CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024 — My case to halt secret policy meetings in the Tennessee judiciary finds an ally in a federal judge who is unmoved by my bid to halt an abuse keenly felt nationally by members of his race.
Waverly Crenshaw, chief judge of a federal court district centered in Nashville, rips my lawsuit as untimely filed because he denies there is any continuing irreparable harm mentioned in my slim 14-page complaint, and that of warrantless arrest which is the highest of several lofty aims of the litigation.
Other high goals are ending the ban on public attendance of the Tennessee judicial conference and overthrowing the unconstitutional citations statute in Tennessee at T.C.A. § 40-7-118.
But the most vital is defeat of general warrants in Tennessee. General warrants are forbidden in state and federal constitution, and give police and deputies an enormous power to abuse the public. I guess that if the Orange injunction, part of my suit, survives the three-judge panel in the 6th circuit court of appeals, it will cut arrests in Franklin, Tenn., by as much as 60 percent.
That’s an outrage to that town, which prefers no constitutional protections for the public. The injunction forces its cops, such as William Orange, to get warrants in many, many misdemeanor cases now handled on the spot without a warrant, but with citation or physical seizure.
Appellant is a journalist suing for false imprisonment and false arrest covering the Tennessee judicial conference in Franklin, Tenn., Nov. 6, 2021. His case is tossed on findings of insufficiency of facts in the complaint to extend the instance of harm to a second date (that of jailing and booking) leading to conclusion of untimely filing of the complaint.
This appeal intends to show that the Nov. 11, 2021, booking continues the harm of false arrest and false imprisonment, resurrecting the case in which appellant asks for lenity in being allowed to amend to secure all the elements necessary for at-law damages relief under 42 USC § 1983 and for equitable and civic-minded injunctive relief, which portions of the complaint contain enough factual material and allegation to allow appellant to say he is amending, not bringing up new issues or facts.
The complaint seeks equity relief and injunction for ongoing harm to petitioner on two fronts — one being illegally secret meetings among Tennessee judges that he demands be ordered open after defendant Roger Page, the then-Tennessee supreme court chief justice, ordains his false arrest covering the conference; the other being illicit warrantless misdemeanor arrests in violation of T.C.A. § 40-7-103, arrest by officer without warrant, and the Tennessee and U.S. bill of rights. Dismissal sinks these claims unjustly, and defeats pleas for relief for at-law damages and equitable compensation from false imprisonment and false arrest.
Appellant asks review stating that his at-law claim for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are not time barred because booking and jailing are not only unjust imprisonment, a second arrest, but in Tennessee imposed under an unconstitutional citations statute, T.C.A. § 40-7-118, which issue is raised for the first time as a matter of law after entry of all defendants’ motions to dismiss allege untimely filed complaint. The clerk received the complaint by mail Nov. 9, 2022. This appeal defends the sufficiency of the complaint that counts the booking in a jail as a harm, even though the trial court says petitioner complains only of the road trip by car to get to Williamson County where the jail sits.
The suit is against the then-chief justice of the Tennessee supreme court, Roger Page; his education manager John Crawford; city of Franklin, Tenn.; its employee officer William Orange; and Atrium Hospitality, owner of the hotel rented by AOC, the Tennessee administrator of the courts, for its judicial conference Nov. 6, 2021.
The case has substantial public and civic interest, as appellant is a radio journalist seeking to defeat oppression by investigative press exposure and this lawsuit. Pending in the case are a motion for summary judgment and two petitions for permanent injunction. One intends to uphold the 1st amendment-protected rights and crack open secret judicial conferences run by judicial defendants in their official capacity (they are being sued personally, to scare them out of illegal and capricious activity and back into their offices). A second injunction is upon city of Franklin to cease and desist a longstanding program of unconstitutional general warrants premised on malicious misreading of T.C.A. § 40-5-103, warrantless arrest, grounds, and the state and federal bills of right.
Appellant files Request to vacate, plea to amend complaint. It asks the court to “vacate its order and alter the judgment” in its memorandum opinion and order. It states “Plaintiff would cite further constitutional authority to allow him to secure the court’s authority on state-law violations, and add factual details to amend the complaint to bring the entirety from the realm of possible to that of plausible” (doc. No. 66, PageID # 450).
