“I FEAR FOR MY LIFE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 8, 2010) — In a recent interview with The Post & Email,Mr. Rocky Joe Houston of Roane County, TN stated that seven separate attempts on his life have been made by means of a “hit squad,” landing him in several hospitals and jail without an arraignment or the benefit of a jury trial.
Mr. Houston reported that on May 11, 2006, Roane County Sheriff Bill Jones and his companion, Michael Brown, arrived at his home unexpectedly and without provocation and opened fire, seriously injuring his brother and him as well as severely damaging his property. Mr. Houston stated that he and his brother fired back in self-defense in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated 39-11-611, which allows the use of deadly force to defend one’s life. He told The Post & Email that Jones and Brown “shot the house to pieces” and that it remains in that condition to this day.
There was local television and print media coverage of the incident and the trials which followed which corroborates Houston’s story and in which an eyewitness stated that Rocky Joe Houston was unarmed when the sheriff and his coworker arrived at their home on May 11. One report stated that two years after his death, the sheriff could “end up the accused himself.”
The Roane County Sheriff’s Department describes the Houston brothers as “cop killers” to this day despite their acquittals and describes the incident as “an ambush.”
After incurring serious injuries, Rocky Joe Houston was hospitalized and later transferred straight to jail without an arraignment or any formal charges being filed. Clifford Leon Houston spent two days in a local jail and was then transferred to a prison without a trial. As his bond was set at $900,000, Rocky Houston spent three and one-half years behind bars until friends and relatives were able to offer up property valued at $1,000,000 as bond. He was released from jail this past March.
Mr. Houston reported that while incarcerated, he was in need of surgery for a hernia sustained as a result of the shootout at his home but received no treatment for it until his release from jail.
Following his release, Mr. Houston was again jailed for allegedly violating the conditions of his “parole,” but Houston contends that he should not have been considered a parolee because he had not been convicted of a crime. Local television coverage in which a judge testified on the witness stand, as Houston related to us, is here. Houston claims that Judge David G. Hayes is guilty of “allowing lawyers out of contracts” for purposes of political expediency and cronyism. Houston alleges misconduct on the part of judges, lawyers, court clerks, jury members, and the grand jury foreman, as well as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI. One judge, Thomas Austin, was sentenced to prison.
Houston and his brother have been tried three times together. His brother, Clifford Leon Houston, was acquitted of all charges, and Rocky was found “not guilty” on most of the charges with a hung jury on those remaining.
At one point, prosecutors admitted that a judge “bungled the case.” During one of the trials, Houston reports that his brother, who was representing himself, asked to see the oath of office that the presiding judge had allegedly signed. The oath reportedly could not be produced and was allegedly executed outside of the courtroom only after the request to see it was made. Local news reports affirm Houston’s claim of missteps and procedural mistakes in court proceedings.
While out of jail, Houston said he and his brother each were being charged $400 a month for an ankle bracelet used as an electronic tracking device which he has stated did not always function properly.
Despite the acquittals, the state of Tennessee appealed the decisions, and according to Mr. Houston, “the judge refused to accept the ‘not guilty’ verdict.” However, the Associated Press reported on May 5, 2010 that “A Tennessee attorney general’s office spokeswoman said there was no valid basis for an appeal and the deadline has passed.”
Since his involuntary involvement with the Roane County judiciary began, Mr. Houston has witnessed malfeasance on many levels. He has a recorded telephone conversation in which he told Judge Jeff Wicks that he feared for his life, and the judge assured him that he would take action but never did. Houston said that Wicks had been appointed on an interim basis and had decided to run for office toward the end of his term, which is why he believes Wicks refused to take action to protect Houston’s life. Houston suspects that the Supreme Court Chief Justice’s signature has been forged on court documents, and a judge has recused himself twice from the same case against him 37 months apart. Houston also claims that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI “covered up evidence” in his case.
Supporting documentation appears below.
Mr. Houston has also provided evidence which shows that the county grand jury foreman, Charles C. Snow, has been serving in that capacity continuously since October 19, 1987 to the present, despite the Tennessee State Code, which states:
22-2-314: Limitation on jury service. — [Effective in Certain Counties. See the Compiler’s Notes.]
A juror who has completed a jury service term shall not be summoned to serve another jury service term in any court of this state for a period of twenty-four (24) months following the last day of such service; however, the county legislative body of any county, may, by majority vote, extend the twenty-four-month period.
[Acts 2008, ch. 1159, §1.]
A list of public officials for Roane County is here.
The text of the judge’s order reads:
In the interest of the efficient and orderly administration of justice, the Chief Justice, exercising her statutory and inherent power pursuant to Title 17, Part 2, Sections 201 and 202 of the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, and Rule 11 of the Rules of the Supreme Court, hereby designates and assigns The Honorable David G. Hayes, Retired Judge, to hear the above-styled case to its conclusion.
Pursuant to the provision of Tennessee Code Annotated, §17-2-120, special judges are required to subscribe to an Oath prior to acting in any manner. A copy of the Oath has been forwarded to the Clerk’s office for signature.
