On June 7, 2016, Marc Stephens of Englewood, New Jersey is scheduled to be in front of Fort Lee Municipal Judge Matthew Fierro for a trial regarding two traffic citations he received for driving or parking an unregistered motor vehicle, and not having liability insurance coverage on a motor vehicle. Marc Stephens argues that New Jersey’s Title 39 Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation ‘does not apply’ to citizens who are not ‘commercial drivers’.
On Sunday, February 7, 2016, which was the night Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, while parked in a ‘private parking lot’ in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Marc Stephens was ordered not to leave his vehicle, and was ‘detained’ for 50 minutes by Officer P. Kellett of the Fort Lee Police Department.
Officer Kellett asked Marc Stephens for his license and registration. Marc stated he did not have the documents because they are ‘not required to travel’.
Marc Stephens explained to Officer P. Kellett that he has a constitutional ‘right to travel’, and does not need a driver’s license, vehicle registration, or forced vehicle insurance. Kellett ran Marc’s information and confirmed that his vehicle has never been registered, or contained insurance. Instead of a driver’s license, Marc Stephens only had an identification card that was issued by the State of California.
Officer P. Kellett did not believe Marc’s constitutional right to travel argument, and issued Marc Stephens a ticket for parking an unregistered motor vehicle (N.J.S.A. 39:3-4), and for having no liability insurance coverage on a motor vehicle (N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2). Kellett then called a tow truck, who then removed Marc’s black S-Class Mercedes Benz, which contained California license plates, from the private property without Marc’s consent.
On Monday, February 8, 2016, Marc Stephens immediately filed a ‘Notice of Tort Claim’ with Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, Borough of Fort Lee, the Fort Lee Police Department, Fort Lee Municipal Court, and forwarded a copy to the Borough’s attorney J. Sheldon Cohen, Chief of Police Keith Bendul, Officer A. Lorenzo, Officer A. Hernandez, Officer Matthew Henzi of internal investigations, and Traffic Bureau Supervisor Sgt. Ricky Mirkovic.
On March 9, 2016, Marc Stephens filed a ‘Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Standing’ with the Fort Lee Municipal Court.
On May 3, 2016, Municipal Judge Matthew Fierro, along with prosecutor Raffi Khorozian, heard Marc Stephens’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Standing.
In his Motion, Marc argued that “Travel is a Fundamental, Guaranteed, and Common Law right, and that the State cannot abridge or punish Citizens for exercising fundamental rights”.
Marc Stephens further states in his ‘Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Standing’, and also testified the following:
“My carriage is not, and has never been, used for commercial purposes, and has never been used for persons for hire”.
“I’ve never obtained a driver’s license, vehicle insurance, or registered my personal carriage, because it is not required as a natural person of the United States of America, and citizen of the United States, pursuant to the 5th and 14th amendment of United States Constitution, New Jersey’s Constitution, and N.J.S.A. 39:3-1. I bought the carriage used in the State of California, which it still contained a license plate from the previous owner. Pursuant to California’s Vehicle Code, passenger vehicles are Exempt and are not required to be registered, see, DIVISION 1: 260: (a) A “commercial vehicle” is a motor vehicle of a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property. (b) Passenger vehicles and house cars that are not used for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit are not commercial vehicles”.
Although Judge Matthew Fierro read Marc Stephens’ declaration on record, Fierro without a doubt overlooked Marc’s compelling constitutional arguments.
Judge Matthew Fierro than stated Marc Stephens is required to have a license, registration, and insurance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:3-29.
N.J.S.A. 39:3-29 reads as follow, ‘The driver's license, the registration certificate of a motor vehicle and an insurance identification card shall be in the possession of the driver or operator at all times when he is in charge of a motor vehicle on the highways of this State”.
Marc Stephens put forth ‘jaw dropping evidence’ in his ‘Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Standing’ which states the following:
“Title 39 is for the regulation of “Motor Vehicles” and that pursuant to 18 U.S. Code § 31 (a)(6) and also N.J.S.A. 39:3-4.1, the term “motor vehicle” means every description of carriage or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the highways in the transportation of passengers, passengers and property, or property or cargo, and that pursuant to 18 U.S. Code § 31 (a)(10); and also N.J.S.A. 39:3-6.1 the term “used for commercial purposes” means the carriage of persons or property for any fare, fee, rate, charge or other consideration, or directly or indirectly in connection with any business, or other undertaking intended for profit”.
The above statement, and citation of the law, submitted by Marc, left the courtroom in complete silence. Marc Stephens' motion proved, without a doubt, that Citizens in all 50 States are ‘not required’ to obtain a driver’s license, vehicle registration, or insurance unless they are driving for hire – Commercial Drivers.
Judge Matthew Fierro stated ‘on record’ that Marc brings forth a great argument.
Despite clear evidence of the constitutional ‘right to travel’, Judge Matthew Fierro ‘denied’ Marc Stephens’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Standing stated in his opinion that (1) Marc is required to have a license, registration, and insurance pursuant to Title 39:3-29; and (2) that title N.J.S.A. 39:3-1 is regarding “government fire trucks and ambulances”.
On May 11, 2016, Marc Stephens filed a Notice of Tort Claim with the State of New Jersey, and filed a ‘Motion for Reconsideration’ with the Fort Lee Municipal Court stating that Judge Matthew Fierro is in clear error of facts and law, and further explained his right to travel without a license, registration, or insurance.
