Financial responsibility caseRight to travel

Notice to DA starts push to halt illegal insurance prosecutions

Criminal sessions court judge Larry Ables, left, and others get a break as firefighters check the Hamilton County courts building after smoke alarms blare. (Photo Hamilton County’s office)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023 — Since nearly 100 percent of prosecutions over “mandatory insurance” in Tennessee are outside of the law, I today serve administrative notice on Coty Wamp, district attorney for Hamilton County.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio Network

For many years prosecutors have thrust criminal charges against travelers, motorists, drivers and operators using cars and trucks in her Chattanooga district who are liable for performance to T.C.A. § 55-12-101 et seq only after a qualifying crash.

Over the past five years, 408,800 people have been criminally charged and convicted or “driving without insurance,” according to the department of revenue’s press office. The convictions are upon people who have not had crashes to trigger the operation of the law upon, and hence are abusive and unconscionable.

“No, no,” assistant district attorney Paul Moyle and chief homicide prosecutor says as Miss Wamp is not available. “I’m the one in charge.” He steps into the small DA’s office lobby in the county court’s building.

Coty Wamp serves attorney general Jonathan Skrmetti as state prosecutor in the district. This reporter is demanding that prosecutions under the auto financial responsibility act be halted for being outside the scope of the law immediately.

“I’m the investigative reporter,” I offer, “and I have found that Title 55, chapter 12, the financial responsibility act, is being misenforced.”

“Hm! You mean, not enforced?”

“No, it’s being enforced ultra vires.”

“OK, so —”

“In a nutshell, what the statute says and the key cases — Burris and Erwin — say is that we are an after-crash state. And what that means is that you don’t have to show financial responsibility until after the crash.”


“And, the stub for an insurance policy is one of the proofs. YOu can have a bond — a surety bond. You can have an affidavit showing the parties have settled. Or you can send the commissioner of safety a F$60,000 check. Those are the four ways you show responsibility under that law. But it’s being enforced by the DA’ office and Jonathan Skrmetti, whom I have also demanded a fix on the problem — that everyone has to have insurance as if we were a ‘mandatory insurance’ state.


“But Burris says we’re not. Erwin says we’ve been designedthat way since ’50 when it was passed.”

I tell him I have informed Mr. Skrmetti, treasury comptroller Jason Mumpower and the revenue commissioner David Gerregano about complying with “as misfiseasances and malfeasances are afoot.”

“OK,” Mr. Moyle says.

“I live here, and would like these things to be considered.” 

I request a meeting with Miss Wamp.

“What I’ll do is, I’ll give her a copy of this and I’ll say you are requesting a meeting,” Mr. Moyle says.

Says Miss Wamp in a press release after naming Mr. Moyle on June 2, 2023, to her team, “He is one of the most knowledgeable and talented prosecutors I have had the privilege of serving with and is a relentless advocate for victims.”

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