- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 18, 2014) — The Post & Email has confirmed with the McMinn County Sheriff’s Department that Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III was arrested at 12:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.
Sgt. Parsons of the McMinn County Sheriff’s Department informed us that an indictment from the McMinn County grand jury charged Fitzpatrick with harassment, aggravated perjury, stalking, and extortion and that Fitzpatrick is now jailed. Parsons refused us permission to record the phone call.
When we asked for documentation relative to the arrest, Parsons answered that there is a register of prisoners which anyone can examine in the sheriff’s office but no other paperwork available. The indictment is considered the “booking paperwork.” He advised us to contact the courthouse for a copy of the indictment.
A $50,000 bond has been set. Parsons said that those charged with crimes and jailed can seek release on the bond through a bondsman, a property bond, or a cash bond.
Parsons said he did not know who the grand jury foreman was today. Fitzpatrick has attempted to advance charges against McMinn County grand jury foreman Jeff Cunningham for masquerading as a juror when the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee has declared that grand jury foremen “are not jurors.” Rather, they are chosen by an unknown vetting system, or perhaps without any vetting at all.
One month ago today, Cunningham had threatened to have Fitzpatrick arrested for sitting in the courthouse with a sign stating, “Jeff Cunningham is not a juror” and attempting to advance a criminal charge against him to the grand jury. Fitzpatrick had sought a restraining order against Cunningham on two occasions and was denied, the most recent of which occurred on Monday.
Fitzpatrick has described Cunningham as a “commanding officer” over the members of the McMinn County grand juries. On Monday, Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email that if Cunningham told the jurors to “stand on your heads in a corner, they would try to stand on their heads.”
Cunningham is a bank president, licensed Tennessee attorney, and active member of the Tennessee Bar Association. When The Post & Email questioned the state Board of Professional Responsibility (BOPR) as to how a licensed attorney with interest in the field of “criminal prosecution” could act as a grand jury foreman, we received no response.
Cunningham was chosen by Judge Amy Reedy, who is running for re-election this November.
On February 3, Fitzpatrick spoke with a detective from the Athens, TN Police Department, not part of the sheriff’s department, and presented evidence of the “Sovereign Citizen” training program depicting Fitzpatrick as a criminal with which McMinn County Sheriff’s Department deputies are trained with the knowledge of Sheriff Joe Guy. The detective has since left the Athens Police Department.
Over the past four and one-half years, The Post & Email has reported on county and federal grand juries which have become tools of the government rather than fulfilling their Fifth Amendment purpose to act as a barrier between overzealous government functionaries and the citizens. Historically, grand juries investigated reports of misconduct on the part of public officials, government waste, local jail conditions, and other crimes.
Today, they are essentially used to affirm indictments handed down by prosecutors and U.S. attorneys.
The Post & Email called the McMinn County courthouse at 4:10 p.m. EDT but discovered via a recorded message that office hours end at 4:00 p.m.
Fitzpatrick is a veteran and retiree of the U.S. Navy, where he was brought to court-martial on invented charges and about which The Post & Email is co-authoring a book.
Update, 4:20 p.m.: The Post & Email has been informed that Atty. Van Irion, who is representing Fitzpatrick in a case on appeal originating in Monroe County, is at the McMinn County jail as of this update.
Tags: Atty. Van Irion, court-martial, Grand jury foreman Jeff Cunningham, Judge Amy Reedy, McMinn County grand jury, McMinn County Sheriff's Department, McMinn County TN, Sheriff Joe Guy, U.S. Navy, Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III