The entirety of what you find below is transcribed exactly from what was sent to me by a fellow liberty-minded person. It is itself a transcription of a brief, not a direct, per-character copy of the brief. This is unfortunate, but I'm trying to nail down some of the references, and especially some of the cases in which this particular brief was used.
Karl Kleinpaste, March 14, 1995.
The following has been used in at least three states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia) as a legal brief to support a demand for dismissal of charges of "driving without a license." It is the argument that was the reason for charges being dropped, or for a "win" in court against the argument that free people can have their right to travel regulated by their servants.
The forgotten legal maxim is that free people have a right to travel on the roads which are provided by their servants for that purpose, using ordinary transportation of the day. Licensing cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of a right. The driver's license can be required of people who use the highways for trade, commerce, or hire; that is, if they earn their living on the road, and if they use extraordinary machines on the roads. In other words, if you are not using the highways for profit, you cannot be required to have a driver's license. This brief or the right it demonstrates is no substitute for either being safe on the road or for learning the subject of rights versus regulations thoroughly before attempting to use or act upon this information.
NOW, comes the Accused, appearing specially and not generally or voluntarily, but under threat of arrest if he failed to do so, with this "BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF NOTICE FOR DISMISSAL FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION," stating as follows:
If ever a judge understood the public's right to use the public roads, it was Justice Tolman of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington. Justice Tolman stated:
"Complete freedom of the highways is so old and well established a blessing that we have forgotten the days of the Robber Barons and toll roads, and yet, under an act like this, arbitrarily administered, the highways may be completely monopolized, if, through lack of interest, the people submit, then they may look to see the most sacred of their liberties taken from them one by one, by more or less rapid encroachment." Robertson vs. Department of Public Works, 180 Wash 133, 147.
The words of Justice Tolman ring most prophetically in the ears of Citizens throughout the country today as the use of the public roads has been monopolized by the very entity which has been empowered to stand guard over our freedoms, i.e., that of state government.
The "most sacred of liberties" of which Justice Tolman spoke was personal liberty. The definition of personal liberty is:
"Personal liberty, or the Right to enjoyment of life and liberty, is one of the fundamental or natural Rights, which has been protected by its inclusion as a guarantee in the various constitutions, which is not derived from, or dependent on, the U.S. Constitution, which may not be submitted to a vote and may not depend on the outcome of an election. It is one of the most sacred and valuable Rights, as sacred as the Right to private property...and is regarded as inalienable." 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Sect.202, p.987.
This concept is further amplified by the definition of personal liberty:
"Personal liberty largely consists of the Right of locomotion to go where and when one pleases only so far restrained as the Rights of others may make it necessary for the welfare of all other citizens. The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horsedrawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but the common Right which he has under his Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Under this Constitutional guarantee one may, therefore, under normal conditions, travel at his inclination along the public highways or in public places, and while conducting himself in an orderly and decent manner, neither interfering with nor disturbing another's Rights, he will be protected, not only in his person, but in his safe conduct." [emphasis added] II Am.Jur. (1st) Constitutional Law, Sect.329, p.1135.
"Personal liberty consists of the power of locomotion, of changing situations, of removing one's person to whatever place one's inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint unless by due process of law." 1 Blackstone's Commentary134; Hare, Constitution__.777; Bovier's Law Dictionary , 1914 ed., Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed.
Justice Tolman was concerned about the State prohibiting the Citizen from the "most sacred of his liberties," the Right of movement, the Right of moving one's self from place to place without threat of imprisonment, the Right to use the public roads in the ordinary course of life.
When the State allows the formation of a corporation it may control its creation by establishing guidelines (statutes) for its operation (charters). Corporations who use the roads in the course of business do not use the roads in the ordinary course of life. There is a difference between a corporation and an individual. The United States Supreme Court has stated:
"...We are of the opinion that there is a clear distinction in this particular between an individual and a corporation, and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for examination on the suit of the State. The individual may stand upon his Constitutional Rights as a Citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. He owes no duty to the State or to his neighbors to divulge his business, or to open his doors to investigation, so far as it may tend to incriminate him.
He owes no such duty to the State, since he receives nothing therefrom, beyond the protection of his life, liberty, and property. His Rights are such as the law of the land long antecedent to the organization of the state, and can only be taken from him by due process of law, and in accordance with the Constitution. Among his Rights are the refusal to incriminate himself, and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under warrant of law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their rights.
"Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the state. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the state and the limitations of its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation. There is a reserved right in the legislature to investigate its contracts and find out whether it has exceeded its powers. It would be a strange anomaly to hold that the State, having chartered a corporation to make use of certain franchises, could not in exercise of its sovereignty inquire how those franchises had been employed, and whether they had been abused, and demand the production of corporate books and papers for that purpose." [emphasis added] Hale vs. Hinkel, 201 US 43, 74-75
Corporations engaged in mercantile equity fall under the purview of the State's admiralty jurisdiction, and the public at large must be protected from their activities, as they (the corporations) are engaged in business for profit.
"..Based upon the fundamental ground that the sovereign state has the plenary control of the streets and highways in the exercise of its police power (see police power, infra.), may absolutely prohibit the use of the streets as a place for the prosecution of a private business for gain. They all recognize the fundamental distinction between the ordinary Right of the Citizen to use the streets in the usual way and the use of the streets as a place of business or a main instrumentality of business for private gain. The former is a common Right, the latter is an extraordinary use. As to the former the legislative power is confined to regulation, as to the latter it is plenary and extends even to absolute prohibition. Since the use of the streets by a common carrier in the prosecution of its business as such is not a right but a mere license of privilege." Hadfield vs. Lundin, 98 Wash 657l, 168, p.516.
It will be necessary to review early cases and legal authority in order to reach a lawfully correct theory dealing with this Right or "privilege." We will attempt to reach a sound conclusion as to what is a "Right to use the road" and what is a "privilege to use the road". Once reaching this determination, we shall then apply those positions to modern case decision.
"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.
"The claim and exercise of a constitutional Right cannot be converted into a crime." Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. 486, 489.
"There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of constitutional Rights." Snerer vs. Cullen, 481 F. 946.
Streets and highways are established and maintained for the purpose of travel and transportation by the public. Such travel may be for business or pleasure.
"The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived." [emphasis added] Chicago Motor Coach vs. Chicago, 169 NE 22; Ligare vs. Chicago, 28 NE 934; Boon vs. Clark, 214 SSW 607; 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways Sect.163.
"The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by horse drawn carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city can prohibit or permit at will, but a common Right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." [emphasis added] Thompson vs. Smith, 154 SE 579.
So we can see that a Citizen has a Right to travel upon the public highways by automobile and the Citizen cannot be rightfully deprived of his Liberty. So where does the misconception that the use of the public road is always and only a privilege come from?
"...For while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place for private gain. For the latter purpose no person has a vested right to use the highways of the state, but is a privilege or a license which the legislature may grant or withhold at its discretion."State vs. Johnson, 243 P. 1073; Hadfield, supra; Cummins vs. Homes, 155 P. 171; Packard vs. Banton, 44 S.Ct. 256;
and other cases too numerous to mention.
Here the court held that a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways, but that he did not have the right to conduct business upon the highways. On this point of law all authorities are unanimous.
"Heretofore the court has held, and we think correctly, that while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place of business for private gain." Barney vs. Board of Railroad Commissioners, 17 P.2d 82; Willis vs. Buck, 263 P.l 982.
"The right of the citizen to travel upon the highway and to transport his property thereon, in the ordinary course of life and business, differs radically and obviously from that of one who makes the highway his place of business for private gain in the running of a stagecoach or omnibus." State vs. City of Spokane, 186 P. 864.
What is this Right of the Citizen which differs so "radically and obviously" from one who uses the highway as a place of business? Who better to enlighten us than Justice Tolman of the Supreme Court of Washington State? In State vs. City of Spokane, supra, the Court also noted a very "radical and obvious" difference, but went on to explain just what the difference is:
"The former is the usual and ordinary right of the Citizen, a common right to all, while the latter is special, unusual, and extraordinary."
"This distinction, elementary and fundamental in character, is recognized by all the authorities." State vs. City of Spokane, supra.
This position does not hang precariously upon only a few cases, but has been proclaimed by an impressive array of cases ranging from the state courts to the federal courts.
"the right of the Citizen to travel upon the highway and to transport his property thereon in the ordinary course of life and business, differs radically and obviously from that of one who makes the highway his place of business and uses it for private gain in the running of a stagecoach or omnibus. The former is the usual and ordinary right of the Citizen, a right common to all, while the latter is special, unusual, and extraordinary." Ex Parte Dickey, (Dickey vs. Davis), 85 SE 781.
"The right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, in the ordinary course of life and business, is a common right which he has under the right to enjoy life and liberty, to acquire and possess property, and to pursue happiness and safety. It includes the right, in so doing, to use the ordinary and usual conveyances of the day, and under the existing modes of travel, includes the right to drive a horse drawn carriage or wagon thereon or to operate an automobile thereon, for the usual and ordinary purpose of life and business." Teche Lines vs. Danforth, Miss., 12 S.2d 784; Thompson vs. Smith, supra.
There is no dissent among various authorities as to this position. (See Am.Jur. [1st] Const. Law, 329 and corresponding Am. Jur. [2nd].)
"Personal liberty or the right to enjoyment of life and liberty is one of the fundamental or natural rights, which has been protected by its inclusion as a guarantee in the various constitutions, which is not derived from nor dependent on the U.S. Constitution... It is one of the most sacred and valuable rights [remember the words of Justice Tolman, supra.] as sacred as the right to private property...and is regarded as inalienable." 16 C.J.S. Const. Law, Sect.202, p.987.
As we can see, the distinction between a "Right" to use the public roads and a "privilege" to use the public roads is drawn upon the line of "using the road as a place of business" and the various state courts have held so. But what have the U.S. courts held on this point?
"First, it is well established law that the highways of the state are public property, and their primary and preferred use is for private purposes, and that their use for purposes of gain is special and extraordinary which, generally at least, the legislature may prohibit or condition as it sees fit." Stephenson vs. Rinford, 287 US 251; Pachard vs Banton , 264 US 140, and cases cited; Frost and F. Trucking Co. vs. Railroad Commission, 271 US 592; Railroad commission vs. Inter-City Forwarding Co., 57 SW.2d 290; Parlett Cooperative vs. Tidewater Lines, 164 A. 313.
So what is a privilege to use the roads? By now it should be apparent even to the "learned" that an attempt to use the road as a place of business is a privilege. The distinction must be drawn between...
Travelling upon and transporting one's property upon the public roads, which is our Right;
Using the public roads as a place of business or a main instrumentality of business, which is a privilege.
"[The roads]...are constructed and maintained at public expense, and no person therefore, can insist that he has, or may acquire, a vested right to their use in carrying on a commercial business." Ex Parte Sterling, 53 SW.2d 294; Barney vs. Railroad Commissioners, 17 P.2d 82; Stephenson vs. Binford, supra.
"When the public highways are made the place of business the state has a right to regulate their use in the interest of safety and convenience of the public as well as the preservation of the highways." Barney vs. Railroad Commissioners, supra.
"[The state's] right to regulate such use is based upon the nature of the business and the use of the highways in connection therewith." Ibid.
"We know of no inherent right in one to use the highways for commercial purposes. The highways are primarily for the use of the public, and in the interest of the public, the state may prohibit or regulate...the use of the highways for gain." Robertson vs. Dept. of Public Works, supra.
There should be considerable authority on a subject as important a this deprivation of the liberty of the individual "using the roads in the ordinary course of life and business." However, it should be noted that extensive research has not turned up one case or authority acknowledging the state's power to convert the individual's right to travel upon the public roads into a "privilege."
Therefore, it is concluded that the Citizen does have a "Right" to travel and transport his property upon the public highways and roads and the exercise of this Right is not a "privilege."
In order to understand the correct application of the statute in question, we must first define the terms used in connection with this point of law. As will be shown, many terms used today do not, in their legal context, mean what we assume they mean, thus resulting in the misapplication of statutes in the instant case.
AUTOMOBILE AND MOTOR VEHICLE
There is a clear distinction between an automobile and a motor vehicle. An automobile has been defined as:
"The word 'automobile' connotes a pleasure vehicle designed for the transportation of persons on highways." American Mutual Liability Ins. Co. vs. Chaput, 60 A.2d 118, 120; 95 NH 200.
While the distinction is made clear between the two as the courts have stated:
"A motor vehicle or automobile for hire is a motor vehicle, other than an automobile stage, used for the transportation of persons for which remuneration is received." International Motor Transit Co. vs. Seattle, 251 P. 120.
The term 'motor vehicle' is different and broader than the word 'automobile.'"; City of Dayton vs. DeBrosse, 23 NE.2d 647, 650; 62 Ohio App. 232.
The distinction is made very clear in Title 18 USC 31:
"Motor vehicle" means every description or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the highways in the transportation of passengers, or passengers and property.
"Used for commercial purposes" means the carriage of persons or property for any fare, fee, rate, charge or other considerations, or directly or indirectly in connection with any business, or other undertaking intended for profit.
Clearly, an automobile is private property in use for private purposes, while a motor vehicle is a machine which may be used upon the highways for trade, commerce, or hire.
