Free people vs. police statePersecutions

Grand jury to hear bid to ‘red tape’ traffic case in limbo following false arrest

Austin Garrett, sheriff of Hamilton County, runs a general warrants scheme and imposes the state trucking law on nontruckers. (Photo HCSO)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 — My case insisting a criminal prosecution over my license and a damaged taillight be heard in the state capitol is going to the Hamilton County grand jury.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio Network

Christine Sell, sessions court judge, hands me the documents to ink my name 4x on two criminal misdemeanor packets waiving the “right to a preliminary hearing” and the right to have an attorney after I object to her proposal for a second hearing on grounds of no subject matter jurisdiction. That will give Jason DeMastis, the assistant DA charged with my case, a chance to pursue the case, or simply pitch it. That’s likely what DA Coty Wamp will direct, knowing a jury trial is no threat to me, and knowing that traffic cases like mine are not serving the public interest nor in line with her political acumen to prosecute real crime. 

“I am here in a special appearance because I am challenging the jurisdiction of the court,” I say, “both subject matter jurisdiction and in personam jurisdiction.” 

She says the hearing today does not involve the officer, and perhaps I want to hear the state’s case at another hearing. 

“I object to any further hearing,” I tell the judge. “This court has no subject matter jurisdiction, and doesn’t have any authority to deal with this matter — it cannot enter into any of the merits of the state’s case but can only hold this case from the outside, as it were, and dismiss it ministerially,” I say, “as it lacks authority to hear a matter that is administrative in nature.”

The ADA sits with a colleague at his table, silent. 

I explain that since the two charges are under Title 55, pertaining to a state privilege and license, the matter over my damaged RAV4 taillight is due to be heard in the administrative agency, especially “since I am asserting the right in my defense against the state of Tennessee to have it exhaust its administrative remedies in a contested case hearing at Foster Ave. in Nashville.”

I cite the Tennessee uniform administrative procedures act in Title 4, chapter 5. A brief in her hand shows that matters touching on a license are civil, under administrative law, citing McMinnville Freight Line, Inc. v. Atkins, 514 S.W.2d 725, 726–27 (Tenn. 1974), “[T]he grant or refusal of a license to use public highways in commerce is purely an administrative question.”  

She says she is sitting in the place of sessions judge Alex McVeigh, and has not read my 17pp affidavit and pre-plea remedy and avoidance. She suggests she doesn’t want to step on his toes if he has read the pre-plea remedy filing and has a plan for the case. 

She also had in the packet my two-page draft order to dismiss, taking account of my analysis. I had filed it with the clerk on the floor below before going to the court.

“You need to prepare a grand jury packet, sent to the foreman of the grand jury, and say, ‘This is unripe, this is why the court doesn’t have jurisdiction on it, , and this is why it’s not ripe for the grand jury to hear either,” says Christopher Sapp, midstate bureau chief. “I would send a certified copy to [safety] commissioner Long, the state attorney general, and the district attorney general, as well as the grand jury foreman.

Judge Sell denies my right to record my hearing without citing the law at T.C.A.20-9-104, which says “[i]t is lawful for attorneys representing parties in proceedings in any of the courts of this state to use tape recorders as an aid in making notes of the proceedings.”


  1. David Tulis

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