is not really to blame for the erosion of soil; rather, that it is this way is a reflection of social values. Though society increasingly recognizes the rights and needs of transgender individuals, the government always lags behind, and then always fails to actually meet the needs that are recognized–someone with a malignant growth will have to wait months to have it addressed, because the prison industrial complex is not equipped to act with grace and compassion. Given that this is the case, perhaps our first goal should be to not have the largest prison population on the planet, and, in so doing, we would lessen the hardship unnecessarily placed on all people, transgender or not, and that could only ever be a positive thing for us all.
One of the biggest frustrations with the federal court system is the fact that recording hearings in any form is completely forbidden, and has been since 1946. No audio, no video, no photographs can be taken. Only pen/pencil and paper are allowed. We tried to get the judge to provide at least an online/phone audio feed as the federal civil courts had done since COVID. The courtroom is wired for sound and video at least since COVID, but alas, we were not successful in our request.
Free Keene blogger Chris Waid did an amazing job taking and transcribing notes every day and those were posted here, but no one sitting in the audience can capture all that is said. Thankfully, the court does offer an official record, which of course one must pay for. Since I plan to appeal my ridiculous convictions for victimless “crimes” regarding selling bitcoin, we have to have the full transcripts. Now we do and I’m legally able to share them publicly.
To make them easier to search and copy, I’ve put them all through Optical Character Recognition, so you can easily select blocks of text you might want to use for whatever purpose. Certainly there are many ridiculous moments that were hopefully somewhat captured by text, though obviously you don’t have the benefit of the witness’ facial expressions. Hopefully someday cameras will be allowed into federal courts, but for now full transcripts months later are the best we can do.
You can download all the trial transcripts in PDF form here as a ZIP file. It also includes the following index as a TXT file, showing the witnesses called on each day. Each PDF also has its own index up front showing the witnesses and pages on which their direct, cross, and any redirect examinations of them took place. Each day usually has two files, one for morning and one for afternoon. You can click each individually below if you don’t want to download them all at once in the ZIP file. (Depending on your browser, you may need to right click and save as to get the download working.)
Day 1 PM – Opening Statements Day 2 AM – PROSECUTION – Alexandra Comolli Day 2 PM – Alexandra Comolli, Theodore Vlahakis Day 3 AM – Theodore Vlahakis, Kathryn Thibault, Kevin McCusker, Derek Feather Day 3 PM – Christopher Rietmann, Colleen Fordham Day 4 AM – Hope Cherry, Bruce Sweet, Pavel Prilotsky Day 4 PM – Pavel Prilotsky, Renee Spinella Day 5 AM – Dustin Wong, Nicholas Nathans, James Rossell, Patrick Brown, Harold Jones Day 5 PM – Harold Jones, Melanie Neighbors, Karla Cino Day 6 AM – Kendall McBrearty Day 6 PM – Dannela Varel, Kendall McBrearty Day 7 AM – Kendall McBrearty, Rebecca Ault, Kate Eyerman, Nancy Triestram Day 7 PM – Nancy Triestram, Diane Cacace, Thomas Connolly, Colleen Ranahan Day 8 AM – Renee Spinella Day 9 AM – DEFENSE – Keith Murphy, Max Santonastaso, Edward Forster, Adam Mosher, Dael Chapman, Carolynn Urbanski, Melinda Cambiar, Ian Freeman Day 9 PM – Ian Freeman Day 10 AM – Mohammed Ali, Paul Niwa, Closing Arguments Day 10 PM – Jury Instructions Day 11 – Verdict
The latest on the case is both sides are currently arguing over the motion to dismiss that my attorney, Mark Sisti, made during the trial at both the close of prosecution and at the end of the defense. Presuming the judge does not throw out all eight counts, we will move to sentencing that is currently set for August 17th, though there is a good chance that will be delayed yet again. Should you wish to write the judge on my behalf, you can find instructions and an address here.
Meanwhile, my co-defendant Aria DiMezzo is in a federal prison camp in Devens, MA serving an 18-month sentence for the completely victimless paperwork violation of operating a “money transmitting business” without a government permission slip. Sadly, but understandably – it’s scary to face down a dozen charges in front of government-biased juries – she took a plea to the charge despite the statutes not mentioning cryptocurrency in any way and despite the fact that bitcoin is never “transmitted” at all, by the government’s own definition of “transmitting”. Unfortunately one cannot appeal a plea deal under most circumstances, so she’ll have to serve some as-yet-undetermined amount of the 18-month sentence. However, you can help her make the time go faster by writing her letters, sending books, or money for commissary. Instructions are here at AriaDiMezzo.com.
As always, stay tuned here to Free Keene or Free Talk Live for the latest.