Judge, DA twist tongues against Parker’s right of free movement

Gregory Parker, left, talks over his 30-minute hearing in sessions court with Jon Luman, who has had three right-to-travel cases dismissed in Hamilton County, Tenn. (Photo David Tulis)
Chattanooga top cop David Roddy talks with reporters at the city council downtown. He enforces Tenn. Code Ann. § Title 55, the transportation law, upon people not involved in transportation, and has been under administrative notice about his officers’ careless enforcement practices since Feb. 20, 2018.
Officer Andrew Doub stands in a grand jury office after testifying against welder Gregory Parker, whom he accuses of “driving on revoked.” He failed to ask for the documentation to establish his proper use of police authority, documents such as manifests, bills of waylading or passenger lists. (Photo David Tulis)
Kasee Parker supports her husband, Gregory, in his defense of his and the people’s rights, even though cops and judges such as Lila Satom violate the law in imposing their claims upon him. (Photo David Tulis)

CHATTANOOGA, May 6 — An April 7 traffic stop in Chattanooga was upheld under the low “probable cause” standard of evidence and sent to the grand jury for review. A hearing Monday in sessions court is a defeat for welder and family man Gregory Parker, who insists he uses the roads privately and not as a matter of profit and gain.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

Judge Lila Statom dodged the prospect of trying the case herself, instead sending it “upstairs” as an obsequy to the mantra of protecting Mr. Parker’s constitutionally guaranteed rights.

She rejects a petition to dismiss in which he alleges the officer is incompetent and had obtained no evidence that Mr. Parker had been acting in commerce under the state transportation code, Tenn. Code Ann. § Title 55. That evidence would have shown — or perhaps not — that he was subject to that title.

The probable cause for the transportation arrest, jailing and seizure of his red Silverado truck was an expired tag Mr. Parker had left on his auto and through a driver license that had been revoked on disputed grounds, one that he showed the officer.  

Best tactic: Make liberty look fruity

For a quick review of the key issues:

The state works overtime to confuse and confound the court to make the black-letter law look wider than it really is. To give everyone in the courtroom triple vision, it pretends the distinction between travel and transportation is mere poppycock and deception. Neal Pinkston’s attorney ridicules the use of the word “travel” though in the world of facts it is a word that operates apart from any legal conclusion.

Mr. Parker’s law is better than the state’s. He properly asks the questions to establish cop Doub’s police authority: What evidence did he obtain that Mr. Parker was acting commercially and not privately? The officer has no idea what he’s talking about, and failed to establish his authority at the stop, despite the expired tabg.

Sessions court is informal and careless. No one notices that the DA pulls a fraud on the court in pretending the charges are not under Title 55, but under Title 39. Judge Statom doesn’t notice, and the easy falsehood slips past Mr. Parker, as well.

Judges and DAs work in combination to uphold state policy. The judge and prosecutor pretend that the due process distinction Mr. Parker makes between travel and transportation are unearthly, weird, unaccountable, and that the only question is “was he driving on revoked.” But driving is a point that must be proven, and cannot be assumed But that is a compound conclusion of two parts: That he was driving (operating commercially) and that a revoked license has a bearing on private use of the road.

It matters not that the judge is at her judicial best, in high form, with a clear voice and studious commentary about her interest in helping Mr. Parker preserve “constitutional rights.” Judge Statom is unable to see his proper presentation of the issue at law about the limits of Tenn. Code Ann. § Title 55. By training and custom, she refuses to understand the distinction between right and privilege.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something,” Upton Sinclair says, “when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Perhaps fatal to his claims for due process: Mr. Parker submitted a revoked license, implying he was traveling under the license in commerce. To maintain his rights to due process, he might have let the entire burden of proof in the matter fall upon his accuser.

Judge Statom’s dodge

Sessions court judge Lila Statom

Judge Statom says the Parker case “is set before the court for either a trial or a preliminary hearing,” and without asking him it becomes a preliminary hearing, where the question is of the sufficiency of the probable cause of the officer.

That question should have been settled by the magistrate the moment he appeared in the jail, but Mr. Parker says in an interview that probable cause was not nailed down by that judicial commissioner.

