CopBlock Activist Has His Felony Wiretapping (of Police, Among Others) Conviction Overturned

Good news from the Union Leader in New Hampshire regarding an activist with the group Cop Block, dedicated to exposing and blocking bad police practicies:

The New Hampshire Supreme Court threw out the felony wiretapping convictions of the founder of CopBlock.org, a group that claims it polices the police, saying the judge made a mistake in instructing the jury, an error serious enough the jury could have found Adam Mueller innocent. 

Mueller, 31....was convicted of secretly recording telephone conversations he had with a Manchester police captain, the Manchester West High School principal and her assistant in 2011 and spent three months in jail.

He was seeking their comments on a video he posted on YouTube that showed a confrontation between West High student Frank Harrington III, 17, and police detective Darren Murphy in the school's cafeteria. Harrington was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest...

Mueller, a Free Stater who goes by the name "Ademo Freeman," posted the telephone recordings online....

The Supreme Court, in its decision released Tuesday, said Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kenneth C. Brown erred when he instructed the jury that a violation of the felony wiretapping statute requires a mental state of "purposely," when the statute specifically identifies "wilfully" as the applicable mental state.

Under state law, "wilful" means the defendant must act with an intentional or reckless disregard for the lawfulness of his conduct. In other words, the defendant has not violated the law if he has a "good faith" belief his conduct was lawful, according to the unanimous decision written by Justice Robert J. Lynn.

The court said the erroneous instruction likely affected the outcome of the proceedings and to allow the convictions to stand "would seriously affect the fairness and integrity of judicial proceedings."

Mueller calls himself "Ademo Freeman" and writes about the matter on CopBlock's blog.

Past Reason writings on CopBlock.

Reason classic feature on the dangers of recording cops.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...saying the judge made a mistake in instructing the jury, an error serious enough the jury could have found Adam Mueller innocent.

    I would hate to be that judge right now. The consequences of fucking up on that level have to be pretty severe.

  • Swiss Servator, Befehl!||

    "The consequences of fucking up on that level have to be pretty severe."

    HAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, he might get gently teased about it at the next golf outing.

    Oh, you were being sarcastic...

  • Paul.||

    He should be made to watch all episodes of Cop Rock.

  • ||

    I thought the Constitution prevented cruel and unusual punishment.

  • Paul.||

    The Constitution grants special dispensation in times of emergency.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    It's not a suicide pact! He must be dealt with!

  • Dweebston||

    What's the libertarian take on secretly recording conversations?

    I'm going with "Piss off, I didn't sign an NDA."

  • Ted S.||

    I have the right to record my own conversations. (At least, that's what I believe. Fuck two-party consent states.)

  • playa manhattan||

    I guarantee you that it was also recorded on the other end.

  • Agammamon||

    My view - I have the right to record any conversation I am part of, without any requirement to disclose that recording.

    And I believe you should have the legal ability to record any conversation in a public space (much as you can photograph) without needing another's consent.

  • ||

    Yeah, it's not like the cops don't record you if you voluntarily have a conversation with them. I don't have a problem with it. Now, tape a conversation that I was having with someone else on private property and you weren't supposed to be party to, then I have an issue.

  • ||

    Uhmmmm...first lets find out what the cops take is on recording their interactions with the public via dashcams vs. their position on you recording your own interactions with them in public.

  • Agammamon||

    We already know that. The first is allowable and the second is a breach of the officer's right to privacy.

  • Duke||

    was convicted of secretly recording telephone conversations...and spent three months in jail.

    "Sorry, we screwed up. Just have to fire up the old judicial time machine to make everything right!"

  • Paul.||

    Why do they call them 'Wiretapping laws' when there was no wire that was tapped?

  • playa manhattan||

    It's in the emanations of the penumbra.

  • Tim||

    This is what's so appealing about police beatings: they can't be overturned on appeal.

  • Nazdrakke||

    So am I the only one that read that as CockBlock activist at first glance?

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Nope.

  • JG43||

    Ha! I thought I was the only one.

  • AlgerHiss||

    I believe Adam Mueller's intentions to be honorable. The civic service he's providing is sorely needed.

    However, he really needs to ratchet up his maturity level. His visual and verbal presentation leaves many potential supporters on the sidelines.

  • cheap soccer jerseys||

    "I would hate to be that judge right now. The consequences of fucking up on that level have to be pretty severe."

    I hate that , too

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