The efforts by the city of Dunlap to “inspect” or seize the house of Thomas and Carol Gaddy shows an effort by administrative and civil government to encroach upon constitutionally protected rights. A citizen gives way on these constitutional lines of protection when he is not aware of how to defend them, or does not defend them.
In this noted Tennessee property rights case, the Gaddys are unwavering in their commitment to defending constitutionally guaranteed rights. But they have not convinced a chancery judge to dismiss the case.
By David Tulis / Noogaradio 12140 AM 101.1 FM
The City of Dunlap, a municipal corporation, is making civil claims. It has not accused them of any criminal act and contends it can search their property and regulate private property administratively. It appears it has filed its claims in the wrong court, that it should have made its case first in its own judicial branch, in city court.
The Gaddys entertain two goals, one near, one far. If the city won’t recognize their immunity from a search absent a warrant of probable cause for a criminal act, Dunlap cannot legally pursue its claims. On appeal, its regulation of the Gaddys will be thrown out as pertains to the house on Main Street. Or, more significantly, its entire regulatory ordinance could be thrown out as unconstitutional, benefitting the rest of the townspeople.
Either end is possible if the Gaddys stick to their main issue: No probable cause, no jurisdiction.
The city proposes that its incorporation as a city that is adoption of a nuisance ordinance and a permitting system allows it to violate the Gaddys’ rights to be free from searches and seizures.
Illegality of searches in Tennessee
Searches and seizures are illegal in Tennessee. They are legitimate under extremely limited circumstances. The main requirement is that there is probable cause to search based on sworn affidavit of the commission of a crime or the evidence of the commission of a crime.
The state and its actors and agents have no authority to enter enter private property unless they are given permission by the property owner or unless they have a warrant based upon a sworn statement of probable cause or a reasonable suspicion.
Dunlap pretends that its existence as an corporation voids the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the residents within the city limits. No existence of a corporation can void the constitution and God-protected and God-given right, as argued by Mr. and Mrs. Gaddy.
Though in the court of a circuit judge, Thomas Graham, whose sympathies are for the state and state actors, the property owners must unequovocally show the city has no jurisdiction to say anything to them because it does not have the necessary authorization or spark to ignite a criminal investigation.
There is no such thing as a civil authority to search and seize or inspect. It does not exist.
Mayor Dwain Land and City Attorney Stephen Greer argue that they have authority to enter into the land and conduct a search. They claim this authority absent any affidavit of probable cause. The whole case in Sequatchie County chancery court began with a complaint, entirely of a civil matter and entirely presuming that the Gaddys have no constitutional guaranteed right to be free from searches and seizures outside of probable cause.
The Gaddys have acted without the advice of an attorney, and seemingly without the advice of others who are perhaps of a patriotic bent or interest. Their filings have lacked the magic elixir or potion that would unlock the judge’s presuppositions and turn him in favor of dismissal.
It is not clear what steps they can make to get the case thrown out and to show the city’s legal impotence in pursuing their abuse.
States of mind? Or states of law
The Gaddy family is living in a constitutional state.
City government and the mayor are living in an administrative state.
The difference between the two is stark. In a constitutional state, the individual is immune from government action unless he has committed a crime and the state government actor can swear a warrant of probable cause to obtain his authority. In an administrative state a mere suspicion of noncompliance or ill-doing is a grant of authority to the state to survey, tax, license, inspect, regulate or search.
In administrative realms, the presumption of authority is a priori, and brooks no challenge. Administrative realms are where executives operate, from presidents down to mayors. It is the realm of fiat, private will, of making things happen in favor of a state entity or a privately interest connected to a state contract.
As state actors, judges tend to have default favor for the state. This assertion is true even among County judges, and certainly it is true that the appellate level. Judges will partake of a religious and pseudo-legal pretense that the state’s authority is total, its jurisdiction is total and that there are few, if any, private rights assertable under the Constitution. They agree, it’s actually, that the state is gone.
However, constitutional government does not permit a unitary total state. It envisions broad and sweeping rights held personally by the people, and that the authority of the state is exerciseable against this broad swath or body of rights only with particular grievance, called probable cause, is alleged. Dunlap is acting as if there were no private rights, and that the people and residents within the corporation are mere stewards of its property.
The Gaddys assert differently. They assert that constitutional government gives no authority to the city, effectively, at any point.
Their defiance, if upheld on appeal, would do away with municipal authority to regulate any private property. If city government persists in his claim against the couple, it could be working to the undoing of its authority has exercised against everybody else. The Gaddys are acting as if they represented everybody else. Often, defendants are exactly that. They represent the people at large in challenging or defying at law, statute or practice.
The Gaddys are belligerent claimants in person, and have standing to overturn the entire administrative structure of the town. And, since they are representatives of the people at large, they have the standing to overturn zoning and administrative claims against property rights across the state.