ENTERED this the 6th day of July, 2009.
On October 15, 2007, The Roane County grand jury charged the Houston brothers with premeditated murder of Jones and Brown. Houston questions the validity of the indictments because of the violation of Tennessee State Code governing grand jury service. The trial court had also found that “the jury failed to follow the instructions ultimately given by the court” (page 11). Date stamps required by law were missing on at least two documents:
MRS. RONDEAU: How and when did all of this start?
MR. HOUSTON: It actually started in 1990. The city of Kingston and multiple law enforcement agencies came in on my brother at about midnight with no arrest warrant in his home and charged him with public drunkenness. He obtained the legal services of an attorney here in Roane County named Pat Cooley, and the case went before Judge Thomas Austin, and it was dismissed on its face. Judge Austin said, “You have no search warrant; you have no arrest warrant; you have a man charged with public drunkenness in his own home; he had been asleep.” My brother had a pistol that was bought and paid for legally. So they violated his Fourth and Second Amendment rights. The case was dismissed on its face in the General Sessions Court of Roane County in 1990; the records show this. It took him about three years to get it in federal court. It was scheduled for a three-day trial, December 8, 9 and 10 of 1993. The day of his trial, the city of Kingston Officer Dale Brown came to get a large, fresh bag of dope at his house that he wanted to enter on record.
MRS. RONDEAU: Why did they break in and arrest your brother for drunkenness if he was in his own home?
MR. HOUSTON: They were trying to make my dad look bad. My dad was getting ready to run for sheriff of this county, and it was an attempt to taint his name. To make a long story short, what happened is that on December 8, the day of his civil rights trial, Judge Leon Jordan took a hike. I don’t know if they paid him off or threatened him or whatever…then came a new judge, Thomas Horn, with a large, fresh bag of dope, and they threw it down in front of the federal jury knowing that the dope never existed on the record. It’s conspiracy to manufacture evidence in a federal civil rights trial in the United States Eastern District of Tennessee Federal Court.
If he was a federal judge and this dope had never existed on record, would you let him bring it to court, or would you tell him, “No, you better bring your toothbrush because you’re headed to federal prison when you walk in here with that”?
So this thing kept escalating from 1990. Then we were exposing the insurance fraud. My brother had a car wreck, I believe it was in April 1994, when he obtained the legal services of Holt W. Smith. One of my brother’s own attorneys, John Harber, took a case against him. One of the opposite parties in the car wreck went and got John Harber to represent him, a powerful law firm here in east Tennessee. What Harber shouldn’t have done was to take this case because he had established a lawyer-client confidentiality with my brother prior to that. When he took that case, they covered it up for four years. Finally, in 1998, one of my brother’s attorneys called him and said, “We’re getting ready to do a deposition,” and he said, “Who’s representing the other party?” and his attorney told him, “John Harber.” And he said, “Hold it, hold it; he can’t do that; that’s my attorney of record.” So his attorney told him, “Well, we’re going to have to have a disclosure here and disclose these conflicts.” So what they did is they set up a three-way phone conference at my house between my brother and his attorney, Holt W. Smith, and Judge Howard J. Wimberly. Judge Wimberly called my house and we got this recording, and they were getting ready to disclose this conflict, and Leon told us, “I’m recording this” to establish dates and times and everything like that. All of a sudden, Mr. Wimberly says, “Hey, I’ve gotta go. Something’s come up; I’ll call you right back tomorrow morning.” The next morning, my brother was sitting at the phone, but it didn’t ring. So he sat there until about 10:00 or 11:00 o’clock, then he called his attorney. His attorney then advised Leon, “Leon, these are my friends. So this thing is gonna be settled…” boom, and hangs up on him.
They came down here on May 11, 2006. I’ve got a default package on record. The state didn’t produce the records to cover this up. The state said that Officer Bill Jones had claimed that Rocky Leon Houston was at his home the day of the shootout harassing him, and he said he ran for a shotgun. What he did was try to establish alibi witnesses for when he killed Rocky and Leon Houston. Rocky and Leon Houston have never been to his house and don’t know where he lives. I never heard of the man. I didn’t know that these documents existed. The shootout happened on May 11, 2006, and I didn’t know these documents existed until February of the following year when the state finally had to turn over discovery. I was sitting up there in Knox County jail looking through these documents and I see where this officer claimed I was at his house harassing him.
MRS. RONDEAU: And you’ve never been there?
MR. HOUSTON: Never been there. He also never mentioned it to his supervisor. Then the TBI came to interview his supervisor who was on his shift, Randy Brown of the Roane County Sheriff’s Department, and he didn’t mention it to his supervisor.
MRS. RONDEAU: So all of this was trumped up?
MR. HOUSTON: Absolutely, ma’am.
MRS. RONDEAU: Was your dad’s bid for sheriff successful?
