Ultra vires traffic stops show ingenuity of American cops

Boyd Patterson, left, from the public defender’s office talks with Sheriff Jim Hammond at a county commission meeting. (Photo David Tulis)

The Stasi-like operations of various state offices are not according to politburo rules, strictly adhering to policies written out in excruciating detail.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

They are all-American. They are free-lance, independent, showing initiative on the part of the state actor, a certain private ingenuity in fresh, new, wild exercises of power against — er, upon — the people. In their presuming to operate their despotisms against us citizens and residents, they show the remarkable ingenuity of Americans, that of field work-arounds and battlefield fixes.

I highlight as proof two areas of innovation.

  1. Tennessee grand juries are improperly constituted, with the foreman being named by the judge, and not by the jurors themselves. The law in Tennessee is exact, but an opinion by a former attorney general, Bob Cooper, controls, and not black-letter law.
  2. Every municipality in Tennessee and all 95 counties allow cops and deputies, respectively, to enforce Title 55, transportation statute on vehicles and motor vehicles, against private parties not involved in transportation or shipping.

On Wednesday I made a presentation to county commission, which included an excellent letter describing the problem of traffic stop used by Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond. My concern is the preservation and enhancement of the people’s due process rights.

The letter says that the reform to bring compliance to the clear law is an order, that the deputy ask a single question at the beginning of a traffic stop.

Will commissioners ask the question?

Let’s see if any one of nine county commissioners asks me what the easy reform is. Let’s just see. No one will ask.

The inertia is just too great, the anger of the people too low, the injury too little felt, the damage among the poor and the ignorant unseen. Sabrena Smedley, chairwoman, won’t ask, nor anyone else.

The reform has to come from other points, as it is unlikely to arise from those in authority, from our representatives.

What are these other points? It is my conviction that it has to be ordinary working people, low-level commoners, people who are poor and disaffected, African-American men in their 20s and 30s who’ve felt the brunt of the abuse, and people from immigrant neighborhoods who want to catch the American dream and exercise some of the liberties America is known for in foreign climes.

Reform comes bottom-up

People in high places are reluctant to act because of the inertia of having done things the same way for decades. Sheriff Hammond will not act without an external prick. Chattanooga city council will not act apart from what member Anthony Byrd suggests be a burble of voices in favor of reform of the traffic operations by Mayor Andy Berke and his chief, David Roddy.

Mayor Berke has also been directed by the statue and the origins of this regulatory power in the early Shannon’s code in the early decisions to make Chattanooga what effectively is an open city. A declaration of his intention to obey the law would make Chattanooga the first city to therein recognize the limited scope of the law and obey it, ceding liberty the people from abusive practice begun in earnest in the late 1930s.

Such a step would be the most important thing he could do as a mayor, and it would catapult him to national stardom, with appeal to both conservatives and liberals.

The goad of Transportation Administrative Notice Tennessee has been laid to the hide also of Red Bank, East Ridge and State of Tennessee via the office of the governor.

These parties will not ask, either, because who is any citizen by public document to tell these high officials with the law is? Who can say what the law actually has in view as his subject? “We go by what the lawyers say and not by what the law says or any person in restating the law and court cases.What is that to us? Get lost.”

This is the perspective of the white, legal political establishment in Tennessee that holes in thralldom not just blacks and the most vulnerable people in society, but every other person as well who uses the roads for private purposes and for the pursuit of duties and pleasure.

From cop lips, the key question

And what is the question that would constitute the reform? “Sir [madam], are you using your car right now in commerce in a for-hire and for-gain capacity — in a business?”

This question establishes the policeman’s authority to conduct a traffic stop on someone who is in Commerce and not exercising a private right. If the person is not operating in commerce, he or she is subject to the commercial requirements, including the three legs commercial government. A driver’s license. Proof of financial responsibility or insurance. Registration of the car as a motor vehicle.

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