Hugh Moore, left, an attorney, is foreman of the grand jury, whose members he gathers for the day’s work in downtown Chattanooga. This body routinely misreads the law in issuing indictments, no thanks to Mr. Moore, a crack attorney at Chambliss Bahner & Stophel. (Photo David Tulis)

I’m reading a letter from city attorney Phil Noblett confirming his receipt of my administrative notice regarding the widespread misreading of the state’s warrantless arrest statute. 

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7 FM

Mr. Noblett says he believes my understanding of the law is mistaken, but that he will review my analysis and go over it with city attorneys as appropriate. 

How is it that when a law is possibly going to be misread it will be misread and misapplied not as against the state and its agents, but against the people and their rights?

How is it that if a mistake is made it is to increase the convenience, ease and liberty of the officers’ actions and powers, and reduce the liberty, ease and comfort of the resident or citizen. 

How is it that the convenient misreading of this statute, which deconstructs the clear meaning of the terms “public offense,” allows instant arrest without a warrant, allowing the officer to have the judicial commissioner, or magistrate, ratify his arrest after the fact?

The law requires a tricky and cumbersome procedure to make an arrest lawfully. The cop must let the person go, rush to a magistrate, swear under oath the facts, get the warrant in his hand, then go and find the person he intends to arrest. What trouble! What woe! What a time waster!

The constitution is very clear that there cannot be an arrest without a warrant. However the general assembly has carved out exceptions against this right in favor of the state actor in Tennessee Code Ann. § 40-7-103. These exceptions include suicide, domestic abuse, felony, and four instances in which the use of the road is at play, and the person can be arrested without a warrant if there is a car crash attended with DUI or flight. 

How is it that when there is a misreading of law it is always against the people and against their rights?

How is it that it never favors of the people? Never do the people get the benefit of the doubt, never does the man in the car or the woman on her porch get the benefit of the doubt. It is always the state’s ways, the state’s ease and the state’s “liberties” that are in view in the misreading — and all made more powerful over us.

Misreadings enhances the power of the state and reduce the liberties guaranteed in the constitution.


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