Political figuresRemonstrance

Courts boss quits days before open records deadline hits in reporter’s arrest

Administrator of the court Deborah Tate’s “passion for those in need is palpable,” says her boss, chief justice Roger Page. (Photo Flickr)
Roger Page, chief among the justices of the Tennessee supreme court, foreground, ordained the arrest of a radio station reporter Nov. 6, 2021, as the state judiciary flouts the Tennessee open meetings act and the bill of rights in the constitution. (Photo AOC)

The head of the state’s judicial bureaucracy said Monday she is quitting, her news coming a day before a seven-day legal deadline to fulfill an open records request from a journalist she had arrested for covering the court system.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 96.9 FM

Deborah Tate, head of the administrative office of the courts, had refused to cede to demands by this reporter and NoogaRadio 96.9 FM midstate bureau chief Christopher Sapp that she stand down as they covered a judicial conference in Franklin, near Nashville, Nov. 4-6. 

Christopher Sapp, NoogaRadio bureau chief

Chief justice Roger Page, who oversees the AOC, said in a press statement that Mrs. Tate, an attorney, made progress over seven years “to ensure courts are more accessible and efficient whether through technological innovations or improved processes.” 

Mrs. Tate patently refused to provide Mr. Sapp with a press pass or log-in credentials required for online access to the conference in repudiation of Tennessee Const. art. 1§ 19 and the Open Meetings Act despite claims that she expanded “access to justice” and judicial “transparency.”

In my arrest on Nov. 6, I was dragged from my padded chair in the conference room at the Embassy Suites at Cool Springs as I sat quietly at a table behind my laptop, ready to exercise my rights and do my duty to listeners and readers.

An unidentified party at AOC convinced the hotel manager to “trespass” members of the press even though an AOC official stated in a Facebook video that the property is his and that he is asking me to leave.

‘Access to justice for all

Upon the hotel manager’s complaint, Franklin policeman William Orange bound my wrists behind my back and put me into a gurney and thrust me into an ambulance. I refused to cooperate in my arrest, and told them they’d have to carry me to the magistrate.

Mrs. Tate’s “passion for those in need is palpable,” says Justice Page. Her projects “have positively impacted our Tennessee court system and enhanced our No. 1 priority: access to justice for all.”

The court system March 13, 2020, went into a joint venture with the executive branch to overthrow constitutional government and create government by unitary administrative fiat, in abrogation of multiple constitutional provisions. 

The judiciary and Gov. Bill Lee agreed to ignore Tenn. Code Ann. 68-5-104 that vests the governor and health departments with authority to act against a contagion on condition that they make a “determination” of the agent of contagion. No such determination was made, and without an isolate of SARS-CoV-2, mitigation measures are without warrant.

Mrs. Tate’s role in the pandemic receives high praise from Justice Page. “Debi was instrumental in assisting the Court *** over the past 20 months to respond to the impact of a global pandemic, continue court operations and even to upgrade our remote technological capabilities to keep courts open for business.”

Gov. Lee is respondent in my lawsuit to enforce the law against him and local health administrator Becky Barnes. The parties admit to violating the law in their court pleadings, and pretend they are immune from a writ of mandamus on purported grounds that I have not shown personal harm from their acts.

Mrs. Tate’s last day on the job will be in January, according to a press release dated Dec. 2.

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