She mentions he has submitted a motion to dismiss and for there to be a full hearing about the state’s evidence under the law.

Judge Statom says she is making it a preliminary hearing so that he can exercise all his rights, and that only in a criminal trial can there be a full finding of fact and law. “I do not find this motion well taken at this point,” she says. But, after the evidence in testimony at the preliminary hearing is given, she says, she explains she will allow him to renew the motion.

At the swearing, only officer Doub raises his hand, but Mr. Parker says an “I do” in the swearing to tell the whole truth. But he wisely abstains from taking the stand, as the issues before the court are not of fact, but of law.

But the law is exactly what the court fuddles. The judge and the DA cooperate in making the law either too high and glorious to be approached, or too remote and complicated to be properly invoked by the accused. Mr. Parker is largely denied the right to question the fact witness pursuant to his theory of the case, which is accurate and true to the analysis in the public document, Transportation Administrative Notice Tennessee, which Officer Doub and his chief, David Roddy, pretend has no legal significance on their harassment of the people using the people’s roads in Chattanooga.

Judge Statom appoints Ted Engel as his PD, and he stands at his right. She says the state goes first, as it has the burden of proof toward probable cause.

Evidences of ‘driving’

Andrew Doub, standing to the left, states his name. He’s had the job 2 years and works as a patrol officer for past 1½ years. “So, I remember I was traveling southbound on North Chamberlain *** when Mr. Parker was in a Chevrolet 2500 in front of me and his registration. His registration display was expired in 2016 so I initiated a traffic stop on the 1800 block of North Chamberlain Avenue. I made contact with Mr. Parker and asked him if he knew the reason for the traffic stop. He stated he did not.” He said a vehicle must have up to date

“He handed me an affidavit and stated he was free to travel the roads without a driver’s license. I stated to Mr. Parker again that in the state of Tennessee you have to have a valid driver license, valid insurance and valid auto registration to operate a motor vehicle” [italics added].” Mr. Parker gave Officer Doub an expired driver license which NCIC told the officer had been revoked for a DUI. This status prompted the arrest and jailing.

Results of running the driver license “showed he was driving on a revoked driver license for DUI,” Officer Doub says.

Now for the paper evidence of this disputed revoked status. The DA asks for a copy from the DOSHS of a printout showing the status of the driver license. This is not certified, not attested, and Mr. Parker has not subpoenaed a DOSHS official in charge for making and certifying the document.

What is the DA hoping to enter?

The DOS driving record, a bit of hearsay said to be “certified.”

“A certified driving record?” Judge Statom says, helpfully.

She asks if Mr. Parker objects.

He says he objects to the record showing the DL is revoked for DUI, because the record shows that the driver license was reinstated in Kentucky in 2017. The revocation in TN is for failure to pay fines, he says, not for DUI.

She asks if he objects to the document she describes “as a certified driving history”  — and he says no, “it looks legitimate.”

Mr. Parker stirs buzzing flies

Mr. Parker. Did you take an oath to uphold the Tennessee and the United States constitution?

Officer Doub. I did.

Mr. Parker. Are you confident you can you identify a constitutional right?

Officer Doub. I am.

Parker. Do you respect the rights of the people when you encounter them as an officer?

Officer Doub. I do

Mr. Parker. What do you do when you encounter a traveler in a car who is asserting a constitutional right to be there apart from any state privilege?

Here now the DA begins a series of objections to Mr. Parker pursuing his theory of the case, which is legally sound and reasonable. The initial objection is to relevance and the question above as being a “compound question” (It’s not).

Gregory Parker refuses to yield any God-given and constitutionally guaranteed right to mere rebuttable presumptions foisted upon him by cops and courts. (Photo David Tulis)

Judge Statom. Mr. Parker, if you would, please ask just one question at a time, OK? And, certainly, he also objected on relevance. Which part is irrelevant?

DA. Well, I guess, more specifically, the language about travelers. I’m not sure if these are legal conclusions that he’s drawing that he’s asking about legal issues. I’m confused by the question. That’s what I’m objecting to, your honor.

