Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Instruct Your Representatives

Hot on the heels of this week's miscarriage-of-justice-on-multiple-levels jury verdict in the case of Ademo Freeman (to which even the judge opined, "I don’t accept the state’s reasoning"), the subcommittee of the NH House Criminal Justice Committee that's addressing HB553, "relative to the law on wiretapping and eavesdropping," and if and how the full committee should recommend reworking it into an "acceptable" bill for the next legislative session (having been relegated to "interim study" this session), held a work session, 8/15/2012.

Subcommittee work sessions, by their nature, are substantially less formal than committee hearings -- examples of which perhaps over-populate this blog (but your humble chronicler finds them, like train wrecks, difficult from which to avert his eyes). But chaired by my own Representative Mark "Don't Call Me Kevin, Boston.com" Warden, this body was perhaps particularly and refreshingly receptive to input from its employers, the people -- that's you, faithful reader. Here's to hoping the individual members are equally cognizant and respectful of that relationship. The bottom line: they represent you, not the Executive Branch and its operatives in uniform with the monopoly on force.

Hopeful, too, as this work session was, however, this nevertheless empirically pressing issue in NH is still, sadly, a long, long, long way from finally getting resolved legislatively -- and so, sadly, too, there will likely be plenty more opportunities for "judicial branch activism" (often mischaracterized, IMHO, as "outside-the-system activism").

But this is what citizen political involvement looks like. If you feel justifiably compelled to participate, contact the committee members, then contact your own representatives.



For the record, this is how I responded to the NHPR piece linked above:
"New Hampshire is one of twelve states that requires all parties to consent to being recorded over the phone."

That blanket assertion is not an accurate statement, as a careful reading of the relevant statute would have exposed -- rather than obediently taking government's word for it. What does this, from the RSA definitions, mean to you?
570-A:1 Definitions. – As used in this chapter: ...
II. "Oral communication" means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.
Do public officials have such an expectation that their official duties are private from their employers, the people? According to the 'Glik' decision out of the First Circuit Court, and the 'Alleman' decision out of Goffstown District Court, they do not. Nor, pointedly, according to the NH Constitution, Part 1st, Article 8. That public school employees and government prosecutors and cops don't understand that they are, in fact, public officials renders them no less so simply on their own assertions.

Further, and even if we DISREGARD the above definition,
570-A:2 Interception and Disclosure of Telecommunication or Oral Communications Prohibited. – ...
I-a. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if, except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter or without consent of all parties to the communication, the person knowingly intercepts a telecommunication or oral communication when the person is a party to the communication or with the prior consent of one of the parties to the communication, but without the approval required by RSA 570-A:2, II(d).
Mr. Mueller a) was a party to the conversation, and also b) certainly had his own prior consent. So where did the felony charge come from? How has the state managed to liberate him from his ostensibly unalienable right to self-defense for not breaking any law claiming the authority to do so?

Further still, for good measure, as for "being recorded over the phone,"
570-A:1 Definitions. – As used in this chapter: ...
IV. "Electronic, mechanical, or other device" means any device or apparatus which can be used to intercept a telecommunication or oral communication OTHER THAN:
    (a) Any telephone or telegraph instrument, equipment, facility or any component thereof:
       (1) Furnished to the subscriber or user by a communication carrier in the ordinary course of its business and being used by the subscriber or user in the ordinary course of its business or furnished by such subscriber or user for connection to the facilities of such service and used in the ordinary course of its business in accordance with applicable provisions of telephone and telegraph company rules and regulations, as approved by the public utilities commission;
Funny the problems one can find with government behavior just by reading its own statutes, rather than simply accepting its own assertions.

A lawless government is not capable of doing a "good job." By definition.

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