Adam Mueller, aka Ademo Freeman, stood inside the Keene District Courthouse in New Hampshire, waiting for Judge Edward Burke to step inside so he could ask him a question.
Less than two minutes later, he was arrested for threatening the judge, a felony charge called “improper influence.”
But Mueller had his camera rolling, so he captured the entire exchange on video.
And there is absolutely no evidence that he threatened Burke.
Here is that exchange, but you can also hear it for yourself in the above video:
(Judge Burke enters the building)
Mueller: “Judge Burke, can I ask you a few questions about a hat … and how that constitutes contempt.”
(Burke ignores him and heads for the stairs)
Mueller: “You think people want to pay for somebody to be in jail for five days for wearing a hat?”
(Burke continues to ignore him as he walks up the stairs with Mueller walking behind him)
Mueller: “It’s kind of ridiculous to waste tax-payer money on something like that, isn’t it?
(Burke reaches the top of the stairs)
Mueller: “Sir, I just want to have a conversation.”
(Burke opens the door and motions to the bailiff)
Burke: “Bailiff, bailiff, this person is threatening me about a decision I just made.”
Mueller: “I’m not threatening you ….”
Mueller is then taken into custody and thrown in jail where he spent two nights before he was bailed on a donated $5,000 bond.
On Wednesday, after viewing the above video, the district attorney’s office dropped the charges against him
But that hasn’t solved the issue that Burke had Mueller falsely arrested.
And it hasn’t solved the issue that Burke directed a court order that now forbids photography or videography in the Keene courthouse.
According to the court order, which was filed July 1, 2011, three days after Mueller’s arrest.
In recent months certain members of the public have caused disruptions of the court’s ability to conduct business in Keene. In addition to their refusal to abide by court rules related to the conduct of trials and conduct in the courtroom in general, these members of the public have also congregated in the court’s lobby for extended periods of time making it difficult for other members of the public to conduct business with the court and, in particular, creating conditions and disturbances which have obstructed court staff from performing their duties in an orderly way.
Additionally, these members of the public have, on occasion, accosted the presiding judge as he enters and leaves the building in which the court is housed, creating an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation and a legitimate fear for the safety and well-being of the judicial and nonjudicial staff at this court.
Based upon these conditions and facts, and mindful of the holding of the New Hampshire Supreme Court in State v. Moquin, 105 N.H. 9 at 11 (1963) that,
” … it is the duty and responsibility of courts to be alert to protect the judicial processes from being brought into disrepute and to act vigorously when confronted with acts or conduct which tend to obstruct or interfere with the due and orderly administration of justice … “
it is ordered as follows:
1. No cameras or audio equipment may be used at any time in the court’s lobby or anywhere in the public area of the court’s leased premises;
There are some exceptions, which can be read by clicking on the court order in the above link.
William Toler of the Independent Register reported that the ban may be unconstitutional.
“A blanket ban likely would be unconstitutional,” says David Hudson from the First Amendment Center. “Trial judges are granted discretion to determine whether cameras might unduly prejudice court proceedings but generally they must make particularized findings, such as whether there would be prejudice, whether the ban is no broader than necessary and whether there are reasonable alternatives to not permitting coverage.”
Many of the activists have long accused Burke of being a bully, but it is also obvious that they try their best to test his authority by not removing caps in the courtroom or refusing to disclose their name when arrested.
And those incidents are debatable (we all have our issues we fight for and those don’t rank up there for me).
But here we have a clear case of a judge having a citizen falsely arrested on felony charges.
That issue is not debatable. Burke blatantly lied about Mueller’s actions.
With a judge like that, there is simply no expectation of justice in his courtroom.