Travel is what people in Tennessee do when moving in car or truck. Some types of travel are subject to police power. Those are for-profit use of the roadways for private gain. AKA “transportation.”

Judge Statom (trying to be careful). So what he is saying is, he is objecting on the relevance of ‘a traveler,’ uhm. Can you state to me the relevance of the question?

Mr. Parker A traveler is anyone using the roads or highways.

And here, piquantly, Judge Statom turns the generic nonlegal term traveler into a legal category subject to regulation. Her helpful, patronizing statement is the crowning achievement of the fellowship of the finger — adding a third member. The cop. The DA. And now, the judge.

Judge Statom. So, a driver, basically. [Italics added]

Parker. Well, that’s a legal determination, as well.

DA. Traveler is what I object to, your honor.  If he’s asking about someone driving, then, then  —

Parker. Well, driving is a legal determination and also is defined as in a commercial activity, so these are both legal determinations. Traveling or — both have been defined. So driving and traveling are both —

Judge Statom. So, driving — I think you can answer the question. When you encounter somebody who is legally driving — ?

Parker. I am asserting my right to travel.

Judge Statom. OK.

Parker. Can you determine any difference between —

Judge Statom. I’m not sure that that’s relevant because he didn’t stop you for that. Question. For that. So I’m going to ask you to rephrase your question, OK?

Parker. Is it possible in your encounters in traffic stops that if a person is exercising a constitutional right, can you tell that apart from a state privilege or that right?

DA. Objection. Calls for a legal conclusion. (No, it doesn’t does the cop know the difference by training between free people and people exercising a privilege?)

She sustains the objection.

‘Narrow that down’

Parker. Is the exercise of a constitutional right a privilege?

DA. Your honor, I am going to object to this line of questioning.

This question of course is intended to show that DA and cop don’t know anything about rights.

Judge Statom. Just a minute sir. Are you saying exercising a constitutional right a privilege? Is that what you’re asking?

Parker. Yes, ma’am. (He wants to see if the good people understand the difference.)

Judge Statom. You’re going to have to narrow that down, because that’s like — we could probably talk all day about that.

Parker. That’s a yes or no [question], Ma’am.

Statom. So I want you to narrow that to the relevance of this case. He stopped you you because your tags were expired. So were you asking him, ‘Do you believe I have a constitutional right to drive on an expired tag?”  (This restatement is how courts routinely twist the argument out of the common citizen’s mouth.)

Parker. No, I’m asking him —

Judge Statom. I’m asking you, is that what you’re asking him?

Parker. I’ll restate the question, your honor.

Judge Statom. Tell me the question again and I’ll see if its relevant.

Parker. Is the exercise of a constitutional right a privilege?

Judge Statom. I’m going to sustain that [objection] because that question is too broad.

The effect of this barricade is to make his obvious point invisible, that the court doesn’t know the difference between right and privilege, and Judge Statom disallows the line of questioning and the argument implied in it — that police abuse of Title 55 converts a right into a privilege. His is a law school basics 101 question.

Judge Statom. I’m going to ask you to narrow your question down because, you know, you could be saying, exercising a constitutional right to bear arms, you could be talking about, you know, — all constitutional rights we have as a citizen. So I — I’m asking you to narrow that down to the facts of this case. OK?

Parker. These questions apply to these other rights as well because that’s what I’m trying to get to, due process. I am trying to establish subject matter jurisdiction.

Judge Statom. Ask him a question that’s relevant to this proceeding. It can’t — it’s too broad. Narrow it to this proceeding.

DA. And your honor, I would remind him that he does have an attorney who’s standing there if he needs assistance.

Judge Statom. To narrow that down, I’ll give you a few minutes to ask him.

Parker. I’ll just move on. Do you see any difference between a privilege and a right?

Judge Statom. Again, I’m going to ask you to narrow it. Because a privilege and a right, a right to — you know, you’ve got to narrow it to the facts of this  proceeding, what’s relevant to this proceeding. OK. What are you actually asking him? A privilege and a right to do what? To drive without — on an expired tag?

