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Judge says constitution ‘difference of opinion,’ refuses to chide revenue lawyer

Brad Buchanan, left, is administrative judge in department of revenue. He sits in place of the tax commissioner, represented before him by Camille Cline, department attorney. I am at right, having sued the commissioner, David Gerregano, for fraud and restoration of a motor vehicle tag. (Photos LinkedIn, Facebook)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 — An administrative judge today shoots down my demand for sanctions against a state attorney over whether the lawyer is lying about basic legal infrastructure in Tennessee, namely the constitution.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio Network

It’s either Camille whose snorfing the constitution, or her principal, revenue Cmsr. David Gerregano, who is lying, and I am filing to complaint under the rules of professional responsibility any part of those fibs and come from Mrs. Cline.

Administrative hearing officer Brad Buchanan opens the hourlong hearing by phone by denying the motion without my having a chance to argue it. Mrs. Cline had made a motion to “protect” an agency party subject to deposition.

“I’m going to deny that one, right at the top,” Mr. Buchanan says. “I saw nothing in there other than legal disagreements. 

Arguments in this filing “are pernicious,” I argue. “In no way is it reasonable to say that non-privileged use of the road does not exist as a matter of law, or imply that it is mere canoodling to observe the stripe down the highway pavement separating travel from shipping (the subcategory), privilege from ingress-egress rights exercise, and taxable from nontaxable.”

Attorney Cline alleges it’s a “purported distinction” that between privileged and nonprivileged use of the road, and between taxpayer and nontaxpayer, which differences are foundational to Tennessee law under Tenn. const. Art 2, sect. 28, and the noted explainer case Phillips v. Lewis, 3 Shannon’s cases 230, 1877. She sneezes at my “personal construction of amorphous notions of constitutional law, none of which are addressed or contemplated by Tennessee statutes administered by the department.” She also claims, erroneously, that the state owns the roads, and not the people, with state merely as steward or trustee.

These matters of dispute, Mr. Buchanan says, are about law. Mrs. Cline has not breached the  candor Rule 3.3 in the rules of professional responsibility

“There is no judicial proceeding,” Mr. Buchanan says, “unless somebody has a disagreement about the law, about the facts, or about both. So the fact that there is a legal disagreement is not at all of interest in terms of Rule 3.3 even if, Mr. Tulis, you are 100 percent right on every legal position that you’ve taken and Mrs. Cline is wrong every time she has disagreed with that, or the department’s, to speak to her client. That does not mean she has made any false statements. That just means there was a good-faith legal dispute that won. That is not remotely grounds for sanctions.”

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