- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 26, 2011) —The following is a first-hand report from Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, who was tried on the charges of resisting arrest and assault on Thursday, June 23, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. at the Monroe County courthouse in Madisonville, TN.
Fitzpatrick was initially arrested for carrying out a citizen’s arrest on April 1, 2010, of the grand jury foreman, Gary Pettway, who had been serving in that capacity for at least 20 years in violation of Tennessee state law.
Eyewitnesses reported that local police and sheriff’s deputies made it difficult for citizens to attend the trial. However, Article I, Section 9 of the Tennessee constitution guarantees “a speedy public trial by an impartial jury” to all defendants.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: The good news is that there is a tremendous amount here that we can bring up on appeal. Sentencing is on the 23rd of September at 9:00 in the morning. There is no fine, but I will get hit with court costs. Because it was a hung jury on the assault charge, they could bring up that charge again.
I was able to record this today and get it to you.
I walked in there and challenged the court because the underlying failure to appear has never been advanced. I was arrested for doing nothing, and thereby the court has no jurisdiction over prosecuting me for the conduct from the 27th.
The other thing that came up today was that what they “do here in Tennessee” is if you miss a hearing, you get picked up and arrested. You don’t face the charge of failing to appear. If you already have a charge against you that’s in the works, they just lock you up while you’re waiting for a trial on that one. They don’t have to charge you for the failure to appear. So you, as a citizen, never get to confront your accuser. This is Constitution 101 stuff. You can’t defend yourself against resisting arrest, which is huge.
Editor’s Note: Article I, Section 8 of the Tennessee constitution states:
That no man shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did someone read a statute which says that?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: They didn’t read anything; they just said from experience, that’s just the way it is.
MRS. RONDEAU: I wonder if there’s a law that says anything resembling that.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: From a constitutional standpoint, there cannot be. St. Augustine said, “A law that is unjust is no law at all.” So if it’s on the books, it’s never been challenged. But they can just make it up; it doesn’t matter if the law is on the books or not.
MRS. RONDEAU: It would seem that a defendant should be able to defend himself against the particular charge of failing to appear.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes, but they don’t write up the charge, so you get locked up. It’s unconstitutional on its face. They can just arrest a person on a whim, and if they don’t intend to charge you with the offense and just lock you up, they have broken a bedrock constitutional principle of punishment without law. Without the intervention of a jury, that is attainder.
So that challenge was made. One of the things that came out on Thursday is that a citizen cannot issue his own subpoena.
MRS. RONDEAU: He can’t?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I read from the Tennessee constitution that a citizen has the right to call witnesses in his defense. It’s in Article I, Section 9 of the Tennessee State Constitution: “That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath the right [protection]…to meet witnesses face to face, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor…”
But the judge said,”No, I can show it to you; that’s not right.”
MRS. RONDEAU: What did he show you?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: He didn’t. They broke the law. I had different motions out there, and he denied them all. Information that I tried to enter in was denied.
MRS. RONDEAU: It seems as if they deny anything, even if it’s right from the state constitution, because it doesn’t fit what they want to happen. Other Tennessee defendants have issued subpoenas and not been told that they weren’t valid.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes. At one point they tried to accuse me of trying to pull a knife. I stopped that one, because I had no knife. But this is what they do. They hammered me for not filing motions on time, and I said, “Excuse me, but there were documents sent to the judge that were responded to.”
MRS. RONDEAU: It seems as if no matter what a defendant does, they deny it and make up things.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Something I said to the judge was, “You were sent a letter from the district attorney out of Bradley County, Joseph K. Byrd,” and he said, “I never got it.”
I told Judge Harris I’d summoned Judge Harris as a witness. Harris said in open court, “You can’t do that. I have no part in the case.” And I said, “Well, you don’t know what my defense is,” and of course, my defense is going to be, “You’re not a judge in good standing because you’ve been involved with the grand jury.” So that’s an issue. In other words, everything I attempted to do to try to make sure that I was going to get a fair trial was denied. We see the same kind of jury process as before. I tried to get that into the court, but a cousin of Marty Cook was accepted onto the jury. I tried to make the case in a timeline against Cook and Blackwood for what they did to say that there was no notice, but they rejected that argument.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did they excuse Martha Cook’s cousin from the jury?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I didn’t excuse them. What for? How did he get into the jury in the first place? Besides that, Marty Cook has corrupted the jury as I have already explained, and I tried to challenge her as having been a witness for the state of Tennessee back on the 28th of June 2010, and she kind-of danced around that. She said it wasn’t an issue.
MRS. RONDEAU: They seem to have their own closed system which doesn’t even resemble justice.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: That’s correct. To go after the jury at this point is redundant. The fact that Marty Cook had anything to do with the construction of that jury means it’s rigged. She admitted that she was a witness for the state of Tennessee. So how do you fight this? They said, “You didn’t notify this person; you didn’t notify that person,” and I said, “I mailed out many things which were not responded to. You have a request in front of you from Joseph K. Byrd,” and the judge didn’t respond. So the fix is in.
My accusers are the judges. It’s a dictatorship of the judiciary. Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood is the guy who turned in his chair on October 22 and said, “Oh, he’s not here” and issued a warrant for my arrest. He is responsible for the charge of “failure to appear,” but he never charged me with that in court. He didn’t have anybody else do it; he’s the one who did that, on purpose. And that’s after he had done other things, which means that he was not allowed to handle my case.
This is the kind of thing for which these people should be arrested.
This is the tyranny of the judiciary. It’s the path to tyranny. The charges all ultimately come from Judge Carroll L. Ross. This whole thing has come against me because of judges. Look at what the judges have done to everybody since the citizen’s arrest. A lot of people in this state are watching what happens, and the judges are trying to show people that they control everything. The grand juries are certainly under their control, which has deprived the citizens of their constitutional rights.