Tires, engine, steering wheel do not motor vehicle make

I stand before a family car, a RAV4, and wonder if its engine and its tires and body make it a “motor vehicle” subject to police powers. Or does the use of the car create liability for obedience to police intervention under Title 55? (Photo David Tulis)

Are you traveling down the highway in a company-owned car or truck? Let’s say you are a building contractor, and you are in a big F150 pickup owned by Schmidlap Best Builders Inc. Are you subject to commercial traffic enforcement because you are on the roadway in a corporate capacity, with your company at many points taxable and liable for interactions with the state?

Are you bound to surrender on demand license, registration and proof of insurance (all under Tenn Code Ann. Title 55, the transportation code)?

Are you on the wrong side of that essential divide brightly recognized in 1906 in Hale v. Henkel, which makes distinction between personal and private capacity and rights, vs. those more limited rights of the corporation?

I suggest that you are NOT subject to the commercial transportation statute if you are just Mr. Schmidlap en route to his next best build site, or even his employee working momentarily steering the truck toward the job site.

His use of the roads is incidental to his calling and the purpose of his corporation.

But if Mr. Schmidlap ran Schmidlap Ambulance Service, Schmidlap Towing Co., Schmidlap Transportation & Hauling, Schmidlap Coal Co. [hauling], or some other business the principal place of business or profit of which is the public right of way and highway, he or his driver/operator would be liable for performance and has fewer rights than others traveling privately on the same strip of striped tarmac wending through hills and forests of the Volunteer State.

This point is made by Levi Thurston, the Gnome of Middle Tennessee, who plies hammer and saw in the building trades on behalf of private parties in car distance from his place of abode. — DJT

By Levi Thurston

I’ve seen this more than once, it happened also at Tracy Arnold’s “trial” and at Jason Caissie’s “trial” on traffic charges. You are going to laugh it’s so stupid. The prosecutor thought the transportation title applied to “Motor Vehicle”(s).

The prosecution asked his witness on the stand if when he stopped the vehicle, “Did it have a motor? Did it have wheels? Did it have a transmission? Did it have tires, steering wheel?” and similar questions. The stupid prosecutors thought that if the answers were yes then you had a “motor vehicle” and therefore that the statutes applied to well of course to — TaDa “motor vehicles.” Therefore if you did not have the tax receipts and other papers you were guilty of yada yada yada.

The statutes does not apply to motor vehicles as they so stupidly think. “Motor Vehicle” is a TERM OF ART. It is neither the subject nor object of the tax law. I’ve not looked at every state definition but they are all the same at the major and necessary points. Like Mississippi “motor vehicle” is any self-propelled device used on the highways WHICH REQUIRES a PRIVILEGE TAX.

“It is said that the state may not tax a man because by fiction his property is within the jurisdiction, and then discriminate against him upon the fact that it is without……We need not repeat the commonplaces as to the large latitude allowed to the states for classification upon any reasonable basis.” Pacific Express Co. v. Seibert ,142 U. S. 339,142 U. S. 351-352; Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. Ellis, 165 U. S. 150,165 U. S. 155 ;Nicol v. Ames,173 U. S. 509,173 U. S. 521; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. Matthews,174 U. S. 96; American Sugar Refining Co. v. Louisiana,179 U. S. 89. What is reasonable is a question of practical details, into which fiction cannot enter. Kidd v. Alabama, 188 U.S. 730, 733 (1903) No. 158.

Penal statutes are not to be extended in their operation to persons, things, or acts not within their descriptive terms, or the fair and clear import of the language used. 50 Am. Jur. p. 433, Statutes, Sec. 409 and cases cited. See also State v. Love (1933), 170 Miss. 666, 150 So. 196. ATTALA LOANS, INC., et al. v. STANDARD DISCOUNT CORPORATION, 249 Miss. 282 (Miss.03/16/1964)

What is subject of tax?

The SUBJECT is taxation of “for profit activities affecting a public interest” and here it is specifically commerce, intrastate and interstate.
The OBJECT to be taxed in this for profit activity is the INSTRUMENTALITIES OF COMMERCE.

The tax is not laid on property because it has tires, steering wheel, motor, transmission, lights and so on.

The tax is distinctly on commerce and its instrumentalities.

Car parts don’t equal motor vehicle

And the car components fully assembled are not the evidence and proof of a “motor vehicle.”

That term of art is only used when referring to self-propelled devices used in the for profit activity of intrastate and interstate commerce using the highways as an article in commerce. If commerce is being carried on with a self-propelled device then the identification of such instrumentalities is merely a term of art used in the statute and “motor vehicle” is written and “defined” when the tax is owed if one does engage in such activities.

While the lawmaker is entirely free to ignore the ordinary meanings of words and make definitions of his own, Karnuth v. United States, 279 U.S. 231, 242; Tyler v. United States, 281 U.S. 497, 502, that device may not be employed so as to change the nature of the acts or things to which the words are applied. CARTER v. CARTER COAL CO. ET AL. HELVERING, 56 S. Ct. 855, 298 U.S. 238 (U.S. 05/18/1936) Nos. 636, 651, 649, and 650.

In Mississippi an engine and also a rearend differential, ie, rear axle, have also a statute where someone can get registration and a title on these and they, too, are term of ART a “motor vehicle.”

So someone can have now three “motor vehicle” all in one self-propelled device?

 Car, truck as private property

That’s why when it comes to self-propelled devices not used in commerce —
Footnote 11. But today, under the regime of International Shoe, we see no difference for jurisdictional purposes between an automobile and any other chattel. The “dangerous instrumentality” concept apparently was never used to support personal jurisdiction; and to the extent it has relevance today, it bears not on jurisdiction, but on the possible desirability of imposing substantive principles of tort law such as strict liability. World-Wide Volkwagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286 (1980) No. 78-1078  
and also why there has to be commerce before applying commerce tax terms.
It is, therefore, error in the court to *** find a material fact, of which there is no evidence from which it may be legally inferred. Slocum v. New York Life Ins. Co., 228 U.S. 364, 418 (1913)

A steering wheel, tires, engine, transmission, lights etc are neither the subject nor object of the tax statute. The subject is commerce and the object taxed in the activity of commerce is the instumentalities and a term of art is used for the instrumentalities.

First the commerce, then the vocabulary

Having fully assembled component parts of an automobile for jurisdictional purposes is like any other chattel. That does not prove one has a motor vehicle as that is a term of art for commerce taxation purposes only.

That’s why it is so stupid of the prosecution to think that all they have to prove is the component parts to prove a motor vehicle and therefore the tax applies.

Just drop the term of art “motor vehicles” and replace with self-evident terminology such as “instrumentality of commerce” — the real OBJECT to be taxed.

And and now let the case proceed its evidence and proofs.

A very different mental picture is in view requiring very different essential elements to be proven from what now passes in these sham trials and void judgments where “a multitude of ignorant practitioners” destroys a court using a closed union shop bar card holder monopolizing a public institution and turning them into extortion rackets relying on extrinsic fraud to harm innocent members of the public.

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