The court denies the petition on two main grounds. (1) That the court says it considered “factual allegations on the sufficiency of Tulis’ purported infringement claims; found that none of his claims ‘even gesture[d] at an ongoing harm,’” and the order concludes “Tulis ‘simply did not’ bring a claim regarding ‘an ongoing infringement’ that could be remedied by amendment.” (2) The court says appellant “may not re-argue a case or to present arguments or evidence that should have been before the Court at the time judgment entered.” The order says appellant “identifies no error of law, newly discovered evidence, change in controlling law, or manifest injustice that would support relief from the judgment, the Rule 59(e) Motion (Doc. No. 66) is DENIED” (doc. No. 73, PageID # 489).
Basis for review
Appellant herein lodges claim of his right to amend his complaint under FRCP Rule 60(b)(1), mistake or inadvertence, and Rule 59(e), manifest injustice of significant rights deprivation receiving the court’s consent despite adequacy of the complaint as to ongoing irreparable harm.
The continuing harms are on two levels. One is that the false imprisonment and false arrest claims include the day of jailing and booking, described in law and jail paperwork Nov. 11, 2021, as an arrest. These harms are sufficiently present in the complaint to give defendants notice to save the petitioner from having to amend. The second level is the set of continuing equitable harms of two sets of defendants – 1st amendment-violating secrecy of judicial defendants’ annual conferences, and municipal defendants’ general warrants practices violating the 4th amendment and explicit state law at T.C.A. § 40-7-103.
Rule 60(b)(1) allows for amendment. The ruling authorities are Kensu v. Corizon, Inc., 5 F.4th 646 (6th Cir. 2021) and U.S. ex rel. Garst v. Lockheed-Martin Corp., 328 F.3d 374, 376 (7th Cir. 2003), the first case involving two amendments of a complaint, the second three. “[T]he district judge concluded that this complaint is so sprawling as to be essentially incomprehensible (a Rule 8 problem) and that despite the bloat it lacks details outlining fraud (a Rule 9 shortcoming). Instead of dismissing this complaint, the judge directed Garst to file a more definite statement. *** Garst responded with 23 single-spaced pages plus 25 new attachments. The statement is loaded with so many acronyms and cross-references to the third amended complaint (plus its attachments) that no one could understand it without juggling multiple documents. Concluding that matters had taken a turn for the worse, the district judge threw up his hands and dismissed the complaint, with prejudice, for Garst’s inability or unwillingness to conform his pleadings to Rules 8 and 9” Garst at 376.
Appellant doesn’t claim his complaint meets the standard of “chaste, Doric simplicity” Davis v. Ruby Foods, Inc., 269 F.3d 818, 820 (7th Cir. 2001), but verbal economy in that direction take “short and plain” too far.
Sufficiency of complaint
The issue of filing timeliness materializes in defendants’ notions to dismiss with “untimely filed” arguments made by all. Petitioner’s analysis of jailing, commitment to jail and booking as a harm is properly made in response in his answer to the last-received motion from defendant Orange. Petitioner says booking = commitment to jail = breach of state law and constitutional rights = a harm cited in the complaint, a seizure with no antecedent probable cause in a case in which the Tennessee court determines he has a right to be in the conference and stand his ground, under arrest and imprisonment without probable cause. In this answer, Response to Orange motion to dismiss (doc. 37, PageID # 222; see PageID ## 375-384 for analysis of Tennessee citation law), petitioner says T.C.A. § 40-7-118 is unconstitutional, primarily because it requires commitment to jail prior to adjudication.
The court says a key sentence in the complaint lacks enough detail to inform defendants that appellant views the booking as a harm. Amendment to add to that material does not “assert a new cause of action,” as defendants assert. Rather, jailing is in the complaint, the court refuses to see it as among harms claimed, exercising discretion amiss; hence petitioner requests leave to amplify what is in the complaint by inference, if not explicitly, that jailing is a harm extending the false imprisonment from Nov. 6, 2021, through Nov. 11, 2021, when he visits Williamson County to report to the jail under a criminal citation in a warrantless arrest without probable cause.