Marc’s ‘Motion for Reconsideration’ reads as follow:
“The United States Supreme Court has made it clear in several rulings that the right to travel is a fundamental right. Defendant Marc Stephens thoroughly argued this point in his motion, see Motion to Dismiss, paragraphs 14-29. "The right of a citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horse-drawn carriage, wagon, or automobile is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but a common right which he has under his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Slusher v. Safety Coach Transit Co., 229 Ky. 731, 17 S.W.(2d) 1012,66 A.L.R.1378; and affirmed by the Supreme Court in Thompson v. Smith, 155 Va. 367, 154 S. E. 579, A.L.R. 604. (11 Am.Jur. § 329). “No State may convert a Right into a Privilege and require a License of Fee for the exercise of the Right”. Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 US 105 - Supreme Court 1943. In any event, freedom to travel throughout the United States has long been recognized as a basic right under the Constitution.' " Id., at 630-631, quoting United States v. Guest, 383 U. S. 745, 757-758 (1966). Zobel v. Williams, 457 US 55 - Supreme Court 1982. "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 - Supreme Court 1966 at 491. “The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, anything in the Constitution or statutes of the States to the contrary notwithstanding, a statute of a State, even when avowedly enacted in the exercise of its police powers, must yield to that law. No right granted or secured by the Constitution of the United States can be impaired or destroyed by a state enactment”. Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 US 540 - Supreme Court 1902 at 558”.
“New Jersey’s statue “Title 39” does not trump the 5th and 14th amendment of the United States Constitution, and does not supersede the Supreme Court rulings that the defendant has a constitutional right to travel without a license, registration, or insurance”.
Marc Stephens states that Judge Matthew Fierro is also in clear error of facts and law when Fierro stated that title N.J.S.A. 39:3-1 is regarding “government fire trucks and ambulances”.
Prosecutor Raffi Khorozian stated that he agrees with Marc’s constitutional argument, but was unsure about the language in N.J.S.A. 39:3-1 where it states “Pleasure or Business”.
Marc Stephens clears up the confusion and argued that N.J.S.A. 39:3-1, 'undoubtedly' states which vehicles are ‘not’ subject to the provisions of New Jersey Statue Title 39. Marc numbered each vehicle that is ‘excepted’ as follow:
“Certain vehicles excepted from chapter:
(1) Automobile fire engines;
(2) self-propelling vehicles as are used neither for the conveyance of persons for hire;
(3) pleasure or business; and
(4) transportation of freights such as steam road rollers and traction engines; are excepted from the provisions of this chapter”.
Marc closed with the following statement,
“Defendant Marc Stephens vehicle clearly falls under the definition of a “self-propelling vehicle which is not used for persons for hire”, and “pleasure or business”. The reason why N.J.S.A. 39:3-1 states “pleasure or business” is explained in State v. Moseng, 254 Minn. 263, 95 N.W.2d 6, 13 (1959)(“...one’s inalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness is curtailed if he may be unreasonably kept off the highways maintained by him as a citizen and taxpayer ;... ‘the freedom to make use of one’s own property, here a motor vehicle, as a means of getting about from place to place, whether in pursuit of business or pleasure, is a ‘liberty’ which under the Fourteenth Amendment cannot be denied or curtailed by a state without due process of law.’ In any event, the right of a citizen to drive a motor vehicle upon the highways is to be safeguarded against the whim or caprice of police or administrative officers”).
“There were no citations issued to defendant for using the highway as a commercial use or persons for hire. In addition, the State of New Jersey did not put forth any evidence that Defendant’s vehicle was being used for commercial purposes, or for persons for hire. The State of New Jersey, and the Fort Lee Police Department, will not release defendant’s vehicle unless defendant first obtain insurance and register his vehicle, in violation of the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. [“The right to travel interstate by auto vehicle upon the public highways may be a privilege or immunity of citizens of the United States. Compare Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wall. 35. A citizen may have, under the Fourteenth Amendment, the right to travel and transport his property upon them by auto vehicle. But he has no right to make the highways his place of business by using them as a common carrier for hire. Such use is a privilege which may be granted or withheld by the State in its discretion, without violating either the due process clause or the equal protection clause”. Packard v. Banton, 264 U.S. 140, 144], Buck v. Kuykendall, 267 US 307 - Supreme Court 1925 at 314. “The right to travel is an "unconditional personal right," a right whose exercise may not be conditioned”. Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U. S., at 643 (STEWART, J., concurring) (emphasis added); Oregon v. Mitchell, supra, at 292 (STEWART, J., concurring and dissenting, with whom BURGER, C. J., and BLACKMUN, J., joined). Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 US 330 - Supreme Court 1972 at 342”.
Marc’s ‘right to travel’ argument is backed 100% by the opinion of the United States Supreme Court, which Fort Lee Municipal Judge Matthew Fierro ‘must follow’.
“They all treated me with respect and were complete gentlemen. It appears the Judge, prosecutor, Fort Lee Police Department, and the Borough of Fort Lee did not understand that citizens have a right to travel on the highways from State to State”, says Marc.
“Unfortunately, they are required to know the requirements of the law, and if they mistake them, whether through ignorance or design, and anyone is harmed by their error, they must respond in damages”, says Marc.
Marc is currently awaiting Judge Matthew Fierro’s opinion and order regarding his first Motion for reconsideration.
Fort Lee Police Department is still in possession of Marc's vehicle, and will not release it. Marc Stephens is adamant about not paying for vehicle registration, insurance, and the tow and parking fee in order to release his vehicle.
A trial date is set for June 7, 2016. Shockingly, Marc Stephens is not a lawyer, and is representing himself as pro se.