Tamela Grace Massengale and Shameca Burt are victims of Hamilton County’s abusive arrest warrant policy. Mrs. Massengale is in court Monday for an officer show cause hearing. (Photo David Tulis)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Sunday, April 28, 2024— I have been in a state of grief and concern over the case of State v. Tamela Grace Massingale that has a show cause hearing Monday on a criminal charge of theft.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio Network

Her case is a picture of the abuse imposed upon people in Hamilton County by an unjust and wicked magistrate, Lorrie Miller, whose work I have covered extensively on NoogaRadio Network and elsewhere.

I’m requesting prayer on behalf of Mrs. Massengale – or Miss Grace, as I call her – and myself for the 8:30 hearing in Hamilton County general sessions court, division 3, Judge Larry Ables. 

I am her next friend facing a concertina wire-topped barricade of allegations of UPL, or unauthorized practice of law, a Class A misdemeanor. These claims hang over me like a stormcloud, dark but empty of water.

This allegation was thrown in my face Friday as I was in the courts building seeking to push my petition for writ of certiorari filed with the criminal court and also with the sessions court on behalf of Mrs. Massingale, who is an innocent magistrate victim. David Coats in the DA’s office, paralegal, immediately demanded my bar number, and argued with me about my right to help Mrs. Grace exercise her fundamental right to counsel of her choice.

I had waited an hour to meet with DA Coty Wamp about my petition. He said no one would meet with me because I am not a licensed attorney.

My concern is that Judge Ables, in a possible fit of temper that would be improper under his judicial ethical rules, may threaten to declare me in contempt of court, a jailable offense at his discretion.

Coty Wamp is district attorney in Hamilton County, Tenn. (Photo Coty Wamp)

To aid Miss Grace, I have considered a strategy to deflect this concern and this possible prejudicial and biased line of speech that the judge might direct against me very harshly as we stand before him at the podium Monday. 

The issue I’m bringing to the court system’s attention is not just Mrs. Massengale’s case. It is the operation of the magistrate’s office that creates criminal cases on hearsay-only policy violating well established rules of criminal procedure.

If UPL is a danger, let DA Coty Wamp carry any argument about my “practice of law.” Also, let Miss Wamp carry with Miss Grace and me the interest of justice and law that brings the alleged accused to bar, the one no amount of journalism has power to fix.

Hearsay-only warrants are a crime if witnesses, victims available

The breach is that the magistrate denies the role of victims and fact witnesses in creation of arrest warrants. She insists, instead, on all cases filtering through cop and deputy, the most honest and reliable people in society. In State v. Massengale, unsworn hearsay — secondhand info not legally in the realm of fact — triumphs to put an innocent woman in Silverdale 14 hours.

Mrs. Massengale is 62, disabled, a widow and divorcee on a social security disability stipend of $804 a month. She lives in Hixson and is unemployed.

Our petition for relief is protected under the Tennessee constitution. Tenn. const. art. 1, sect. 9 states, “That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath the right to be heard by himself and his counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof, to meet the witnesses face to face ***.” Section 8 says “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.”

If there’s any doubt that the state’s supreme law forbids violation of due process, art. 11, sect. 16 is sharp-toothed and damning against Magistrate Miller. “Section 16. The declaration of rights hereto prefixed is declared to be a part of the Constitution of this State, and shall never be violated on any pretense whatever. And to guard against transgression of the high powers we have delegated, we declare that every thing in the bill of rights contained, is excepted out of the General powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate.

Righting a wrong

Truck driver Michael James sits at a county commission meeting while Lorrie Miller, behind him, magistrate, speaks to a member of the kind of commission. He is a victim of her hearsay-only arrest warrant usage and abusage, and at the meeting condemned her and demanded reform. (Photo David Tulis)

My interest in being her next friend, though not her attorney — and not representing her — is to address the court system and assist the court system to right a wrong. The wrong is accepted by all, from the bar to the courts, even the people themselves. Impoverished at heart, the people don’t recognize the wrong done them on this point and others by predatory government, unaccountable, lawless.