MR. HOUSTON: There were about ten in the race, and Roane County doesn’t have a primary election and they’ll run eight or ten just to bust the boat up and the old sheriff goes back in every time. That was one of the reasons that they were trying to make my brother and my dad look bad: because he was setting himself up for the sheriff’s race.
MRS. RONDEAU: So these events have been going on since 1990, 20 years?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes. I have documents that show when this thing really started escalating. Once we started filing these lawsuits and everything, they started writing me traffic citations, trying to dollar me to death. What they were trying to do is get my job because I worked at Oakridge as a security officer at a federal building with a Q-clearance, which is the highest security clearance there is. I’ve had a Q-clearance for 17 years and the local authorities were trying to get my income, my job. I have a recording where they brought 25 officers in with machine guns on Rocky Houston forcing me to pay a ticket.
MRS. RONDEAU: You said you have a recording of this?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, it’s recorded, and they videoed it that day. They didn’t send me the video, but I have documents that show that they were committing extortion, and threatening and intimidation of witnesses and obstruction of justice is a serious charge. A female attorney told me that I could have a ticket tried by a jury, but then when I started issuing my subpoenas, she said, “No, no, you can’t do that any more.” And I said, “Hey, the law on the back of the ticket says you can have this tried by a jury.” And I read it to her right there. So that’s when they brought in Jimmy Washam, Chief of Police of Roane County, and this is one of the same officers who showed up with this large bag of dope in the federal courthouse. He ended up bringing in 25 officers with machine guns to force me to prematurely pay a ticket and I was demanding a trial by jury.
I paid it, and I told them, “I fear for my life. I’m gonna crawl out of here, OK?” Next thing you know, they manufacture another traffic citation on me in the city of Herman, and they ran me behind the old city Herman temperance building that had been shut down for years, possibly 50 years. I was not guilty, I was not speeding. Now the lawyer admitted in the transcript that he had no authority, no jurisdiction; the building had been shut down for years, and it was after office hours and they were trying to collect this money. It’s extortion, ma’am, and this thing just keeps going on and on.
We’re getting ready to issue a subpoena, as we have a circuit case coming up with a date of September 3 on a civil suit. Pat Brown, the mother of the ride-along, Michael Brown, had filed suit against my family…we’re supposed to show up on September 3 of this year to argue this case right here, Motion to Dismiss the case. Rocky Joe Houston is going to be issuing subpoenas to the President, a mail carrier, and two state Supreme Court justices again in this case, and then when these people don’t show, we’re going to say that we want these people to face the same process as all the other citizens. And that’s contempt of court.
MRS. RONDEAU: Can citizens in Tennessee issue a subpoena on their own, without an attorney?
MR. HOUSTON: Of course they can. You know what a pro se representation is?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes.
MR. HOUSTON: Well, a pro se defense has the same right as a private attorney or the district attorney. You have to be on a level playing field. You walk in, you exercise your Sixth Amendment rights, you fill out your subpoenas, you hand them to the clerk, and guess what she’s supposed to do? Serve ’em without any hesitation.
MRS. RONDEAU: What made you so well-versed in the Constitution?
MR. HOUSTON: It’s hands-on experience. I’ve been studying for about 20 years now, ma’am. My brother, Clifford Leon Houston, held almost a 4.0 in law at Roane State Community College. So we’re not just storming through; we have our facts together. Ask yourself…go back to these documents that you just received where this judge signs the second order of recusal. Can you imagine the questions that a U.S. attorney’s office that’s prosecuting him could ask him under oath in front of a federal jury? Do you understand? The first thing was he didn’t establish a basis on that order as to why he should recuse himself. A judge is supposed to establish the basis. But that basis is that I’ve got a recording where an attorney told me that he was in this judge’s office and from what he’s gathering, this judge wants Rocky Joe Houston dead, imprisoned, or run out of the county.
MRS. RONDEAU: Was that actually said to the attorney?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes. Plus, I’ve got documents showing where I caught him jury-tampering, this criminal court judge, and I’ve got documents where the chief district judge, Curtis L. Collier, in the Eastern District Federal Court, signed his name, granting me a four-week trial to expose this jury-tampering on these people, ma’am. It’s forgery.
MRS. RONDEAU: I’ve received the documents from you that show that the grand jury foreman has been serving in violation of Tennessee State Code and that Judge E. Eugene Eblen recused himself twice, when once should have been sufficient.
MR. HOUSTON: He recused himself on June 8, 2006, and then on July 28, 2009 signed the order of recusal again.
MRS. RONDEAU: And what you’re contending is that if the first one had been filed correctly, the second one wouldn’t have been necessary.
MR. HOUSTON: Right. Now think about all the documents that these two judges have signed during that 37-month period.
MRS. RONDEAU: Could you describe the attempt on your life at your home in 2006?
