- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 26, 2011) — The following letter has been sent via facsimile to the office of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, who was elected on November 2, 2010, succeeding Phil Bredesen, who served as governor for eight years.
Governor Bill Haslam
First Floor, State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243
Attn: Mr. David Smith, Media Contact
Via Facsimile: 615-741-1416
Dear Mr. Smith:
Pursuant to our conversation of Tuesday, January 25, 2011, I am writing to inform you of the endemic corruption in your state and specifically, within Monroe County, of which I have become aware through seven months of continuous investigation.
There is a criminal enterprise operating among court personnel, judges, district attorneys general, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department as evidenced by the unlawful seizure of property, unlawful arrest of innocent persons, rigged grand juries and trial juries, and murders which go uninvestigated. Those who have reported evidence regarding such crimes are not interviewed by the Sheriff’s Department, and there is evidence that the Sheriff’s Department itself is covering up the murder of Mr. Jim Miller, an elections supervisor who was found incinerated in the trunk of his car last July.
The local media is complicit in the government’s corruption and purposely misleads the public by making statements which are completely unsubstantiated and biased against the citizens and in favor of those who are apparently pulling their strings. Such media includes The Buzz and The Advocate & Democrat, both of which are guilty of misinforming the public.
It appears that the chief court clerk has been rigging the juries for many years, and I am in possession of the working papers she used to select a trial jury for a defendant whose case was heard on December 1, 2010. These documents bear her handwriting and show direct human intervention in the selection of the jury. One of the jurors was dismissed before the aforementioned trial began due to recent service which precluded his serving again by state law, TCA 22-2-314.
Grand jury foremen in almost all counties in your state are serving 20 years or more consecutively despite the same law which states that no juror after serving his term may serve again within 24 months. There is no provision which renders the foreman any different from the other jurors. With the foreman under the thumb of the judges and grand jury members hand-picked, indictments are being issued when there is no probable cause, and with rigged trial juries, defendants are being convicted when they are innocent. There is evidence that many innocent people are languishing in local jails and state penitentiaries because of juries which were hand-picked to produce a particular outcome.
In Monroe County, the former grand jury foreman of 20 years had reportedly tried to coerce jail inmates to provide false confessions.
On January 3, 2011, I sent a money order for $33.00 to the Monroe County court clerk to purchase a transcript of an arraignment hearing held on June 28, 2010. After almost three weeks, I called the court reporter, who confirmed that they received the money but that she did not send the transcript, saying “I’ll send it within a few days.” That was a week ago, and I still have not received it.
Interestingly, a copy of the purported transcript was posted on the internet within days of the hearing last summer, but neither I nor the defendant himself has been able to obtain a copy. There is something very suspect about the court personnel’s behavior in regard to this transcript. Last fall, the defendant was informed that he could obtain the transcript at the law office of a private attorney, but when he arrived and requested it during business hours, he was turned away empty-handed by a rather large man named “Butch.”
There is obviously a reason why no one has been able to obtain this transcript. The defendant stated that the version posted on the internet by “Friends of Politijab” is missing information which would have been damaging to the government’s case against him.
I have contacted the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, which appears oblivious to the 2008 law about limitations of jury service and refuses to respond to the fact that a witness at an arraignment hearing was the person who picked the jury members for the same defendant’s trial. How can a witness serve in any other capacity, particularly when the witness is the chief circuit court clerk? Why should the court clerk have even been a witness in the case? Why has she been in the courtroom for the same defendant again? And why is she involved in the jury selection process when it is supposed to be automated and the names selected randomly as mandated by TCA 22-2-314?
I have the emails from the media representative at the Administrative Office of the Courts which convince me that instead of providing proper oversight, the agency is part of the problem. The media contact misstated the court rules and didn’t seem to be aware that a law passed by the state legislature trumps court rules.
Recently my newspaper published an article written by a mother whose child was shot by a neighbor in the face and leg. After tirelessly reporting, advocating and meeting with law enforcement, the grand jury did not produce an indictment of the perpetrator, whose identity was known. The mother was on the witness list but was not called to testify to the grand jury. The prosecutor made the excuse that he “didn’t know” she was a witness and therefore failed to call her. The mother reported that both the prosecutor and the sheriff are acquainted with the perpetrator, who had threatened her family before. This occurred in Sevier County in 2009, and the child was seriously injured. I have the photos.
A Monroe County resident reported falsified sheriff’s department reports and no penalty for his neighbor, who attempted to injure or kill him and destroyed his back yard with construction equipment in violation of residential caveats.
