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Entries in Freekeenenews (169)


FreeKeeneNews - Robin Hooders Victorious in Court AGAIN - City Denied Injunction 

Court DENIES City of Keene’s Injunction Request Against Robin Hooders

Robin Hood of KeeneIt has been a long road, but thanks to free speech attorney Jon Meyer and judge John C Kissinger of the Cheshire superior court, Keene's Robin Hooders are again victorious! Nearly two years ago, the same court dismissed the two cases brought against the charitable meter-feeders, alleging we were "threatening, intimidating, and harassing" their parking enforcement officers and demanding a 50ft floating, constitution-free buffer zone to protect them.

The city appealed to the NH supreme court which ultimately upheld the superior court's dismissal except for one part. They affirmed the lower court's ruling to dismiss based on free speech grounds, but said the superior court needed to look at the request for the "buffer zone" injunction separately from the allegations of "tortious interference", "civil conspiracy", "negligence", and the demand for financial compensation, all of which the city failed to prove to the court's satisfaction.

Thankfully, the superior court agreed with attorney Meyer's arguments and denied the city's request for any injunction against us whatsoever! This effectively kills their case, unless they decide to continue spending ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money to appeal this latest failure to the NH supreme court.

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian FreemanThe city, which had originally wanted a 50 foot floating buffer zone around each enforcer that would prevent all speech and recording by the Robin Hooders, had whittled that down over the 2.5 years this has been in court to a 5-10ft zone that would only be temporary and only if the parking enforcer requested said distance from the Robin Hooder. Mind you, we generally do not wish to be so close to them - it's best to fill meters at a greater distance, so as to have enough time to fill the meter and leave the Robin Hood calling card on the windshield, BEFORE the parking enforcer catches up to us and gets ahead. That would mean she could successfully write a ticket if she gets ahead, so having distance is my goal, but the enforcer is constantly trying to close that gap, so sometimes we do get within ten feet. That would mean that such an injunction (besides being unconstitutional) would also prevent us from Robin Hooding, as anytime the enforcer managed to close the gap, we'd be subject to arrest for "contempt of court".

In a fifteen-page order issued on 11/20, Kissinger writes of the city's request for injunction:

The Court cannot conceive of any more narrow or alternative relief that would provide any meaningful protection to the PEOs without running afoul of the Respondents' First Amendment rights...the government interests here are not sufficient to warrant an infringement on the Respondents' First Amendment rights. Any injunction requiring a buffer zone of any meaningful distance would require a significant change in the method used by the Respondents to disseminate their protected speech.

So, despite the city's interests in their parking enforcement continuing unabated, their significantly-reduced proposal for injunction is still beyond what is constitutionally permissible, and further, the court could not think of any lesser restrictions that would pass constitutional muster.

Kissinger, in his conclusion, does remind the city that if Robin Hooders' conduct is rising to the level of violating criminal statutes, that they can bring such charges. Of course, the reason they never have brought criminal harassment or assault charges is because Robin Hooders are peaceful. There is zero evidence of "harassment, threatening, or intimidating" - the claims the city has long libeled us with throughout this lawsuit.

Sheriff of NottinghamIn a classic case of projection, the people in this who are actually harassing, threatening, and intimidating others are the parking enforcers. They harass, threaten, and intimidate the good motorists of Keene six days a week by giving them threatening tickets for just trying to do some business downtown. Those tickets threaten, intimidate, and harass their victims into paying their fines so as to avoid the threat of having their car stolen. Talk about intimidation! This is why Robin Hood of Keene exists - we are here to save people from having to deal with the city's threats. That's always been the primary motivation, at least for me. I certainly don't speak for everyone.

If the parking enforcers don't like being called out for their threatening, intimidating, and harassing behavior, they should get jobs in the productive economy. Until the city council ends the parking department and turns over the spaces to downtown businesses to decide how to administer, per market forces, Robin Hooding will continue to rescue peaceful motorists from the threats of the city government. The city has 30 days to appeal this latest failure. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.



FreeKeeneNews - Shire Sharing Feeds Over 600 Families Across New Hampshire for Thanksgiving!

Shire Sharing Feeds Over 600 Families Across New Hampshire for Thanksgiving!

Shire Sharing 2015 KeeniacsToday, more than 600 households statewide (39 in the Keene area) were delivered full Thanksgiving meals including turkey, stuffing, gravy, eggs, cornbread mix, vegetables, pumpkin pie ingredients, and some cooking supplies as part of the "Shire Sharing" charity now in its fifth year. Shire Sharing is based in Manchester and headed by state representative Amanda Bouldin, a Free State Project early mover.

Amanda has managed to continually grow the yearly charity event, which she began in memory of her father who did something similar in Dallas when she was growing up. In an interview for Free Keene today, Amanda reported that fundraising for 2015 reached record levels, allowing more than 600 families to be fed. She was hoping to raise enough for 500 families. (Last year, Shire Sharing fed 350 families - a huge increase in just one year!) This year, at least $17,000 was raised by direct contributions and fundraiser events.

State Representative Amanda BouldinThough the first year of Shire Sharing was supposed to be a one-time event, Amanda says, "when the second year rolled around, everyone encouraged me to repeat the project. so we just keep going". Despite the obviously high stress level involved in organizing such a massive operation, she's committed to continue: "I know SS is very important to a lot of people -- not just the recipients but the volunteers, too. I can't quit!"

Yesterday, over 100 volunteers met at a warehouse in Manchester to help sort and bag the meals for delivery today, as Free Keene blogger Shire Dude reported here.

