On April 15 I put city government under administrative notice about the limits in a statute that gives Chattanooga cops an inch in arresting people without a warrant — but which they ignore and take a country mile.
The law is a set of exceptions to the general ban on warrantless arrests in the state constitution. But police have for years ignored the law by an interpretation of its key provision that turns the whole into a nullity.
Turning a law into void gibberish is forbidden by the courts under the rules of statutory construction. These rules are akin to those familiar to Christians regarding the Bible; the Word interprets the Word, and an internal consistency is mandatory. (Don’t take verses out of context, don’t create contradictions by interpretation.)
The rules of statutory construction require an interpretation and use of a law that accounts for all of its parts and operates without deleting or ignoring any of a law’s parts.
Deconstructing law — outlawed
As I indicate in my notice, police, magistrates and lower courts violate due process when they ignore the clear meaning of all the words in the law and deconstruct the key words, “public offense.” They pretend “public offense” means “any crime,” and so deprive the people of their rights to be free from warrantless arrest except in extremely narrow circumstances.
I served digital copies on city council and on city attorney Phil Noblett. On Thursday I pressed Mr. Noblett to email me a confirmation that I had served him with the documents.
‘Does not accurately reflect’
Mr. Noblett answers that “I have received the two attachments with your email dated last Tuesday before our City Council meeting.
“I do not agree that your notice and letter accurately reflect the statutory or judicial case law regarding law enforcement by police in Tennessee. I will have attorneys in my office review your documents and discuss this matter with city officials to the extent that we deem appropriate.
“Thanks for this communication and your understanding that the City and police officials have been dealing with many public safety emergencies since the Tornado and COVID-19 emergency orders have been declared by the Mayor and our Governor.
“Your letter was sent only 2 days after the Tornado struck East Brainerd which has required multiple public safety responses in that area of the City which are above and beyond the normal activities of our police and fire departments.”
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