Two years ago I was a last minute selection to be part of my friends wedding. I lived in Dallas and I was fitted at a tuxedo rental shop in Dallas. The wedding was in Houston about 250 miles from where I lived in Dallas. I was to pick up my tuxedo the day of the wedding because as I said I was a last minute addition to the wedding party. I went to the rental shop and when I got there there was a line out of the door. Apparently prom was happening the same weekend. So I picked up the tux and I scurried back to the Church to change. I did not have time to try it on. I get to the Church and try on the pants and they were entirely too small. I mean Alley McBeal on a skinny day couldn't fit into these pants. It was as if they mixed up my order with an anorexic midget. Everything else fit except the pants.
Now at this point I bet you are saying get to the point and what does this have to do with tolls and the Seventh Amendment. Well my girlfriend had taken my clothes back to the hotel and I had no pants to wear so Sven another groomsman from Switzerland drove my pants back to the tuxedo rental shop to exchange them. He noticed I had a toll tag from Dallas so he thought it was from Houston. He took the toll roads three times. I did not realize this until a month later I got a letter saying that I owed the Harris County Toll Road Authority $80.
I called them and said it was preposterous that I had not violated any tolls. The rep had informed me that I indeed did violate the toll because they had my picture. I informed them that the violations were committed by another person from a foreign country. They claimed that according to Texas law that I am responsible for whomever is driving my car. I explained I would pay the $3.50 that was the original toll violation and that is it. I explained the situation and they said that I was responsible for the full amount.
A couple of years passed with no word and then I get a letter from a lawyer stating that they demanded payment for the full amount or they would prevent me from registering my vehicle in Texas. I informed them again that I would only be willing to pay $3.50 for the original toll amount. They said that that was not enough and that I would need to pay the full amount. I informed them that I would like a court hearing a I would like a jury trial. The lady said ok you want to go to court then it just cost you another $50 and then hung up on me.
I then received a letter from Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson with a court date. I faxed the law firm a letter stating once again to drop the charges or afford me my Constitutionally guaranteed right which is stated in the Seventh Amendment, in Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
The case proceeded without dismissal. I did not attend. I then received a default judgment essentially turning a $3.50 toll charge into a $300 toll charge. If I do not pay that within 30 days then I will be charged an additional $75 dollars and if I do not pay that within 30 days my vehicle will no longer be able to be registered in the State of Texas.
Here is how I intend to beat this. I have contacted Ron Paul and other and filed an appeal in the Harris County Court of Appeals. I have also contacted the former Secretary of State for Texas and he has suggested that I counter sue for my time and the undue stress caused by violating my rights. Stay tuned for updates as I continue to fight for all of our Constitutionally guaranteed rights.