MANCHESTER — A Hillsborough County North grand jury has indicted a founder of CopBlock.org on three felony wiretapping charges. It is the second time he has been indicted in connection with the October 2011 recordings related to an incident at Manchester High School West.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court in February threw out the felony wiretap convictions of Adam Mueller, 32, a Free Stater also known as Ademo Freeman, saying the judge erred in instructing the jury in the trial of Mueller, who represented himself.
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown 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.
Attorney Brandon Ross, who represented Mueller in his appeal, said: "You can't charge him under a law that doesn't exist."
The new indictments, again felony charges, this time accuse Mueller of "willfully" intercepting and recording telephone conversations with the principal of Manchester High School West, a secretary at the school and Manchester police Capt. Jonathan Hopkins, without their consent on Oct. 4, 2011.
Mueller made the calls, seeking comment, after a student videotaped a confrontation between the school resource officer and another student that ended with the SRO pushing the student down onto a cafeteria table. The student had met Mueller and the CopBlock co-founder not long before the cafeteria incident.
Mueller posted the telephone recordings on line and when police learned they had been made without permission of then-West Principal Mary Ellen McGorry, her assistant Denise Michael and Capt. Hopkins, Mueller was charged with wiretapping.
He was indicted by the grand jury, tried in Hillsborough County Superior Court North and convicted by the jury. Mueller appealed and the high court threw out the verdict.
Under state law, "willful" means the defendant must act with an intentional or reckless disregard for the lawfulness of his conduct. In other words, the defendant has not violated the law if he has a "good faith" belief his conduct was lawful, according to the unanimous decision written by Justice Robert J. Lynn.
At the time of trial, Mueller said he refused a plea deal because he didn't think he had done anything wrong.
This time, Mueller will be represented by a lawyer. Ross Friday said: "I have agreed to represent him at trial."