Parker. Any privilege — any right. Difference between any privilege and any right —

DA objects to travel

Statom. You may not ask such a broad question. You may ask him something relevant to this proceeding. OK. Relevant to this proceeding. Charges are expired tag, no insurance, and driving on a revoked driver license. So if you want to narrow it to the facts of this case and what’s relevant to this case.

Parker. Do you know if traveling is a privilege or a right?

Doub. Traveling is a privilege or a right?

Parker. Do you know if it is a privilege or a right?

Doub. It depends on who you ask the question to.

Parker. I’m asking you. Do you know —

Officer Doub. Driving?

Parker. Traveling.

DA. Your honor, I’m going to object because this traveling as a status —

Judge Statom. You’re not charged — you’re not charged with traveling, sir. You’re charged with driving on a revoked driver license.

Parker. And there’s not been any evidence to show that I’ve been driving, either. Driving is also a legal determination of commercial activity, ma’am.

Judge Statom. OK. That’s your argument, sir. But I’m stustaint it as to the facts of this case. But framing it as to the facts of this case. You are charged with DRIVING. You say you are traveling, and so — that’s not relevant to the charges here. You’re charged with driving on a revoked driver’s license.

Judge Statom is correct — he is charged with driving, and the defense she disallows is that he’s not driving, he’s traveling. The DA will shortly object to the effort to show that Title 55 is the transportation statute, so where, Mr. Officer, is your evidence of my having been involved in transportation? Mr. Parker moves on.

Parker. Is it your job to enforce the transportation law?

Officer Doub. It’s my job to enforce all the laws in the state of Tennessee.

Parker. Is the transportation law one of the jobs?

Officer Doub. For a traffic offense. Is that what you’re asking?

Parker. I’m asking, do you enforce the transportation law, Title 55?

Doub. The traffic law. That’s correct.

Parker. What is the traffic law that you cite in a traffic stop?

Officer Doub. A violation.

Parker. Did you cite that statute at the time of the stop with me?

Officer Doub. Which one?

Parker. The cite. The reason you were stopping me. Did you cite the law?

Officer Doub. I did tell you why you were being stopped, yes.

Parker. Did you cite the citation, the case number?

Judge Statom. Sir, what do you mean?

Parker. The statute.

Judge Statom. The statute is on here [charging affidavit].

Parker. I asked did you cite that to me at the stop.

Officer Doub. I did not. I told you the reason why you were being stopped and the reason why you were being arrested.

Parker. Generally speaking, what are the evidences of a person being involved in transportation?

DA. Objection, your honor, to the relevance.

Judge Statom. Sustained.

Parker. In Tennessee law, what are the elements of a privilege?

DA. Objection to the relevance (in a weary voice, as if Parker was wearing him out).

Judge Statom. Sir, how is that — how is that relevant.

Parker. Subject matter jurisdiction.

Statom. How is that relevant to charges of driving on revoked, driving in violation of registration, and driving without insurance?

Commoner’s law school 101 lecture

Parker. Because I’m being accused of “driving.” Driving is a commercial activity and I’m trying to determine of subject matter whether he established whether I was in that commercial activity which can be defined as driving.

This summary of the case is more intelligent than anything that might come from any of Hamilton County’s 720 licensed lawyers.

Judge Statom. Well, that’s your argument. But that’s not what the statute requires. The statute requires on a person who drives, any person, and, so, uh, I’ll sustain that objection.

Here, Judge Statom sustains an objection from the DA that he doesn’t even have to flap his tongue to make. The statute makes liable and subject to performance those people involved in transportation who are thus drivers and operators required to have current licenses, insurance and registration of their cars or trucks as motor vehicles, having paid the tax to use that conveyance as a commercial motor vehicle.

Parker. On April 7, did you determine what activity I was involved in, and if that the exercise of a state privilege?

DA. Objection to the term privilege.

Judge Statom. That’s a compound question. So ask the first part. And then you can ask the second part. (She ignores the objection from the DA, as the judge and DA are a tag team cooperative in the administration of the matters before them.)

Parker. On April 7, did you determine what activity I was involved in?

Officer Doub. On April 7 I stopped you for having an expired tag on your vehicle.

