[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJcYZqTxq2U&feature=channel_page]YouTube - NH court rejects writs of habeas corpus[/ame]
If you were a member of the press would you be outraged if you were thrown in a jail cell for exercising you right of press? Unfortunately in Keen, New Hampshire this has happened to a member of the press named Sam Dodson. Sam was at the court to get a copy of the sign on the wall restricting cameras in the lobby. Lance the court security person had previously claimed it’s an order. Only problem, orders are signed by an issuing judge. This order and had no signature, does not have the court seal anywhere on it and has not even been filed with the clerk. Essentially the order does not exist. Sam brought his video camera into the public court lobby and was recording before a trial and was arrested soon after recording began. The only thing they could charge Sam with at the time was disorderly conduct. Regardless of if you are part of the press you should be disgusted by the fact that our rights are being stomped on! I hope you have the time to read about it, here is a link to Sam's blog that explains what happened: Free Keene » SamIam he writes letters from his jail cell and mails them to a member of Free Keene to post on his blogs. This may seem like a small case but if it happened to Sam it could happen to any other member of the press and no matter how small one person’s right is just as important as one million people's rights.
A group of people in New Hampshire are taking a non-violent stand against big government, they have started what they call the Free State Project and since 2003, 704 people have moved to New Hampshire where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property.
The local news paper finally talked this some depth about Sam's story, which the AP took and hasn't done anything with. Also, a fox T.V. station in Vermont acknowledged Sam was jailed illegally and reported it. There was also a reporter from the Boston Globe that came to Keen, New Hampshire but has not published anything.
Sam is charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, having property without a serial number and failure to process. Sam was charged with failure to process because he is using his right to remain silent and refusing to give his name. Since he won't be processed the court said that they are going to hold him indefinitely. The Keen police already know everything about him because of his fingerprints but refuse to move the case until he tells the courts his name. After 5 weeks of being imprisoned he filed a demurrer against the court for 3 of those charges. What the demurrer stated was that in the first charge of resisting arrest, is unlawful because when Sam was arrested he went limp. If you have watched any of the news stations you surley saw at least one member of the Catholic church arrested for trespassing on the Notre Dame campus and have to be carried away because he went limp. During the civil rights movement people went limp and were not charged with resisting arrest. The second charge against Sam is having property without a serial number. They could not find a serial number on Sam's video camera. The court sent his camera to a camera shop, the camera shop then found the serial number and sent the camera back. The reason the courts haven't dropped the charge is because they just haven't gotten around to it yet. It has been 3 weeks since the camera’s serial number was found.
His third charge of disorderly conduct is unlawful because according to New Hampshire law stats that it is unlawful for On-Duty police officers to allege disorderly conduct. All they can tell you is to leave. Sam was not told to leave he was told to stop recording. It is illegal for the police to stop audio or video recording in a public place because that is a violation of the First Amendment.
Since April 15th Sam has requested a speedy trial, a probable cause hearing, waived his arraignment and entered a plea. In total 4 pages of arguments and case law to support and back up his claims.
The courts response: They send in the county attorney and declare the complaints are not sufficient and that all the complaints are essentially the same thing and they don't have to read them. So they have to spend a lot of money to have the county attorney read these legal documents that Sam is filing, on top of the $80 per day it costs the county the keep Sam locked up.
Also Sam has filed pleas of habeas corpus to the superior court of New Hampshire. Habeas corpus is a legal action through which a person can seek relief from unlawful detention. The first writ was denied because it was not written properly; the second one was denied because Sam had yet to process. Remember Sam is being held indefinitely because he was exercising his right to remain silent and refusing to give the courts his name although the court already know all prevalent information needed to charge Sam. Stop and think about how absurd this is.
Now since the Keen courts have realized that Sam is being falsely held they made up a charge for him, Common law criminal contempt. Criminal contempt can only be charged by a judge in a court room. Sam was not in a court room, only in a public lobby. So that begs the question, if the judge can extend his powers outside the court room exactly where does his power stop? On top of that the court is asked Sam’s lawyer if he is competent to stand trial. In Nazi Germany and in Russia the governments would declare defendants’ incompetent to stand trial and send them to insane asylums without trial.
It is truly sad that in the freest country in the world we have public servants running a monopoly that resorts to using desperate tactics to force their will on this free man. If you have hope for this country please make a stand, copy this story to any message boards or blog you have, tell your friends, family or co-workers. You can also contact your local newspaper, T.V. or radio station.