Appellant asks the court to review the at-law claims for damages under false imprisonment and false arrest under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He asks review of his parallel equitable claim of continuing irreparable harms against his rights as a member of the public and of the press, that of illegally secret judicial conferences by administrator of the courts (AOC), overseen by defendant Roger Page operating in these harms entirely outside any official capacity, and of warrantless arrest practices by municipal defendants that facilitate the officer tort of false imprisonment and false arrest in violation of clearly enunciated constitutional polity and state law.
The court defeats the suit by saying it is untimely filed because the false imprisonment and false arrest harms alleged end Nov. 6, 2021, the date he is rolled out of the judicial meeting room in a gurney (refusing to use either of his two legs to cooperate). A state court affirms he is on scene by right under the state constitution and the state open meetings law at T.C.A. § 8-44-101 et seq, stating “that the formation of public policy and decisions is public business and shall not be conducted in secret.”
The denial of petitioner’s claims for a prolonged arrest covering two days — Nov. 6, 2021, at the Embassy Suites Cool Springs hotel run by defendant Atrium, and Nov. 11, 2021, booking at Williamson County, Tenn. — is on grounds that appellant “complained merely about the drive” to jail and not about the harm of imprisonment and booking at the jail.
Tulis did not cite the booking as one of his eleven instances of alleged harm; he complained merely about the drive to the booking. (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 26). But Tulis’s drive to be booked at a time and date convenient to him does not constitute a Fourth Amendment deprivation.
Court’s order Doc. 64, PageID # 446
In footnote 1, the court states “Tulis does not cite the booking itself as an alleged instance of harm.” (Doc. 64, PageID # 439). In footnote 8, the court cites body camera footage indicating that the date of the booking is “not forced upon Tulis” because video shows him asking defendant officer Orange if he could go to be booked that day, and Orange says yes. “It is difficult to fathom how the burden of driving from Soddy-Daisy to Williamson County and back for booking was not, at least in part, self-inflicted” (Doc. No. 64, PageID 447).
The court says petitioner complains only of “traveling” to Franklin, Tenn., and that “[n]one [of complaint’s provisions] even gesture at an ongoing harm” (italics original). The complaint’s 26th paragraph states the following:
In a 10th instance of false imprisonment — which includes compelling a person to go to a place to which he does not wish to go if he were at liberty — Orange and his employer city of Franklin extort plaintiff to make two road trips in furtherance of their unwarranted deprivation by yet another method, a malicious prosecution of their criminal case under color of state law requiring plaintiff travel from Soddy-Daisy to Franklin a total of 612 miles by car. The first trip to the Williamson County jail is for booking, absent any finding by a magistrate of probable cause, injuring plaintiff in his rights. A second trip is Dec. 14, 2021, to a hearing in general sessions court on probable cause for the arrest.
(Doc. No. 1, PageID # 8)
The court suggests appellant is aggrieved by the time and distance between Soddy-Daisy and Franklin. From the above excerpt, the sentence decried as insufficient is this one:
The first trip to the Williamson County jail is for booking, absent any finding by a magistrate of probable cause, injuring plaintiff in his rights. A second trip is Dec. 14, 2021, to a hearing in general sessions court on probable cause for the arrest.
(Doc. No. 1, PageID # 8)
Had the jail been across the street from petitioner’s house, the harm would be the same. The harm is not distance from house to jail. It is the abuse of process, the complaint says, booking “absent any finding by a magistrate of probable cause, injuring plaintiff in his rights” (Doc. No. 1, PageID # 8). The clear meaning, based on sentence structure, is that “booking” on “the first trip” is described further as “injuring plaintiff in his rights.” Thus defendants are apprised that jailing is an event of which appellant complains as an element of false imprisonment and false arrest.
Appellant petition’s reference to the “first trip to the Williamson County jail *** for booking” serves to highlight what awaits there, not travel by auto “at a date and time convenient to him” (PageID 446), as the court sees it.
Appellant is aggrieved at the swinging of a fist, as it were, not the striking of knuckles on his jaw, according to the court. It’s like saying, “Defendant fired at plaintiff,” but seeing only the pulling of the trigger as the thing complained of, and not the bullet hitting the aggrieved.