MR. HOUSTON: On May 11, 2006, shortly after 6:00 p.m., Bill Jones bragged all over the county about killing me prior to the incident. There are witnesses who have testified to it: Randall Townsend came forward and testified. He died of cancer, but it’s already taken under oath. He testified in two trials, in July 2008 in Clifford Leon Houston’s first trial, then he testified in December 2008 in my trial. He said that Bill Jones pulled in his driveway and asked him, “Hey, have you seen Rocky Houston?” then he told him, “No,” and then Jones patted his gun on the side and said, “I got somethin’ for him when I find ‘im.”
Then he walked in and told three female employees that day that Rocky Houston was at his house harassing him, and he ran to his garage to grab a shotgun and the report said that when he came back out, Rocky Houston sped away. It’s all a lie.
MRS. RONDEAU: It’s all made up?
MR. HOUSTON: All made up. What you do is you go to his supervisor’s report…Let me ask you something, ma’am. I’ve been declared a terrorist by the deputy governor and the sheriff.
MRS. RONDEAU: Really?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, ma’am, I’ve got the documentation. If I’ve been declared a terrorist, are you going to send one officer and a ride-along to serve a warrant?
MRS. RONDEAU: Probably not.
MR. HOUSTON: No. You’re going to cover your bases. I’ll tell you what happened in 2003. They sent a SWAT team from the governor’s office. A complete SWAT team claimed that I had failed to appear, and the media covered this up because this time the governor’s office entered this deal.
MRS. RONDEAU: Which governor?
MR. HOUSTON: Governor Phil Bredesen. While we’re on the subject, Judge Hayes, the one who allowed these attorneys out of a contract without ever having been administered the oath…he allowed them out of a contract on July 23, and that put Rocky Joe and Clifford Leon Houston representing themselves in one of the biggest homicide cases in the country. And then on July 24, we had issued subpoenas for Judge Curtis L. Collier, a federal court judge; Judge James B. Scott to appear, and Governor Bredesen to appear at a hearing on August 7. Guess who quashed my brother’s and my subpoenas down here? Judge Hayes, who had never been administered the oath, a retired judge, who had never been administered the oath again. Which again brings us Chief Justice Holder back in. Do you see what I’m saying?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes.
MR. HOUSTON: She can testify that this man didn’t have any more authority than a cal in Texas to do this. The first thing she has to do is There are orders supposedly signed by Janice M. Holder directing Mr. Hayes, a retired judge, to be administered the oath before he acts in any manner. If you were a retired judge and the chief justice calls you up to come back in to preside over a case and she tells you to only do one thing: she’s saying that you’re retired, you have to be re-administered the oath before you act in any manner, what are you going to do? Are you going to get your oath administered?
MRS. RONDEAU: You’re supposed to if you want to serve.
MR. HOUSTON: Of course. That’s what gives you that blanket of protection, immunity. Without that, you don’t have any immunity. You’ve got the state, you’re got the county. This chief justice is a crucial witness in our upcoming cases.
MRS. RONDEAU: Have you called her to be a witness?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes. She received a subpoena about a week before, by certified mail, to appear on July 2. My brother issued 70-something subpoenas, and not one witness walked into the courtroom. Then the judge was up here making fun of it. It’s in the newspaper. He was up here laughing about no witnesses showing up.
MRS. RONDEAU: Really?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, but that’s coming to a halt. Their making fun of our witnesses showing up is coming to a halt. The next time we walk in, that’s going to be the issue: roll call. When you issue these subpoenas and you show that they have been served process of service, and then when they’re not there, you ask them for contempt of court. Now that’s how it works on old poor people down here, and the law applies to all, ma’am.
MRS. RONDEAU: When I was on the phone with your brother earlier, he summed it up quite well, I thought. He said, “They have violated the U.S. Constitution to the point where they’ve instituted a type of government which is completely lawless.“
MR. HOUSTON: It’s a criminal enterprise, ma’am. It’s public corruption, organized crime; it’s treason is what it is, ma’am. It’s nothing short of treason.
MRS. RONDEAU: It seems as if there’s no one to whom you can turn to set things right.
MR. HOUSTON: Well, there is one.
MRS. RONDEAU: Is there?
MR. HOUSTON: That’s God Almighty. Ma’am, that’s the reason that I’m talking to you here today. On May 11 when these two men came down here to murder my family, an officer and a ride-along with its own dope, heavily armed with a 9-mm, and I didn’t know that they had been bragging about killing me and my brother. I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t find out until almost a year later. But that day, and this is the God’s honest truth, these people fired for at least the first ten rounds at me and my brother. They fired the first ten rounds and then…well, I was going to defend my life.
Now I have a house down here and some documents. I could show you where there was one of the biggest shootouts in this country right here, and I can show you why on national TV they came down here to murder me and my brother, ma’am.
MRS. RONDEAU: Have you called the local media about this?
