At 9:00AM this morning, I went to the Cheshire County Superior Courthouse for the trial of Jason Talley, who was caged for possessing a camera at the Superior Courthouse on September 23, 2011 at approximately 8:30AM. Cecelia and I both had the intention of testifying as witnesses this morning, as we were the only people to witness the arrest that were not court personnel.
As part of his efforts to bring transparency to government, Jason’s intention that morning in September was to film a hearing that was scheduled to take place at 9AM. After passing through the ‘security’ area, one of the two bailiffs present asked what was on his belt; Jason explained that the thumb-sized device was his personal camera as he approached the clerk’s window a feet away to ask for a form to fill out before filming the hearing. Quickly, the two bailiffs grabbed Jason and pushed him into the corner while trying to steal the small camera from him. After the aggressive bailiffs put handcuffs on Jason’s wrists, he sat down, as he did not want to “provide any assistance to these strangers in their unlawful crackdown on cameras and violence against a member of the free press.” [For more information, go to http://TalleyTv.Fr33Agents.com]
When I arrived at the courthouse this morning, multiple people were standing out front holding signs and distributing jury nullification fliers. Inside the courthouse, I proceeded to the second floor where Talley’s trial was to be held. Every seat in the courtroom was full, and Tebo, the bailiff, ordered those who did not have seats to leave the courtroom. When Judge Barry entered the room, at least four people in my line of vision remained seated.
After sitting down, Judge Barry addressed a college student, Robert, who had put in a notice to record for the documentary film crew he came with. The notice only contained his name, not the other two students present. The judge addressed the person next to Robert who was holding a camera, saying that only those who have put in a notice can film; Robert explained that he was part of the film crew. Next, the judge addressed the female film crew member who was sitting on the opposite side of the room with audio equipment. She stated that she was also part of the film crew, as he yelled over her to “turn the equipment off.” Once the other two members’ names were added to the notice, it was magically no longer a threat/problem that they had video/audio equipment.
The prosecutor, John Webb brought to the attention of Judge Barry, Jason Talley, and Bradley Jardis (Talley’s representation) that he had not sent a certain paper required to try Talley under the penalties of Class A misdemeanors and mentioned three possible ways to proceed. Judge Barry wanted further information and took a 15 minute recess to give John Webb time to do a little homework.
During the recess, I glanced at my cell phone to check the time. Tebo saw the phone in my hand and told me to turn it off. I asked him why I needed to turn my phone off, as it was on silent and not disruptive. At the ‘security checkpoint’ downstairs I was advised to turn the phone off or put it into silent mode. His response was, “Shut it off.” I did not. It did not disrupt the proceedings.
When Judge Barry returned, a number of people once again remained seated. Bradley Jardis continued pushing for dismissal of the case, which was not one of the three options that John Webb agreed was acceptable. The charges against Jason Talley were dismissed without prejudice.
I felt that there were a lot of rude and unnecessary orders as well as hostility coming from some of the staff at the Cheshire Superior Court House today. Overall, a ridiculous amount of time and (your) money was spent in an attempt to put a peaceful member of the media in jail for possessing a camera. I am glad that the formal threats against my friend have been dropped and was glad to leave the courthouse.
Why do you pay for these “services”…or do you?