Mrs. Massingale was arrested alongside the road, car seized and lost under impound charges from R&D Wrecker in Hixson.

Her tale is that of an aborted dog sale to a woman in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The day this person made a final payment for the F$400 for deposit, she changed her mind and wanted her money back immediately in the $800 sale, traced out by text messages. It is possible that the woman was a scammeer using Venmo, because F$200 had been put on “hold” withVenmo that Mrs. Lawton would have received ‘back’ after getting a “full refund” from the cowed Miss Grace. The text exchanges are unusual, and I suspect Miss Grace was being had via Venmo transaction.

Immediate refund not possible, Miss Grace said maybe at the beginning of the month when her disability cash arrived.

Brandi Siler, city cop, heard the buyer’s ncomplaint by phone, went to county magistrate Blake Murchison, swore out an arrest warrant against Miss Grace alleging theft, fraud and harassment.

This fact base typifies harms done to others, including trucker Michael James and pallet recycler Shameca Burt.

The dog dispute is at best civil case; the courts in Tennessee are open. Nothing that occurred in the dispute is anywhere near a crime. But the Miller policy controls, and the party to swear is swearing on second-hand info is the city cop. Magistrates also appear to operate on a low standard of what constitutes examination once the accuser reduces the crime narrative to paper and is ready to swear it.

A next friend is not directly an agent, but is accepted in state and federal constitutionss as “counsel” and counsel of her choice, which is an important right recognized since Gideon v. Wainwright.

Friend of the court and to Miss Grace

As next friend, I am also friend of the court. I am speaking with her and alongside her against a grave mass wrong demanding immediate redress by the criminal courts of record in Hamilton County. Miss Grace’s filings, speaking all her thoughts for her, help aid the court — the sessions court, and the system as awhole.

The allegation of UPL is brought by the bar, which holds an illegal monopoly against petitioning such as hers and mine. Lawyers effectively monopolize petitioning before courts, which activity falls under the state’s privilege system. A privilege is a calling or occupation that affects the public interest and so is subject to state supervision and taxation.

They are jealous of their prerogatives and hostile to anybody who knows anything about law who is not a member of their Guildk and who is speaking in court.

While Judge Ables may be angry at me in being before him at Miss Grace’s request, I will attempt to deflect his anger at my being a non-lawyer. I will suggest that he maintain his objectivity and the appearance of impartiality, required by Rule 10. Please, sir, I might suggest, let the DA Coty Wamp, or her ADA, make argument against my non-attorney person, and threaten me with UPL, the crime of “practicing law without a license.” This is a partisan matter, and though it’s your court you have duty in public to always appear fair and impartial.

If I’ve done anything amiss filing my insightful petition for a writ, the record is ready to allow Miss Wamp to solicit an indictment. I filed Thursday in sessions and criminal court my filing, and here I am as her next friend, a matter of pure Christian love and charity. It’s open. It’s in public. Here I am!

Powerful petition for Tamela Grace Massengale

If I am sinning against God, or against man’s law, please, please accuse me, and let the people who would constitute the jury – the people in the room in which our hearing today is held – judge me. I am not afraid.

Let’s bend our hearts to God

I’m asking for prayer so that people’s hearts will be bent toward these problems in my home county, likely replicated in yours, whether in Tennessee or other state.

These public sins have long been ignored by Christendom. It is time we make the effort to repel them and reform them.

This obligation is from God. The Tennessee constitution envisions the right of the people in the bill of rights to “alter, reform or abolish” that structure that has grown up under the constitution and through various versions of the Tennessee code. Impetus for action and reform, or redeeming ourselves out of Egypt, lies with us and our yielding to the Holy Spirit.

The command to look out for orphans, widows, the poor and the oppressed is all-encompassing, and by those means God gives us God’s people must pursue justice, as I am doing on their behalf. And doing on behalf of the lost no less, the nonreligious, atheist or other person in society who by common grace is blessed in the missionary work of the kind God has thrust upon me as duty.



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