Common law rightsFree people vs. police stateJudicial reform

Judge Patterson frees pallet recycler Shameca in 108-day jailing on illicit warrant

Chattanooga defense attorney Phil Duvall arranges to bring relief to Shameca Burt, seized and imprisoned 108 days under a bogus warrant  in Hamilton County jail in Chattanooga. (Photo David Tulis)

Mugshotting of Shameca Burt in September following an arrest warrant process that excludes purported crime victim, that being Tractor Supply and its interest in discarded pallets. (Photo Chattanoogan)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 – Pallet recycler Shameca Lashon Burt makes appearance this afternoon in the criminal court of judge Boyd Patterson and within a minute learns that she is going to be freed from an entrapment sprung upon her by abuse of process in Hamilton County.

By David Tulis/ NoogaRadio Network

Mrs. Burt has been in jail since Sept. 17 when she was arrested on a “probation violation” in sessions court, where she’d been summoned on a traffic charge. She was arrested in the court on a warrant obtained by an illegal policy that forbids victims, fact witnesses and first-hand parties from swearing out the arrest warrant.

Boyd Patterson, criminal court judge, Hamilton County

She was imprisoned on “no bond” 108 days because only police officers or deputies are allowed to go before the magistrate – or judicial commissioner – to swear out criminal complaints in the form of arrest warrant.

This policy is devised by chief magistrate Lorrie Miller, who says there are problems when people are free to go to the magistrate themselves and submit to examination for the obtaining of a criminal arrest warrant.

Before the hearing began, Judge Patterson, standing in his black robe, addresses this reporter, sitting on the front row. I stood at attention and listened.

The judge said he received my 7-page analysis, in form of a letter to Mrs. Miller, and that he had looked at it but not read it carefully. He notes that it cites the constitution, the Tennessee code and the code of criminal procedures. He says he will review it thoroughly and discuss it with Judge Barry Steelman, a second of three criminal court judges in the county. I thank him for his consideration, and he says I should email him if I don’t hear back soon.

Mrs. Burt was arrested on a charge of theft. The charge is made by an employee at Tractor Supply Signal Mountain who alleged she was stealing five pallets next to a backlot dumpster. Mrs. Burt says she had been getting discard pallets for a year at the location. “You’re going to jail,” he said, according to Mrs. Burt; the main pointed a finger at her through the fence.

Lorrie Miller, chief magistrate of Hamilton County

The accusation acts as a hair trigger to “violate” her probation conditions. She is denied bond without a hearing.

At the hearing a young associate district attorney says the state is dropping the charge and assents to the balance of a 2-year suspended sentence being served on unsupervised probation, since Mrs. Burt makes a payment to solve the earlier theft charge involving a cash lender and misuse of ID. 

Attorney Duval says she made a payment to him and that it is in his practice trust account for disbursement. Mr. Duvall speaks highly of the DA Coty Wamp associate prosecutor who irons out the agreement regarding Mrs. Burt.

Many arrests corrupt as magistrate denies complainant duty to swear to alleged crime

Coty Wamp is district attorney in Hamilton County

Mrs. Miller’s policy rejects the requirement of examination of the victim or first-hand witness. The cop is the party under miller policy who obtains the arrest warrant by swearing it out with hearsay material. The policy rejects the role of the victim or first-hand witness, that person being put under oath before God and under the felony perjury statute to not lie in an official proceeding.

A hearing before a magistrate to swear out a warrant requires the magistrate give a searching “examination” to determine if a crime has been committed by the person at whom the finger of accusation is being pointed.

Mr. Duvall says he is excited at the outcome of the case. Mr. Duvall says he is concerned about similar other practices, such as judges’ on “no bond” without a bond hearing first.

Careful of due process, and aware of employee slippages in government offices, Mr. Duval ducks back behind the door for judges and attorneys to make sure the assistant to Judge Patterson sends the release order to Silverdale detention center.

Next, Mrs. Burt will want to obtain an order directing the clerk of court to begin the expungement process of the theft case.


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