by Garret Ean
Dec 29 2011
Yesterday I received mail addressed to Ean Garret from “9th Circuit – District Division – Manchester” court. The title of the piece read, The State of New Hampshire and Ean Garret. I took note of the fact that the State had deescalated its language in addressing me — their paperwork no longer read State of New Hampshire versus Myself. A two page letter, signed on a third page as So Ordered, Judge William H. Lyons, affirmed the State’s inability to prove that I had violated either of two charges under NH RSA 644:2 on June 4th, when I was swept up in Manchester PD’s Chalking 8 incident. I was taken into custody, according to arresting officer John Patti, for refusing to move from a public area of the sidewalk when ordered. The judge determined that there was no basis for the officer to make this arrest under RSA 644:2. A violation for impeding potential pedestrian traffic is not authorized under the already broad disorderly conduct statute. While specific city ordinance violations allow police to ticket those who impede pedestrians, the New Hampshire criminal code does not. The State made no attempt to prove that I was even in the crime scene which one of the charges alleges I had interfered with, as John Patti barely remembered any of his multiple interactions with me.
Despite my victory, one of the two people arrested simultaneously with myself, Pete Eyre, was found guilty at the non-criminal violation level of one of the two charges. Interestingly enough, the charge he was convicted on was not the reason for his arrest, but was attached later. John Patti, who ordered Pete’s arrest but was my arresting officer, arrested us for allegedly refusing an order regarding a city ordinance violation. Neither the order nor the basis of the order were substantiated in court, yet Pete was, retroactively, in a sense, found guilty of having been in the “crime scene” and having been ordered out of it. The disorderly conduct statute is so over broad that you are automatically guilty at the violation level if you have been given what is considered a “lawful order”. By refusing the order, you are then guilty at the criminal level.
Paragraph VI of 644:2 reads, “Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor if the offense continues after a request by any person to desist; otherwise, it is a violation.”
Knowing that there is a grey area between what does and does not constitute complying with an order, the State is able to use any lack of complete, attentive, compliant obedience to justify the violation level charge (which does not even require a refusal to comply to qualify). With Pete’s trial just days before my own, in his case the State presented two witnesses — the arresting officer, and the officer who ordered the arrest — to add to the legitimacy of its own case. Making the point stronger for why you shouldn’t talk to police, his interactions with officers as he was complying with the order to leave the scene is what it appears the judge is citing to constitute the violation of ‘interfering with a crime scene’. He is being billed by the court and given 45 days to pay a $200 fine with a $48 ‘penalty assessment’ ($248 total).
It is worth noting that in addition to the Chalking 8 prosecutor, Gregory Muller, the findings in these cases are also being forwarded directly to MPD captain Robert Cunha. Yesterday the news also released that William Lyons has found Ademo Freeman guilty of criminal mischief, graffiti, and two charges of resisting arrest. The full text of the verdict has yet to be released.
The verdict in my case is linked here, and Pete’s, as was included with my copy, is attached here. Both Pete and I had homework assignments to complete between trial and verdict. See the full trial video of State v. Garret Ean.
There are three additional Chalking 8 trials which have yet to occur, and another trial for an additional 9th chalker who was given a ‘graffiti’ city ordinance violation ticket the day of the arrests which has since been upgraded to a criminal mischief charge.
A story on these verdicts has been published earlier today at FreeManch.com.
Dec 30 2011: Pete Eyre has posted a response and video over at CopBlock regarding his being billed $248 by Manchester authorities for a non-crime. See Pete’s post linked below:
Ademo Freeman’s sentencing has been scheduled for January 9 at 10:30am. There will almost certainly be chalk on hand as activists gather at the courthouse prior to the hearing.