Last night, newer Keene-area mover Maria Korfiatis headed to Manchester to grab dozens of the bags for delivery, then this morning volunteers from this area gathered at the Church of the Invisible Hand's "Society for Love and Peace" (SLAP) at 75 Leverett Street to head out on routes taking meals to Keene, Winchester, Ashuelot, Westmoreland, Swanzey, and Chesterfield. It was Keene's second year as part of the ever-growing Shire Sharing operation, and like last year, recipients were grateful for the special delivery! 


FreeKeeneNews - Keene's Bitcoin Vending Machine Celebrates One Year of Serving Community 

Keene's Bitcoin Vending Machine Celebrates First Year of Operation

Keene Bitcoin Vending MachineOn November 5th, 2014, the Shire Free Church launched Shire Bitcoin Vending when we placed our first Bitcoin Vending Machine at 101 Deals thrift store in Keene at 661 Marlboro St.

In April of 2015, the Keene machine was upgraded to the Lamassu brand Bitcoin Vending Machine. Lamassu is based in the Shire and run be Free State Project early movers. The original unit, the Skyhook brand, is used for special events.

Now, I'm happy to announce we have passed the one year mark of having a publicly-accessible BVM operating in Keene!

Our customers range from young to old from all across the Northeast, because sadly, the Keene BVM is the only publicly accessible BVM (or ATM) in all of ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, and Upstate NY. New York, the Empire State, has cracked down on the bitcoin industry there, resulting Albany and Buffalo losing their machines in 2015 and for some reason all the units listed on the Coin ATM Radar site for Boston are shut off or gone (at least that's what the customers who drive to Keene from Boston have told us.) Hopefully this will change, as not everyone is willing to drive for hours to purchase bitcoin.

It's important to note that the Keene Bitcoin Vending Machine is not an ATM, though many confuse the two terms. The machine vends bitcoins for cash. It does not do the reverse. The machine is stocked with bitcoin (click to see our wallet's status and all transactions) and sells from that stock. The BVM is not making buys on an exchange. Machines that do that have ridiculous identification requirements. Your bitcoin is your business and as a customer of the church, your privacy is respected. (While our machine does not require identification, there are security cameras monitoring the store premises.)

Come on out to the store and try the machine at 661 Marlboro Street (Route 101) in Keene, six days per week. Hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10a-6p and Sunday 11a-5p.



FreeKeeneNews - Portsmouth Police Issue Warrant for Wiretapping for Illegal UBER Driver 

Illegal UBER Driver Christopher David's wife is very pregnant. In fact, she's due any moment. What better time for Portsmouth police to issue a warrant for his arrest?

Chris posted an update to his facebook today informing us that the officer who threatened him with fines for driving for UBER in this video has now called and asked Chris to turn himself in. A warrant has allegedly been issued for his arrest on wiretapping charges. In a previous threatening call, the PPD officer, Andre Wassouf told Chris he was considering filing felony wiretapping charges, so the warrant may be on felony charges. As of this writing, Portsmouth Police have not returned media inquiries, so a copy of the warrant has yet to be seen.

Chris said, in his facebook post:

I stayed up until 4am last night setting up for the home birth of my son. I am swamped with work and preparation up to my eyeballs, and Kayla could go into labor any minute.   My interest to participate in a POLICE WITCH-HUNT designed to MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF ME by charging me with a FELONY for a YOUTUBE VIDEO showcasing EFFECTIVE ACTIVISM, and potentially making me MISS THE BIRTH OF MY SON... is LESS than zero.   To the city of Portsmouth, I opt out of your system. Leave me alone.

Sounds like he has no plan to turn himself in. Things are getting very interesting on the Seacoast.  Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.



Freekeenenews - NH Judge Says Secretly Recording Police is Legal, Dismisses Wiretapping Charge 

In a six page decision issued this week, NH Hillsborough superior court judge Gillian L. Abramson dismissed the misdemeanor wiretapping charge against Alfredo Valentin - affirming the right to record police in public includes secret recordings. The judge cites both the Glik and Gericke cases which were important federal cases affirming the right to record police in public. The state argued in this case, that since the recording was secret, the right to record doesn't apply in NH, where the wiretapping statute is ridiculously oppressive. The judge smacked that claim down:

the Court finds that the First Amendment protects secretly filming police in public, for the same reasons that the First Amendment generally protects filming police. The public has the right to gather and disseminate information about the police.

Free State Project early mover and attorney Brandon Ross is Valentin's lawyer (Ross has previously beaten wiretapping charges at the NH supreme court.) and had this to say, in an exclusive interview for Free Keene, about the judge's decision: "By charging him with a felony, the state destroyed my client's career--and made things much worse with this wild goose chase prosecution. I'm glad the court wasn't fooled by the state's manifestly incorrect representations about the law. I look forward to him getting his day in federal court." Ross

Ross also excoriated the NH legislature for their inaction on fixing the horrible wiretapping statutes, saying, "This never needed to happen. Numerous bills have been brought to the legislature to fix this. Each time, the legislature has failed to act to bring simple, necessary clarity to a law which police are continually abusing. But the NH chiefs of police scare them each time, and nothing happens. The resulting litigation from that spineless failure to act, does nothing but inconvenience citizens and cost taxpayers."

The decision is excellent and will certainly help Valentin in his million+ dollar lawsuit against Manchester Police for violating his rights.

You can read the full six-page order here. Will the state attorney general's office appeal to the NH supreme court and risk making this decision apply to the entire state? Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.