Free people vs. police statePersecutionsRight to travel

TN trucker challenges notorious trap for rig operators in New Boston, Texas

These buildings contain, left, the New Boston police department and, right, the city council meeting room and the municipal court, ruled over by a courtly cowboy-hat wearing judge, Stephen Young. (Photo Google)
Michael James of Chattanooga is challenging a New Boston, Texas, misdemeanor ticket on grounds the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction. (Photo David Tulis)
Bottom left, the blue dot marks the entrance of the James Bowie Drive, which is marked “no trucks.” At right is the trucker lure, the local Wal-Mart. The building in the middle houses the local office of the Texas police supervisory agency, aka the Texas department of public safety. (Photo Google Earth)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., March 6, 2023 – A Tennessee truck driver is challenging what two truck driver listeners tell me is a notorious trap.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio Network

The snare is a truck-banning frontage road leading to an East Texas town’s Wal-Mart with signs posted by New Boston, Texas, city government. The challenger is a bachelor rig operator Michael James, who is doing his own legal work in building a record of what he sees is entrapment, due process violations and extortion in proceedings in municipal court at the hand of a city court judge.

New Boston police chief Gary McCrary threatens Tennessee trucker Michael James with arrest after he insists on his rights following a no-show by the judge, ordering him away from the “courthouse” property so he cannot see that, indeed, the judge is arriving and intends to be present for court.

Mr. James is set for his third hearing in the matter Thursday, March 9.

It’s in the same Bowie County city in which a jury in October 2022 convicted a woman for capital murder who had killed a woman to rip a baby from her womb to call him her own. New Boston is just west of Texarkana on the Texas-Arkansas line.

Mr. James is waylaid by the New Boston’s truck ban at the Wal-Mart fronting I-30.

He describes a “no trucks” trap that involves a sign posted too late for a truck to turn around and not go down a public road delivering travelers to a Wal-Mart facing Interstate 30, an east-west route, according to Mr. James. 

Coming off the interstate, a driver comes onto McCoy Boulevard, a main drag, and takes an immediate left turn onto James Bowie Drive. This access road leads to several facilities, including Bowie County court officials and the Texas department of public safety.

Fully engaged on James Bowie drive, a driver passes a “no trucks.” sign, Mr. James says. The hauler can do nothing but continue on and arrive at the parking lot of the Wal-Mart, where officers await to ticket the driver and operator, he says. Earlier turnoffs and turnarounds are not adequate for a turn by an 18-wheeler, Mr James says.

Mr. James passes the sign on a rainy and foggy night. He says it is 60 feet from the intersection and that he doesn’t see it. In the Wal-Mart lot, officer Robert Daniel asks if he had seen the “no trucks” sign, and issues him a ticket. 

Entrance clearly marked

Asked if he is “aware of the James Bowie Drive truck trap,” Mayor Ronald Humphrey retorts in an interview. “I am aware that there is on James Bowie Drive signage posted throughout the street off of every turn, off of Highway 8, that says ‘truck traffic prohibited, except for those making deliveries.’”

A Google street map from 2021 confirms Mr. Humphrey’s words. On left and right of the entrance Mr. James takes, truck forbidden signs. And, over the intersection, another of what the mayor calls “definite signage. *** They’re definitely not new. I’ve lived here most of my life *** and I’ve seen ‘em there most of my life.” Another street view shows a backup sign that says, “Wal-Mart trucks” 200 feet down James Bowie Drive.

No-truck signs stand at the entrance of James Bowie Boulevard, leading down to the New Boston Wal-Mart store. (Photo Google)

Mr. Humphrey says he is not aware of any evil reputation New Boston may have among truckers. “But it is not a truck trap. It is well signed.” 

The mayor says at the third left-turning street, also called James Bowie Boulevard, bears a no-truck signs. Google Street View bears him out, one on the right side of the road addressing the intersection. 

Mr. Humphrey says he is not aware of any evil reputation New Boston may have among truckers. “But it is not a truck trap. It is well signed.” 

The truck ban forces travelers in rigs to park elsewhere and walk to the Wal-Mart, the mayor says.

Truckers pay $181 fine

A small place on the map — a big red warning flag in the minds of truck driver listeners of NoogaRadio Network.

The “VCO truck on prohibited street” charge usually is settled. Most truckers pay the F$181 fine as the price of doing business, and remember on future trips to make no traffic at the registers of the New Boston Wal-Mart unless they walk to the store.

Mr. James does what other truckers don’t. He arrives in the municipal court to challenge subject matter jurisdiction. He makes two appearances thus far. He files at first a six-page motion to dismiss, and after a second appearance he files a 11-page motion to dismiss with exhaustive analysis of the racket’s janky presentation and lack of legal basis. It’s main grounds: Lack of subject matter jurisdiction

“You are required to to appear in person at the City Council Chambers *** on or before the aforementioned date, and should you not appear, a failure to appear charge may be filed and a warrant may be issued for your arrest.” 

