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Sep 17

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First Amendment Audit Northampton County Courthouse

As members of The Freedom Paradox we often demonstrate our rights in action while filming. One of our fundamental rights today is our right to film. It is universal across the country. Not only is it a right, it is also essential in the world today for protection. Cases of Government run wild are happening across the country and the only thing that gives the public any sense of it is video. Our cameras have become the only thing that stands between citizens and corruption. It keep them accountable to public opinion, even if they can avoid legal repercussions.

One of the ways we test to ensure these fundamental rights are not being suppressed is by performing random "audits". An audit is where we simply openly film in a public place. We do not antagonize or even interact with anyone there by design. We simply take pictures and video quietly and professionally. We hope nothing happens. We hope our rights are respected. Sadly some places decide to make an issue out of it and when that happens we are ready with full documentation to disprove any false allegations. We know from experience how reports can be exaggerated and officials with a vendetta will violate the trust put in them for vengeance.

On this day we decided to audit our local courthouse and jail. The Northampton County Courthouse buildings are connected with several court related buildings all around them. The property includes Juvenile and adult probation offices, a drug testing remote testing facility, the courthouse, the jail and various similar offices.

We were met with no resistance to our filming by the sheriffs on duty at first. They do know of our local work so we did not expect much of a reaction. After about 10 minutes there one unknown officer did tell us to stop. He then told us we needed prior authorization to film the courthouse. We ignored him and he just took our pictures several times before leaving making a phone call (we assume to a supervisor).  Nothing else came to our interaction so we can only assume he was told we are ok. We could see the cameras turn on us several times while we were there as well as an unmarked car circling the block. That's fine. They are free to check us out and even come up and say hello. They don't "Fail" an audit till they actively try to interrupt our right to film.  They can give all the dirty looks they want but they must respect the rights of people.

Our next interaction was after about 45 minutes. It was with what looked like a courthouse employee. He was outside in the smoking area and told us "The sheriff's department is not gonna be ok with that" referring to us filming the jail.  Scott told him they could speak with us if they need to but he's on public property. The man backed off at that point.

Our last encounter was with a bunch of guards for the jail. They looked to be on break. They were also visibly avoiding us. They did not even give the standard head nod you would usually give as someone walks by. It was eyes on the ground pretty much. At one point Scott was playing with his zoom button in their direction and they even hid behind a tree to avoid being filmed.

We assumed that they had all been told we were there and to leave us alone. At that point we called it. Its a pass for the Northampton County Jail And court. They had obviously been made aware of us and decided to respect our rights. We appreciate that.

To view the full unedited audit see the videos below.

Also check out Realjgonzo media and Oath Accountability Project for their views of the audit and plenty more of their work.

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Severin Freeman has been involved in activism for several years. He believes that all people should be treated totally equal and that no one has a higher claim to us or our freedom, than ourselves. He has played a role in the founding and growth of many activist groups across the Lehigh Valley area. His mission has become to expose those that would threaten our freedom and natural liberties.