CopBlock.org co-founder pleads guilty to misdemeanor wiretapping charges
By PAT GROSSMITH New Hampshire Union Leader
In this image taken from video, Manchester West High school resource officer Darren Murphy arrests student Frank Harrington. Police are investigating whether Murphy used excessive force during the arrest. (SOURCE: YouTube)
MANCHESTER — A founder of CopBlock.org pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor wiretapping charges in exchange for a 90-day sentence — the amount of time he already spent in jail — and two suspended sentences, ending a case that made its way to the state Supreme Court.
Adam Mueller, 31, now of Tamworth, originally was convicted of three felony counts of wiretapping and sentenced to 90 days for October 2011 telephone recordings related to an incident at Manchester High School West.
The state Supreme Court in February threw out the convictions of Mueller, 32, a Free Stater also known as Ademo Freeman, saying the judge erred in instructing the jury in the trial. Mueller represented himself.
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown has instructed the jury that a violation of the wiretap law requires a mental state of “purposely,” which is what the November 2011 indictments alleged, although the law says “wilfully” is the applicable mental state.
Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Michael G. Valentine, after the Supreme Court ruling, chose to reindict Mueller in April on three felony wiretapping charges. This time Mueller was accused of “wilfully” intercepting and recording telephone conversations he had with the principal of Manchester High School West, her assistant and Manchester police Capt. Jonathan Hopkins, all without their consent, on Oct. 4, 2011.
Mueller made the calls after a student videotaped a confrontation between the school resource officer and a student that ended with the officer pushing the student down on to a cafeteria table. The student who made the recording had met with Mueller and the CopBlock co-founder Peter Eyre not long before the cafeteria incident.
Mueller took the telephone recordings of the conversations he had with then-principal Mary Ellen McGorry, her assistant, Denise Michael, and Hopkins and posted them online, which is how police learned of the recordings.
On Monday in Hillsborough County Superior Court, Northern District, Valentine dismissed the felony indictments in exchange for Mueller pleading guilty to three misdemeanor wiretapping charges of “knowingly” intercepting the telephone conversations. He was given suspended sentences on two counts, and 90 days on the other, the amount of time he spent originally in the Valley Street jail.
In a posting Thursday on the CopBlock website, Mueller said Valentine again offered plea deals, only this time for misdemeanors.
“Realizing that I wasn’t going to walk away from this without the state taking something from me, I chose — a term I use loosely, as the entire system is based off coercion — to make the plea deal.
“I’ve already been to jail, I feel I’ve proved all I could (that the system is NOT here for you/us), and I simply want to return to my life and upcoming silver business (Suns of Liberty Mint). Hopefully the state of New Hampshire and its employees will refrain from interacting with me for the next year, while I sit out my good behavior clause.”
He said he’s decided to focus on his private life. He’s moved to Tamworth, according to court documents.
“My new hometown has only two police officers, and I hope we only meet at community functions outside their daily duties as police employees.”
A condition of the sentence is that he remain of good behavior for a year and have no contact with former principal McGorry, Michael or Hopkins.