Options for the trucker include guilty (send in the money), not guilty (“You must check trial by judge or trial by jury,” the letter says), and nolo contendere, which is the same as pleading guilty — just pay the F$181.

Standing ground with legal basis

Mr. James chooses an option that is obliquely mentioned in the letter. It states, “NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a show cause hearing  *** has been scheduled for Thursday, January 12, 2023 *** .”

That’s it — a show cause hearing. Demanding a show cause hearing is Mr. James’ best option, recognizing his legal rights for a show cause hearing, Mr. James contends. And that is making appearance and challenging subject matter jurisdiction. That is done before entering a plea or accepting the authority of the court or the lawfulness of the citation.

Mr. James says entering a plea waives the crucial question of whether the charge and the case are sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. In other words, are the ticket and the alleged offense genuine matters of law upon which the city employee playing the role of judge can exercise state authority in a criminal matter?

Summons to show cause hearing

This letter is dressed up as government business under color of law. Few truckers contest the fines they get on two “no truck” roads leading to a Wal-Mart in a small Texas town west of the eastern border of the state.

It’s not clear how a city court can hold a trial by jury, as the document pretends. American municipal courts are administrative enforcers of ordinances upon residents, and generally do not involve juries, but judge findings of fact and law. Tennessee municipal courts have no punitive authority, but operate under a F$50 fine limit per constitutional limitation, and have authority to levy fees in the nature of civil liquidated damages (City of Chattanooga v. Davis, 54 S.W.3d 248 (Tenn. 2001)).

A show cause hearing, as Mr. James says, is for the officer to show his cause, with the entire proceeding upon him and his evidence or cause. Mr. James insists on interrogating the officer and the judge demands he enter a plea. As Mr. James tells it in his filing:

To which the city court says, “Well, I just plead ‘not guilty’ for you. This is your arraignment and you’re supposed to plea.”

Accused respectfully argues NO, it’s not. “This is the officer’s show cause hearing, not my arraignment,” which the city of New Boston municipal court letter dated Dec. 29, 2022, says and contradicts Judge [Stephen] Young MISTRUTHS in open court to me. 

Accused states “The city court has NO “subject matter jurisdiction” to forward and/or to adjudicate the case, but must dismiss the case ministerially.”

Racketeering operation? 

Twice, Mr. James interrupts his profitable travels and makes appearance in New Boston. Had he not shown up, a warrant would have been issued for his arrest. Twice, the cop is no show.

The details of these encounters appear in an affidavit and motion to dismiss, in which he cites glitches in due process sufficient to warrant immediate dismissal with prejudice.

Ronald Humphrey is the City of New Boston mayor

➤ The judge refuses to dismiss despite no subject matter jurisdiction, asking if Mr. James wants the case sent to the next level, the county court (he says no; a void case cannot be transferred by a court with no subject matter jurisdiction).

➤  The court has no subject jurisdiction because no city ordinance authorizes the sign, nor places any limit or control on James Bowie Drive, which is a public road, meaning open to the public, Mr. James says.

➤ The sign is not in keeping with the ​​Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, and not of a type authorized

➤ The sign constitutes entrapment, and interferes with federally regulated parties involved in interstate commerce, the accused says.

➤ The accusations against Mr. James are criminal in nature. In Texas, municipal corporation courts do not have criminal jurisdiction, Mr. James says. And how, he demands, is an unsworn charging instrument valid as a charging instrument in a criminal matter?

James Bowie Boulevard starts at the blue dot, bottom left. Once turned onto the road, a tractor-trailer rig driver has no choice but to go to the end, and turn around in the New Boston, Texas, Wal-Mart, top right, — where a city officer awaits with pen and citation booklet. A second route to the store is at the right that travelers from the interstate highway are not wont to use. Both are marked as banning trucks. (Photo Google Earth)

➤ Lori Hancock the clerk refuses to enter filings as filed, and does not give them to the judge. Mr. James says she is in violation of her oath under state law, and party to fraud.

Says Mr. James at the end of his affidavit:

The case is an ambush, turning innocent acts by truck drivers in interstate commerce into a crime for purpose of ticketing and extracting money from them in breach of Texas penal code § 31.02, extortion, and accused’s right of free movement and communication upon the federal highways.

At least two or more persons in the municipal corporation appear to conspire or go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another, for the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws.

Do trucker gripes about tickets rile council?

Does city council approve of two roads closed to trucks along a busy interstate, denying business to the city’s biggest local taxpayer, Wal-Mart, and generating cash flow from fines on wary truckers? (Photo New Boston government)

Trucker attacks New Boston case

Ink on paper — Mr. James’ 1st motion to dismiss

‘State of Texas’ vs. James — 3rd hearing set

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