MR. HOUSTON: All this local stuff, they won’t print it. They’re covering this stuff up. There’s the Knoxville News Sentinel here that goes all over the state of Tennessee, but my brother faxed documents to Matt Lakin of the Knoxville News Sentinel. He wanted to prepare a story, and we were talking to him two or three weeks ago, and my brother faxed him a copy where this judge had never been administered the oath for six months, and he refuses to run the story. He refuses to run it. Let’s say you’re sitting at your kitchen table with your wife and kids, family, friends, and you’re drinking some coffee and you get to reading this, and this judge has come in, he’s quashing the governor’s subpoena, he’s quashing federal judges’ subpoenas; local judge subpoenas; he’s letting lawyers out of a contract, and guess what? He’s never been administered the oath, ma’am. He’s a retired judge, you see what I’m saying? He had never been administered the oath, and they won’t print that. The reason why is that it shocks the conscience of the average citizen. It shocks the conscience, ma’am.
MRS. RONDEAU: It’s almost too much to comprehend.
MR. HOUSTON: I’m telling you the truth, ma’am.
MRS. RONDEAU: I recently learned of another internet news service that is also covering corruption in East Tennessee, and there’s the case of Cmdr. Walter Fitzpatrick, which we’ve covered here.
You had stated that all of this began over a political issue. Are the people who were in office then still hold their positions 20 years later?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, ma’am. There’s one of them who isn’t there, and that’s the General Sessions judge, Judge Thomas Austin, who was charged with five counts of extortion, felony extortion, federal crimes, and three counts of money laundering. He was looking at 160 years. He came in here and they worked him a real nice little deal with the U.S. attorney and ended up doing about a year.
MRS. RONDEAU: You’re kidding?
MR. HOUSTON: No, it’s all over Nashville. Back in 2006 was when the feds finally stepped in, busted him, and arrested him for five counts of extortion, three counts of money laundering. He did maybe a year, and he’s back out down here eating at McDonald’s. Now what would they have done to some poor boy who didn’t have mom and dad? You’d never hear the end of it. Ma’am, people think, “Well, them Houstons, they’re crazy. They’re trying to scream to the president and a federal judge,” but this is in the public’s interest at this point.
MRS. RONDEAU: If your constitutional rights have been violated over and over, what are they going to do to the next person?
MR. HOUSTON: What are they going to do when they come down here and try to kill me and my family again? Because the attempt failed on May 11, 2006, and we’re still up here exposing this, and they have to come back and make another attempt. Check this out: they claim that they had a warrant the day that this happened. You have to have a warrant to go arrest a man at his house. My dad and my sister were talking to one of the most powerful criminal attorneys in eastern Tennessee right here. His name was Attorney Randy Rogers. They were in his office prior to the shootout. They had just left his office, trying to get him to represent me in that case, #13226, that one particular case, and my dad and my sister had no more than gotten in the car when they heard on the radio that there was a shootout in Roane County, TN, in Ten Mile. They knew that that was our home.
As soon as the shootout happened, Attorney Randy Rogers, who is pretty sharp, went straight to the clerk’s office and said, “I need to see your warrant.” Guess what she couldn’t produce? A warrant. He sent his son, Matthew Rogers, who is now a practicing attorney, to get the warrant. She couldn’t produce the warrant. He sent two licensed investigators, Kenny Coleman and Chuck Burris, to get the warrant. No warrant. He sent my sister and my wife in to get a warrant. No warrant. The TBI came down here, and they investigated the crime scene in conflict. Guess what they didn’t find at the crime scene? They claimed that all kinds of stuff was on the highway. They have about four or five pages of inventory. Guess what isn’t mentioned in their inventory? No warrant. I have a sworn affidavit dated June 24, 2008 from Attorney Charles Kerr, who was involved in the case for several years stating: “No warrant.”
MRS. RONDEAU: There was never an arrest warrant for your brother or you?
MR. HOUSTON: Right. Now this is the reason why. You know those two orders that you just received where Judge Eblen recused himself?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes.
MR. HOUSTON: He was the county judge presiding over the case, and there’s another order that he had signed prior to the shootout back in 2002 where he recused himself from my case. The judge couldn’t sign a warrant. They didn’t have a warrant. One of the main reasons they came down here to kill Rocky Houston is that Judge Eblen and other co-conspirators had participated in the forgery of this state supreme court justice’s signature.
MRS. RONDEAU: I know you’ve issued a subpoena for her to appear on September 3. Is she aware that her signature might have been forged?
MR. HOUSTON: Well, I don’t see how she could get around it. Ma’am, this isn’t going away. She’s getting ready to receive multiple subpoenas and my brother and I are going to be hollering that we want the chief justice of the state supreme court arrested, in jail or on the witness stand. We’d rather have her on the witness stand, ma’am, testifying. She can’t do the state any good in jail. But she can help clean up a lot of this stuff with her testimony.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think the average person in Roane County knows that this is going on?
