It started with a few simple questions from a New Hampshire activist who never stops asking questions.
Adam “Ademo Freeman” Mueller stood inside the Keene District Courthouse in New Hampshire last July waiting for Judge Edward Burke to enter the building so he could ask why he would jail his friend for wearing a hat inside the courtroom.
Burke ended up having Mueller arrested on a felony charge of threatening a public official, even though the video shows there was no threat made.
Burke even admitted to an investigating police officer after Mueller was jailed that he had “misspoken” and was, in fact, not threatened, according to a police report. Still, Mueller remained in jail for five days.
But instead of reprimanding or disciplining Burke for making a false arrest, his fellow judges issued court orders that forbade citizens from using cameras inside Keene’s both courthouses, the superior courthouse and district courthouse.
Two weeks later, a superior court judge issued an order than banned all recording devices from entering the courthouse at all.
That led to the arrest of another activist two months later for attempting to walk into a courthouse with a camera that was openly clipped to his belt.
Jason Talley, who runs Talley.TV, has covered court hearings all over the state in the last few years, was charged with contempt of court, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
And while the contempt-of-court charge was dismissed, the other two remained, which means he is facing two years in jail for walking into the courthouse with the camera clipped to his belt.
His trial starts today at 9 a.m.
At 7:50 a.m., fellow activists will stand in front of the courthouse and hand out jury nullification flyers in the hopes to educate jurors about their rights when it comes to deciding a verdict.
Defending Talley is a cop turned activist who has a history of teaching police officers the law when it comes to recording them.
Bradley Jardis is not an attorney, but is allowed under state law to serve as an attorney-in-fact. Like Mueller and Talley, he is a member of the Free State Project, a growing community of activists attempting to spread their libertarian-minded ideology throughout the state and its political offices.
“They’re abusing the public trust,” Jardis said in an interview with Photography is Not a Crime. “This guy gets caught on camera committing a crime, so the government takes away the right to use cameras.”
Courthouse surveillance shows Talley stepping through the metal detector, raising his arms to the side so he could be further scanned by a bailiff with a handheld device.
The bailiff points out the camera on this belt and leads Talley to a counter.
Another bailiff steps in and it looks as if they are asking Talley to hand over his camera. All three men are standing behind an obstruction, so it is not clear what exactly is going on.
But Talley said they were trying to take the camera away from him while he was trying to check it in at the clerk’s window, which is where they were standing.
In fact, he had already checked in two other cameras before entering and said he had simply forgotten the camera on his belt.
“I always have that camera on my belt, so when they pointed to it, I tried to walk over to the clerk’s window but they tried to take it away from me,” he said.
“I was trying to fill out the paperwork to get permission to film inside the courtroom as I’ve done many times before, but they were holding me up.
“They kept telling me I had to leave and I kept telling them I had business to conduct in the courtroom. Then they tried to grab my camera and I wouldn’t let it go. It’s my property, not their property.”
When he refused to leave or let go of his camera, they pulled out the handcuffs and arrested him. Talley dropped to his knees and they dragged him away and threw him in jail for three days.
I met Talley and Jardis for the first time in February when I was in New Hampshire speaking at the Liberty Forum. I also hung out with Mueller although I had already met him and Pete Eyre when they came down to Miami during their Liberty on Tour in 2010.
While I was in Keene, I tried to get a video interview with Judge Burke on why he would have somebody falsely arrested for video recording him, but he gave me no comment.
At least he didn’t have me arrested.
UPDATED: All charges were dismissed against Talley
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CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.
My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.
So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.
You can also contribute to my Legal Defense Fund by purchasing a photographer rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag.Please write “carlos3” in the comments section of the Paypal transaction