In this troubleshooters report: A Pender County man who refuses to get a license plate, registration, or insurance on his truck. Donald Sullivan says the Constitution gives us the right to travel the public highways, and he shouldn't be charged or regulated for simply exercising his right. You might be surprised to hear a judge ruled in his favor. Sullivan said, "I can govern myself. And America is about self-government." "If a person proves he's responsible, leave him alone, he can govern himself, he doesn't need to be bothered by the government," said Sullivan. Donald Sullivan isn't your typical guy. The retired Air Force Lt. Colonel voted for Ron Paul in the recent election, and says our government has gotten too far away from the republic our forefathers founded. "We don't have control over our own property anymore, our own lives, our own anything. The state regulates and taxes everything," said Sullivan. Sick of the government micromanaging his life, Mr. Sullivan staged a unique form of protest. There's no state issued license plate on his truck. You won't find an inspection sticker either. Sullivan says he doesn't need them and he's been driving around without them for the last year and a half. Sullivan said, "I wanted to get a ticket, and I wanted to have the vehicle impounded, and I wanted to be arrested, because you have to be standing in a court to pursue these kinds of questions." He finally got his wish. A trooper pulled Mr. Sullivan over in January, and the case was recently heard in court. The judge denied Mr. Sullivan's motions regarding the court's jurisdiction over him, but found him not guilty of the driving offenses in question. Mr. Sullivan says it was a huge victory, and says the next time he's pulled over, all he has to do is show the officers the paperwork with the court's not guilty finding, and he is off the hook. But the lawyer we asked said, not so fast. Attorney Griff Anderson said, "The court made a determination, for whatever reason, that the state had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, that which they had to prove to prove someone guilty." "What happened in this case is particular only to this case -- what occurred on the roadway when the trooper cited him. What happened in this courtroom has no bearing whatsoever on what could happen in any future instance on the road," said Anderson. While Mr. Sullivan raises some interesting questions about individual liberties, Attorney Griff Anderson says it was a very unusual case, and when it comes to driving, the law is clear. "This has been challenged in the courts, and routinely, North Carolina courts, US courts, other states have upheld the right of the state to regulate the way people travel. They can't prohibit people from traveling on public roads, but they can regulate it by requiring licenses, license plates and insurance," said Anderson. We're not sure exactly how Mr. Sullivan got off the hook in court, but attorneys tell us being found not guilty is very different than having a case thrown out. Any number of technicalities can cause a case to unravel. In case you're wondering, despite his distaste for traffic laws, Mr. Sullivan concedes that car insurance is a good idea.
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