Will you help restore rule of law, Mr. Attorney, amid abuse of police powers?

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Wrecker trucks are among those involved in transportation, because the owner’s or operator’s principal place of business is the road. That means he’s subject to police powers and regulation under Tennessee’s transportation statute. (Photo Internationaltrucks.com)

A leading Chattanooga attorney is concerned about systemic and institutional progressive injustice in Tennessee and has a record to prove it. I am trying to interest him in using legal process to end the oppressive enforcement of Tenn. Code Ann. § Title 55. One obstacle to reform is the bar itself and its members, all of whom are officers of the court and invested in the way things are. Common people such as you more readily understand the need for reform of a persistent abuse than do attorneys.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

A reform will damage the incomes of at least some attorneys, as well as a whole economy of other participants in mass law enforcement, mass arrest, mass incarceration, mass prosecution, mass plea bargaining, mass fining and mass “justice.”

Here’s a letter to the attorney. Ten days after he got it, I call on him personally for an interview in his Chattanooga office.

His answer is at bottom.

Question

I would like to put a bug in your ear about important matter regarding an abusive use of statute statewide. It’s by people pretending public policy and opinion are the same as clearly written law. This matter is tougher than your other cases because the high courts support this policy that violates statute and our ancient constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The abuse is of Tennessee code annotated Title 55, the transportation statue, which I have analyzed in detail as being applicable to commercial use the public rights of way. Yes, commercial and for profit and for extraordinary use. But not to private travel. This analysis has been published and widely discussed as transportation administrative notice.

The David Tulis show is 1 p.m. weekdays, live and lococentric.

The notice is 20 pages in length and I have personally served it on several local jurisdictions, including city and county. Just Google “transportation administrative notice.”

I’m telling these departments and corporations that they cannot continue using Title 55 against private users of the road who are exercising rights on the road, who are pursuing private pleasures and the necessities of life and are not subject to the transportation rules either under that statute or the federal code at U.S.C. 49, the federal transportation statute.

I’m looking for a law firm that will litigate a case against an official serving a department that is under the notice. That way we can make the notice affect a real policy change and end an oppression against Tennesseans so familiar and so set in the DNA of the citizenry that no one complains about it as illegal and violative of constitutional government whose powers operate by statute.

As I’ve explained in correspondence with Gov. Haslam, Sheriff Hammond and others, a reform is required. It is the insertion of a new question at the beginning of every traffic stop.

The officer simply has to ask, “Sir (or ma’am), are you right now in transportation, in the for-profit use of the road for hire in commercial capacity?”

This question will let the officer know whether the person in front of him is in his subject matter jurisdiction — is a user of the road in a for-profit (and thereby regulable and taxable) capacity. If the officer does not have that jurisdiction, the traffic stop is over and he has no authority to delay the traveler any further.

Awaiting traction

If the person says that, yes, she is carrying goods for hire, or people for hire, then that person must exhibit on demand a driver’s license, a proof of insurance and vehicle registration, the three legs of commercial regulation in the transportation sector of the economy.

My transportation administrative notice has not yet gained traction nor prompted any policy changes of which I am aware, but it demands that these changes be made if the individual department, officer or corporation is to avoid litigation and be able to say it is operating in good faith pursuant to law.

The high court is imposing upon the free people of our state what is clearly a legal fiction (see Lon Fuller, Legal Fictions). The effect is to deprive people of their God-given rights.

Here’s a test for you. Are you involved in transportation when you get in your car to go to court. When you go to visit a client from your parking lot near the F— Building? Why or why not?

In the law, you use the road incidentally to your calling and profit-making. Your place of business is your law office and perhaps the courtroom or boardroom where you are engaged for legal counsel.

If you are a trucker or cabbie or hauler or ambulance operator or limousine operator, you’d be involved in transportation. And so you’d be subject to all the three requisite demands in Title 55. You’d be subject to police power because you are in commerce, a regulable extraordinary activity.

Reform has to be bottom up

Reform by appeal is impossible, as the supreme court is deaf to appeals such as a highly intelligent one recently by Arthur Jay Hirsch. At trial and in appeal he properly challenged the rebuttable presumption that he was acting commercially, but these proper challenges are ignored in the court of appeals, and his plea for review for plain error and other reasons are denied by the high court. He is now suing in Lawrence County chancery court demanding a voiding of the judgment at equity.

The state is misapplying the law without proving that the appellant is involved in a regulable and taxable activity. The state refuses and ignores the fact I have discerned that there is a distinction between the right to travel and the transporting goods and people in commerce. It maintains this system by bully use of rebuttable presumption.

This project breaks down an engine of injustice that as a Christian I am committed to bringing to an end, for the benefit of all common people in Tennessee, particularly the minority, the poor, the alien and stranger and the orphan and widow. If you bring the first case, I will give our good Tennessee law the credit— and you.

Answer

You may be right, but too many people have money and livelihoods invested in the way things are. There’s no money in fixing it. How can I cover my expenses with traffic cases? You can quote me on this: When the question is either money or justice, money wins. Money always wins.

For more on administrative notice and police powers reform

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