In July 2014, I applied for a License to Carry a Firearm Discreetly. The local police chief claimed that I am not suitable for such a license and denied my application. I appealed to the local court, and the infamous Judge Burke upheld the decision. I then appealed to the NH Supreme Court, and this week I got news that they too upheld the decision.
Last night on Free Talk Live, hosts Ian and Mark shared my recent blog post on the subject. Here is the audio and video of that segment for those who missed it.
I got a sad letter from my attorney this week. He informed me that the Supreme Court of NH upheld the lower court’s decision to deny my application for a license to carry a handgun discreetly. You can read the decision here:
Today is my birthday, and where else would I want to be at 8:30am except in Judge Burke’s courtroom, awaiting another parking ticket arraignment? Last time I tried the “dead fish” strategy: I didn’t speak during arraignment, I barely spoke during trial, and I was predictably railroaded by the prosecution. Judge Burke found me guilty of two parking violations and fined me $10.
The trial and everything leading up to it costs the court (and therefore the taxpayers) far more than the $10 collected in “revenue”. Not only is it costly for the government to prosecute this victimless crime, it’s also time consuming: the prosecutor was kept busy filing paperwork, gathering witnesses, and preparing his arguments. The entire parking enforcement (which only consists of 2 people) was incapacitated for nearly 4 hours while sequestered for trial. How much money can the city government collect in 8 parking enforcement man-hours? Well, that opportunity was lost because I chose to take these tickets to trial.
If you think this is stupid, you might be surprised that I agree with you. What a waste of time and money! But remember — I didn’t set the system up this way — the people calling themselves “the government” did. And they can stop this charade at any time by simply dismissing the parking tickets. What would they have to lose? They’d certainly have a lot to gain.
Anyway, this time, I chose a new strategy: Go to arraignment with a piece of paper already written out, explaining that I want to plead GUILTY, except the paper is *UNSIGNED*. Once Judge Burke accepts this piece of paper, it becomes part of the record. It is now on the record that I want to plead guilty.
You’d think that would be enough, but Judge Burke did something interesting. He entered a plea of NOT GUILTY on my behalf. Why would he do that? The answer can be found in the following short video from court this morning:
In short, my point was: The judge has demonstrated bias against me, the defendant. Judge Burke is presuming (without evidence) that I am subject to the laws of the State of New Hampshire, but that is one of the elements that must be proven by the prosecution! How can I be forced to be at arraignment if the Judge is not presuming jurisdiction?
What do you think about this strategy? My next step is to file a motion to reverse the plea and motion to have Judge Burke recuse himself because of the bias he demonstrated. He is protecting the prosecutor and doing his job for him by assuming one of the essential elements of the crime: jurisdiction. Without jurisdiction, the case must be dismissed, but he’s not going to let that happen, is he?
Heroic activist, blogger, entrepreneur, and Free State Project participant James Cleaveland was sentenced in Judge Burke’s courtroom in Keene, New Hampshire for the charges of “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest”. His charges stem from a June 30th incident in which James was video recording police. According to officer accounts, James was ordered to move back from an “active scene,” and he complied. After complying with the first officer’s request, a different officer demanded he move back further. He refused and was arrested.
Who says court has to be boring? In Keene, 5 activists turned out to support me for a simple parking ticket arraignment. We laughed and joked as one wore a winter hat despite the court rules of decorum prohibiting headwear. We watched as the obedient slaves took their whippings and pled guilty to a bunch of vicimless crimes. Then it was my turn.
I decided ahead of time that I was going to try an experiment: I would remain silent. Would the judge get mad? Would he compel me to speak by threatening arrest? It turns out, he ended up acting as my defense attorney! Watch this 2-minute clip:
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Local government bureaucrats in Keene are infringing on my right to bear arms.
In July I applied for a concealed carry license. One man, Ken Meola, denied it. I appealed, and this week the news came back: Judge Burke denied my appeal.
Judge Burke’s decision means that while it is perfectly legal for me to carry a firearm openly, it is a crime for me to conceal that firearm, for example by putting on a winter jacket.
The next step is to move on to the State Supreme Court. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to do that, but I’ll give another update when I speak with my attorney.
I’m disappointed about this decision, but I’m not surprised. The State is a many-tentacled beast, and the different facets of it protect each other. First the legislators did their part by camouflaging a restriction as a right: they call NH “shall issue” but ultimately leave the power of permission to one man working for the police. Then the police did their part to deny my rights, essentially arguing that they are restricting my freedoms because I don’t respect them. Finally, appeals are made to lawyers who also work for the State.