McMinn County Criminal Court Judge Seals Fitzpatrick “Grand Jury” Report

“IF ELECTED I INTEND TO FOLLOW THE LAW”

by Sharon Rondeau

(Jul. 29, 2017) — On Saturday, Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III received in the mail an order from McMinn County, TN Criminal Court Judge Sandra Donaghy indicating that an alleged report produced by a three-person panel of the county “grand jury” was filed “under seal” so as to “protect” him.

Donaghy’s brief misspells Fitzpatrick’s middle name, stating it in the feminine version of “Frances.”

DONAGHY RULING SEALED RECORDS dtd Wed. 26 July 2017

On Tuesday, July 18, Fitzpatrick went to the McMinn County “Justice Center” with a document package totaling approximately 400 pages detailing what he believes to be clear evidence of public corruption encompassing, but not limited to, the manner in which Tennessee judges hand-select grand jury foremen.

According to Donaghy, the documentation package was also placed under seal, although Fitzpatrick has said that it is already publicly available.

For more than a century, Tennessee’s criminal court judges have invited their business and personal acquaintances to chair the grand jury, circumventing the mandated empaneling of a jury pool from which grand jurors are ultimately selected after having been screened for conflict of interest and other considerations.

Enshrined in the American judicial system is the concept that jurors are to be “peers” of citizens petitioning the courts for redress of grievances or of those accused of a crime by the government.

In McMinn County, specifically, its handpicked grand jury foremen are often associated with the local federally-chartered financial institution, Athens Federal Community Bank (AFCB).

From January 2012 through March 2014, President & CEO Jeffrey L. Cunningham, of Athens Bancshares Corporation, the parent company of AFCB, was grand jury foreman, having been handpicked by Judge Amy Armstrong Reedy.

Cunningham’s successor, Larry Wallace, was an active AFCB Board member through at least last year and likely still active. Another former McMinn County grand jury foreman, Joel Riley, who was reappointed by Reedy, was on the AFCB Foundation Board of Directors as of 2015.

The grand jury foreman is paid $11.00 daily.  In the past, Bloomberg stated Cunningham’s annual salary at the bank as $630,000 but has not provided that information since January.

Why a “CEO, President & Director” of a federally-chartered bank would wish or have the time to serve as county grand jury foreman has never been answered; the same question arises with Wallace, who is listed as Chairman of Athens Bancshares by Bloomberg.

Cunningham is a licensed attorney, while Wallace is a retired law-enforcement professional who once served as McMinn County sheriff.

The Tennessee appellate and supreme courts have found nothing amiss in the way grand jury foremen in the state are hand-selected from outside of the jury pool, although state law does not allow special selection or treatment of the foreman.

Rule 6(g)(2) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure states that the foreman “must possess all the qualifications of a juror,” but with the judges’ personal selection, they are not vetted and their “qualifications” or potential conflicts of interest remain undisclosed.

A Knoxville appellate court upheld Fitzpatrick’s 2014 convictions of “aggravated perjury” and “extortion” stemming from his request to testify to the grand jury then, as he did on July 18.  Last year, the Tennessee Supreme Court refused to consider Fitzpatrick’s appeal, which was subsequently filed with the U.S. Supreme Court but not granted a hearing.

Fitzpatrick spent 26 months and 17 days confined to state prison, where he contracted septicemia and nearly died.  He was released on October 25, 2016 and provided a one-way bus ticket to Athens, McMinn County, where he had resided since February 2012.

In the evidence packet Fitzpatrick provided to the “grand jury” panel on the 18th, he included documentation from two U.S. Supreme Court cases which maintain that “prejudicial” means of appointing the foreman of a grand jury cannot be tolerated.

On the first page of her order, Donaghy recounted that on July 18, Fitzpatrick petitioned for a grand jury hearing.  Although not cited, Tennessee code allows for any citizen to ask to testify to his local grand jury.

Contrasted with Cunningham’s handling of Fitzpatrick’s petitions three years ago is Donaghy’s acknowledgement that because current grand jury foreman Larry Wallace was accused of criminal activity in Fitzpatrick’s latest documentation, Wallace was “required” to recuse himself from the foremanship.

Although named in Fitzpatrick’s 2014 petitions, Cunningham did not recuse himself and became the chief trial witness against Fitzpatrick, during which Cunningham admitted that he never filed a criminal complaint.

On March 18, 2014, Fitzpatrick was arrested at the courthouse by two sheriff’s deputies while awaiting a decision outside of the grand jury room on his request to testify.

As Donaghy further noted on pages 1-2, Tennessee code states that a petitioner may select the two panel members joining the foreman to screen the evidence brought by the petitioner to determine whether or not it will proceed to the full grand jury.

Fitzpatrick’s account of the event differs from Donaghy’s.  “I did not pick two jurors,” he told The Post & Email on Saturday. “I picked two numbers, #1 and #2, completely uninformed.”

Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email following his July 18 meeting with the three-member panel that “The government retains control of the process.  The state picks the foreman, so the petitioner should be able to pick the other two who join the foreman to form the three-member screening panel.  But here, the state picked all three.”

He also said that he specified to Donaghy’s grand jury foreman pro tem appointee, Terry Bowers, that he wanted the two other panelists to consist of a veteran and an individual with a college degree, at a minimum.  His request was ignored.

Given that Wallace recused himself, however, Fitzpatrick said that “there was no basis for my arrest” on March 18, 2014.  “The state gave up its case against me,” he said.

Regarding Donaghy’s decision to “seal” the decision of the three-member “grand jury” panel, Fitzpatrick said, “Donaghy sealed the records because they incriminate Cunningham, Wallace, Riley, and herself, for that matter.”

In a brief statement, the panel, whose names were redacted, claimed that Fitzpatrick was “not credible” in his claims.  Given that Fitzpatrick left the panel with 400 pages of documentation and that its report was allegedly “filed with the Court Clerk” (p. 2) the same day, Fitzpatrick is certain that none of it was reviewed.

Citing Tennessee code and “case law,” Donaghy maintained that Fitzpatrick will not be permitted to return to request another grand jury hearing concerning his allegations.

When Donaghy ran for Criminal Court Judge in 2014 against then-incumbent Amy Armstrong Reedy, she told The Post & Email, “If elected I intend to “follow the law.”

13 Responses to "McMinn County Criminal Court Judge Seals Fitzpatrick “Grand Jury” Report"

  1. mike l   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 7:05 PM

    The case made up against Cdr Walt is the work of a dangerous entrenched criminal enterprise operating in the court house and higher up, a viscous conspiracy to prevent a retired naval officer from exposing the civil mixed war and seditious treasonous activity being waged 24/7 against the people of Tennessee and their constitution to restrain their civil servants from criminal ultra vires acts by their elected and un-elected officials.

    Special court of record independent GJ- HJC_A.M lawful process now needs to be implemented to remove their criminal operations and their cohorts from power since their is no self corrective process left in Tennessee because of their rogue constitutionally unaccountable nature of their Municipal military corporations courts now providing corrupt government services under the law of conquest without bonding and without adherence to oath ie treason
    More about this shortly

  2. T.F. B0W   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 5:12 PM

    Why does Fitzpatick say that there are active state and federal investigations? Fitzpatrick sent a letter to the local police chief, who forwarded it to the prosecutor present at Fitzpatrick’s presentation.

  3. raicha   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 2:41 PM

    ZebB – LT. Commander Fitzpatrick was subpoenaed by a criminal defendant to testify and LT. Commander Fitzapatrick was transferred from his then home–prison–to the courthouse. But after a few minutes on the stand, he was ordered to stand down as he had nothing of value to testify to. Contrary to the defendant’s assertion, LT. Commander does not qualify as an “expert” in a court of law. This was all reported on this site here: http://www.thepostemail.com/2016/09/26/walter-fitzpatrick-ejected-from-witness-stand-by-tennessee-judge-part-2/

  4. Gnarly Goat   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 2:33 PM

    Hi Walt. Fellow USNA alumnus here so I’m well acquainted with sea lawyering.

    Your response to my comment contains an awful lot of idle speculation as well as wild accusations against the judge for crimes for which there is no evidence. Do you have any hard facts that prove your accusations?

    Did USNA require all Firsties to take NL 400 “Law for the Junior Officer” back in your day as well? In that class we learned that any conclusions in a JAGMAN investigation had to be backed by and linked to specific, demonstrable findings of fact. At no time did our instructors teach us just to make unverifiable accusations in official reports.

    Occam’s Razor applies in this case. In Paragraph 6 the judge clearly states there was no evidence of criminal acts and that you lacked credibility. Her decision to seal the report was actually to protect your reputation from damage due to the some of the findings of the grand jurors. For that action, you should be thankful.

  5. Lane Hudson   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 1:43 PM

    ZebBlanchard wrote:

    “The assistant DA was with the jury foreman when Walt presented his file. This flies in the face of the intent of U.S. C. Amendment VI which implies impartiality in the jury process. But this is just one more example of how the judiciary has corrupted the process. ”

    You are confused. The Sixth Amendment refers to the rights of the accused before a jury at trial. A prosecutor is almost always present with the grand jury. Fitzpatrick is not the accused. He is the accuser in this case.

    It was this kind of mistake that landed Terry Trussell in prison in Florida when he tried to indict the assistant state’s attorney Jeff Siegmeister with a fake grand jury because he didn’t like the way Siegmeister was running the real grand jury when Trussell was foreman.

    Birthers and Sovereign Citizens live in a fantasy world where grand juries are their own personal playthings they can use to indict their enemies. Fortunately our system doesn’t work that way.

    I stand by my prediction that Fitpatrick will end up in legal difficulty again for his unhinged behavior.

