Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session July 18, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Lawrence County No. 32518 Stella
defendant, Arthur Jay Hirsch, appeals his Lawrence County
Circuit Court jury convictions of driving on a suspended
license, unlawfully carrying a weapon with the intent to go
armed, and violating both the vehicle registration and
financial responsibility laws, claiming that the statute
proscribing the unlawful carrying of a weapon is
unconstitutional, that the rulings of the trial court evinced
a bias against him and resulted in a violation of due process
principles, and that the trial court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction. Discerning no error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3; Judgments of the Circuit Court
Jay Hirsch, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M.
Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Kim Helper, District
Attorney General; and Tammy Rettig, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which John Everett Williams and Timothy L. Easter, JJ.,
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
Lawrence County Grand jury charged the defendant with one
count of driving while his license was cancelled, suspended,
or revoked; one count of carrying a firearm with the intent
to go armed; one count of violating the motor vehicle
registration requirement; and one count of violating the
financial responsibility law.
evidence adduced at the defendant's December 2015 jury
trial established that, on the evening of December 10, 2013,
Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Jeff Reed first observed
the defendant driving "a vehicle . . . that had a
strange registration plate on the rear of the vehicle."
When Sergeant Reed saw that the vehicle also lacked a
registration plate on the front bumper, he followed the
vehicle, "[a] red Ford F-350 with a steel flatbed on the
vehicle, " into a nearby parking lot, where he made
contact with the defendant. When Sergeant Reed asked about
the registration plate, the defendant pointed to the plate on
the rear of his vehicle. When asked "about his real
registration plate, " the defendant said "that he
was not required to have one." Sergeant Reed testified
that the plate affixed to the rear bumper of the
defendant's vehicle was "not an official government
plate recognized anywhere within Canada, United States, or
Mexico." According to Sergeant Reed, the plate, which
contained a reference to Little Shell Pembina Band along with
"some alpha numerics and some numbers, " looked
"almost" like "an official registration
plate." A photograph of the registration plate was
exhibited to Sergeant Reed's testimony and displayed to
Sergeant Reed asked to see the defendant's driver's
license, the defendant "started to explain . . . why he
. . . was not required to have a driver's license in
regards to the laws of God, the laws of man and thus he was
not required to have a driver's license." The
defendant possessed no registration papers for his vehicle or
proof of insurance and provided a similar explanation to
Sergeant Reed for having neither.
point, Sergeant Reed inquired whether the defendant had any
weapons on his person or in the vehicle, and defendant said
that he did. The defendant said that he did not have a permit
for the weapon, a small pistol that he had stored in a small
water cooler. The weapon was loaded.
Reed issued a citation to the defendant for driving while his
license was suspended. The officer later obtained from the
State of Virginia a certified document reflecting the status
of the defendant's driver's license. That document,
which established that the defendant's driver's
license had been suspended, was exhibited to Sergeant
conclusion of Sergeant Reed's testimony, the State
rested. Following a Momon colloquy, the defendant, who was
acting pro se, elected to put on proof ...