Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cheshire County Judge John P Arnold announces his retirement

The following article from the Keene Sentinel, reports Superior Court Judge John P Arnold has announced that he is retiring from his bench in short order.

Lots of information has been swirling about in the media lately, with bits and pieces filtering out to the public and letting us know that there are many problems embed in the judicial system in the State of NH.

Some of that information swirls around the Cheshire County Superior Court. Is it possible that his retirement could have anything to do with some of that?

Such as the activity at the NH Redress Committee and some of the contentious judicial decisions around the State and in Cheshire County that are coming under scrutiny for the first time? Judicial decisions some of which were made under the watch of Arnold.

Judicial decisions reported by those having been dealt first hand blows by a judicial system, whose Judges and Marital Master’s all too often prefer to violate individual constitutional rights and the law in favor of rubber-stamping documents and rubber-stamping lives?

Decisions that have sent some to researching the laws and pounding the keyboard, sending petitions to the NH Redress Committee with the purpose of changing a system that is broke down? People who are fed up with a system that promotes the status quo and are willing to speak out against it?

Could these be reasons?

See link for the Petitions to the NH House for Petitions: 

Dr. David D. Vandenberg is one such person and his case is heard in Cheshire County Superior Court and his 1st Petition to the Redress Committee was accepted May 10, 2011. These bad judicial decisions have promised nothing but increases in Redress Petitions in the future and increased scrutiny those judicial decisions will be forced to bear.

And excerpts from the meeting minutes at which his Petition was accepted:

“Rep. Jeffrey Oligny appeared next (on behalf of Dr. David D. Vandenberg) with a grievance against a Superior Court justice allowing a guardian ad litem to move the court, failing to provide due process or findings of harm, and other complaints related to this case. Rep. Tucker asked what the proposed remedy would be. Rep. Oligny responded that there should be an investigation and then appropriate action to instruct the Attorney General to prosecute the guardian ad litem, for kidnapping, remove the guardian ad litem, and amend the statutes. Rep. Mirski asked if redress could find its own remedy, and Rep. Oligny responded that it could. Rep. Mirski moved to accept the petition, seconded by Rep. Tucker. Chairman O'Brien said that people lose cases every day, but there are increasing numbers of allegations of misconduct and lack of due process. We need to look into these cases. Rep. Oligny added that we need to separate being unhappy with an outcome or being denied due process. The committee then voted 7-2 to accept the petition.”

For full text see link:

Then there was the Thomas Ball self-immolation that brought close to home, in a startling manner, yet another example of a court system that doesn’t function as it’s intended use, but instead treats individuals more like state owned property to discard at will when no longer useful for the initial intended purpose.

Thomas Ball’s self-immolation occurred in front of the Cheshire County Superior Court House, just a few months ago, his case heard and held at Cheshire County Superior Court over the course of years. John P Arnold, presiding justice of Cheshire County Superior Court during this time.

Thomas Ball making the final statement - "Done being bullied by the legal system for being a man". No reason to disbelieve him. Lots to show he was onto something. Maybe this has something to do with Arnolds decision to retire?

Then there is the ban on cameras at the courthouse and on the heels of that decision to ban cameras and devices with video recording capabilities from Keene's Court buildings, Arnold announces his retirement.

Maybe Arnold's decision to retire is the scrutiny he is sure to come under for his part in enacting this order. Come on now, pleeeease, no more audio and/or video gets back to the public, audio and video that forces these people to explain their actions and justify their salary? To be accountable for their actions and their words and so the public doesn't get to see what their tax dollars pay for or don’t pay for?

Here is an excerpt from the order:

"This Order is meant to apply to the facts and circumstances at the district division of the 8th Circuit in Keene. In recent months certain members of the public have caused disruptions of the court’s ability to conduct business in Keene. In addition to their refusal to abide by court rules related to the conduct of trials and conduct in the courtroom in general, these members of the public have also congregated in the court’s lobby for extended periods of time making it difficult for other members of the public to conduct business with the court and, in particular, creating conditions and disturbances which have obstructed court staff from performing their duties in an orderly way. Additionally, these members of the public have, on occasion, accosted the presiding judge as he enters and leaves the building in which the court is housed, creating an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation and a legitimate fear for the safety and well-being of the judicial and nonjudicial staff at this court."

“…it is the duty and responsibility of courts to be alert to protect the judicial processes from being brought into disrepute and to act vigorously when confronted with acts or conduct which tend to obstruct or interfere with the due and orderly administration of justice…” it is ordered as follows:

"No cameras or audio equipment may be used at any time in the court’s lobby or anywhere in the public area of the court’s leased premises; ….. "

See link for full text of Administrative Order:

Watch the following videos for possible insight and motivation on a ban of video cameras in the Cheshire County Courts.

Watch Youtube and Talley.TV links to see why it’s important to get rid of this order sooner rather than later.