MR. HOUSTON: I think they’re starting to pay attention, a whole lot of them are now, ma’am. They’re hollering “Help!” They charged Rocky and Leon Houston with two counts of first degree murder and one count of felony murder pertaining to an officer and a ride-along. Normally, ma’am, if you get in a shootout and an officer is killed…they were seeking the death penalty on me and my brother at one time. Next thing you know, we’re down here at the house drinking coffee with each other. You know what I mean? We’re still exposing this stuff. What people are asking is, “How can these people be charged over here with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of felony murder involving an officer and a ride-along and the next thing you know, they’re down here at the house drinking coffee?” It’s all the corruption coming out. It’s what’s coming out up here on the witness stand. We have an officer right here testifying, Jeremiah McClure, in my December trial, that they had forged documents, ma’am.
MRS. RONDEAU: Did he already testify?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, ma’am. He testified under oath, saying that the sheriff and the chief deputy had forged his signatures on warrants.
MRS. RONDEAU: So he was not afraid to come forward? I know you said a lot of others were.
MR. HOUSTON: There is one honorable man, and his name is Jeremiah McClure.
MRS. RONDEAU: How many other people have you subpoenaed?
MR. HOUSTON: On May 11, when the shootout happened, they’re supposed to bring you in and arraign you within 72 hours to avoid violating your Fourth Amendment rights. It’s a basic due process right. Guess what they did? They sent Rocky and Leon Houston straight to prison for 27 days, and then when they brought us in to arraign us, they skipped the General Sessions Court, ma’am. That was the preliminary hearing. Do you understand what post-conviction relief means? Post-conviction relief is a ruling that the lower courts have made serious errors and it has to be sent back to them for a new trial, remanded back for a new trial. Even with a simple DUI, public drunkenness, or disorderly conduct, you are entitled to a preliminary hearing. It’s a probable cause determination. Why would they skip a preliminary hearing in a homicide trial? But they did. They went straight to criminal court, so we filed motions to dismiss these homicide indictments or to remand it back. The indictments sat there for 15 months, and guess what they had to do? Dismiss these homicide indictments and send it back to ground zero.
MRS. RONDEAU: So they charged you with homicide because of the shootout, and then the indictments were dismissed.
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, 15 months later, because they skipped the preliminary hearing and we were denied due process. What they were banking on, ma’am, was our own lawyers tried to get us to waive the preliminary hearing. If we had waived the preliminary hearing, the indictments wouldn’t have been dismissed. It would have gone on to trial. But without a waiver, it had to go back.
On July 31, 2007, Judge James B. Scott dismissed two homicide indictments against Rocky Joe Houston and Clifford Leon Houston, case No. 13404 A and B. He dismissed the indictments. He prepared the order on July 31 and enters it on record on August 1. Keep in mind, Roane County does not have one General Sessions court; it has two: Judge Humphrey and Judge Wicks. The order to dismiss the indictment by the judge is prepared on July 31, and he enters it on record on August 1. The very next day, on August 2, they had another state Supreme Court justice supposedly signing an order designated Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood to conduct the preliminary hearing in this homicide trial.
MRS. RONDEAU: But it was supposed to have been dismissed.
MR. HOUSTON: The state wanted to bring up new charges. They wanted to re-indict and prosecute.
MRS. RONDEAU: Can they do that?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, they can do it. But say they go forward and do it. They say, “This time, we’re going to have to cover our bases, give ’em a preliminary hearing, then we’ll go back in front of the grand jury, and then back into criminal court. On August 1, the judge entered the order dismissing the indictments. On August 2, another Supreme Court justice of the state of Tennessee, Cornelia A. Clark, supposedly signed an order designating Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood to conduct the preliminary hearing. On August 2, I’ve got orders that this judge supposedly designated Judge Blackwood to preside over the case. Guess what never happened? You’ve got the judge dismissing the indictment on August 1; on August 2, supposedly you have a judge being picked by the state Supreme Court, but in between, there was never a record of either one of the General Sessions court judges recusing themselves. Until one of those judges recused herself on record, no other judge has jurisdiction in that courtroom. What they did is they put the cart in front of the horse. They’ve signed this Supreme Court justice’s signature without Judge Wicks or Judge Humphrey recusing herself from the case. At that point, that brings these two General Sessions judges into question as a material witness. You set them on the stand, and say, “Did you recuse yourself from these proceedings between August 1 and August 2, 2007?” and they said, “No, sir.” But then you have these orders again, forged, forging a Supreme Court justice’s signature, bringing Judge Blackwood in.
I tell you who’s doing all this stuff, ma’am. One of the main ones is Judge Eblen. He’s been there for about 50 years as a judge, and he wants complete control, ma’am. He is one of the key players. And you can serve him a subpoena by certified mail; the officer will go out there and serve it, and he refuses to come to the courtroom. I’ve represented myself, and I’ve had two judges on the witness stand. On August 7, 2009, I had Judge James B. Scott on the witness stand trying to expose fraud, but the judge and the D.A. kept shutting me down. Then, as late as April 1 of this year, I had another judge on the witness stand, Dennis Humphrey, a General Sessions Judge. Now all these judges are hollering that Tennessee Code 24-9-101 exempts public officials and judges from a subpoena, but don’t believe all that. The federal constitution is the one we’re going by. The U.S. Constitution guarantees you compulsory process where you can obtain witnesses who can testify in your favor.
