This report is made to describe what is believed to be corrupt practices in and around Jackson, Tenn., and other areas of Tennessee.
Irregular Creation and Keeping of Records
JACKSON, Tenn., Friday In 2019 I was surprised by being arrested and charged for driving on a suspended license in that I had never made application for or received the license allegedly suspended. At the time that the suspension occurred I was living in Texas. After some months of the matter not being resolved, I thought that perhaps I had been a victim of identity theft and made an Identity Theft Report, FTC Report Number 11164400, to the Federal Trade Commission.
By Danny Murphy
Later, I discovered that in 2017, David W. Purkey, the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS), admitted in federal court that an individual’s license may be revoked even if the individual has never had a driver’s license. The Commissioner assigns a license number to the individual and notes the license as “revoked.” THOMAS and HIXSON vs. HASLAM, et.al., Case No. 3:17-0005 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Document 64, ¶ 31.
My supposed suspension was under different circumstances than existed in that case, but the same basic mechanism was used. I find no authority provided by the Tennessee Legislature for TDOSHS to make and keep records of non-licensees. The Legislature has given authority for TDOSHS to make and keep records for licensees and applicants and has mandated that copies be kept for all applications for license and all licenses as issued. Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) §55-50-204. Court proceedings have shown that TDOSHS does not have copies of an application for license or a copy of the license for the suspended license in my case. Similar issues have been decided against Virginia in Damian Stinnie v. Richard Holcomb, No. 21-1756 (4th Cir. 2022).
By creating records of suspended licenses without legislative authority and without permission of the person identified in that record by way of an application for the license, the Tennessee Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security has committed acts of identity theft and tampering with governmental records.
Jackson Police Department
The Tennessee Legislature has provided, in the city charter, for the City of Jackson to have its own separate vehicle registration system and driver license requirement for vehicles operated within the city’s jurisdiction. Such requirements have been established by ordinance and organized in the Jackson Municipal Code (JMC). Chapter 15, MOTOR VEHICLES, TRAFFIC AND PARKING, https://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/system/files/codes/combined/Jackson-code.pdf.
The city police have been charged with the duty of enforcing the traffic regulations of the City. The city police are thereby empowered to enforce the city’s traffic regulations and are directed by the JMC to have violators taken to the City Court for trial. Many of the city’s traffic regulations are essentially the same as the corresponding state law except that such cases are to be tried in the City Court rather than a state court.
Generally, by state law and municipal code, persons accused of traffic violations by city police are to be allowed to sign a citation and be released. TCA §§ 7-63-101 — 104. Otherwise, the city court judge or clerk is to take a bond from the accused person. JMC §15-110. The municipal code does not make provision for jailing a person accused of a traffic offense for failing to make a bond although this is permitted by the city charter and state law.
The city police appear to have a long-standing custom in traffic stops of checking driver licenses and vehicle registrations and charging alleged violations as state law violations rather city ordinance violations. However, state law concerning driver licenses is found in Chapter 50 of Title 55 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, which limits administration of that chapter to TDOSHS. TCA § 55-50-201. Also, requirements to provide registration documents is limited to officers of the Tennessee Department of Revenue. TCA §§55-4-108 and 55-1-111(2). Similar charges may be available as city ordinance violations, but that is often not used.
Often such alleged violators are taken directly to the jail without first taking the person before a magistrate for a probable cause hearing in violation of state law procedures requiring such hearing and in violation of requirements of the Tennessee and Federal Constitutions. The municipal code requires that “Upon the filing of such original citation in the city court, the citation may be disposed of only by trial in the court or by other official action of the court.” JMC §15-111.
The police appear to have an irregular procedure of invoking state law to make an arrest but fail to follow proper state prescribed procedures to jail someone and then revert to the procedures prescribed in the Jackson Municipal Code for processing an ordinary traffic citation, JMC §15-111, whereby no incarceration is involved.
The City of Jackson has been sued for acts of its police department, and agreed to settle with the payment of damages. Cox V. City Of Jackson, Tennessee, Case No. 1-19-cv-01026 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. However, this police department continues the same practices.
The City of Jackson relies on revenues from the city court to the point that there is an item in the city budget for these revenues. While this is not a quota system per se, the employees in the city can see this expectation shown in the budget, measure their progress through the year in reaching such a goal, and encourage each other to work harder toward reaching that goal so as to not disappoint their employer.
Lack of Arrest Warrant, Affidavit of Complaint and Probable Cause Hearing
Allegations concerning acts committed in 2017 made in the federal case cited in the previous paragraph include, “Plaintiffs allege that the City violated their constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by failing to obtain properly sworn arrest warrants and/or affidavits of complaint based upon a finding of probable cause prior to arresting and detaining them, and that the municipality had an ongoing practice, policy, or custom of doing so. Plaintiffs further aver that the Defendant failed to properly train its employees in the appropriate procedures to be utilized in obtaining arrest warrants and/or affidavits of complaint. In addition, the Plaintiffs allege conspiracy among City employees to deprive them of their constitutional rights.”