Ryan Davidson will ask the Idaho Court of Appeals today to overturn his 2007 misdemeanor conviction for driving without privileges on the grounds that Idaho law denies defendants due process when their driver's licenses are suspended after conviction.
Davidson is a leading backer of presidential candidate Ron Paul, Ada County Republican precinct committeeman and third vice chairman of the Ada GOP. He formerly chaired the Idaho Libertarian Party, championed pot legalization initiatives in Hailey and Sun Valley, ran for Garden City Council and Ada County coroner, and led the effort to increase the influence of Paul backers in GOP county central committees across the state.
Davidson, representing himself, will make his oral argument to the Idaho Court of Appeals at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to reverse decisions by Ada County Magistrate Thomas Watkins and 4th District Judge Cheri Copsey. The Idaho Attorney General's office is representing the state.
He also argues that the magistrate abused his discretion and that he received ineffective legal counsel.
In a Facebook posting asking supporters to join him in court today, Davidson writes, "I refused all plea bargains. I fired two incompetant (sic) public defenders who refused to present my research to the court. I was thrown in jail for three days at one point because I hadn't filed the correct paperwork. And at every turn, the lower court judges refused to give my arguments a fair hearing."
In 2006, Davidson argued and won an Idaho Supreme Court case that held that the Sun Valley Clerk didn't have authority to nix a pot legalization initiative. His 2007 and 2008 marijuana initiatives in Hailey were either defeated or struck down by the courts, excepting a measure that makes enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for Hailey police.
In a news release from his pro-Paul group, Idahoans for Liberty, Davidson said his appeal could strike down all traffic infraction tickets in the state as unconstitutional "because the post-conviction process is fatally flawed" because of the 14th Amendment and a recent case in Washington State, Redmond v. Moore.
In his Facebook posting, Davidson writes:
"A driver's license is a valuable right, and the state cannot suspend it for failure to pay an infraction fine without granting you a substantive hearing where such suspension can be contested.
"Currently the State of Idaho does not allow for such a hearing, as such, they violate the procedural due process rights of license holder, contrary to the 5th and 14th Amendments.
"A conviction of driving without privileges cannot be sustained if the state suspended the license without due process.
"The logical extension of my argument is that every traffic ticket in Idaho is unconstitutional, because there is no adequate process in place to govern post-conviction hearings."
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