MRS. RONDEAU: You don’t have a copy of the Constitution in front of you now, do you?
MR. HOUSTON: No, but it’s pretty handy.
MRS. RONDEAU: You just know it.
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, I know it.
MRS. RONDEAU: The reason I mention that is that someone less knowledgeable than you about the state code and the U.S. Constitution would have been overwhelmed. Most people don’t read these documents and don’t know their rights and all the violations that are taking place.
MR. HOUSTON: These people prey on people like that. They take advantage; they run ’em through the system, and they violate right after right and they have a public defender who isn’t going to step up and raise any Cain. It’s a criminal enterprise; they don’t want anybody coming through and interfering with their money flow, ma’am.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think in your county there are innocent people sitting in jails right now?
MR. HOUSTON: Yes, ma’am. Because these people rely on these incomes from this corruption for their resources. They’re charging people right and left. Have you ever heard of the Hyatte case? George and Jennifer Hyatte? They killed a security officer on the courthouse steps in 2006. It made national TV and then they ran and hid, and they finally caught ’em. Right before that shootout, George Hyatte, who is a black man, was in Judge E. Eugene Eblen’s courtroom being sentenced and according to what was in the papers, as soon as he left the courtroom, he and his girlfriend escaped, and in the meantime, there was an officer dead in Roane County. Guess who hears this case? Now he had just presided over this homicide trial, again, involving a law enforcement officer, and Judge Eblen, who had just sentenced him, conducted his criminal trial. Don’t you think he could testify to facts and events leading up to? You see how that works? He had just left the judge. The judge, by rights, was supposed to recuse himself. The state should have told him, “You’ve got to get away.” The judge should have said, “I’ve become a potential witness in the case.” Ma’am, Supreme Court rule 30.7 clearly shows and states that once you become a potential witness in the case, you’ve got to get away from it. You can’t be a witness and run the courtroom at the same time. That’s just how corrupt this county is. And this case got national attention. Judge Eblen was up there presiding over his case when he knew he was a potential witness in the case. As in any trial, criminal or civil proceedings, you establish basis leading up to the chain of events. They let this criminal court judge sit here and conduct this homicide trial, knowing that he was a potential witness in the case. Say the state or either one of the defense attorneys who’s representing Mr. Hyatt files a motion recusing the judge and they don’t use any other reason than that; it’s enough to do it. You could be called as a potential witness; you head to the witness room, testify to this man’s behavior in your courtroom leading up to this hearing. When Hyatte left the courtroom, within five minutes there was a killer involved, but you still have the same judge sitting there handling the case. You see what kind of representation he got, ma’am? Just on post-conviction relief alone, that would overturn his conviction. Let’s take a step back; this is the killing of an officer pertaining to George and Jennifer Hyatte that made national TV. Whom do you think signed the true bill on this, ma’am? Charles C. Snow, the grand jury foreman who’s been there for 23 damn years.
MRS. RONDEAU: So then that makes the true bill invalid.
MR. HOUSTON: Right. Now can you see how dangerous this gets when you’re in a position to start affecting all these cases, ma’am?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes, I do. Plus you know your rights. Until very recently, I think people believed that their freedom was guaranteed. It’s not guaranteed, is it?
MR. HOUSTON: No. What blows my mind, ma’am, is you have all these soldiers who have fought for these rights in all these wars, and you have just a handful of public officials who will flush it down the toilet. Everything that they fought for, these soldiers are over there dying and fighting for our people’s rights, and you have a handful of politicians who are willing to flush all the blood and the pain and everything down the toilet, ma’am, at the blink of an eye. I’m issuing subpoenas up to the president…if you were watching national TV, George Bush, I believe it was on January 28, 2008, he gave a State of the Union address. He said “The Constitution applies to all.” Something else he said all the time was “Cowards cut and run.” Have you ever heard Mr. Bush talk about that?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes, I did.
MR. HOUSTON: We’re hollering that cowards cut and run from this process. Why would Ms. Holder, when she’s legitimately been told to stay away, would she cut and run? Ma’am, when you get Ms. Holder just heading that way, then she’ll cover herself. Until she starts having to head to Roane County, Tennessee, they’ll cover this up. When you get her heading that way, this criminal court judge, E. Eugene Eblen, to testify to hear the counts of document fraud, mail fraud, you got a problem, ma’am.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you think Judge Eblen will show up?