Court reference to the gold coin in a “bucket of mud” (Doc. no. 64, PageID # 443) is intended to suggest appellant puts too much work on the court and the defendants, fails to deliver clear and factual claims.
No essential facts of the harms alleged fail to appear in the complaint. If they are not stated, they appear by necessary inference. Given the instrument’s 14 pages, with appellant not a lawyer but his pleadings “[containing] many of the hallmarks of a professionally prepared complaint,” (Doc. No. 64, PageID # 443), petitioner asks the court to view the facts in the complaint as a gold coin not at bottom of mud, but on the surface, sufficiently “identify[ing] the allegations really at issue” Kensu v. Corizon, Inc., 5 F.4th 646, 651 (6th Cir. 2021), cited by the court.
The trial court gives not the slightest grace to petitioner to see the complaint as sufficient as to the booking harm or to amend his complaint to reach the case’s merits. Kensu deals with a prisoner’s “too long and unclear” 500-page complaint in which the court “gave him two chances to amend” and “identified the specific problems to correct” and “gave specific examples.” The court is respectful of prison inmate Kensu, and just in its demeanor toward him.
Plaintiff Kensu takes up the court’s recommendation. His “second amended complaint,” still retains irrelevant and unspecified allegations. Patiently, “the district court gave him fair warning that his second amended complaint would be his last chance. Although harsh, the sanction of dismissal with prejudice was within the district court’s discretion” Kensu at 653.
“Alleging several deprivations of constitutional rights, he filed a complaint against Corizon, a correctional-health-care contractor, and twenty-nine Corizon and MDOC employees. Finding his complaint too long and unclear, the district court dismissed it and let Mr. Kensu try again. He did, but it was still too long and unclear. The district court explained the problems with Mr. Kensu’s complaint in more detail and gave him one last chance to amend it. But, perhaps channeling the spirit of Polonius, Mr. Kensu made his complaint longer instead of reducing it to a plain statement of his grievance” Kensu at 648.
The Kensu court says its Rule 8 analysis is detailed to “set precedent for any future cases in this vein.”
Nothing in present complaint offends Rule 8’s requirement for “a short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” and the allegations in a pleading are to be “simple, concise and direct.” Like front and back of a coin, the obverse of the analogy more likely holds: That a reasonable person, if gold were at bottom of such a container, would certainly act to obtain such treasure as justice.
Complaint secures appellant’s case sufficiently as to apprise defendants of the claim against them and of the acts relied upon as constituting the false imprisonment and false arrest charged. The trip to the jail, and the commitment to the jail, are given as a numbered item in the complaint, numbered as instances of harm. Defendants are to understand, as reasonable men and women, that the grievance regarding the booking visit is not a two-hour trip in the car one way, but the abuse of a man imprisoned and arrested exercising constitutionally guaranteed rights. The specific harm appellant defends, to rescue the case, is the Nov. 11, 2021, jailing.
Booking at jail continuing harm
Defendants’ motions to dismiss ignore the trip and booking among the harms listed, jumping on the Nov. 6, 2021, unlawful arrest date and the Nov. 9, 2022, receipt by the clerk of the complaint and arguing the case is untimely filed. Defendants ignore the booking to make the “untimely filed” claim, and forfeit the right to object to the booking harm detailed here. But the court does so on their behalf, agreeing by pretermitting the harm of booking, saying it is appellant’s voluntary act as to the date, and too-weakly referred to in the complaint as to not even be a gesture.
The jailing injury has two parts – booking and citation.
The Nov. 11, 2021, booking is in a putative criminal prosecution determined to be without probable cause, and in a case where the seizure of citizen and press member is without the required warrant and without probable cause. As exhibits in the record indicate, booking is admitted by Williamson County as “confinement.” The arrest and booking report refers to “misdemeanor detainee” “confined date” and “released date” — these being Nov. 11, 2021. Williamson County jail to which city defendants send petitioner is the “confinement facility” and Nov. 11, 2021, is the “confined date/time.” Danielle Cohen is “releasing officer” and Joseph Degati, among various roles, is “fingerprint officer.” The day plaintiff enters the lockup is “incident date” and “arrest date/time.” Entry into the jail is given as an “arrest” and a “confinement.” Plaintiff’s automobile trip to Franklin — 157 miles one way — on Nov. 11, 2022, is coercive and actionable as continuing harm. The judicially signed expungement order of the case indicates the actual “date of arrest” as occurring on Nov. 11, 2021, rather than Nov. 6, 2021 as alleged in the magistrate’s proposed dismissal. (Magistrate Holmes confusion, doc. No. 52, PageID #327; appellant corrective doc. No. 57, PageID ## 374ff).
