Luman refuses attorney in fighting ‘traffic’ arrest case

John Luman, right talks with attorney Melody Shekari after his hearing at criminal court Friday. At left is Gregory Parker, a welder who has a similar hearing the next day in a traffic case in Walker County, Ga. ( Photo david Tulis)

Free spirited traveling carpenter John Luman of Red Bank appears today before criminal court judge Don Poole to account for his bold use of the public right of way without being under a valid driver license.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7 FM

The main business Judge Poole wants to handle is whether Mr. Luman has an attorney and what happens next against Mr. Luman, a lanky white-haired Southern-style drawler, 65. Mr. Luman has argued that he is under no obligation to enter into a relationship with the state and obtain the privilege of being a driver or operator of a motor vehicle and a commercial user of the road.

The so-called traffic stop case draws the attention of local attorney Melody Shekari, who later offers to help Mr. Luman get a valid driver license. The former Democratic candidate and champion of the poor hears about what is really a tax case in which officer Timothy Denton, serving Sheriff Jim Hammond, arrested Mr. Luman on Jan. 3rd for the failure to exhibit a tax receipt, also known as a license plate on the back of his ratty work SUV, a Ford Explorer.

At the hearing, the jurist demands if Mr. Luman has an attorney. Mr. Luman says he has talked with several, including Steve Duggans, but that he “can’t in good conscience take one.” One of his grounds is that to obtain an attorney requires an admission of incompetence, and that attorneys represent the state and its interests, not the client and his liberties.

But Judge Poole remembers Mr. Luman’s earlier appearance before him on the “right to travel by car” prosecution. Altogether there have been six cases as cops and deputies fight to defeat his claims and uphold the state’s denial of any liberty of movement and free communications. These have been dismissed, Mr. Luman says.

“So you are going to represent yourself?” The judge says. “You can have a free” attorney in the public defender’s office, he says. On the position of his having no attorney, Judge Poole says, another hearing is needed and, “I’ll have I’ll ask you a lot of questions” about Mr. Luman’s pro se status.

An assistant district attorney pipes up. There is “another driving on revoked” against Mr. Luman in sessions court. Judge Poole sets the same date for the cases, Oct. 17, and says that Mr. Luman should show up in his court when sessions matters are over. “As soon as you get something down there come up here — OK? We’ll wait for you,” he says. 

The hearing will be a rearraignment. 

“Good luck to you,” the judge says.

Miss Shekari says she has helped other clients obtain driver licenses.

How is it possible for the charge of “driving on revoked” to stick, Mr. Luman says, when clearly his use of the road is not “driving” if the license is revoked,” but an activity allowed under another rubric, that of private use under constitutional protection

Keeping Mr. Luman company is Gregory Parker, who has a similar case set Saturday in Walker County criminal court. In that traffic arrest, deputies serving the sheriff, Steve Wilson, violated the welder and handy man with a strip search.

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