Why do traffic cases in Hamilton County go to sessions court — and are not heard administratively in Nashville in a state agency?
Traffic cases are administrative violations, and should be brought to conclusion in the department of safety and homeland security, charged with overseeing Title 55 enforcement. Rules of the road violations are under that title, the motor and other vehicle law, and are subject to the uniform administrative procedures act at Title 4, chapter 5.
Why, instead, do they go to sessions court or city court as quasi-criminal proceedings? Traffic cases are privilege infractions in equity (civil grievances, in other words). What are they doing in a judicial setting, in criminal jurisdiction?
A general rule for one dealing with state government is that one must exhaust one’s administrative remedies before proceeding to a real court for the matter to be adjudicated. The UAPA details how such cases are handled in agency, where a claim is made against a licensee and a punishment proposed for a violation.
But must not the state and its agents exhaust their remedies administratively, as well?
My proposed police power reform focuses on misuse of the state’s laws for the regulation of shipping, freight, trucking, hauling and transportation — the business of using the road for hire. Tenn. Code Ann. § Title 55 is administrative law directing the operation of one of Gov. Bill Lee’s executive branch agencies, the department of safety and homeland security. That agency, through the highway patrol, is charged with enforcing the transportation laws under Title 55.
However, in practice, police departments and sheriff’s departments enforce Title 55, apparently outside the scope of their authority, according to Transportation Administrative Notice Tennessee, an unrebutted public document putting authorities on notice about state and federal law. So, what’s going on? Is the traffic arrest plague by police against African-Americans, the poor, immigrants and many other groups of people by the thousands properly imposed — or improperly imposed?
The violation of people’s rights is longstanding and humiliating. The general assembly was so concerned about rights violations and debasement of the people that it created a human rights agency charged with protecting the people’s “interest in personal dignity and freedom from humiliation” and “secure the state against domestic strive and unrest that would menace its democratic institutions.” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-101)
Police abuse, I suggest, is a human rights abuse. It’s a form of human trafficking and kidnapping. I suggest the remedy doesn’t reside with the human rights commission, but with the local police officer, and Sheriff Jim Hammond and CPD chief David Roddy.
Agencies operate in administrative realm
An agency of the state oversees licensed and permitted activities. It should be a relief to know: This regulation is not intended to disturb any of the people’s constitutional rights. You have rights, but the state peddles privileges and favors
(5) License” includes the whole or part of any agency, permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter or similar form of permission required by law;
(6) “Licensing” includes the agency process respecting the grant, denial, renewal, revocation, suspension, withdrawal or amendment of a license;
Conflicts between license holders and the regulatory body take place in a contested case hearing.
“Contested case” means a proceeding, including a declaratory proceeding, in which the legal rights, duties or privileges of a party are required by any statute or constitutional provision to be determined by an agency after an opportunity for a hearing. Such proceeding may include *** ; the granting or denial of licenses, permits or franchises where the licensing board is not required to grant the licenses, permits or franchises upon the payment of a fee or the finding of certain clearly defined criteria; and suspensions of, revocations of, and refusals to renew licenses. An agency may commence a contested case at any time with respect to a matter within the agency’s jurisdiction[.] Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-102. Chapter definitions. [Emphasis added]
The operation of state government agencies, as I say, does nothing to affect constitutional guaranteed rights. That is clear in the definition of the word “policy.” State law is aimed at controlling the operation of state agencies, not you, directly. The law applies to agencies and their subjects, that is, upon licensees, via policy.
“Policy” means any statement, document, or guideline prepared or issued by any agency pursuant to its delegated authority that merely defines or explains the meaning of a statute or a rule. “Policy” also means any statement, document, or guideline concerning only the internal management of state government that does not affect private rights, privileges, or procedures available to the public. For purposes of this subdivision (10), “internal management” means the administration of an agency’s internal operations for the purpose of facilitating operational effectiveness and efficiency;
Agencies do not abrogate common law rights
Administrative bodies and law do nothing to offend you and your rights. If you have a right of free communication, no agency can interfere. If you have a right of free locomotion and liberating self-propulsion, no state body can mess with you.
That is clear in the law’s rule about its own operation.
(1) This chapter shall not be construed as in derogation of the common law, but as remedial legislation designed to clarify and bring uniformity to the procedure of state administrative agencies and judicial review of their determination and shall be applied accordingly.
(2) Administrative agencies shall have no inherent or common law powers, and shall only exercise the powers conferred on them by statute or by the federal or state constitutions. TCA § 4-5-103(a). Construction of chapter. [Emphasis added]
So, notice. Agency operations are not a derogation of common law, and certainly not of common law rights as God gives them to you, and which the state constitution protects.
My theory about how system avoids Nashville
I won’t settle today the question of why traffic cases are not heard in agency in Nashville. The state highway patrol is the sole authority for the enforcement of rules of the road under the state and federal departments of transportation (which regulate — guess what? — transportation).
The THP brings cases to Hamitlon County sessions court in contravention to the rules requiring exhaustion of administrative remedies in agency. Think of the Kaitlin Defoor case.
If THP skips administrative hearings, then it should not be a surprise that others do, too.
How CPD and Hamilton County sheriff’s office enforce the transportation statute at Title 55 is unclear. Transportation Administrative Notice Tennessee suggests that this enforcement is ultra vires and unconstitutional.
These officials have accepted my analysis, according to the basic rules of notice and being put on awares by notice. And so they knowingly and intentionally violate their oaths in their conduct, and also bring themselves under the provisions of a protective-of-the-people Tennessee law, Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-403 , official oppression.
My best answer as to why Messrs. Hammond and Roddy don’t have to follow the UAPA requirement for contested case hearings is that their operation is not subject to the uniform procedures act because their activity is outside the scope of the law.
It’s possible that because police departments and sheriff’s departments illegally enforce the transportation law, that they are not bound by the strictures of the UAPA requirement to have every conflict under statute and in the department be heard at a contested case hearing.
In short, if you can avoid obeying one part of the law, you have license to disobey other parts, as well. Ultra vires enforcement means you don’t have to have hearings in DOSHS and its very limited office space in Nashville.