A cyclist uses the public right of way in downtown Chattanooga. Judicial policy appears to forbid anyone from using anything but bikes, scooters, horses, mules and feet on the people’s roads. (Photo David Tulis)

My project to end abusive policing practices and Tennessee requires a bottom up process that will eventually work, I contend.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7 FM

Reform from the courts or from the General Assembly is well nigh impossible. Too many interests would have to be disturbed to bring about the end all abusive traffic stops or an end to the abuse by every single lower court and every single police and sheriff’s department of a law that limits warrantless arrests. Statewide, magistrates and judges deal cavalierly with the rights of the people and act in default favor of police, deputies and fellows on the same payroll. 

Reform must come at the local level, one officer and 1 “subject” or” suspect” at a time. 

I have wondered why the issues I’m raising have not been brought earlier by members of the press or the bar in defending the rights of the people

I don’t believe I have a satisfactory answer. My provisional explanation holds that the system has too much at stake for major changes and that only minor adjustments are seen and proposed in lawyer defense strategies in cases that touch either of these 2 laws. No one in the press appears to be in a position to explore the legal issues as I have — no interest, no background, no great care, no predisoposition, no time.

Difficulty of getting legal help

One leading lawyer in Chattanooga, speaking with me about the misuse of the transportation law at Title 55, says that I may be right in my analysis. Only there is no money in fighting the problem. He says that there is no way to win against systems which are so long in place and no one has the funds to pay an attorney to fight all the way to the Supreme Court. 

After all law practices have to make payroll, pay the light bill and the rent, and there reasonably is no interest in a crusade.

Sue cop as oppressor, defend self in traffic court: Transportation Administrative Notice

Lawyers are unable to see the issues clearly because of their training and because of the fact that lawyers are business men who use the law. Very few lawyers have a high sense of justice though they will say that they do in their advertising. Lawyers as a group accept abuses in the law and abusive systems as normative. They accept these systems ss normative because judges, even in sessions court, the lowest level, accept these abuses. 

They hold to the doctrine of judicial supremacy — the judges are the supreme law, the constitutionj is not. To them, the constitution doesn’t exist except through a web of court rulings and precedents. 

When laws are ignored

Who is any lawyer to challenge the foundational error of the system to ignore the mens rea, or guilty mind, law that requires an almost impossible burden to be placed in every criminal prosecution. If that law were obeyed, there’d be many, many fewer criminal cases, fewer prosecutions, fewer people in jail.

That nearly impossible burden is that every element of a charge must include reference to guilty mind. Hardly any case filed by the police or the sheriff’s department or other parties makes reference to intent, much less alleges guilty mind. And yet Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-301 strictly requires it. 

The antidote to much abuse by the state of the people is in the existing law as it stands. The demand must be: Officials need to obey it, and keep in mind the myriad rights of the people.

If we have a right to a jury trial, why do prosecutors serving Neal Pinkston enter into a bargaining process, to convince the defendant to give up that right in exchange for leniency? If a right to a trial is a right, the cops and the prosecutor should respect that right, take every case to trial, and give themselves less volume of work, and more real law, more real policing.

Our common law heritage presumes the rarity of criminal cases and trials. Again, the rarity and scarcity of criminal trials. The process over decades might be likened to judicial inflation. With the state obtaining more and more power over society and the economy, crimes multiply. A case buys less justice, so more cases are needed, as it were.

A point similar to this one is made by Roger Roots, a legal historian whose book Conviction Factory explains how the legal system has devolved into a police state with a multiplication of crimes and the infusion of complexity into waves of law passed by general assemblies and the U.S. congress.

Lawyers do not wish to overturn the system. Judges do not wish to break with convention. And the people’s representatives in the general assembly are unaware of how their own laws are being ignored or abused. No help for reform appears in the offing. There appears no proper venue to bring about a change to restore the people’s rights and liberties.

Why black-letter law is ignored

With the freight shipping and transportation law, the law is ignored in the limits of its operation. The warrantless arrest law is ignored entirely by an act of deconstruction of the key words, public offense. Courts of appeal, however, appear to respect the law and its key words, namely “public offense.” 

In both cases the rejection of black letter law is a matter of convenience for the police and the sheriff’s departments. The customs are of such long standing they have lost their odium land their offense, and no one sees them as wrongs. They are viewed simply as “the way things are” or “this is how we do things.”

The blessing of Christianity are liberty and justice, clearly along the lines of justice God gave directly to the children of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament. That is a civil authority that leaves the people alone, but operates a court to settle private disputes and execute capital criminals. An authority that recognizes God’s government of individuals directly and personally. 

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

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