Today in Concord, NH Brandon Ross will argue that Ademo Freeman’s 2012 wiretapping convictions should never have happened. When the outcome of that proceeding is known it will be shared here.
2013.11.15 – the oral arguments were given by Brandon Ross, Ademo’s lawyer, in the morning of Wed., Nov. 13th.
After the hearing, Ross communicated to Ademo via email, “I can say your case is in the best possible situation it could be put it.”
It was reported by some media outlets that Ross did not take issue with the fact that Ademo was tried, and convicted, at the felony-level. I followed-up with Ross via email, and he responded:
He was charged with felonies. We presented two issues on appeal: (1) whether being a party to the call meant that he MUST have been charged with the misdemeanor instead of the felony; and (2) whether in its felony charge, the state tried to charge him with a less culpable mental state that would have covered the misdemeanor only.
I did not concede that Ademo was correctly charged with the felony. Rather, I told the court that I did not want to argue Issue #1 above. The reason was because that state actually had an extremely good argument based upon the wording of the law and what actually happened during Ademo’s defense. It doesn’t mean that Ademo was actually correctly charged. Just that the issue was not worth pursuing.
That strategy was motivated in part to deny the state the ability to sound like it “won” on any issue. I didn’t want the state’s attorney speaking for 5 minutes and have the judge’s agree. They’ll just be more likely to agree with everything else she says. That was the issue that state’s attorney was expecting to argue–because that’s what we first complained of.
Instead, I wanted to focus on a winning argument. On Issue #2, the state already conceded that it committed an error at trial, that the jury was not instructed correctly: that if Adam had a good-faith belief that his conduct was lawful, that would’ve been a defense to the felony charges. THAT did happen at trial. Kinda. Sorta. Though Adam didn’t use the magic words, a jury could’ve determined that he thought he wasn’t breaking the law. So, the decision the court will grapple with is not whether the law is on Ademo’s side, but whether the case actually deserves to go back to the trial court because there was a “miscarriage of justice”.
Ross said he expects to hear back in early 2014, possibly as early as January
- Ademo Appeal Heard in NH Supreme Court via FreeKeene.com
- NH CopBlock activist appeals wiretap conviction via Boston.com
- N.H. CopBlock founder argues for new wiretapping trial via SeacoastOnline.com
For complete background see: CopBlock.org/FreeAdemo
Last year after a jury bought into the misinformation peddled by prosecutor Michael Valentine, Ademo was sentenced to one-four years in prison and sat three months in Valley Street Jail, with the remainder hanging over his head for five years with vague “good behavior” stipulations, which, if violated, means strangers with guns will force him into a cage at state prison in Concord for two one-to-three-year stints. [Read Ademo's latest post to CopBlock.org to hear in his words, what he's been up to since his time in Valley Street: CopBlocking On My Terms….]
Valentine claimed Ademo was guilty of felony wiretapping, which is impossible as a charge at that level requires that neither party involved in the conversation be aware of the recording. Obviously Ademo, who placed the calls and recorded the calls, knew they were being recorded. Thus, what Ross today will argue to those at the NH Supreme Court is that at most, Ademo should have been found guilty at the misdemeanor level.
Yet to those familiar with the situation, even that supposedly level of guilt is without merit. Ademo didn’t harm anyone. In fact, he acted heroically – calling out an aggressor, even if he is part of the protected class.
Ademo Freeman faced 21-years in prison because he stood-up for a 17-year-old student who was assaulted by school liaison officer Darren Murphy at West High School in Manchester, New Hampshire. Murphy was back on the job the next day while the student that had been slammed on the table was suspended and his friend who recorded the incident was ordered to delete the footage.
Ademo, concerned about the lack of accountability, posted the video online then made calls to the Manchester Police Department and West High School seeking comment. His phone conversations were included on a video update and from that, he was was charged with three felony counts of wiretapping, each of which carries a 7-year maximum penalty [NH 570-A-2].
Brandon Ross, a Concord, NH-based lawyer has stepped-up to help Ademo pro bono. In a 10-page motion, Ross pointed-out that Ademo was incorrectly charged – since he was a party to the conversation it was not a felony. And in fact, since public officials have no expectation of privacy, Ademo should never have been charged. Though the motion submitted by Ross was denied, he’s moving-forward with an appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
In no uncertain terms, Ademo was targeted because he sought to make transparent the wrongs committed by public officials. Instead of “serving and protecting” they are systematically working to censor those highlighting their misdeeds.
For complete background see: CopBlock.org/FreeAdemo