The Tennessee Department of Safety is engaged in a suspicious activity that may violate the racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations act to deprive thousands of people of their right to earn a living and to travel on the roads.
By David Tulis / 92.7 NooogaRadio
The punitive and dangerous activity is the assigning of driver licenses to people who did not apply for the driver’s license, and then by an administrative act to suspend the driver license and bring jail time and fines upon their targets.
If the person does not have a driver license, the person is given a license that is revoked, boding ill for that person on the road and his or her next police encounter.
The person faces criminal charges for “driving on revoked.” That charge is applicable to any person in the shipping and transportation field who is hauling goods or people for hire and does not have his driver license in order, letting him legally drive and operate a commercial motor vehicle.
The practice is brought to light in testimony cited by U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger in her ruling In summer 2018 in a lawsuit that overturns the state’s punishment of poor people unable to pay court fines who are made to lose the “legal” use of their cars to get to work and pursue duties and necessities. The state punished people and made it even less possible to pay any debts to state government.
Judge Trauger rules the 2017 law is unconstitutional. In her ruling she writes expansively about the necessity of “driving” a car to get to work and maintain one’s livelihood, pointing out that public transportation is unavailable across much of the state.
Purkey admits scheme
The particularly troubling act is admitted by then-Commissioner David Purkey in a deposition Judge Trauger cites on page 11 of her rambling 79-page ruling.
“[t]he clerk of the court ordering disposition of an offense shall notify the commissioner of safety when an offender has litigation taxes, court costs, and fines that remain unpaid after one (1) year from the disposition of the offense,” at which point the commissioner is required by statute to revoke the license. An individual may be treated as having a revoked license, even if he was not licensed to drive by the State of Tennessee as an initial matter; TDSHS simply assigns such a person a driver’s license number and classifies the corresponding “license” as revoked. (Docket No. 64 ¶ 31.)
The cost to innocent traveling people of Tennessee caught up in this state-based legal trap is tremendous. Arrest on the side of the road. Jail. Court proceedings. Fines. Prison. In the case of many, punishment is imposed even though the individual never applied for a driver license.
Judge Trauger cites the stack of woes for the hapless Tennesseean:
For the first offense, driving on a revoked license is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 40-35-111(e)(2), 55-50-504(a)(1). For second and subsequent offenses, driving on a revoked license is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 40-35-111(e)(1), 55-50-504(a)(2). Purkey concedes that a person’s conviction for driving on a revoked license may lead to the imposition of additional fines, costs, and litigation taxes. (Docket No. 64 ¶ 111.) [Italics added]
Judge Trauger’s understanding of this fictional process arises from her reading of Mr. Purkey’s deposition (Thomas v. Haslam, Doc. 64). The key phrases are from Mr. Purkey’s pen:
Defendant ADMITS that an individual’s “license” may be “revoked” under section 105(b) even if the individual has never had a driver’s license: upon the Court Clerk’s notification that the person has Court Debt that has been unpaid for one year, the Commissioner assigns a license number to the individual and notes the license as “revoked.” See Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-50-102(48) (addressing revocation of a person’s “license or privilege”). (Page 2) [Italics added]
Fabricated application, phony number
State government cannot touch a person on the road privately who has never had or never been issued a driver license. The reason the state cannot touch this person is because that person is not involved in commercial use of the road and is a private user. But state government and is Police Department’s customarily reach out against the people outside the authority of the law to harass and punish them and maintain a marketing position about the total authority of the state and police against the individual citizen for visitor.
And that is the fabricated application for a driver license, the assigning of a driver license number to the individual and then the revocation of that person’s license whose name has been brought to the commissioner’s attention by court clerk demanding payment for unpaid Court debt.
This operation is outside the scope of the authority of the state and a fraud. Why does this action by the commissioner does not stir Judge Trauger’s indignation as an improper and ultra vires (outside the authority of law) act? Because Judge Trauger accepts the state’s main premise: That all travel effectively is commerce. Judge Trauger, for all her strength in ruling against the cort debt statute, sides with commercial government and its legal fiction about travel and free communication on the people’s roads.
Fabricated driver licenses for people who never actually applied for one is a crime, or at least a serious tort or breach of equity. I believe it is covered under Tennessee’s good official oppression statute at Tenn. Code Ann. 39-16-403.
Sources: COMMISSIONER DAVID W. PURKEY’S RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFFS’ STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS, Document 64, Case 3:17-cv-00005 Filed 11/06/17 Page 20 of 63 PageID #: 479.