Ademo: Caged, Right to a Jury Trial: Denied
At 10:00AM, July 11, 2012, Ademo Freeman and I, as well as about a dozen other individuals, left the Keene Activity Center and headed for Manchester. Ademo was scheduled to have a hearing at the Manchester District Court at 1:15PM.
For those unaware, Ademo recently received a letter stating that he had missed jury selection for an appeal on a resisting arrest charge stemming from the Chalking 8 incident, and that his case had been remanded back to the District Court. Ademo never received the letter notifying him of the date for jury selection. The letter itself had the correct address in the upper left corner, but the envelope displayed an address that according to the return stamp on the envelope, the USPS couldn’t even locate.
It should be very clear to those working at the courthouse that the cause of Ademo missing jury selection was a clerical error; he has never missed a court date otherwise and physical proof, the envelope returned by the USPS, is in their possession. Despite undeniable evidence that Ademo never received the incorrectly addressed letter, two different judges denied Ademo’s motion for a new trial. Upon arriving in Manchester, we went to the Superior Courthouse where Ademo made copies of both the letter notifying him of jury selection, and the envelope containing it to bring his 1:15PM hearing.
While at the Superior Courthouse, Ademo talked with a sheriff named Tony during the few minutes we were inside. Tony, knowing that the envelope containing the jury selection date was addressed incorrectly, said he might see Ademo at 1:00PM at the District Court.
After eating lunch and meeting up with a few more supporters in the area, we made our way to Amherst Street where we saw Tony standing by the prisoner transport door. We passed through the standard courthouse invasion of privacy then proceeded to Courtroom 201 on the second floor. Once you enter that room, an individual by the name of William H. Lyons believes he suddenly has the authority to control or disrupt your life as he pleases.
About twenty minutes later, Lyons entered the room. Ademo was called first. Lyons said that the case had been remanded from the Superior Court, two months in jail were mandatory, and he was to be placed in the Sheriffs’ custody. Ademo told Lyons that the envelope containing the notice of jury selection was sent to the wrong address, with the proof in his hands. “This was a clerical error by someone at the Superior Court.” Lyons ignored logic and said he does not have the legal authority to do anything about this, Ademo could only appeal to the Supreme Court, and his job today was to enact sentencing. He called the sheriffs to handcuff Ademo and take him to Valley Street Jail where he’ll be forced to spend the next two months. Lyons did not bother to look at the solid proof, and he appeared as if he didn’t care in the least.
Three sheriffs approached Ademo, but Tony hesitated and did not put his hands on Ademo – at least not while in my line of view. I got the impression that deep down he knew what was happening was wrong. A few people in the room verbally shared their displeasure with the bureaucrats as Ademo was cuffed. One individual told them they should be ashamed of themselves; they should be. Ademo was told, “We love you,” as he was led out the door.
Today, Ademo entered the courthouse with a decent sized group of good people who support him and his actions; the government employees went into the courthouse today with an unquestioning willingness to use force against people if they were ordered to do so. What is wrong with this picture?
Ademo does not belong in jail for his actions on June 4, 2010. He never should have been arrested. Ademo harmed nobody, yet the State has made him the victim. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, I hope everyone can agree that he should have at least had the chance to speak in front of a jury. A clerical error on the part of an individual at the Manchester Superior Courthouse is not a valid reason to put somebody in jail and deny them a jury trial.
After leaving the courthouse, a group of about ten people went to the Valley Street jail and left messages in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the entrance such as, “Free Ademo,” “There can be peace if you try,” and “Choose love.”
To give Ademo some love and to vote with your wallet against this ludicrous “justice” check out: http://copblock.org/pledge
445 Willow Street
Manchester, NH, 03103