Sheriff Hammond violates open records act, refuses data on ‘notice’

Sheriff Hammond can be forced to reveal his department’s response to transportation administrative by an appeal to chancery court in the Hamilton County courthouse. (Photo David Tulis)

As of Friday it has been 77 days since I made request for information from Hamilton County sheriff’s department, overseen by the re-elected Jim Hammond.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

The law allows for seven business days in which a state organization or office must respond to a request for records. It has been 77 days since I made request to Hamilton County regarding a counterrevolutionary racial reparations project that defends the people of Tennessee and lets them assert their rights, starting with African-Americans.

The open records statute in question, Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503 is filled with loopholes at § 10-7-504 by which state actors can evade the operations of the press and the public in their doings. However, the statute also makes it clear that the official must act in good faith to supply all request records if they are not privileged.

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A privileged record is one to which the public does not have access because it is protected by the attorney-client relationship.

On Aug. 30, I requested information about whether the county is considering transportation administrative notice Tennessee and its averments about the law. This notice was given to Sheriff Hammond in a meeting March 1.

Two weeks ago, Carole Miller, personnel director of the department, said I would have some kind of response this past week. However, despite three attempts to reach her Friday, no response was forthcoming from Mrs Miller.

My efforts to make sure my request was clear we’re certainly done a good safe. In a telephone call with Mrs. Miller I asked if she had questions about the scope of my request.

‘Notice of fault’ and ‘notice of default’

In a second contact, I submitted to her a notice of fault as Mr. Hammond was in violation of the law.

In a third email contact, I submitted to her a notice of default indicating that her department is violating the law.

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The hold up apparently is county attorney Rheubin Taylor, who is seeing what he can safely tuck away as privileged.

My only legal response to rejection of my request is to file a suit in chancery, petitioning for a writ of mandamus. A mandamus is a powerful common law remedy in which a judge directs officials to act. It does not direct him to act in a certain way, just to act according to his duty.

Chattanooga has refused to take transportation administrative notice seriously. An open records request upon the city returns only documents that had come from me. City of Chattanoog also violated the statute in dealing with my request.

Should sheriff ignore TAN?

It is a duty of the sheriff’s department to consider the legal review of the statute in TAN. To ignore TAN is to place his department and his employees in legal jeopardy.

According to the basic legal doctrine, notice puts the receiving party in a position to understand fully his situation as to facts and to the law. Ignoring notice and refusing to be put upon inquiry creates a bad faith context for future law enforcement activity by the department touching on traffic enforcement.

If Sheriff Hammond alters traffic stop policy as the law requires, or does not rebut transportation administrative notice,, all of his actions are tainted with what is called bad faith. He was told about the law, and he ignored it. That’s bad faith. A good faith response is to determine whether or not the notice is valid. If it is valid, the law requires policy changes. If it is invalid, it requires prompt rebuttal.

The notice, as far as I can see, stands unrebutted by anyone as a matter of law.

Travel vs. transportation = key issue

Transportation administrative notice points out a distinction between travelers and people on the road who are involved in transportation. It makes clear of that the law under Tennessee code Title 55 applies only to commercial users. The user subject to police power is a Carrier, a motor carrier for hire using the road for profit and gain in interstate commerce subject to the police power in the public interest and regulable for the protection of public health, safety and welfare.

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The extraordinary violence of American policing often takes place in the enforcement of commercial statutes against private users of the freeway, the public right of way.

Police cannot stop private people on the road unless they’re involved in an actual crime the criminal code, Title 39 in Tennessee. Police cannot stop the private person on the road using Title 55.

Reform required

With notice, the Hamilton County sheriff’s department must reform its practices. If it does not reform is practices the remedies against it will be aimed by the people and eventually by the federal government. The federal government through the justice department or the office of inspector general will make sure that the state is not misusing its funds it receives for supervision of transportation.

I am a protected party, and so are you. So are minorities (African-Americans, first and foremost) who are most aggressively and often fatally “policed” on the roads. Oppressed parties have free reign to sue for oppression, or demand district attorney for the crime of oppression, now that notice has been given. Following notice to a particular department, that agency and individual officers are subject to civil or criminal prosecution for oppressive acts and torts under color of law, done in personal capacity apart from the statute.

The system of extra-legal or ultra vires enforcement has gone on for 80 years, and it is my job as journalist to bring the people — the victims of this abuse — up to speed about taking personal action to stop it, as policy changes out of Nashville will not be forthcoming.

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