NH Jury activists gathered this morning outside Cheshire superior court in Keene to perform jury outreach prior to jury selection for the trial of James Cleaveland which begins tomorrow morning (Tuesday 12/15) at 9am.
NH Jury Activists Outside Cheshire Superior Court
James is facing two “Class A” misdemeanor charges with a possibility of up to two years in prison for being arrested while recording video of police at the scene of a suicidal man in the summer of 2014. The charges are “disorderly conduct” (the state’s favorite catch-all charge) and “resisting arrest”.
James has already had a bench trial at Keene district court, the video of which can be seen here, and was found guilty. District court judge Edward J Burke sentenced him to 1.5 years in jail, suspended, plus a $625 fine. After sentencing, James opted for his right to a jury trial “de novo”, which means, “from the beginning”. So now, not quite a year later, he is being given that trial.
This morning was jury selection. Nearly all of the jury pool of about 58 people had received the NH Jury trifold last month. (In Cheshire county, petit juries are empaneled for two months.) Usually the jury outreach process involves handing out flyers and opening the door for folks, but in addition today it included activists holding signs featuring phrases like, “2 Years 4 Filming?”, and “Filming the police is not a crime!”
More activists are expected to be on-the-scene tomorrow morning at 8am for further sign-holding, with the trial starting at 9am and expected to last two days. If you can’t make it in person, live tweets will be available at FreeKeene.com and later the full video will also be posted to Free Keene.
NH Jury board member James Davis heads up this first-ever panel on some of 2015’s hottest activism – jury nullification. Nullification outreach has taken off this year, spreading from Keene and Grafton to six other locations across the state. Where do we go from here? Panelists to include Rich Paul of the Church of the Invisible Hand, Cathleen Converse who successfully nullified charges against a cannabis grower, Derrick J Freeman of Flaming Freedom, and Ian Freeman of Free Keene.
Keenevention is Hallowkeene weekend, October 30th through November 1st. Tickets for the third-annual Keenevention are just $60 or BTC for the whole weekend, including the Hallowkeene costume dance party! Pre-event ticketing is limited to 100, so lock yours in now.
Stay tuned to the Keenevention blog for more announcements. You can also follow the new Keenevention Twitter, Keenevention’s facebook page and join the official facebook event here.
On Free Talk Live earlier this week, we discussed the recent arrest of a jury nullification activist in Colorado and compared it to the awesome nullification outreach that we are seeing happen statewide here in New Hampshire:
Dover Jury Outreach Crew
Randy Clemens is a new mover to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. Prior to moving here, he’d never heard of Jury Nullification. Now he’s an active part of the new outreach project happening at Strafford superior court in Dover, NH. Randy is also known as “The Sriracha Guy”. Here’s his blog on this week’s successful and first-ever jury outreach in Dover. If you want to join in the fun, please join the New Hampshire Juror Outreach group on facebook.
“It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision… you [juries] have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.” —John Jay, first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, State of Georgia v. Brailsford (1794)
You’re out on a leisurely walk in the city one day, simply going about your business and keeping to yourself, when… crap! People handing out informational literature. Uggghh. Don’t they have anything better to do? You’ve clearly spotted them and worse yet, they spotted you spotting them! Good luck escaping their tractor beam now!
You briefly consider reaching for your cell phone to pretend to take a call, but it’s too late. It’s clear that there’s no way to weasel out of accepting their disruptive pamphlet, so you force a polite, acknowledging smile, or construct a curious, inquisitive glance as you take the propaganda from their outstretched hand, feigning interest juuuuuussstt until you’re out of their field of view (probably), at which point you can safely discard whatever it was they were peddling without looking like a terrible, close-minded person.
Sound familiar? Or is that just the process that usually runs through my head when I see someone handing out unsolicited pamphlets? (To be fair, it is usually promotional garbage trying to get us to buy something, or telling us we’re going to some version of hell if we don’t repent for our existence, etc.) Well, even despite my less-than-savory feelings about this method of interpersonal exchange, I was actually on the other side of it for the first time this week, volunteering my time to help spread awareness of an incredible right that we as Americans possess, but simply aren’t informed of: jury nullification of law. (more…)
Jury activists in Manchester are regularly performing NHJury.com outreach in front of Hillsborough superior court.
Manchester Jury Activists in Front of Courthouse
If you’d like to join them, or organize outreach for your county, please join the New Hampshire Juror Outreach group on facebook.