Petitioner is not stripped of his clothes and put into an orange jumpsuit and given crocks for footwear, put into the jail’s general population, having gone to Franklin on the date of his choosing, under orders from the uniform citation bearing his signature. After about 1¼ hour he exits, free to go about his private business in Williamson County or to travel home to Soddy-Daisy.
His treatment could’ve been worse. That jails have holding and imprisonment levels of confinement exist doesn’t obviate the harm of the jailing without probable cause ordered prior to adjudication. Booking is arrest No. 2, wrong from every angle – a false arrest and false imprisonment, without probable cause, his protected activity bowled over by an officer who, on authority of city ordinance, rejects the safeguard of arrest warrant and seizes appellant without probable cause amid a roomful of magistrates (city court judges are magistrates, T.C.A. § 40-5-102. Magistrates) fleeing public accountability behind locked doors in a private venue.
This jailing is humiliating, oppressive, compulsory, under threat of an armed government employee, the citation proffered despite four (4) stated demands to be taken immediately to a magistrate, and without full consent as to the implications of signing the citation form. Court rulings indicate hearings are not part of false arrest or malicious prosecution injury for which federal court relief is granted. Appellant right to amend the complaint to include these points regarding the jailing restores the case to its vigor and revives the protection appellant rightly asks from the court.
The amended complaint would remind the court that false imprisonment is not just being barred from going to a place to which one has a right to go. It includes being compelled to go to a place one does not wish to visit. Travel is no less part of the false imprisonment as the time inside the jail facility for mugshotting, fingerprinting and confinement. A journalist challenging lawbreaking secrecy in Tennessee government’s judicial branch and scandalous general warrants that scorch people in Williamson County and elsewhere has a right to relief in a fair reading of his complaint.
Appellant’s claim of the illegal nature of the Tennessee citations law T.C.A. § 40-7-118 deepens the booking harm. Amendment would include the main points in his nine-page analysis of the citation law’s facial unconstitutionality (Doc. No. 57, PageID ## 375ff).
Four times on scene defendant Orange hears appellant’s demand to be taken to a magistrate. Orange wheels appellant into an ambulance waiting in the breezeway. Orange offers appellant a deal. If he signs the uniform citation, it signifies he agrees to leave the Embassy Suites Cool Springs facility run by defendant Atrium and to show up in court. This offer violates the citation law. “No citation shall be issued under this section if *** [t]he person demands to be taken immediately before a magistrate or refuses to sign the citation” T.C.A. § 40-7-118(d)(6). The uniform citation form used in Franklin and statewide fails constitutionally on three fronts.
- It contradicts well-established law that prohibits anyone from being held to account by a jailer absent a judicial neutral ruling or order; and,
- It fails to warn the accused that signing it waives a constitutional right
- It is major cog in a mechanism of general warrants. The citation violates T.C.A. § 40-7-103 requiring warrant for misdemeanors that are not “public offenses” or “threatened breaches of the peace.” They violate Tenn. const. Art. 1, sect. 7 that “general warrants *** are dangerous to liberty and ought not be granted.” (Doc. no. 57, Page ID ## 375-384). Tennessee’s citations violate the federal 5th amendment that says “no person shall be held to answer *** nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Equally, they breach Tenn. const. Art. 1, sect. 8, that “no man shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.”
State law protects the citizen from being “committed to prison” prior to adjudication: “No person can be committed to prison for any criminal matter until examination thereof is first had before some magistrate” T.C.A. § 40-5-103.
