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Score for Judge Ables in ‘doggie door’ case

Judge Larry Ables oversees a general sessions county court in Chattanooga Tenn. (Photo Larry Ables election campaign)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Wednesday, May 2, 2024 — Judge Larry Ables of general sessions court in Hamilton County is overseeing the void criminal case against Tamala Grace Massengale, 60, for petty theft, a three-legged mutt of a case with one paw caught in a trap.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio Network

Miss Grace calls me as counsel and next friend, a status Judge Ables bellows “does not exist” and scares her out of the courtroom as a disturber of proper order. The state accuses her of petty theft in an aborted dog sale $400 Venmo deposit refund dispute with a no-show Murfreesboro, Tenn., woman.

Hers is the “doggie door” case in which access to the courts is blocked in violation of Tenn. const. art. 1, sect. 17, that says “all courts shall be open.” She is not allowed to be there with counsel of her choice. More significantly, the warrant process under which she was arrested is a closed door. Under illegal policy blighting justice in HamiltonCounty, the door to the court is locked except — in the creation of arrest warrants — a doggie door that lets deputies and cops in, free to give hearsay-only testimony against members of the public while no member of the public is allowed before a magistrate to swear out an arrest warrant.

So strong is the power of the Holy Spirit upon the proceedings Monday that I feel very kindly about Judge Ables afterward even though his actions are improper and unjust, pursuing the dirty yowling track of “the way we do things here” with multiple inconclusive hearings set per norm. Miss Grace goes home half in tears, her person atwitter, and says she collapsed in sleep. I felt the satisfaction of having said many important things that Judge Ables graciously considered as I stood my ground as next friend of Miss Grace — and as friend of the court, despite Judge Ables’ lesser self.

All seemed afterward favorable to the judge. I am in dread of no judge and no prosecutor and no criminal trial for any Christian mercy I extend, despite repeated threats by Judge Ables. I am willing to see him in the best light, having an unassailable legal position and invulnerable to any just criminal prosecution for my “pro bono” labors as journalist and a lifetime law student. I see him in the best light because upon him falls the task of joining me in correcting a harm fixable best and foremost by power under Tenn. const. art. 6, namely judicial power.  ‡

Judge earns D-

Judge Ables denies Mrs. Massingale’s right to counsel of her choice on false grounds that I am “representing” her, which language is usually for a licensed attorney (which I’m not). He misstates the unauthorized practice of law statute at Tenn. Code Ann. § 23-3-101 to omit the essential element of “valuable consideration.” He prejudicially lawyers from the bench; attack on my status should’ve come from DA Coty Wamp’s three ADAs on scene. He violates Miss Grace’s right to due process by failing to read my grenade-with-pulled-pin analysis of mass due process violations in hundreds — thousands — of cases. He spites judicial economy, beginning the tedium of hearing-stacking (for which generally the bar thanks him as good for business) by ignoring Miss Grace’s right for officer show cause and absence of “crime victim” (possible Venmo scammer) Regina Lawton and cop Brandi Siler. Their absence Monday merits dismissal (Grace wins by default). Judge Ables refuses to recognize my status as friend of the court, favoring the closed union shop cartel perspective of the bar that I am a criminal who “crosses the line” of UPL. Judge Ables fails to see State v. Massengale as empowering the court to reform Magistrate Lorrie Miller’s “doggie door” warrant policy that shovels dog-pile quality cases on the docket.

For these lapses in demeanor and learning, the jurist earns a D-minus. Plenty of room for improvement.

A- for Ables

Judge Ables scores well elsewhere. He appoints Tori Smith as Miss Grace’s public defender — giving the alleged accused two advocates. He lets me speak and offers challenging back and forth. He declines to throw me in jail for contempt – which word never once crosses his lips, but which threat is real (at least as I had read him). Judge Ables has a clear, crisp voice audible to all, important for a judge and for public confidence that the court is open. He cares about the general public being abused by law shysters without license, for which reason UPL protections exist (in theory). Illicitly, he forbids me from filing any more documents serving Mrs. Massengale, but admits she is pro se, free to file what she wants. Judge Ables invites me to file a friend of the court brief on the issue of my next friend status — a high honor indeed indicating he is amenable to Miss Grace’s constitutional right to tap me as advocate. Judge Ables immediately grants my right to record the hearing, inviting me to put my recorder phone on his dais (T.C.A. 20-9-104) (other local jurists such as Christie Sell have in past prejudiced pro se parties on phone recordings). ‡

‡ Section 1. The judicial power of this State shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such Circuit, Chancery and other inferior Courts as the Legislature shall from time to time, ordain and establish; in the Judges thereof, and in Justices of the Peace. The Legislature may also vest such jurisdiction in Corporation Courts as may be deemed necessary. Courts to be holden by Justices of the Peace may also be established [general sessions].

‡‡ It 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.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-9-104

My Nov. 22, 2023, false arrest & false imprisonment

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