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Marceaux v. City of Chattanooga

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

June 8, 2015

BASIL J. MARCEAUX, SR.
v.
CITY OF CHATTANOOGA

Session Date: May 14, 2015

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hamilton County No. 13C778 Jacqueline S. Bolton, Judge

Basil J. Marceaux, Sr., Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Kenneth O. Fritz, Keith J. Reisman, and B. Elizabeth Roderick, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Chattanooga.

John W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Michael Swiney and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ., joined.

OPINION

JOHN W. McCLARTY, JUDGE

I. BACKGROUND

On February 28, 2013, the appellant, Basil J. Marceaux, Sr., was issued citations by a City of Chattanooga ("the City") police officer for two municipal violations: 1) automobile registration (City Code § 24-44) and 2) lack of financial responsibility (no proof of insurance) (City Code § 24-47). After appearing at the Chattanooga City Court ("the City Court") on April 3, 2013, Marceaux was found guilty of the financial responsibility violation on May 6, 2013. The record we have before us appears to reveal that he thereafter filed a notice of appeal on June 7, 2013, to the Circuit Court of Hamilton County ("the trial court").

On August 8, 2013, the trial court dismissed Marceaux's challenge upon finding that the appeal from the City Court was not timely. The court, however, subsequently struck its previous order due to a clerical error. In its order of September 10, 2013, the trial court held as follows:

Defendant pled no contest to the violation at issue in this case and has requested a jury trial. Article VI, Section 14 of the Tennessee Constitution states, "No fine shall be laid on any citizen of this State that shall exceed fifty dollars, unless it shall be assessed by a jury of his peers, who shall assess the fine at the time they find the fact, if they think the fine should be more than fifty dollars." Pursuant to the Tennessee Constitution, the Court finds that there are no remaining issues on appeal because the fine in this case was not more than fifty dollars. Therefore, the case shall be dismissed. Costs are waived.

The record before us does not reveal the nature of the "clerical error" that resulted in the striking of the prior order, and the court does not address the "timeliness of the appeal" in the new order. After hearing arguments on October 14, 2013, on a motion to reconsider, the trial court confirmed its ruling dismissing the case pursuant to Article VI, Section 14 of the Tennessee Constitution. Arguments again were heard on December 2, 2013, at which time the trial court affirmed its prior constitutionally-based decision.

II. ISSUES

The issues raised by Marceaux are undecipherable. The issue discussed by the City in its brief addresses the timeliness of Marceaux's notice of appeal - not the basis on which ...


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