The hydraulics operative in the citations project in Franklin is briefly as follows (see Doc. No. 57, PageID ## 374ff). If police officers and deputies are free to ignore the arrest warrant requirement (as in Franklin, via city ordinance Code Sec. 6-109), they generate surplus arrests, putting pressure on jails and courts. The general assembly responds in 1981 with the citations law, allowing for overflow arrests to be adjudicated after the citizen is seized. Hence, instead of pre-arrest adjudication – BEFORE manhandling, arrest, imprisonment, humiliation of the citizen – probable cause hearings occur AFTER arrest. Such hearings become the first chance an arrestee gets to review the lawfulness of his seizure. The pragmatism of the citations law runs afoul of the strict rule under the constitution to insulate the public from operation of police power from hasty, careless or capricious operation, and confine it behind the adjudicative prophylactic of an officer’s meeting a magistrate and swearing out an arrest warrant as outlined in § 40-6-202 et seq and the rules of criminal procedure.
In citation “in lieu of custody [immediate jailing]” appellant’s signature saves defendant Orange from leaving patrol. Petitioner agrees to appear at the jail “to be booked and processed” under penalty of a separate misdemeanor crime (doc. No. 57, PageID # 376). In Williamson County, this jailing is “prior to your scheduled court date,” the notice says. Until the Dec. 14, 2021, hearing in general sessions court, appellant is in personal custody of Orange. The hearing determinative of release is in appellant’s favor on the court date. Had it gone against him, appellant would have been in the custody of the court under a bond.
Tennessee’s citations require appellant to be “held to answer” and to be deprived of liberty “without due process of law,” since it requires booking before adjudication or hearing to determine – retroactively – if the arrest is properly with probable cause.
Citations are facially unconstitutional because they subject a presumed innocent citizen to jailing prior to adjudication, get the arrestee to agree to appear at the jail and the court while denying him full information that he is yielding constitutionally guaranteed rights. Citations are a natural fruit of general warrants.
If appellant’s complaint is short on specifics, he asks the court be ordered to extend grace to like that which prison inmate Kensu receives.
Amendment lets petitioner establish (1) the booking the booking in Williamson County jail as a harm, and (2) the aggravation of the injury in that the Tennessee citation law at T.C.A. § 40-7-118 is unconstitutional because it deprives petitioner’s “liberty *** without due process of law,” U.S. const. Amendment 5, by jailing and booking him prior to adjudication, which acts should have occurred before the act of arrest via a warrant.
Dismissal improper if harms continuing
The court says the magistrate report “correctly ignored any supposed ongoing infringements of Tulis’s First Amendment rights because Tulis did not claim any such infringement occurred in his complaint” (doc. No. 64, PageID #446). The filing itself belies this claim, with citations to the first amendment in ¶ 2 for jurisdiction, ¶ 16 as cover for his attending the conference, and ¶ 46 and 46a and 46(c)(1) on injunctions where he demands the rules “be ruled unconstitutional, null and void,” reasonably under the 1st amendment. The complaint also seeks relief under the 1st amendment for “money damages, equity relief and orders prohibiting of all future policies, programs, customs and usages that violate the first amendment of the U.S. constitution.” ¶ 46 (doc. No. 1, PageID # 12)
Ignoring continuing equitable harms lets the court find the suit untimely filed. But equity demands are under the relief requested section of the complaint. Equity operation is not limited by imperfections in form when the complainant’s intentions are clear. The complaint’s equitable claims of continuing oppressive harms are dismissed “as the Court’s walk-through of the operative pleadings demonstrates, those abuses—while possible—were not pleaded.” This reading of the complaint is unjust and prejudicial because the complaint pleads equitable wrongs. Appellant objects.
The continuing equitable irreparable harms ignored by the court are two-fold.
The city argues that being required to obey state and federal bills of right would “endanger” the public and “hamper” its ability to “respond and investigate illegal activity”:
Without any evidence of an unconstitutional policy, Plaintiff asks the court to enjoin a wide array of police activity in the City of Franklin. (See Doc. 31) Even assuming that Plaintiff’s requested injunction is practicable, the imposition of such an injunction would dramatically disrupt — rather than preserve— the status quo by hampering defendant’s ability to respond to and investigate illegal activity, resulting in tremendous hardship to defendants and, in all likelihood, endangering civilians. Without evidence of an unconstitutional policy, this element weighs against the requested injunction.
