CopBlock.org co-founder Adam Mueller was convicted of felony wiretapping in connection with recorded calls to school and police officials about the arrest of a student at Manchester High School West in New Hampshire. He has appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
This shouldn't even be a crime. His biggest problem, though, was that he made the horrible mistake of representing himself:
Ten days after his August trial, he mailed a motion to the court, seeking to have the verdict set aside or reversed, the charges dismissed with prejudice, the conviction vacated and his release ordered, or, alternatively, a new trial ordered and the remaining sentence stayed. He argued he had been confined in jail, without access to legal materials, and that is why he hadn't filed the motion sooner.
The prosecution objected to the motion and the judge denied it, saying it was not filed within the required seven days and that Mueller himself had requested immediate sentencing after the verdict was returned, and Mueller is an "experienced pro se litigator and knows the rules."
The fact that he has been in court before doesn't mean he "knows the rules" or that he's a lawyer. Rather, this is a good example of how just because someone represents themselves, it doesn't mean that the court will bend the rules to accomodate them. He seems like a smart guy and smart guys often convince themselves that they can sit through a Law & Order marathon and then go try their own case to a jury. That's not how it works.
Representing yourself is always a bad idea. Worse, this guy may have had a Constitutional claim that he failed to raise and is now likely prohibited from raising. (See my Washington University Law Review article on the subject of recording the police with Professor Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com)
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