CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Dec. 16, 2019 — Criminal court judge Don Poole dismisses charges against free-spirited roadway user Jon Luman in a two-minute hearing Monday, ending an ordeal following a January arrest in his carpentry-tool hauling Ford Explorer.
A second arrest May 30 of Mr. Luman had been dismissed by sessions judge Lila Statom. Unresolved from that arrest is the seizure of the car, which as of today has been in undisclosed private hands in the sheriff’s department 200 days. The sheriff’s department declines to respond to an email request for information about the car.
Mr. Luman obtains dismissal papers from Judge Poole’s clerk, and afterward goes downstairs to sessions court to obtain a dismissal order from sessions court so that no barrier might remain to obtain a driver license.
A characteristic of Judge Poole is that he appears argumentative in his manner of speech, and rushes at the defendant with a stream of sentences that might overwhelm one’s power to answer.
“Do you have a license?” Judge Poole barks to Mr. Luman.
Mr. Luman says a month previous he had gone to the Red Bank office and asked for a new license under TCA 55-50-102, “and I was refused.”
Judge Poole says the state had moved to dismiss the case, but he had refused, wanting Mr. Luman to make an effort to get a valid license.
Judge Poole, stating he is dismissing the case, quibbles over the citation in law that Mr. Luman wishes to hand him — a definition in the motor and other vehicle law about revocation of driver license.
The definition of “revocation of license” contains a one-year time limit, after which time the accused can apply for a new license. The staff person at the department of safety office refused to acknowledge the law’s time limit, and stapled a memo to tell Mr. Luman where he might go to further his business.
Speaking rapidly, barkingly, the judge says the rule applies if the revocation is result of a conviction, and was Mr. Luman convicted? He demands. Before there’s time for an answer, he brushes on.
“All right sir, I hope you don’t come back. That seems your only issue, right?
Mr. Luman returns to a bench in the gallery to await production of an order.
“You need to get a license, sir,” the judge call over to Mr. Luman.
Computers at DOS crash
Mr. Luman goes to the Red Bank branch of the department of safety and homeland security. But computers at the office had just failed, clerks tell the assembled hoi poloi. Computer networks for the department collapsed Monday afternoon statewide, clogging 44 driver license offices.
A report in the Tennessean indicates the failure began at 12:30 p.m. It lasted all afternoon. The department is having trouble with the launch of Real ID, an enhanced driver license card that meets requirements under a toughened federal transportation law. The system across the state was reported operational just at closing time Monday. It was at least the second failure since Oct. 21, when a software update glitched, the newspaper says.
The city and county are under transportation administrative notice about the disabilities and limits of Title 55, the law used to enforce Jim Crow police powers upon African-Americans and others. The notice creates fresh means of defense of criminal charges such as those faced by Mr. Luman, and fresh grounds for tort litigation against municipal corporations and individual state actors.