Doc. No. 40, PageID # 261 (emphasis added)
Injunctive relief is overdue upon city of Franklin and like parties. This equitable, The injunctive relief sections of the complaint, builds upon the filing’s fact elements. Amendment would let petitioner flesh out these elements also, the continuing harm of general warrants in Franklin and secrecy of judicial conferences that violate the open meetings act Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-44-101 et seq, banning secret proceedings that affect the public interest or affect legislation considered by the general assembly.
Defendant city of Franklin’s explicitly rejects the warrant requirement by ordinance 6-109 (Doc. no. 24-2, PageID # 139). The ordinance directs police employees to make a warrantless arrest for misdemeanors using a single test, rather than the two required at § 40-7-103 (Doc. no. 24-2, PageID # 140). The two-prong test is “in the officer’s presence” and whether the violation is a “public offense.” Appellant briefs the court as to the nature of the “public offense” test (doc. No. 32, PageID ## 182ff). The ordinance creates a system of general warrants in which, effectively, the officer can make an arrest for any offense without a warrant. The “public offense” standard limits warrantless arrest to those that are in the nature of a breach of the peace.
ILLEGALLY SECRET CONFERENCES
Judicial defendants maintain a never-before-challenged illegal secrecy scheme of their work as judges and administrators who run the Tennessee judicial conferences. In defense of their illicit secrecy, they operate continually – in nonstop false imprisonment against appellant who has continuing right to attend the conferences – an offensive mechanism. That is the false imprisonment and false arrest operation to seize any member of the public listening in on their continuing education events of public interest and concern. The continuing harm is in the order cited in the complaint, policy, No. 3.04, “Subject: Attendance at AOC Conferences,” (Doc. No. 1, PageID # 12).
The continuing harm is the false imprisonment that keeps appellant outside these conferences he has a right to attend under the 1st amendment and the state open meetings law. The initial wrongful arrest by Officer Orange was the first domino in a chain of ongoing and successive harms to appellant that affect his rights, encumber his liberty, and deprive him of his enjoyment of life – all the consequential sprouting vines branching from the root of the initial arrest until severed by the axe of General Sessions Judge M.T. Taylor with a finding of “no probable cause” for the arrest.
Amendment will let these elements be conveyed more fully in the complaint, if the court advises they are not sufficiently set forth as breach of appellant’s equity and protected right.
The court sweeps aside the injunctions, also, as insufficiently presented in the complaint. They are the equity relief demands, and appear to be sufficient in their import, with appellant developing two draft injunctions to bring to appellant equitable relief from unconstitutional and illegal policies among the city of Franklin and judicial department defendants. If such equity demands are insufficiently developed, appellant reserves the right to amend just as granted inmate Kensu.
Complaint is timely filed and sufficient to awaken the court in exercise of its powers and defendants to the particulars against which they are to defend.
Continuing equitable harms pleaded
The complaint points out at ¶ 15 that the judicial conferences are public events and that he as reporter and member of the public has a right to attend under the federal 1st amendment and Tenn. const. Art. 1 sect. 19, press rights. He highlights the fact that because conferences deal with legislation, they are not able to be free from public scrutiny. This analysis, left for later pleadings, is implied in the complaint.
A public meeting is held, a reporter is arrested as ordained by the then-chief justice, and the constitutional guarantees in his support are noted in ¶ 16; he is “attending the conference by right of the federal first amendment regarding press and free speech; and plaintiff’s common law rights as a man as one of the ‘free people’ of Tennessee, as so named in the state bill of rights art. 1, sect. 24.” The complaint reasonably implies that if petitioner attends this annual conference, he has right to attend any and all of them every year – a detail suitable for development in the pleadings, and sufficiently part of the complaint to give notice to defendants and the court the wrongs alleged of a continuing and irreparable harm nature.
The court contends for a one-shot, single imprisonment/arrest event, the Tennessee judicial conference Nov. 6, 2021. It should have in its discretion taken judicial notice, sua sponte as necessary, that Tennessee courts, like federal ones, have annual conferences and that press member Tulis, belligerent claimant in person, intends coverage.
