Improving prod upon officials — the idea of administrative notice

The Rachel Jackson building in Nashville houses the state department of correction, an executive branch agency operating under administrative law. (Photo Google Maps)The Rachel Jackson building in Nashville houses the state department of correction, an executive branch agency operating under administrative law. (Photo Google Maps)

We have been exploring the process of administrative notice as a possible — even theoretical — remedy to the problem of legal immunity claimed by state actors who abuse their office and damage members of the public, the citizen.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7

Administrative notice is a warning that warns the state official about the laws that govern his government, the rules that empower him, but also restrain his actions. A properly notified official cannot claim legal immunity for acting ignorantly in good faith.

Tune in to the David Tulis show weekdays at 9 a.m.

Tune in to the David Tulis show weekdays at 9 a.m.

With administrative notice, he stands in the open, apart from his office, aside from the legal protection that his office gives him when he acts lawfully. When he acts illegally, in violation of the law, he is thus acting in his own personal capacity, and cannot claim he acted in good faith, innocently, harmlessly. Why? Because he was given administrative notice of his authority, and ignored it.

Administrative notice is like a revivification of the law, a fresh presentation of the law to the state actor who simply may not have known all the applicable law. Proper notice, as I explain to prisoner Grenda Ray Harmer in a state slave camp in Wartburg, Tenn., takes two people and unites them. It takes the official, and unites him to the homo sapiens who is the individual person who holds the office. Notice makes one accountable for the act of the other, and imposes personal liability and responsibility upon the man the actions of the official

Dec. 23, 2017

I got in the mail on Thursday your latest effort at administrative notice.

This document is much closer to what I understand the administrative notice to be. I’ve looked carefully only at the first page but it seems to be very much in the right direction. It’s not about the commissioner. It’s not about the warden. It does not elaborate on any particular grievance. It’s simply is a reminder about the law and the authority of these two men.

It connects two men.

One man is the son of his mother, the human being, the soul enfleshed with a body, a homo sapiens, a person of the male sex.

The other person is the official, Shawn Phillips or correction commissioner Tony Parker.

Shawn Phillips, warden

Shawn Phillips, warden

Now, what you’re doing with admin notice is connecting the two and uniting the two, marrying them, if you will. You are saying that the human being cannot be separated in liability from the wrong actions of the individual who is the state actor, the government employee, the man commissioned by the governor to serve, or the man hired as employee as warden or enforcer.

Your administrative notice brightly cites where the problem comes into the life of this person, with intentionality, and knowingness. You are making him aware that his human person is liable to the actions of the state officer, and your notice is evidence of that transmission of information. He may have a law book on his desk, but maybe he didn’t read it. Maybe he missed somehow its description of his job and the limits on his authority.

You have done him the favor of proveably informing him of his obligation under the law. Your notice makes him incapable of truthfully saying that he injured you or hurt you or other people unintentionally and without knowing he was doing it.

Now that notice has taken place —

The question now is: What to do with his having been notified. From my perspective probably what I should do is send a letter to the governor with a duplicate to the commissioner asking about the abuse as you cite and then citing as my authority the fact that this administrativ notice has been given. The notice becomes the authority since it restates the statute and puts a bright light on the provisions of the statute that control the officials.

Anybody who gets this notice becomes aware of the personal involvement it suggests between state action and the private individual who acts under color of law. Without the law, the state actor is acting in his private and personal capacity. He is safe from personal liability only when his actions are within the statute and within his authority. If he acts outside of his authority, the liability for the injury caused by that action falls upon the individual.

I know I’m saying this redundantly. But that is the theory behind administrative notice. Is it possible that the heat went on in your cell just after the the warden got your administrative notice? Please keep track of time elements and let’s see what happens. It will not be possible to prove administrative notices’ success, I fear, but at least let us be able to make suggestion as to whether it has a good effect.

The points I’m making to you, Grenda, are not legal advice and come with no promises of success.

Citing notice as authority

But it works upon the state actors at a level that they understand, and that is administrative law under the uniform administrative procedures act which control their actions. They act entirely in the realm of administrative law. Your notice comes at them from the realm of law in which they live and would speak to them. It is like them, and has power to speak to them at their level, at their elbow, as it were. If it works, I think it might be because of this mystery that it works. But I think the ultimate reason it might work is that it attaches personal responsibility for their actions and they cannot separate themselves from their deeds.

God won’t let them escape personal responsibility. Neither will administrative notice.

I think what we should do is cite your notice as authority and make demands for redress of grievances pursuant to the authority that you cite, that authority becoming the notice itself. Limits in the scope of your notice set the limits of the claims you can make based upon the notice. We will have to see, as God  ordains.

Biblical theory behind administrative notice

In terms of God’s revelation in person, your notice brings the claims of heaven, which are totally personal. God is totally personal. He saves men individually and personally, by the vicarious atonement of Christ death on the cross for each of His children, one by one. That is the doctrine of election, the doctrine of predestination that God mercifully reveals to us in the scriptures. We live in a totally personal universe. Because of sin, we become alienated from God, from  our neighbors, from ourselves.  

Christendom and reformation come more fully into existence through time, making human society more personal, milder, less violent, less oppressive, freer and with more liberty for all. As reformation takes hold century by century, society becomes more personal — and less impersonal. With reformation and repentance, more and more people are willing to live and work in terms of God’s laws, and to take personal responsibility for all their actions before Him, hating sin, loving obedience and virtue. No more impersonal acts, no more alienation, no more acting in corporate capacity, no more acting under shield from moral responsibility, no more pretending that sin has no consequence in heaven — or on earth.

A society under God’s judgment, one given to Satan to run for a time, is just the opposite, totally impersonal. Societies under God’s judgement are socialized, bureaucratic, highly centralized, highly hierarchical, up and down;  a godly society that is being blessed is largely horizontal and voluntary.

The work of the Gospel is to change vertically integrated bureaucratized imperial kingdoms, bristling with war and oppression, into horizontal types of societies, where liberty is common, small businesses thrive, families are protected, slaves are freed, taxes are low, freedoms abound, the bread contains wheat germ, with courts are there and waiting to settle disputes.

Personal responsibility — God expects it

Administrative notice speaks to those in the bureaucracy about personal responsibility, and God’s unwillingness to let escape those people who use authority to hurt the innocent, the poor, the stranger, the widow and others who receive special protection in the word.

God requires of his charitable sons and daughters to visit those in prison and to extend mercy to them. So we know He cares about people like you in the prison, and so we all have a duty to relieve you of your distress as much as we can.

I appreciate your willingness to undertake this experiment in administrative notice. If you have success in it, you will be able to document what happens, and we will be able to publish the results for the benefit of others.

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