More than three years after the City of Keene filed suit against Robin Hood of Keene, the parties in the case have filed what should be their final legal arguments at the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Robin Hooders are the activists who have made international headlines for saving thousands of innocent motorists from parking tickets in the small city of Keene.
The city’s persecution of the peaceful activists has failed at nearly every legal turn. In its first visit to the NH Supreme Court, only one aspect of the city’s harassing case was sent back to the superior court for review. The city gang then lost again at the superior court level and are now appealing that most recent decision to the Supreme Court.
The NH Supreme court has already decided the allegations of “tortious interference”, “civil conspiracy”, “negligence”, and the demand for financial compensation were unfounded and the activities engaged in by the Robin Hooders are protected by the first amendment.
The appeal is for the Supreme court to look ONLY at the lower court’s ruling regarding the request for the “buffer zone” injunction. In their 50 page brief filed with the court in late May, the city, in a footnote, withdraws their request for an injunction against me and Garret Ean. I hardly ever Robin Hood and Garret doesn’t even live in Keene anymore!
In a 34 page brief filed by our pro-bono free speech attorney Jon Meyer, he points out, using the Parking Enforcers’ own testimony, that there was at no point any kind of threat or even a safety concern: (more…)
The Free State Project migration of liberty activists to New Hampshire continues to be a topic of discussion in NH media, because we’re making an impact, unlike libertarians pretty much everywhere else in the world. Most libertarian groups never or rarely get press, but liberty activists in New Hampshire get coverage frequently.
On this morning’s “The Exchange” on New Hampshire Public Radio, former FSP president and current board member Carla Gericke was the in-studio guest.
Dan Eaton, also an in-studio guest and a state rep from Stoddard called Free Staters in the state house “obstructionist” and accused them of hiding their true political affiliations. He also insulted Keene’s Robin Hooders, calling us “rude” and suggested that we are un-civil. Eaton trotted out the claim, long since proven false, that Robin Hooders “harass” the parking enforcers. Gericke let this slander slide by with no response. Overall, Gericke did well in the interview and did defend independent media when Eaton accused us of “intimidating” senators with our video cameras from the NH senate gallery.
Free State Project President Carla Gericke Keynoting Keenevention 2014
Eaton and a caller accused Free Staters of hiding their true beliefs to get elected. While some people may not be being honest in politics, no one can accuse Keene libertarians of hiding. One caller did point out correctly that Free Staters are running as republicans and democrats because the ballot access for third parties in NH is very difficult and was made that way by the very same people who are complaining about the Free Staters “hiding”.
Eaton specifically attacked Free Keene and suggested that we somehow set up the topless open carry event from several years ago, which we didn’t – we just reported on it. Eaton (or maybe it was Union Leader’s Drew Cline who was also a guest on the show) also called for the FSP to purge its rolls of all anarchists and Carla did not respond. While I personally don’t identify with the term “anarchist”, as I am a voluntarist, I am pretty sure that Carla has referred to herself as an anarchist in the past. Is Carla now a “minarchist” (a supporter of small government) or is she also hiding her true beliefs?
Exchange host Laura Knoy has been made aware in the past that Keene’s Robin Hooders would be happy to appear on her show to address the lies told about us, and she’s never taken us up on it, instead allowing the slander to continue, interview after interview. Carla, despite knowing the truth about us, sits silently rather than defend the peaceful Robin Hooders that brought the Free State Project millions of dollars in good publicity internationally. Further, Carla even labels Keene activists as “shock jocks”. Is that a term only for those of us doing talk radio here or all the controversial activists?
The news is coming too fast to keep up with via individual posts. It’s a good problem to have. Here’s some of the latest:
Whew! Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest in liberty-oriented news and activism from NH.
The last time we heard about how many taxpayer dollars the city of Keene has spent on their frivolous lawsuit to try to crush the rights of Keene’s Robin Hooders, it was December of 2013, the year they filed the suits against us.
Hey, we’ve got legal bills to pay.
Now, two years later, having lost at superior court in 2013, then mostly losing at the NH supreme court, and losing again at superior court this year, the city’s racked up a total legal bill of at least $78,000! This, according to mayor Kendall Lane in a recent interview on WKBK’s morning show.
Keene’s Robin Hooders were feeding expired parking meters in relative obscurity until the city filed its suit in May of 2013. That suit blew up into a huge storm of publicity, making Keene’s government the laughingstock of the world.
Determined not to show any good sense, the city gang continued to lavish tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on failure after failure in this case. They hired the go-to law firm for all NH municipalities, “Gallagher, Callahan, and Gartrell” (the same firm that lost the Gericke case, which upheld the right to record police). Hey, it’s not like it’s the city’s money – they stole it from Keene’s productive class – the people.
Attorney Charles Bauer is getting very rich from taxpayer dollars.
Now the case is going back to the NH supreme court on appeal, but mayor Lane claims the law firm is going to cut them a break on this appeal and do it pro-bono. How generous of Bauer’s firm! (Robin Hood attorney Jon Meyer has been pro-bono from day one.)
Will they successfully overturn the Cheshire superior court’s refusal to grant their requested injunction against Robin Hooders?
No date has been set for the hearing – stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this ridiculous saga.
After the city’s latest failure at the superior court, once again the city has given us an early Christmas present by deciding to appeal the most recent decision to the NH Supreme court.
The city’s expensive attorneys from Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell waited until the LAST possible day they could file to legally file the appeal (PDF). The city has already spent countless dollars on this case and this latest appeal is a further waste of taxpayer funds.
The appeal is for the Supreme court to look ONLY at the lower court’s ruling regarding the request for the “buffer zone” injunction. The NH Supreme court has already decided the allegations of “tortious interference”, “civil conspiracy”, “negligence”, and the demand for financial compensation were unfounded and the activities engaged in by the Robin Hooders are protected by the first amendment.
Once again the robin hooders will be represented by the NH Civil Liberties Union’s Jon Meyer who expects the case to be heard sometime in the summer of 2016, three years after the case was first filed in 2013. We will keep you up-to-date on any further developments.
It could have been worse. A few weeks ago at the Finance, Organization, and Personnel committee meeting, the councilors voted 4-1 to raise parking meter rates by 50% and also to increase the long-term parking permit fees. The good news is they rejected the city parking department’s request for later enforcement hours as well as increasing parking fines. The full council voted 14-1 on the same recently. The one dissenting vote was not because the dissenter, outgoing councilor Kris Roberts is against parking enforcement – he’s mad the enforcers didn’t get everything they wanted from the council.
Parking Rates in Keene Now Up 50%
By no means is this a pro-liberty decision by the Keene city council, but perhaps the hundreds of petition signatures by business owners downtown and their clients had some impact on the council’s ultimate decision to grow the parking department’s collections, but not to the level the enforcers wanted.