Watch Youtube:

And watch and hear how Ed Burke, Judge in Keene District Court gets angry in court when someone doesn't sit fast enough for him. You be the judge was it a situation of someone being disrespectful or someone confused as to whether they should sit or whether they should stand because their name was called? What would you have done? What would you have felt like if a judge started screaming at you and threatening you under the same circumstances? Would you have thought the judge was right? Would you have just said well I guess I did not understand but it’s OK that he was mad? I think, most likely not. Aren’t there rules of conduct for judges defining proper judicial demeanor? Actually, Arnold refers to that very thing in one of the links below.

And then there is this video, again with Burke:

Watch and hear, start to finish, as Ed Burke, again a Judge in Keene District Court, misuses his power by lying to bailiff's and has someone arrested for criminal threatening. The charges based on Burke's own lies of events that he said just occurred. The video shows that the events didn't transpire in the manner in which he relayed to the bailiff's, nor was there a threat, let alone a criminal threat. How can that be? How can someone get arrested on a made up, trumped up lie by somone in power, just because they can and they don't like you? At worst, Burke should have kept his mouth shut and walked to his office silently, at best he could have been courteous and said it's not up for discussion. To lie and get caught on the video in a lie, well it makes you wonder what the real motivation is for banning the ability to record, now doesn’t it?

Then we have Arnold videos:

It will certainly be interesting to see how that order CO-EXISTS with the US Court of Appeals recent ruling on citizen’s rights to film their government in action.

It will be interesting to see how the Redress Committee handles that Petition. Violation of State laws and the publics Right to Know as well as Freedom of Speech. Out os control? Or protection for those in the wrong.

Speaking of which, maybe it’s the recent ruling from the United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit. No. 10-1764, just a few weeks:

"...though not unqualified, a citizen's right to film government officials, including law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment." First Circuit Court of Appeals. [Source See 1st District US Court of Appeals - 10-1764 Sect: II,A,2]

Finally, a clear-cut ruling, that states it's  OK to record and videotape government officials, including law enforcement while they are performing their duties as servants of the taxpayers, without fear of retribution or having their equipment taken away illegally. Yes that is right, they are there to serve the public's needs, not their own. Imagine, what a concept.

Then again, maybe none of the above has anything to do with Arnold’s retirement. Maybe it has to do with the NH Supreme Court’s decision, less than a year ago, where Arnold was challenged for violating both the State and Federal Constitution when an individual was convicted, in his courtroom, of Two Felony Charges that were essentially the same charge, Arnold violating the Double Jeopardy Clause of BOTH Constitutions, that done after it had been brought to his attention prior to the trial. Surely, Arnold knows of Constitutional Rights, doesn't he? Or does he?

Time and again we are taught not to question authority. These are the reasons why we should.

From the NH Supreme Court decision:

"Before trial, the defendant moved to dismiss these charges on the ground that to prosecute him for both violated his right to be shielded from multiple punishments for the same offense under the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the State and Federal Constitutions."

"In sum, we hold that it violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the State Constitution for the defendant to have received punishments for both …….."

For full text see link:

Or, maybe it’s none of any this so called nonsense, which is what SOME would like ALL of us to buy into and believe.

Maybe none of these reflection’s are relevant and maybe it’s just coincidence and maybe Arnold just happened think that this was just a really great time for him to sit back, collect his pension, relax and reminisce on his career.

We may never know, but we’d like to think it’s the scrutiny that helped to make the decision, in any case, we thank all who continue to participate in fighting for what is right and just.

And here’s the Sentinel article:

Posted: Friday, September 9, 2011 4:04 pm
Cheshire County judge announces retirement Copyright 2011 The Keene Sentinel

Longtime Cheshire County Superior Court Judge John P. Arnold has announced his plan to retire. A news release from court officials follows:

CONCORD, September 9, 2011 -Superior Court Judge John P. Arnold, the presiding judge in Cheshire County, is retiring in November after more than 18 years on the bench. Following his retirement, he will be available to sit as needed as a senior status judge.

Judge Arnold was nominated to the court in November 1992 by then Gov. Judd Gregg and began his service on the court in January 1993. Before joining the court, Judge Arnold served for four years as New Hampshire Attorney General.

"It has been an honor for me to serve the people of New Hampshire , as attorney general, and as a Superior Court judge," Judge Arnold said. "I want to thank my colleagues, the attorneys who appeared in front of me, and especially the court staff who gave me their support over all these years. I look forward to a continuing association with the Superior Court, as a senior status judge, if my help is needed," he said.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis described Judge Arnold as an "excellent trial judge who will be sorely missed" at both the Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene, and nearby at the Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, where he has regularly presided at court proceedings over the years.

"I have known Judge Arnold since the days when we were growing up in the Peterborough area," the Chief Justice said. " I have great personal and professional regard for him and I hope he will give us as much time as he can as a senior status judge."

By executive order, a Judicial Selection Commission interviews applicants for judgeships and then sends recommendations to the governor for consideration. The Governor's appointments to the court are subject to confirmation by the Executive Council, after a public hearing.

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