- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 21, 2013) — On Wednesday, a hearing for CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) was held at the Tennessee Appeals Court in Knoxville, TN during which Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion, informed the three-judge panel that Fitzpatrick had removed papers from the Monroe County courthouse on December 7, 2011 after witnessing Judge Amy Reedy hand-picking jury members for the coming year.
Irion said that the state’s law on the “necessity defense” could thereby be invoked by Fitzpatrick, who had also witnessed Reedy presiding over a murder trial in 2011 in which a defendant was convicted without forensic evidence.
The trial court had prevented Irion from arguing his client’s case last December, and Irion told the judges on Wednesday that the jury deliberated for “less than five minutes” before reaching a verdict.
If juries are compromised in any way, it would appear to be a violation of the Sixth Amendment to the Bill of Rights.
Judge Walter C. Kurtz, who presided over last year’s hearing and deemed Fitzpatrick a “self-appointed vigilante,” denied Fitzpatrick a new trial. Kurtz was made aware that the charging documents used to arrest Fitzpatrick were signed by an unauthorized person who was later arrested himself.
Fitzpatrick was jailed five times over an approximate two-year period by officials in Monroe County who Fitzpatrick has identified as “criminals.” In late 2009, he discovered corruption within the Monroe County grand jury, after which he spoke with local police, members of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the FBI, and attempted to present the evidence to a federal grand jury unsuccessfully. No law enforcement agency would take action on Fitzpatrick’s reports.
In August 2012, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that allegations of undue influence on the grand jury, financial mismanagement and other misconduct had arisen against Tenth Judicial District District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb and Assistant District Attorney General Paul D. Rush. In July, Rush was cited for ethics violations by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (BOPR).
The Post & Email filed an ethics complaint against Rush after he attempted to impugn its character in January 2012. During a probable cause hearing for Fitzpatrick, Rush called The Post & Email’s reportage of the type of personal information collected and manipulated by the Monroe County criminal court judges “reprehensible.” The BOPR dismissed the complaint by stating that “prosecutors were granted wide latitude” when presenting argument in court.
Rush also called Fitzpatrick “criminally insane” for exposing the deep corruption within the Tenth Judicial District.
No one from Tennessee’s Tenth Judicial District has ever contacted The Post & Email to say that our reports of corruption are not accurate.
In early April, the Tennessee Attorney General’s office announced that its probe had found poor management in some areas of Bebb’s office which did not rise to the level of crimes. However, members of the Tennessee General Assembly were not satisfied with the AG’s findings and have since taken action to remove Bebb from his post.
Tennessee is the only state in the nation where the attorney general is appointed by the state Supreme Court rather than by the governor or, most commonly, elected by the people. Cooper’s eight-year term ends next year.
The Fifth Amendment to the Bill of Rights states that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury…” The Legal Information Institute describes the grand jury as “a holdover from hundreds of years ago, originating during Britain’s early history. Deeply-rooted in the Anglo-American tradition, the grand jury originally served to protect the accused from overly-zealous prosecutions by the English monarchy.”
Prior to his arrest for taking the documents from the courthouse on December 7, 2011 after observing the tainted selection process conducted by Judge Amy Reedy, Fitzpatrick had gathered extensive documentary evidence published by The Post & Email of jury-rigging and grand jury foremen serving for years, and sometimes decades, in violation of state statute.
Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 22-2-301 states, in relevant part:
22-2-301. Automated selection of names for jury list.
(a) The jury coordinator in each county shall select names of prospective jurors to serve in the courts of that county by random automated means, without opportunity for the intervention of any human agency to select a particular name and in a manner that causes no prejudice to any person. The names, which shall constitute the jury list, shall be compiled from licensed driver records or lists, tax records or other available and reliable sources that are so tabulated and arranged that names can be selected by automated means. The jury coordinator may utilize a single source or any combination of sources. The jury coordinator is prohibited from using the permanent voter registration records as a source to compile the jury list.
TCA 22-2-304 mandates the way in which grand jurors and trial jurors shall be ultimately chosen:
22-2-304. Automated selection of names for jury pool.
(a) In any county in this state where the names of prospective jurors are obtained by automated means pursuant to § 22-2-301, the selection of names of prospective jurors to be summoned shall likewise be made by automated means in such a manner as to assure proportionate distribution of names selected without opportunity for the intervention of any human agency to select a particular name and in a manner that causes no prejudice to any person. It is the duty of the presiding judge of the judicial district to notify the jury coordinator of the number of names to be selected from the jury list, and these names shall constitute the jury pool.