In Roane County, the grand jury foreman has been serving for more than 23 years. The judge who presided there during many of those years also served recently in Monroe County and allowed an admittedly tainted grand jury‘s indictment to stand. The same judge stated in open court that the foreman is “just like any other jury member,” which signifies his knowledge that a foreman cannot legally serve for continuous terms, yet he has allowed it in both Roane and Monroe Counties.
A defendant from Davidson County was told by his public defender, “Your only plea is guilty,” which was a clear violation of his constitutional and civil rights.
A church missionary presently jailed on $25,000 bond asked directly for your help and has claimed that his arrest resulted from retaliation on the part of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department for FBI involvement in the matter of confiscation of property belonging to his missionary organization.
The people of Monroe County are living in abject fear. Many have been stopped by sheriff’s deputies, particularly at night, yanked out of their vehicles, beaten within an inch of their lives, tortured, falsely imprisoned, fined for crimes they didn’t commit, and betrayed by crooked defense attorneys. The public defenders, judges, prosecutors, court personnel and sheriff’s department are all part of the corruption. The actions of rogue law enforcement officers who brutalize people should have put them away for many, many years, but instead, they are promoted while continuing to threaten innocent people. Falsely arresting and incarcerating the citizens perpetuates a human trafficking operates which brings in a continuous stream of money for what can be only nefarious purposes.
It has been reported that the Monroe County jailers obstruct ingoing and outgoing mail, particularly as it concerns a defendant’s right to an appeal. A former inmate was also told that members of the sheriff’s department are aware of the criminal activity taking place around them but are fearful to come forward.
I have also reported the deplorable, substandard conditions in the Monroe County jail to the Tennessee Corrections Institute, which reportedly performed an inspection in early December and cited the sheriff’s department for code violations. The problems which inmates have reported directly to me are leaking raw sewage where people are forced to sleep; inmates forced to sleep on concrete floors, room temperature kept at 60 or below; plumbing which doesn’t work, and 40 people to one bathroom. On December 2, 2010 Ms. Peggy Sawyer of the Tennessee Corrections Institute promised to take action, but an inmate reported to me this past Monday, January 24, that the conditions are even worse than those described to us in November and December. I have recently placed two calls to Ms. Sawyer, who either refuses to respond or isn’t receiving the messages.
The Tennessee Department of Health has said that it can do nothing about the horrendous conditions in the Monroe County detention facility. Former inmates have stated that they were not provided necessary prescription medications and that the sanitation in the facility is nonexistent.
In summary, sir, Monroe County is a haven for bullies, criminals, money launderers, murderers, drug addicts and dealers, and physically abusive police. Together, these people are running the county government. I have contacted Rep. John Duncan about these problems, but his office fails to respond. Others have contacted state representatives and senators as well as U.S. Senators Corker and Alexander, but nothing appears to have been done. Meanwhile, people fear for their lives and abused children remain endangered because of the corruption which appears to be present throughout county agencies. People have been jailed or fined over and over again for the same offense, and no attorney in the county or surrounding ones will take a case for fear of their lives or those of other family members.
Is every politician in the state of Tennessee a phony? Is the Attorney General an upstanding man? Why is the position appointed by the Supreme Court, rather than elected by the people, and for a duration of eight years? Does that not lend itself to corruption?
Why do members of the judiciary have extraordinary protections against oversight and discipline in your state?
While politicians are usually the problem, not the answer, I am appealing to you to fulfill the pledge on your website which says that “when faced with adversity,” you will “respond with determination.” I think the situation in Monroe and other counties qualifies as “adversity,” given the entrenched corruption which exerts tyranny over the people every day. There have been reports that prior governors were involved in the criminality going on in Tennessee. We began contacting you about the corruption directly following your election. Do you have the courage to step forward and be different?
Is the problem so huge that it will, instead, require federal intervention?
It is well-known that members of the court, sheriff’s department and other public employees read The Post & Email regularly, and none has refuted any of the reports of human trafficking, police brutality, poor conditions in the jail, or judicial misconduct. The FBI and TBI have been contacted, but it seems that victims of the corrupt system must take action on the federal level to have any opportunity for justice to be served.
The Tennessee constitution states that “All power is inherent in the people,” but that power has been usurped by criminals posing as public servants. Do you believe in upholding the Tennessee and U.S. Constitution at all costs?
I will call your office in two weeks to obtain a progress report on your investigation of these crucial matters.
Respectfully and sincerely,
The Post & Email, Inc.
P.O. Box 302
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
Editor’s Note: The letter has also been faxed to Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr.
Tags: FBI, Monroe County, Ms. Peggy Sawyer, Rep. John Duncan, Roane County, Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Robert Corker, TBI, Tennessee Corrections Institute, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam