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In 348 words, Tulis keeps traffic case alive in VA court of appeals

This member of the David Tulis family is appealing a conviction for “improper driving” in Virginia’s appellate court on grounds of denial of due process and denial of proper notice in the trooper’s use of the Virginia uniform summons. (Photo David Tulis)

A beleaguered traveler through Virginia has made a full-on attack on the state’s approved police extortion and fee-grabbing racket by appealing a reckless driving case to Richmond.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio

The Tulis family member was charged in 2019 with reckless driving, stood trial in Smythe County district and circuit courts, and appealed her conviction on “improper driving” on grounds of the Virginia uniform summons being a congenitally failed form that forbids the officer from narrating a criminal offense and stating all the essential elements of the crime of reckless driving.

The court of appeals initially said no go on the petition. It said five of the eight assignments of error drew from wrongs in the district court that the unnamed judge said are not subject to review as a matter of law. It also said the petition lacked a statement of facts or record, and so that made it impossible for the remaining assignments of error to be considered.

The court reversed itself, according to an email, and assigned the petition to a three-judge panel to determine if the judge that denied the petition had done right.

Here’s the argument in the Tulis petition, one limited by court rules to 350 words. It comes in at 348 words.

The court has authority to hear seven appellant’s errors because the language of § 17.1-406 is not “restrictive” in a way applicable to instant case. It may hear a petition “from any final conviction in a circuit court of a traffic infraction or a crime.” This case is a final conviction in circuit. Canova, O’Malley and Southerly do not limit the court’s review of a universal due process abuse in Virginia, timely raised in circuit in praecipe, with the state lacking any essential facts and instrument to prosecute.

The court says error Nos. 1-4 and 8 “pertain to issues from the general district court, not the circuit court” (emphasis added). 

The court has a point on one error. No. 2 (denial of evidentiary hearing) is about district. 

But No. 1 applies to both courts. No. 3 addresses circuit failure “to take judicial notice of the statute and rules requiring due process of the complaint.” No. 4 (failure to produce competent witness as to essential elements) cites action in “the courts” below. No. 8, squarely about the summons, is also meritorious, touching on circuit. Does pro se appellant’s naming district court combust — “[bar]” — her assignments? The court must reject the gatekeeper’s claims if justice is intended.

Appellant gives a brief statement of facts on p. 8 of her petition. “If the transcript of a proceeding is indispensable to the determination of the case, *** ” the rules must be followed, says Smith v. Commonwealth (emphasis added). The judge says Rule 5A:8, which controls transcripts, requires one. In instant case, no transcript is required. The case is purely a matter of law regarding a state form. A transcript of circuit doings is unnecessary to reach the legal issues. The commonwealth is defending a nonjusticiable action; it has no facts, no essential elements stated in the charging instrument, and no case. 

This case is properly before the court. The petition empowers the court to give remedy to appellant and Virginians from abuses recorded herein.

Appellant demands her pleadings be heard by the full court in the interest of justice.

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