TCA 22-2-314 states that jurors may not serve consecutive terms anywhere in the state of Tennessee.
Others have come forward to describe outcomes which could not have been arrived at had the jury not been unduly influenced by a prosecutor or other outside force given the evidence. Fitzpatrick has heard jurors say that they had served during a previous term, which also violates state law.
Some states have abandoned the use of a grand jury, while grand juries in many other states are now under the full direction of a local prosecutor.
Crimes have also been alleged on the part of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department involving a coerced confession for which the charge against the defendant was thrown out after reaching an appeals court.
Laws passed in 1984 ordered the county criminal courts to reorganize into districts but were ignored. Fitzpatrick has cited Judge Carroll Lee Ross and Reedy for failure to abide by those laws as well as having populated the grand and trial juries with individuals of their choosing.
At the end of August, Ross announced his retirement for August 2014. A case he adjudicated against George Raudenbush in 2011 is reportedly under review by the attorney general. In a letter received by The Post & Email on Tuesday, Raudenbush wrote:
My conviction is in the process of being reversed. Judge Carroll Ross who presided over my trial and sentencing has announced his resignation, the District Attorney Steven Bebb over my case, is currently under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Senate Judicial Committee for prosecutorial misconduct, malfeasance and civil rights violations [sic].
Raudenbush added that as a result, “my release could be any day.” He has spent two years in state prison after being convicted of eight traffic violations, while the grand jury indictments against him numbered only seven. Raudenbush was also denied defense counsel by Ross in violation of the Article I, Sections 8 and 9 of the Tennessee constitution.
On May 24, 2012, Fitzpatrick went into Ross’s office and asked if he possessed any business cards, to which Ross responded by angrily telling his assistant, Denise Barnes, to “call 911.” Barnes is also the court reporter for the Monroe County criminal court, which by the 1984 laws should not exist.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Irion told the judges that Fitzpatrick had seen a crime and removed the evidence from the courthouse to provide it to the FBI, an agent from which had previously told Fitzpatrick that they needed auditory or documentary evidence that crimes were being committed by the judges to prove Fitzpatrick’s allegations. When one of the judges asked if Fitzpatrick had turned over the documents to the FBI, Irion explained that Fitzpatrick had intended to do so but “was arrested” before he could take that action.
On the evening of December 7, 2011, a SWAT team, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department deputies, FBI and TBI agents descended upon Fitzpatrick’s home, seizing his computer equipment and taking him to jail. During a preliminary hearing months later, Rush reported that the TBI had been seeking “emails” between Fitzpatrick and this writer about the documents which did not exist.
As Irion stated in court, Fitzpatrick had mailed the evidence to this writer, who after receiving them, promptly contacted her local FBI by phone and in writing. Two months later, two agents from the New Haven, CT FBI office came to collect the documents in a cordial exchange which included discussion of corruption in eastern Tennessee, the responsibility of all eligible Americans to vote, and concluded by one of the agents asking, “Do you know a good place to have lunch around here?”
The Post & Email has been in touch with that agent since that time.
Referring to his appeals hearing on Wednesday in an email sent to members of the Tennessee General Assembly and members of the media, Fitzpatrick wrote:
Mrs. Sharon Rondeau, managing editor and owner of The Post & Email online newspaper, breaks this report as an exclusive.
It was Mrs. Rondeau who is referred to in the audio recordings as the “reporter.” It was Mrs. Rondeau who turned over the hard copy physical evidence to the FBI in Connecticut.
The attorney for Tennessee state, Counselor Kyle Alexander Hixson, did not refute, he did not rebut Counselor Van Irion’s affirmative report and notice to appellate Judge D. Kelly Thomas regarding Judge Amy F. Armstrong Reedy’s hand selecting members of the Monroe County grand jury.
By extension, Counselor Irion’s unchallenged report is made to the entire Tennessee state judiciary and, again, publicly to the FBI, and again, publicly to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and again, publicly to all.
Counselor Van Irion’s contact info: http://www.irionlaw.com
Sharon Rondeau’s contact information:
Business Phone: 203.987.7948
Tags: Assistant District Attorney General Paul D. Rush, Atty. Van Irion, Bill of Rights, CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III, District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb, ethics complaint, Federal Grand Jury, Fifth Amendment, George Raudenbush, Judge Carroll Lee Ross, Judge Walter C. Kurtz, Monroe County TN, necessity defense, Sixth Amendment, TCA, Tennessee, Tennessee Code Annotated, Tenth Judicial District, The Chattanooga Times Free Press