The complaint cannot justly be gainsaid as not making clear the harm is ongoing. The relief section, which is on p. 14 of a 14-page complaint, states,
¶ 46, (c)(1) – To prevent similar wrongs against himself intending to cover any Tennessee judicial conference, plaintiff demands, that the judicial branch’s Feb. 1, 2022, policy, No. 3.04, “Subject: Attendance at AOC Conferences,” created in response to plaintiff’s Nov. 6, 2021, arrest, be ruled unconstitutional, null and void, and that defendants be commanded, or any subsequent authority, to halt abuses like those complained of in this case
The complaint unites a cardinal virtue in legal pleadings – brevity – and comprehends in all its parts the essential elements of tort and of breach by the Tennessee judicial branch for illicit secrecy and its employees acting outside their office by whim and caprice, and by city of Franklin and defendant Orange for running a warrantless arrest or general warrants racket forbidden in both state and federal law.
‘No probable cause’ finding shows appellant acts by right
A general sessions court in Williamson County “gets it” as regards rights of appellant to sit at a judicial conference room table to attend as a member of the public and as a press member; the court in the federal district in Nashville doesn’t. The court does not see his unlawful arrest/imprisonment nor his unlawfully required reporting to a jail for booking as actionable.
The court rejects a finding of fact and law from sessions court of there being no probable cause in his arrest. The sessions court determines that arrest by Orange is unlawful and imprisonment unlawful – an illegal restraint on liberty and use of private property. Appellant, in other words, is within his rights to attend the Tennessee judicial conference. Retroactively on Nov. 6, 2021, and the one set for an upcoming Friday in state of Tennessee at a still-secret location, appellant as right to attend, and judicial defendants, as men occupying public office, to create a space safe for him to observe proceedings as a member of the public under the 1st amendment.
Appellant news reporter is justified in remaining in his seat to cover the conference, and no authority of anyone is sufficient to dislodge or to “trespass” him off the property at the hotel converted by rental agreement into state property, venue for a public meeting subject to the open meetings act and the right of appellant under Tenn. const. art. 1, sect. 19, press rights, and the U.S. 1st amendment. Roger Page, served Oct. 18, 2021, administrative notice by certified U.S. mail, acquiesces to appellant’s understanding of his rights in Tennessee law (Doc. No. 37, PageID # 241). No grounds exist for a federal court to treat the session court judge M.T. Taylor’s findings of “no probable cause” as anything less than dispositive of appellant’s clear rights under generally accepted law. The ruling in sessions court retroactively makes his assertion of his property rights in his protected occupation an act that is without fault, harmless, under no duty whatsoever to any officer or public body.
There is no legal ground for pretending the sessions court dismissal didn’t happen, or didn’t properly happen. The court of general sessions rules correctly against the state’s chief justice, defendant Roger Page, under whose authority the false imprisonment and false arrest are delivered, and says appellant is present at the conference by right.
Allowing amendment lets appellant in the public interest tackle the powerful claims of municipal and police authority as against the rights of people, namely general warrants. General warrants are a continuing harm, a breach of equity disregarded unjustly.
- Appellant asks the case be remanded to the court so that he might amend the complaint to bring in sufficient detail as to the jailing and booking trip so that defendants more clearly are made to realize the extent of the harm they impose.
- That the court be directed to grant leave for additional detail as to the trip to jail Nov. 11, 2021, detail as to the unconstitutional nature of T.C.A. § 40-7-118 regarding citations, and details in the equitable relief sought against judicial and municipal defendants.
- As to illegal arrest protocol by city of Franklin, he demands right to flesh out the complaint outlining the requirements of the constitution and T.C.A. § 40-7-103, which law the city abrogates by ordinance.
- As to Page, Crawford and Orange in their capacities, that appellant be allowed to amend to clarify they are being sued personally and that petitioner asks the district court to let appellant deal with them as men, that they be ordered back into their offices under the constitution and the open meetings act and to be ordered to cease all efforts as individuals or men to act as they do, under mere color of law to block petitioner intending to cover the next Tennessee judicial conference, whether in Franklin or elsewhere, to which they are powerless in office to deny him access.