Parker. Did you determine what activity I was involved in at the time?

Officer Doub. I determined in the state of Tennessee you have to have a valid license plate on your vehicle, registration. And you did not have that.

Parker. Objection. He’s not answering my question. He’s giving me — He says he stopped me for an out-of-date tag, and that is not “the activity” I was involved in.

Judge Statom. That was the activity. He’s answered your question.

Privilege vs. right — in which are you involved?

Again, the activity the court and the state are pretending doesn’t exist is the business of transportation — the job and employment of carrying goods and people for hire on the public right of way, a privilege affecting the public interest.

Parker. Was I involved in the exercise of a state privilege?

DA. Objection to the relevance (dreary voice again. Yawn.)

Judge Statom. I’m not sure I understand the question. Hold on just a second and listen to me. Uhm, he’s saying that’s not relevant, OK. So please explain to me why that’s relevant.

Parker. It is relevant because Tennessee statutes, a privilege is defined as commercial activity which can be taxed. And whether or not I was in a privilege or not —

Judge Statom. Do you have, do you have your statute that you’re referring to?

DA springs fraud on court

55-4-101. Title 55, Yes ma’am, 4, section 101, subsection 2.

Let’s just look at the law being cited. It reads as follows:

(a) (1)  As a condition precedent to the operation of any motor vehicle upon the streets or highways of this state, the motor vehicle shall be registered as provided in this chapter.

(2)  The registration and the fees provided for registration shall constitute a privilege tax upon the operation of motor vehicles.

Judge Statom. So you’re asking him what?

Parker. If what I was involved in was the exercise of a state privilege?

DA. I’m going to object, because we are not proceeding under 55, and, uh, we’re going under the criminal statute. That’s what we’re here today. There seems to be some confusion on the civil status and criminal status and blending —

Judge Statom. Well, hold on.

Here now Judge Statom has a gotcha moment with Mr. Parker, reading the provision at (a)(1) that says motor vehicles operated on the streets or highways must be registered. She drinks in the lines with relief, because they show (apparently) that all cars and trucks are motor vehicles (in commerce) and thus required to have proper registration.

Judge Statom. Before the operation of any motor vehicle,  any motor vehicle, upon the streets or highways of this state, the motor vehicle shall be registered as provided in this chapter. The section you’re citing, too, “The registration and the fees provided for registration shall constitute a privilege tax upon the operation” of the motor vehicle. So the officer has testified that you did not comply with the condition precedent. And that’s why he’s charged you with this. What is your question?

Parker. If what I was involved with was the exercise of a state privilege.

Judge Statom. Your question has somewhat been answered because he’s saying, no, you did not pay that, so, no, you did not register it as required in order to have the privilege, OK? So he’s already answered your question. So you ask your next question.

An unexpected Statom concession

Parker. So, I was not involved in the exercise of a state privilege, is that your answer?

Judge Statom. No, you did not register your vehicle, that’s what he said.

Parker. That’s not what I asked. I asked him if I was involved in the exercise of a state privilege.

Judge Statom. You would’ve been if you had registered. You did not register it. So he has answered your question. [Emphasis added]

Notice how the truth has slipped from Judge Statom’s lips. Mr. Parker would’ve been involved in a privileged activity had he registered the car as a motor vehicle and paid the fee. But he hadn’t. In his mind, that constitutes his admission that, no, he is not involved in transportation under Title 55, as he had been before. He’s not doing that any more, but using his red Silverado privately. Judge Statom’s thinking certainly is disjointed, but here she admits a truth. One registers one’s car as a motor vehicle as part of entering a state privilege subject to regulation and the exercise of police powers.

Parker’s great query of the officer

Judge Statom. Ask the next question.

Parker. At the time of the stop, did you ask whether I was using the road for hire, for gain, or for private profit?

Doub. I did not.

Parker. Do you recognize the language referring to any and all bills of lading, waybills, invoices or other evidences of the character of lading being transported in such vehicle?

Judge Statom. What are you saying. “Do you recognize the language”?

Parker. Yes. Referring to any and all bills of lading, waybills, invoices, or other evidences of the lading being transported in such vehicle.

