Asides Opinion

Is 100 Days in Jail for Failing to Stand a Just Punishment?

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Ian Freeman of Keene, New Hampshire has a couch on his property. It’s a musty old couch. But it’s on his property, not his neighbor’s. Someone complained about this couch, and asked for it to be removed. So says an official from the City of Keene.

He Just Wanted to Face his Accuser

Ian was prepared to comply. He just wanted to face his accuser first. Maybe he wanted to deal with the matter privately, instead of wasting taxpayer money.

But the City of Keene official would not allow this. Instead, a trial was scheduled. And when Ian refused to stand in honor of the judge entering the courtroom, he was seized and moved to a back room where he was privately sentenced to 100 days in jail.

In the United States of America, there is a very basic right enshrined in the Constitution, the right to confront your accuser. I hold no reverence for this document – it’s not anything I agree to or am party to – but supposedly the people calling themselves “government” have agreed to be bound by it. #

The prison sentence for the claimed couch code violation, if convicted, is just 3 days.

Short Ridley Report on Ian Freeman’s Sentence

“It’s not About the Couch”

Commenters in New Hampshire are not happy.

It’s not about the couch on his property. It’s that he’s asking valid questions about the source of their authority and that’s EXTREMELY threatening. Simple speech is very powerful when it’s the truth being used against lies. From how it was described to me, and we’ll see it on video soon hopefully, they pounced on him before he could even barely get started. It’s like they can’t even let the words escape his mouth! #

The penalty for the “crime” of having his couch on his property (the “crime” being that a theoretical person complained) was 3 days in jail. The penalty for annoying the judge was 90 days in jail. The purpose of the “judicial” system is to protect the whims of those who work in the “judicial” system. #

Instead of hiding behind the force of government, the original complainant should speak to Ian in a friendly, neighborly way just as civilized communities ought to behave. #

Update: They were Prepared

It turns out the sentence was 93 days, not 100 as originally reported. And, based on the below video, it now appears he was originally held in contempt of court and arrested because he failed to sit down. Bizarre.

Updated Ridley Reports

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Photo credit: bradleyjames. Photo license.

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

6 replies on “Is 100 Days in Jail for Failing to Stand a Just Punishment?”

The problem is the “right to face your accuser” relates to *criminal* charges. I would guess that these are *civil* charges. And, once the couch is seen by a police officer (regardless of who tipped him off in the first place), the police officer can serve as the accuser. If his legal theory were correct, then making an anonymous tip to the police would be impossible. I agree with his distrust of authority, but his actions in this case are meaningless, because he is starting from a point of ignorance. He should have consulted a lawyer to have this explained to him.

He was put in jail for 3 days for the couch violation. Doesn’t that make it a criminal issue? Since when are people imprisoned over civil charges?

What harm has the couch done to the cop, who is the theoretical accuser in your example? None. If there is no harm to anyone, how can there be a crime? No crime, no jail time.

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