Notice to Haslam: Staff personally liable if not fix traffic stop rules

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Administrative notice to public officials about the law denies them, when they are sued, the good faith defense of “I didn’t know” and lack of intent. (Photo David Tulis)

Gov. Bill Haslam at an Easter egg roll at the governor’s mansion in Nashville. (Photo governor’s office)

Dear Gov. Haslam, I am writing you to follow up on transportation administrative notice, of which you received a hard copy March 6 by registered U.S. mail (RE338842074US).

This letter seeks to both make an appeal to your compassion for the people of Tennessee, and issue a warning that will benefit and protect the men and women who work in your department of safety and homeland security.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio 

My appeal is for a right use of the Tenn. Code Ann. and a narrower — and ultimately proper — enforcement of his provisions after your branch of state government has persisted in an abusive practice of enforcement and criminal prosecution.

By transportation administrative notice it comes to your attention that Tenn. Code Ann. title 55 regulates the for-profit and commercial use of the people’s roads in the interest of public health, safety and welfare. The notice also makes clear that the authority from its beginnings has sought to regulate the commercial activity of Tennesseans and others on the people’s roads. That means the police power does not extend to people like Arthur Jay Hirsch, whom you have prosecuted and whose petition for writ of certiorari was denied. This title does not regulate the private use of these roads by either residents or people involved in interstate private travel.

Law v. practice

I suggest your department of safety should be understood as being in a difficult spot between the actual law as written and its own practices of enforcement, which you direct with support of your attorney general and the state’s courts.

Notice makes the distinction between transportation and travel, the first being a subcategory of the latter.

The courts of appeal pretend that the right to travel is nothing more than the right to relocate one’s address and domicile. They have in practice eviscerated, annulled and abrogated an unalienable right with your leave, with your perhaps unintentional and unknowing permission. Courts are not alone on the side of current practice. The general assembly is filled with members who seem to care little about the travel-transportation distinction, and who support the status quo as neutral and somehow not offending constitutionally guaranteed God-given unalienable and inherent personal rights.

In ignoring the distinction between travel and  transportation, you and your department act as though all travel by car, truck or motorbike is transportation and that every person on the road is either a driver or an operator of a motor vehicle.

Free travel undergirds other rights

However, the way the law is written and structured and many court cases indicate, private use of the road exists and is outside the scope of Tennessee statutes and U.S. code title 49, the federal transportation code. Private travel pursues one’s personal pleasure or private necessity and is the right of every private person to exercise without threat, licensure or taxation. The exercise of many Tennesseans’ rights is premised on free travel. As a Christian, I have no freedom of religion if I must beg leave of a state official to go there by my private car. As member of the free press, I have no freedom of practice if I must get your or your agents’ OK to travel to an interview or a political rally to cover it.

You routinely abuse private use of the road and charge people with various crimes for not having evidence of being involved in transportation, for having expired licenses, for having suspended licenses, for having revoked licenses, for “driving without license,” for traveling without licenses, etc.

Transportation administrative notice Tennessee

That any particular private user the road is involved in transportation is a rebuttable presumption. He may — or may not be — involved in transportation.There is a right to travel by car, according to the way the law is written and many court cases. Even opinions that deny the constitutional right to travel exists make reference to travel in many ways, not simply matters of domicile. The right to travel was not deleted by the 1938 driver license act or any other; for those acts to be constitutional they must scrupulously not offend any constitutional right, sir.

A fraud upon the people? A 1-question remedy

The court is enjoying for now a fraud upon the people and, through the labors of your Herbert Slatery III, allowing appellants no relief.

My letter is written to appeal to you to alter your protocols, particularly of the highway patrol. Reform would be accomplished by inserting a question in the arrest protocol.

  • “Ma’am [or, Sir], are you using this car as a motor vehicle and operating as a carrier in commerce — are you employed at this moment by a company or business carrying goods or people for hire today, ma’am?”
  • If the woman says “Yes, I am in business carrying parcels,” the follow-up question is: “May I see your driver license, your proof of insurance and your vehicle registration, ma’am?”
  • If she says, “No, what are you talking about? I’m just taking my kids to soccer practice,” then the officer realizes he has no authority under titles 55 and 65 to continue the transportation arrest/stop/seizure. He says he’s sorry for having delayed her, advises her to adhere to the rules for traffic for her own safety, and lets her go on her way.

Reduce state workers’ vulnerability

I also wish to appeal to your sense of care for your employees. Given that the law says a liberty exists in the right of travel by car, and yet the high court pretends that it does not exist, your employees are effectively suspended between two pincers: Operation of law by court opinion on one hand, the right to be free from evil use of law and oppression in equity on the other.

On one side they have the court saying that every person on the road is a driver or owner operator. All the other side they have people who are not subject to title 55. If one of your agents arrests a person who is involved in traveling and injures him by false arrest, that officer faces a personal tort claim and cannot use a familiar defense.

Ordinarily, he would be able to say that he acted in good faith, and did not intend to oppress anyone and did not knowingly violate the law. But with administrative notice, that defense cannot be readily claimed, either by you the principal or by the agent.

The violation of law is acceptable to the high court, which rejects the just defense as that of appellant Mr. Hirsch, hounded unjustly by you. Still, the victim of your officer might sue you for damages, since you have been notified of the law yet persisted in having your agents enforce the statutes with erroneous breadth, in bad faith. You and the officer are liable, given that I have made administrative notice of the law to you.

Since you have been notified of the travel-transportation distinction, I believe it behooves you to notify all your employees and to consider adding in highway patrol power protocols question I propose above.

Otherwise, the state is leaving its employees and its servants — high and low — to face claims against their persons for abusive enforcement that you have required.  Respectfully yours, etc.

Transportation Administrative Notice, 20pp PDF

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One Response

  1. Susan April 10, 2018 Reply

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