  6. Lane Hudson   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 1:29 PM

    It sounds like Fitzpatrick got an opportunity to present his accusations before the grand jury and they found his accusations baseless and him not credible. A normal person would say that’s that. But I doubt Fitzpatrick will say that. He has already demonstrated for almost 30 years he is not a normal person.

  7. Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 12:18 PM

    Commander Fitzpatrick here, The JAG HUNTER…USNA Class of 1975

    In service to P&E readers, this:

    Comment: Rather interesting. (Fitz response: For reasons completely divorced from those suggested)

    Comment: Paragraph 6 is the “money shot” as it clearly explains the judge’s rationale for sealing the report. (Fitz response: Donaghy’s rationale is to cloak the names of the two unknowns from the panel of three. Sealing the records also cloaks hard evidence of Donaghy’s criminal acts, and the criminal acts of so many other people. The exact same information was separately turned over to law enforcement officials and is presently under investigation, federal and state. Donaghy made another grave mistake sealing the records. But it’s okay: It’s Donaghy’s mistake to make).

    Comment, quoting Donaghy: “The report made certain findings, some of which could be harmful to the reputation of Mr. Fitzpatrick. The ultimate decision of the panel was that there was insufficient evidence to refer the matter(s) to the full grad jury for investigation. There is no finding of a criminal act(s). Mr. Fitzpatrick was determined to lack credibility. Because of this finding, and to insure that the report is not disseminated to the public, the report,the supporting documents, and this order shall be filed under seal.” (Fitz response: Donaghy, and the panel of three are lying. All the evidence is credible and will be reported upon on these Post & Email pages in the days to come. Much of the evidence turned over to the panel of three, which Donaghy sealed, is already public record).

    Comment: The bottom line is the judge sealed the report to protect Walt’s reputation which is a rather magnanimous act. (Fitz response: Actually Donaghy sealed the records to protected herself and Donaghy’s outlaw assistants. An act of cowardice to be sure. The truth will out.)

    I’m not done yet!

    Here endth another lesson.

    “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It’s a waste of time. And it annoys the pig.”
    -Robert Heinlein, USNA Class of 1929

  8. ZebBlanchard   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 11:29 AM

    The assistant DA was with the jury foreman when Walt presented his file. This flies in the face of the intent of U.S. C. Amendment VI which implies impartiality in the jury process. But this is just one more example of how the judiciary has corrupted the process. The dumbed down, i.e. not Fully Informed Jurors have been made to understand that the grand jury process is under the control of the state rather than the jurors. It is very obvious that the DA told the foreman not to consider the file!!
    How can Walt not be credible if he has been subpoenaed to testify on the corruption in the judiciary “system”? Was “judge” Donaghy not aware of this or more likely did she just ignore that fact?
    But at lest Walt got to “present”. The letter of the law was met and ten minutes later the DA hit the links.

  9. Chris Farrell   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    Walter, May I please have a speaking part in the movie that will surely be made about the corruption in Tennessee and your persecution by the judicial system and law enforcement in Tennessee that has been facilitated by the lack of any real Fourth Estate guardians of the rights of the people of Tennessee?

    I’d like to become SAG-AFTRA eligible.

  10. Gnarly Goat   Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 8:25 AM

    Rather interesting.

    Paragraph 6 is the “money shot” as it clearly explains the judge’s rationale for sealing the report.

    “The report made certain findings, some of which could be harmful to the reputation of Mr. Fitzpatrick. The ultimate decision of the panel was that there was insufficient evidence to refer the matter(s) to the full grad jury for investigation. There is no finding of a criminal act(s). Mr. Fitzpatrick was determined to lack credibility. Because of this finding, and to insure that the report is not disseminated to the public, the report,the supporting documents, and this order shall be filed under seal.”

    The bottom line is the judge sealed the report to protect Walt’s reputation which is a rather magnanimous act.

  11. Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III   Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 10:34 PM

    Taken from the back of my business card:

    “The remedy for Anger is Patience.” -Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) The Canterbury Tales

    “Beware the Fury of A Patient Man!” -John Dryden (1631-1700) Absalom and Achitophel
    Part 1

    “Never give in! Never! Never! Never! Never!
    In nothing great or small, large or petty!
    Never give in except to conviction of honor and good sense!
    Never yield to force!
    Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy!”

    -Winston Spencer Churchill
    Mansion House speech
    to the boys of the Harrow School (29 October 1941)
    Churchill’s school as a boy himself

    I’m not done yet.

    Here endth the lesson…

  12. Karen Bracken   Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 9:44 PM

    Well this is one Tennessean that won’t be voted for her again. If I have anything to do with it I will make sure many others do not vote for her either. I think Walter should just stop trying to fight a battle he cannot win. As a naval officer he should be able to see the futility of his war. We are now living in a lawless country where the corrupt rule the day. I admire this man so much. He has given more to this battle than humanly conceivable. I know he will not but I think he needs to enjoy the life he has left. Walter Fitzpatrick is in my prayers and all those that have fought along side this true American hero and patriot.

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