Judge rules the arrest of a citizen during a local meeting illegal


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The first amendment is such an inconvenient thing: A judge has dismissed criminal charges filed against a man who was arrested 40 seconds into his five minute allotted speaking period during a local council meeting when he asked the selectmen to resign.

“The arrest of (Clay) is found by the court to be a violation of (Clay’s) First Amendment right of free speech,” [the judge] Carroll wrote. The arrest amounted to “content-based censorship as the defendant was acting within the very rules promulgated by the (selectmen) as well within his constitutional rights under the U.S. and N.H. Constitutions,” Carroll wrote. Clay “complied with the board’s own protocol, established by the board for public input.”

I have embedded the video of the incident below the fold. Watch it. Essentially, the council didn’t like what Clay was saying and decided to shut him up. Granted, he was being very harsh, but tough, that is what free speech is all about. Note also that though they tell him they have ended the public input session, after he is arrested they then resume public input.

Everyone of these elected officials should be out of office. They have no understanding that their role as elected officials is to be the servant of the people, not their overlords. When a citizen is unhappy, you listen to them, and address their concerns as quickly as possible. As the least, you let the citizen air his or her complaints fully, and loudly, and then if you find they do not have merit, move on.

These thugs clearly do not understand these basic aspects of American culture.

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5 comments

  • Kirk

    Well played Mr. Clay.

    “Am I under arrest?”
    “You will be if you don’t listen to me.”
    Mr. Clay resumes his harangue while the peace officer make a short cellphone call.
    “Now you are under arrest.”
    “OK.”
    Mr. Clay walks out with officer.

  • Maurice Levie

    Live Free or Die used to be a wonderful, but quaint motto. Never thought it would soon become a binary choice in my lifetime.

  • Publius 2

    Government officials are drunk with power and running rampant at all levels across the country. Case in point: the steward of the small town in California whose salary was revealed to be more than a half-million dollars a year. It has become not only necessary to throw out the miscreants wholesale, it has also become mandatory for a free people. “When in the course of human events…”

  • Tom Billings

    “content-based censorship as the defendant was acting within the very rules promulgated by the (selectmen) as well within his constitutional rights under the U.S. and N.H. Constitutions,”

    “These thugs clearly do not understand these basic aspects of American culture.”

    Oh! But they do!

    They do, and have no intention of tolerating it. Thus is a country “fundamentally transformed”, one town at a time, ….if we let them.

  • Edward

    The council managed to prove Mr. Clay’s point in a most dramatic way.

    Clay asked the council to resign because of “the continued violation of the citizen’s rights, here in Alton.” No sooner were those words out of his mouth, but the council ironically and publicly violated that citizen’s rights.

    No wonder Clay believed the council should resign en masse. Likely, everyone else now believes so, too. At this point, resignation is the only honorable thing for these dishonorable amateurs to do.

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