A legal fog pervades the corridors and lobbies of New Hampshire’s courts.
The rules for recording public hearings in courtrooms are relatively clear: The Supreme Court says it’s allowed unless “there is a substantial likelihood of harm to any person or other harmful consequence.”
But those foggy gray areas beyond the courtrooms remain untouched by state law.
Snapping a photo or recording video in these places is permitted in some district courts and prohibited in others, at the presiding judge’s discretion.
Keene District Court Judge Edward J. Burke banned photography outside the courtroom in February in an effort to protect juveniles and victims of crimes walking through the lobby from being caught on film without their consent.
“All the district court judges who have had this issue come up in their courthouse have thought about it and we’re trying to deal with it as fairly and responsibly as we can,” state judicial branch spokeswoman Laura Kiernan said. “It’s the privacy rights of citizens that we’re concerned with here.”
On the other side of the issue, a group of activists with the Free State Project — an effort to recruit 20,000 people who prefer limited government to live in New Hampshire — are riled because they believe their right to record in a public place is being violated.
If the marijuana protest and guerilla gardening in downtown Keene failed to raise many eyebrows, the sight of a handful of handcuffed Free Staters being taken out of the city’s District Court earlier this week surely had plenty of residents scratching their heads.
The reader comments piled up under online coverage of Monday’s protest at the District Court on The Sentinel’s Web site, where some people ridiculed and criticized the Free Staters for wasting taxpayer dollars and the time of city police officers.
“Time and again, the Free Staters come off as insolent children who stomp their feet and hold their breath until their faces turn blue because they don’t like being told what to do,” commenter Arch wrote.
The Free Staters hit back, outnumbering the opposition with post after post, saying that District Court Judge Edward J. Burke had blatantly stomped on their personal freedoms when he banned the use of video cameras in the District Court lobby.
“What many commenters here are showing is how slavery is enforced. Slavery was enforced by the slaves themselves. It isn’t the government that keeps people down — it is the people,” wrote commenter Frake.
The District Court blowup unfolded during the arraignment of Manchester videographer Dave Ridley, who was arrested in March because he refused to turn off his video camera in the court lobby. Ridley and others showed up to cover the arraignment of Free Stater and marijuana activist Andrew Carroll.
Carroll was arrested in January when he stood in Keene’s Railroad Square carrying a small amount of marijuana while surrounded by Free Staters and curious onlookers.
Though state law allows media representatives to record public court proceedings in most cases, lobbies and hallways are gray areas. Police officials say there is a fear that rape victims and juveniles could be captured on film while in these areas, which are generally off-limits for videotaping and photography, according to state judicial branch spokeswoman Laura A. Kiernan.
A few nights ago I was listening to “World Wide Christian Radio” coming out of Nashville, Tennessee USA. I picked it up somewhere around 5Mhz and was attracted by some economic talk which I later determined was an advertisement for gold. It had some fun stuff from the panic-spreading right so I kept it on for a while.
The announcer talked about how 11 billion dollars are going to be printed and that our currency was going to be devalued so much that gold will be the only real effective means of exchange. Also he stated that it’s important that you “buy gold now” before the dollar drops so much that you don’t have any purchasing power. He then went on to detail how people in LA are going to riot again when it gets hot out, so gold would be a useful thing to have. Finally he pitched the phone number to call about five times before being cut off.
The programming started with a gentleman talking about how Obama has claimed he will halve the defecit by the end of his term because he knows that the world won’t be around for the end of his term. You see, the world is ending in the next four years so Obama can spend billions and say anything he wants. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared.
This was followed by a discussion of how abortions have lowered the amount of people entering the labor force. According to the guest this is part of the reason for our current financial crisis. If those aborted people had entered the workforce we wouldn’t be in the shape we are currently in. He then proceded to talk about how the UN is trying to pass resolutions that will prevent parents from being able to control their kids. He claims that we hold treaty law higher than our constitution and as such parents will lose their ability to raise their children in a responsible manner. He implied that because of these UN resolutions children will be given access to birth control, which will send the message that “sex is OK”.
One of my biggest fears is that people will associate the liberty movement with the fanatical right because of the many areas of overlap.
Well, I bought myself a hand crank shortwave radio (TECSUN Green-168) and I can now listen to shortwave broadcasts from around the world. What is shortwave radio you ask? Well it’s radio broadcast at a frequency of 3-30Mhz typically AM. What makes it special is the fact that it can bounce of the ionosphere and travel around the world. This makes it a favorite of countries wishing to broadcast propaganda into other countries, guerilla movements and radio enthusiasts.
So last night while turning the dial through the frequencies to see what stations I could find broadcasting in english, I found Radio Taiwan International. They were talking about raising children and it was kind of boring. I continued to scroll through the stations and came across some damn good, old salsa music. I stayed on it and it turned out to be Radio Havanna broadcasting in english. Now why would a Spanish speaking country located 90 miles away from the US broadcast loud and clear in english? Gee I wonder.
Anyway they had an interview with an Irish guy who is married to a Cuban woman. In a typical year, he spends six months in Ireland and six months in Cuba. He spoke about how difficult things are in Cuba yet how there was a great feeling of solidarity. He mentioned issues like how hard it is to do simple things like buy a loaf of bread and how Cuba’s economic troubles stem primarily from the blockade. He also talked about how the Cuban people have suffered a long time under various regimes and as such they’ve learned to work together and cooperate. Finally, he conversed with the interviewer about the changes that are occuring under Raul. He mentioned that a lot of people seem to want to know when Cuba is going to become more “Americanized” and he thinks that will never happen. He said that Raul is pushing reforms and that he hopes that amist all the change, the good points of the Cuban people will remain.
My battery died out during a PSA about political prisoners. It was too fuzzy to hear.
Concerning Cuba, I believe the blockade is a bad thing. I’d like to see the US freely trading with Cuba. For those of you concerned about human rights abuses in Cuba I believe a reciprocal economic relationship would lead to more immigration freedom and consequently make it easier for the world to see human rights abuses and help alleviate them. Here’s the part that will get me yelled at, I believe at a community level Cuba is doing a lot of things right. I’m not gullible enough to believe everything this guy says, or even necessarily that he exists, but what little information does come out of Cuba does stress the importance of community. Maybe it comes from the Cuban people being beaten up so much, or maybe I’m just drinking the Kool-Aid, but there’s probably something there.
Popular libertarian radio host axed at New Hampshire talk station.
Breaking details and action items:
Gard’s website: http://LibertyConspiracy.com
Appears he wasn’t bringing in enough advertizers for the radio station. I wish Gard the best of luck finding a new gig. Help him out by picking up his book, Live Free or Die.