It’s been 22 days that Sam Dodson has been in jail and he has yet to provide his jailers with his legal name, prompting skeptics to ask if this is the right battle to fight.
A commenter named SteveL left the following comment on this blog:
Are his efforts helping the greater cause of liberty? What do ordinary people who learn about the case think of him? Many who aren’t already libertarians will dismiss him as a self-promoting crank or wing-nut who harps on trivialities and irrelevant legal minutiae. Libertarians can see the bigger picture, but we are used to examining the the implications of these kinds of issues.
And a commenter named Dub left the following comment on www.freekeene.com:
Look I understand the ideas and beliefs and have many of the same myself but there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Clearly this was the wrong way to do things and I can’t exactly have sympathy for the situation as much as I understand the reasons for the actions.
Nevertheless, Dodson still has strong support from his fellow activists at the Free State Project who say he is only exercising his Constitutional right to remain silent and that he is being denied the right to a speedy trial.
A recent press release from the group states that Judge Edward Burke has placed two orders on Dodson:
“The first order states $10,000 cash bail and only when he reveals his name. In the latest order they have discovered his legal name, but again they say until he tells it to them, and tells them his address, he’s staying in jail. In both orders they refuse to schedule any more dates, including trial, in this matter. They will not see him for arraignment, they will not see him for preliminary hearings, and they will not see him for trial until he gives them his name and address,” said Dodson’s attorney Sharon Walker.
“The state has not even told me what they are charging me with at this point for over two weeks which Article 15 of the New Hampshire Bill of Rights clearly says that they are not to hold anyone until the charges are substantially and formally given to them,” Dodson said from a jail pay phone May 1 when he called in to WKBK-AM’s The Dan Mitchell Morning show.
Dodson has also not received very much media coverage outside the immediate region of Keene, but he was recently mentioned in a front page story on the local newspaper.
Meanwhile, George Donnelly of the Free State Project listed eight methods on how to help Dodson get media coverage.
One writer, Szandor Blestman, wrote a piece for the American Chronicle comparing Dodson to the jailed American journalist in Iran, Roxana Saberi.
While it is true that they are both journalist. And they are both in jail. And they are both on hunger strikes.
It is also true that Dodson is able to earn his release by simply providing his legal name and address.
If only Saberi had it that easy.
Nevertheless, it is still a newsworthy story, if even for the fact that a man would subject himself to almost a month in jail in order to protect his Constitutional rights.
How many of us would do that?