This language is from Tenn. Code Ann. § 65-15-106 that describes the scope of authority of the Tennessee highway patrol, which has sole authority to enforce Title 55 across the state’s roads and highways.

DA. I object to the relevance.

Judge Statom. Hold on. How is that relevant, sir?

More dodges by the court

Parker. That would be the subject matter to determine whether or not I was in commercial activity that would put me in a driving status that would make that a privilege. What I’m exercising is a right. The question is whether or not be obtained any subject matter or if he even knew what to look for to obtain the subject matter [jurisdiction, or police power] to determine whether or not I was in a commercial activity or actually driving or —

Judge Statom. So you’re asking him if he thought you were, like, in a commercial vehicle as opposed to your personal car. Is that what you’re asking him?

Parker. I’m asking him if he understands any of these types of forms or papers that can be asked for to — for evidence.

Judge Statom. I’m ruling that’s not relevant if he asked you those questions. Now are you asking him if he determined whether you were simply driving your personal car or were you driving a business vehicle? Is that what you were asking him? [Emphasis added]

Parker. Yeah. But for him.

Here, now, the judge has turned against the defendant and reframed the issue in favor of the state, so that the right he claims as his defense is made invisible. The distinction in Title 55 is not whether the car is owned by a business or used for business, or a privately owned car used privately or for business. The taxable activity is transportation, commercial use in the instance. That is the way the law is written, pursuant to its origins and its history in Shannon’s code and the early cases.

DA. I would still object to the relevance —

Judge Statom — of whether or not he was driving his personal vehicle or if he was driving a, uh, a commercial vehicle.

Parker — or for hire.

Judge Statom. Well, according to the statute he’s been charged under, it doesn’t require that that — He’s been charged under the statute 55-50-504 —

And here’s part of the law Judge Statom reads “A person who drives a motor vehicle within the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained that is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel, or the premises of any shopping center, manufactured housing complex or apartment house complex or any other premises frequented by the public at large at a time when the person’s privilege to do so is cancelled, suspended, or revoked commits a Class B misdemeanor. *** Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-50-504(a)

Judge Statom. So it wouldn’t matter if it’s commercial or not. So I’ll sustain that as not being relevant.

Parker. Did you ask me for any copies of contracts?

DA. I’m gonna object, your honor. Same thing.

Parker. Did you make an effort to determine whether I was exercising a constitutional right or exercising a privilege?

DA. I’m gonna object, your honor. That’s been asked and answered, and ruled on by the court.

Cop swears he protects constitutional rights

Judge Statom. I’ll sustain that. I have ruled on that already, sir.

Parker. Is it your job to protect that person’s constitutional rights?

Officer Doub. Yes.

Parker. Is it your job to seize people and arrest them for exercising and in the exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed rights?

DA. Objection. Compound question.

This DA wants the officer not to have do have to deal not only with compound questions, but with compound phrases. Too taxing.

Judge Statom. Hold on. Hold on You may ask that question, but we need to determine whether it was compound or not.

Parker. Is it your job to seize people and arrest them for for the exercise and in the exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Judge Statom. So ask the first part first, then ask the second, part, OK? That’s a compound question, so ask one at a time.

Parker. Is it your job to seize and arrest people for the exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed rights?

Officer Doub. It is my job to arrest people if they break the law.

Parker. I believe that’d be a yes or no answer, right?

Judge Statom. He’ll answer it yes or no if he can. But he has answered your question. So now ask him he second part of the question you wanted to ask him.

Objecting to ‘free movement’

Jon Luman of Red Bank is avoiding the mistake Gregory Parker makes in his case. He has no license to show, and bears no expired tag. His notice is notice to cops to leave him alone, as he is not operating under the Tennessee privilege statute at Title 55. (Photo David Tulis)

Parker. Is it your job to seize and arrest people in the exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed rights?

This question is just from spite, it seems, because the answer would be no, that is not the officer’s job. But Mr. Parker evidently is fighting for air, and wants to get something before the judge, to see whether the cop respects the constitution as much as her honor does.

