Video journalist jailed indefinitely for remaining silent

Jefferson City criminal defense lawyerAn interesting “criminal” case is brewing in a small New Hampshire town. The city of Keene, NH has a substantial number of libertarian activists who have cultivated the habit of carrying video cameras around whenever they have protests or other events involving the government (which they would like to see strictly limited or–depending on who you ask–eliminated altogether). One of those video activists will soon complete his first full month behind bars for not turning off his video camera after the local judge banned recording in the public lobby of the Municipal building.

Sam Dodson runs a YouTube channel for his videos called the Obscured Truth Network.  On April 13, 2009, he brought his camera to the public lobby of the city building in support of another activist who was being arraigned (also for the crime of videotaping in that same lobby).

The court’s marshall ordered him to stop–and when he refused–they arrested him for disorderly conduct. At this point he went passively limp and was then handcuffed and dragged to a waiting patrol car. [see video below]. Other friends of the man being arraigned that day were then ordered from the lobby–and when they refused–five more were arrested for disorderly conduct.

Police booked all the arrestees and released them later that day–all except Sam Dodson. Dodson refused to talk to the police and refused to identify himself. He has since been identified by police but the judge refuses to arraign him and has refused him a trial until he is willing to tell them his name. Dodson is on a hunger strike, only drinking liquids since he was jailed on April 13.

Writs of habeas corpus have been filed and rejected by the court.  The court explained that Dodson’s complaint was premature because he “may make the same challenges . . . as the criminal case proceeds.” But the case does not proceed.

It is quite possible that Dodson will eventually be found not guilty of the charges, but the state will not give him a trial until they have broken his will. He therefore remains in jail for the indefinite future.

More on the story here: Exercising Right to Remain Silent Lands Video Journalist in Jail Indefinitely and video here:

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Now that Sam Dodson has spent far longer in jail than any convictions would actually have cost him, this looks more and more like the authorities are just flexing their muscles with this guy.

Absolutely nothing would stop them from bringing him into court, reading the charges, setting the case for trial and releasing him until the trial date. It would cost them nothing. Instead, they seem intent on making martyrs.

Come back with a warrant

6 thoughts on “Video journalist jailed indefinitely for remaining silent

  1. bile says:

    Visit for a thorough description of the event.

  2. Nice coverage. Outrageous this situation is…

  3. Wondering says:

    This is absolutely outrageous. Can’t a writ of habeas corpus be used and filed with an appellate court to free this person?

  4. Amy Tyler says:

    I’ve seen far too many disturbing instances of muscle-flexing lately from the boys in blue. In a city (I believe Flint, Michigan but I could be wrong) arrests were made and a video camera confiscated when no laws were broken and it was also amazing how it took approximately 10 armed policeman to arrest 3 unarmed peaceful citizens. Something to do with a muslim carnival and offering religious pamphlets to passersby in muslim-type attire. No one was forced to give or receive yets subsequent arrests and seizure of private property. The thing is the more confounding by the maddening behavior alternately tolerated and/or rewarded by Pastor Phelps and clan, a despicable bunch of hate-mongers if ever they existed. Laws do not make sense anymore, sad but true.

  5. Amy Tyler says:

    The really alarming thing is the overall lack of interest by most passersby. If hitler and his storm troopers were to descend once again to kidnap and destroy families and lives I wonder if anyone would notice that either.

  6. I read something related to your “Video journalist jailed indefinitely for remaining silent | Missouri Criminal Defense Lawyer” post at a different site I frequent… at any rate, I think apple is normally overrated but has a handful of good things too.

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