The term "travel" is a significant term and is defined as:
"The term 'travel' and 'traveler' are usually construed in their broad and general sense...so as to include all those who rightfully use the highways viatically (when being reimbursed for expenses) and who have occasion to pass over them for the purpose of business, convenience, or pleasure." [emphasis added] 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways, Sect.427, p.717.
"Traveler One who passes from place to place, whether for pleasure, instruction, business, or health." Locket vs. State, 47 Ala. 45; Bovier's Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., p. 3309.
"Travel: To journey or to pass through or over; as a country district, road, etc. To go from one place to another, whether on foot, or horseback, or in any conveyance as a train, an automobile, carriage, ship, or aircraft; Make a journey." Century Dictionary, p.2034.
Therefore, the term "travel" or "traveler" refers to one who uses a conveyance to go from one place to another, and included all those who use the highways as a matter of Right.
Notice that in all these definitions the phrase "for hire" never occurs. This term "travel" or "traveler" implies, by definition, one who uses the road as a means to move from one place to another.
Therefore, one who uses the road in the ordinary course of life and business for the purpose of travel and transportation is a traveler.
The term "driver" in contradistinction to "traveler" is defined as:
"Driver One employed in conducting a coach, carriage, wagon, or other vehicle..." Bovier's Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., p. 940.
Notice that this definition includes one who is "employed" in conducting a vehicle. It should be self-evident that this person could not be "travelling" on a journey, but is using the road as a place of business.
Today we assume that a "traveler" is a "driver," and a "driver" is an "operator." However, this is not the case.
"It will be observed from the language of the ordinance that a distinction is to be drawn between the terms 'operator' and 'driver'; the 'operator' of the service car being the person who is licensed to have the car on the streets in the business of carrying passengers for hire; while the 'driver' is the one who actually drives the car. However, in the actual prosecution of business, it was possible for the same person to be both 'operator' and 'driver.'" Newbill vs. Union Indemnity Co., 60 SE.2d 658.
To further clarify the definition of an "operator" the court observed that this was a vehicle "for hire" and that it was in the business of carrying passengers.
This definition would seem to describe a person who is using the road as a place of business, or in other words, a person engaged in the "privilege" of using the road for gain.
This definition, then, is a further clarification of the distinction mentioned earlier, and therefore:
Travelling upon and transporting one's property upon the public roads as a matter of Right meets the definition of a traveler.
Using the road as a place of business as a matter of privilege meets the definition of a driver or an operator or both.
Having defined the terms "automobile," "motor vehicle," "traveler," "driver," and "operator," the next term to define is "traffic":
"...Traffic thereon is to some extent destructive, therefore, the prevention of unnecessary duplication of auto transportation service will lengthen the life of the highways or reduce the cost of maintenance, the revenue derived by the state...will also tend toward the public welfare by producing at the expense of those operating for private gain, some small part of the cost of repairing the wear..." Northern Pacific R.R. Co. vs. Schoenfeldt, 213 P. 26.
Note: In the above, Justice Tolman expounded upon the key of raising revenue by taxing the "privilege" to use the public roads "at the expense of those operating for gain."
In this case, the word "traffic" is used in conjunction with the unnecessary Auto Transportation Service, or in other words, "vehicles for hire." The word "traffic" is another word which is to be strictly construed to the conducting of business.
"Traffic Commerce, trade, sale or exchange of merchandise, bills, money, or the like. The passing of goods and commodities from one person to another for an equivalent in goods or money..."; Bovier's Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., p. 3307.
Here again, notice that this definition refers to one "conducting business." No mention is made of one who is travelling in his automobile. This definition is of one who is engaged in the passing of a commodity or goods in exchange for money, i.e.., vehicles for hire.
Furthermore, the word "traffic" and "travel" must have different meanings which the courts recognize. The difference is recognized in Ex Parte Dickey, supra:
"..in addition to this, cabs, hackney coaches, omnibuses, taxicabs, and hacks, when unnecessarily numerous, interfere with the ordinary traffic and travel and obstruct them."
The court, by using both terms, signified its recognition of a distinction between the two. But, what was the distinction? We have already defined both terms, but to clear up any doubt:
"The word 'traffic' is manifestly used here in secondary sense, and has reference to the business of transportation rather than to its primary meaning of interchange of commodities." Allen vs. City of Bellingham, 163 P. 18.
Here the Supreme Court of the State of Washington has defined the word "traffic" (in either its primary or secondary sense) in reference to business, and not to mere travel! So it is clear that the term "traffic" is business related and therefore, it is a "privilege." The net result being that "traffic" is brought under the (police) power of the legislature. The term has no application to one who is not using the roads as a place of business.