Judge Statom. I think he’s answered that. If they are violating the law, it’s his job to arrest them.

Parker. Did I give you a copy of my travel affidavit?

Officer Doub. You did.

Parker. Did I indicate I am an inhabitant of the State of Tennessee exercising my free movement?

Doub. What do you mean by free movement?

Judge Statom. He’s asking, did he say that? Is that what you’re asking him?

Parker. No, am asking him had I indicated I was moving in my free movement, if that’s what I was doing? I’m asking him if I indicated what my status was, or how I was performing that day [in commerce and for gain].

DA. I’m going to object. Just because he has a theory that he can do whatever he wants to do, that doesn’t mean that, that —

Judge Statom. Right. He’s just asking, did he say that.

Parker. Did you read notice and take account of material on the scope and limit of Tennessee’s transportation law directed at you in your official capacity?

Officer Doub. I read about half a page.

Parker. I move for a motion to dismiss.

Judge Statom. Hold on, hold on sir. Do you have any other questions?

Parker. I do not.

Statom refuses to dismiss case

Judge Statom. Now, sir, at this point in time you have the right to testify, if you have consulted with your attorney. *** You may want to wait, because the state can then cross-examine you. Have you talked with your attorney to make a decision about that?

Parker. I’d actually make a motion to dismiss *** [o]n the incompetence of the witness in establishing subject matter jurisdiction. He doesn’t know the first thing about the basic elements of the charge, the statute he’s allegedly enforcing and the scope of his authority to properly enforce the transportation law.

Judge Statom. I will overrule your motion and I will deny your motion to dismiss at this time. Now, would you like to testify or would you like me to testify whether probable cause has been established. Certainly, sir, you do not have to testify. This is a preliminary hearing. This is not your final hearing in this case. It is a preliminary hearing to determine if there was probable cause and a reason under the law for your arrest. Do you wish to testify or not?

The judge has taken control in this case and no amount of solicitude to the accused on other points hides from view that this decision to not try the case but make it a probable cause hearing is entirely hers. She is being politic in handing off the question of legality of the transportation stop to the grand jury. That body is as ill-informed about the rights of the people as well as anyone else. Her decision for probable cause is based less on what tidbits came from officer testimony than on her court’s customs.

Parker. I do not choose to testify at this time.

Judge Statom. I have reviewed the statute, 55-50-504(a)(1), and I feel that the officer has established proof for necessary for a probable cause determination. There was a reason to arrest you. With regard to the violation of the registration law, I have reviewed that as well. 55-4-101(a)(1) and following under that statute that requires that a vehicle be registered. And then 55-12-139 which requires a person to have financial responsibility, meaning, insurance, on their vehicle. And based upon the testimony of this officer I find that there is probable cause, that this case should proceed on to the grand jury.

She lets him stay on his bond, with the DA asking that a condition of the bond that “he not drive,” to which she says, “Certainly, you should not be driving without a valid Tennessee driver’s license.”

The grand jury will have the case two to three months for a bill to be returned. If indicted, he will exercise the right to have a jury trial.

I report the Parker case in such detail because he did an excellent job in presenting his arguments. He erred in  displaying an expired tag and, at the time of arrest, making testimony against himself by proffering a revoked driver’s license. He should have answered no questions without a lawyer present and said absolutely nothing to Officer Doub. He would have been arrested either way.

The state, with its prosecutors and his judges, works to reframe the encounter to obscure the constitutional guarantees of the right of free communication. Judge Statom gives at least a show of letting the accused present his defense, though she cooperates with a state in making the arguments implied in his questions a muddle and a laughingstock.

It appears she does that because she wants to be in good standing with her professional coterie in court and bar. Mr. Parker — she needs deal with him only once. But they are her lifelong fellowship. She is entirely unsympathetic to the rights of the people, though she uses what she has of her judicial ethics to give Mr. Parker’s person a respectful treatment.

The David Tulis show is 1 p.m. weekdays, live and lococentric.

Sue cop as oppressor, defend self in traffic court: Transportation Administrative Notice


  1. John Ballinger
  2. James McKain
  3. Jerry Miller
  4. Mikael Jonserei

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