We stripmine the people for a reason

Jon Luman, a Red Bank carpenter, sits Friday in the criminal court in Hamilton County as local cops, deputies repeatedly harass him for the exercise of his right to communicate and move about in his car. (Photo David Tulis)
Diana Watt sits meanwhile in a second criminal court in Hamilton County, charged multiply with resisting in her viral arrest July 2018 under the state’s shipping and transportation statute (Title 55), in her eighth court appearance — and she’s only at the preliminary stages. The case against her is being directed by Mayor Andy Berke, who has refused to obey the limits of the shipping law and to order cops to apply only against people who are shippers. (Photo David Tulis)

The prosecution of free spirited Tennesseans and Georgians for using their cars outside the steam of commerce is a picture of how the modern corporate state makes war on its betters, namely, the people.

It insists that its mark be on every hand, and that no one moves his person, property or effects on the people’s right of way without its permission. 

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

The state wants your time. 

The state demands your compliance. 

The state demands your money. 

It will not brook dissent. It demands obedience to misreadings of state law and violations of the clear limits in state constitutions and the federal constitution. 

It will maintain a system of plunder for the benefit of all and to maintain its high argument for public safety, an argument so magnificent that it’s hard to see the disproportion between alleged crime and punishment.

For John Luman, the impoverished Red Bank carpenter, the offense of driving on suspended cost the state one half-penny for the day of May 30 he was arrested for his purported driver license’s being out of order in the state record. Sheriff Jim Hammond kept his tools for two weeks, and is keeping his truck in the impound lot at Cain’s wrecker service on Cherokee Boulevard. 

All in proportion for the half-penny offense of the man who wasn’t even driving or operating the car. As his arrest report by deputy Gregory Parker, “I observed a black 1997 Ford Explorer traveling south on Highway 27 near the Mountain Creek Road exit.”

The state demands your compliance at every point in defense of its ostensible peace and dignity, though it continually plea bargains cases away in a process among the DAs that compromises these holy attributes and makes ridiculous its laws and the misenforcement of them.

Courageous ownership claims

The state and its actors want everyone to believe that the state owns the roads and that all use of the roads is a crime unless the man in the car or truck has entered into a privileged relationship with the state so that he might use the road for his own private purposes. This demand set forth by the likes of sessions court judge Lila Statom and criminal court judge Don Poole in the Luman case.

We want your compliance. We demand your cooperation. 

Yes, we care about your rights. Yes, we care about the constitution. But what matters for us, if you care to know, is the efficiency of our operations and the need to have everyone submit to government for public safety purposes. 

That’s why we’ve reformulated the meaning of the law at Tenn. Code Ann. 40-7-103 to allow us to operate under general warrants. That law once, long ago, may have been intended as a limit on arrest power by officer without a warrant. But we have changed the meaning of that law to make the warrant rule a handy instrument that is a general warrant so we don’t have to bother the judge and cause inconvenience to the officer. 

Under the law as we understand it today, we don’t have to worry about letting the person go and getting a signature of a judge based on our sworn oath and affidavit — and then going out to find and arrest him. We can just arrest the person on the spot, in the interest of public safety, because that person has committed a “public offense.” 

And we all know that “public offense” means “any offense against the public” which means any crime at all.

Your duty is to accept the way things are today. No need to grince your teeth.

We have the cooperation of lawyers in Hamilton County to assure the smooth operation of this system. We only ask that you as defendant pay court costs and a small fine to help things run smoothly. We expect you not to challenge this operation and we expect the Hamilton County bar association with its valuable members to cooperate in diverting any individualistic-minded person from fighting back. No person should fight back; no person should object to the structure of what’s in place today. 

No person should say arrest by officer without a warrant on any of hundreds of grounds is wrong. No person should say the constitution doesn’t allow it. These things are against justice? Don’t even think it because we run the best justice system in our county in the country, with the most honor.

Due process? Belongs to us 

Any objection to the way we do things now in Hamlton County and Chattanooga is an attempt to encourage a violation of our due process rights. 

Due process belongs to us. Some defendants like John Luman think due process belongs to them. This idea is wonderfully old fashioned, and has origins in common law. Due process means that the process is due to us and that we define and lay forth the way the process works. We say what due process is. Due process serves us and helps keep your local taxes low. The judges agree with us, and we enjoy ex parte meetings with sessions court judges routinely without the defendant or his attorney being present.

If we had to follow the law, as local cranks insist, we would have to raise taxes. Obeying strict black-letter law would raise payroll expenses, increase friction and inefficiency in our operation, and reduce the number of arrests we can ultimately make. That would not serve the public interest. Fewer arrests would have evil consequences. A cutback would allow rampant criminality across the region — gun crimes, gang activity, careless use of motor vehicles, carelessness about the value of human life.

Our prosecutor operates on this basis all the times. Neal Pinkston, AKA Gen. Pinkston, understands that he is to view the people’s rights minimally and narrowly and the authority and power of the state grandly, broadly.

Thanks to the work of our allies in the Uniform Law Commission, our authority in fact reaches into every nook and cranny of human existence, the better to root out crime and disorder and establish public policy.

Rights belong to individuals, our people learned in law school. But they are hard for someone with a bird’s eye view to perceive, especially when we consider any one individual like Mr. Luman, and especially when the entire work of the court and Mr. Pinkston’s office is to press against them and allege and aver a crime. 

So, since rights attached to individuals are general and we cannot see them when we consider the whole, this perspective increases the efficiency of the state. The DA’s office, the judge’s office, whoever’s filling the seat, reduce the friction and drag upon the state’s operation and the taxpayer and enlarge the domain of due process belonging to the state.

Now you know.

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