MR. HOUSTON: I’m going to ask that he head directly to jail with the rest of the citizens who don’t show up. I want a contempt of court action. The plan of action was there 200 years ago when the Framers framed this Constitution. All this stuff done for the Constitution is by trial and error. They’ve had people they know served through the years – an officer or constable goes out and serves them – and they don’t show up. But then comes the trial date and you call your witnesses. So next thing you know, they get to figure out, “Well, we’ll start putting these helpers in contempt of court.” That gets their attention, you see what I’m saying? The standard procedure is that you put ’em in contempt and you hold ’em until the next trial date, and the next trial date, guess where they’re at? They’re sitting there in the jail waiting for you to escort them to the witness stand. Now that’s where this thing’s at, ma’am. And I’m not telling you any lies; I’m being truthful to you. The story of the century is Roane County right now, ma’am, with what we’re exposing. It’s coming out that they made seven direct attempts on my life. On August 25, 2004, I walked into the United States Eastern District Federal Court and issued 72 federal court subpoenas exposing forgery of a Supreme Court justice’s signature and jury tampering. The trial was scheduled for October 5 in federal court. The very next day, the local authorities flipped me on the highway. I was driving a blue togo truck, and I flipped 50 yards down the highway. They flipped me; they intentionally rammed me.
MRS. RONDEAU: And who did this?
MR. HOUSTON: The Roane County Sheriff’s Department. I had 72 federal court subpoenas scattered up and down the highway right there. My truck looked like a tin can, as you stomped it and crushed it. The truck hit so hard…this was one of the first direct attempts they had made to kill a federal and a state witness, Rocky and Leon Houston. Judge Austin, who went to federal prison – his name was on one of the 72 federal court subpoenas that was on the highway. Everything in my truck became evidence in the trial. The 72 federal court subpoenas also were evidence. Austin was named on the subpoena. I filed a motion to recuse him, and he refused to recuse himself. He conducted the preliminary hearing while being a witness in the case. Then he bound the case over to a grand jury on November 15, 2004.
I called back three days later on the 18th, and I said, “I need the transcript for this preliminary hearing.” The clerk said, “I’ll call you back in about 30 minutes and let you know how much it will be.” She called back in 30 minutes and said, “There’s no transcript.”
MRS. RONDEAU: Walter Fitzpatrick of Monroe County couldn’t get the transcript he requested, either, although it showed up on the internet.
MR. HOUSTON: Ma’am, Rocky Leon Houston has the story, we’ve got the documents, we have pictures, recordings, and we’re just looking for somebody who’s willing to step up and offer an exclusive. The case is right here in Roane County, TN, and it’s being covered up.
MRS. RONDEAU: Will the local news media cover it?
MR. HOUSTON: They print a little bit here and there, but they won’t print what really needs to be printed. They won’t run anything about this judge forging these signatures. They won’t run anything about him coming back in 37 months later and signing his name again; they won’t print anything about this Justice Holder telling this retired judge to get his oath, and he had acted for six months before he took it; in the meantime, he’s quashing the governor’s subpoenas, federal judges’ subpoenas, issuing hundreds of orders and letting lawyers out of $150,000 contracts, and no oath.
MRS. RONDEAU: That appears to be a violation of the First Amendment, because the Founders knew that a free press was important to keep government in check.
MR. HOUSTON: Actually, ma’am, they put it before the Second Amendment rights. Do you understand how important it is? Of all the amendments in the Constitution, the number one is freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.
MRS. RONDEAU: An example of the press abrogating its responsibility is that during the 2008 presidential campaign, the press refused to look into and report on Obama’s background. Now we have someone in office who, even if found eligible by the Constitution, has lied about everything that he ever told the American people. Instead, the media shilled for him rather than reported on him.
MR. HOUSTON: That media is such a powerful tool in that section, too, ma’am. It’s such a powerful tool. Have you ever heard of the “faithfully executed” clause?
MRS. RONDEAU: He said he would “faithfully execute and uphold the laws of the United States Constitution.” When this president became a lawyer and does not act upon it, he’s in violation of his “faithfully executed” clause, and if you look at it, the president can be impeached for even a misdemeanor. And let me tell you what a felony is: it’s official misconduct is a felony. When you’re exposing this to the public officials, when you’re exposing this crime and they don’t act on it, then they’re committing a crime. It’s called “official misconduct” because it’s within their duty and the nature of their job.
MRS. RONDEAU: How can other people act to protect their constitutional rights, Mr. Houston?
MR. HOUSTON: Our brave men and women over there in the battlefield are putting their lives on the line, standing up for these rights. If they can do it over on the battlefield under heavy fire, we can do it right here, you know what I mean? A private citizen has a duty to do his part. And what we’re hollering is this: this president, has to get off his damned chair. If he’ll put our brave men and women in harm’s way, he’s got to do his damn job in America, ma’am, and if he doesn’t, I’ve got a damn problem. I’ve got a major problem, and I think the whole country will have a problem. When our men and women are over there in harm’s way and these families are receiving calls that their son or daughter has been killed, and they’re doing their job, and this president won’t do his damned job…God bless you, and God bless America.
The story is in Roane County. These people have violated my rights. They’re shot up my home and thrown me in prison when I hadn’t committed a crime. They’re violating our rights, and I’m telling them to stay out of our way. I’m saying to them, “Go to hell and don’t slow down gettin’ there.”
Editor’s Note: Rocky Joe and Clifford Leon Houston are facing a civil trial on September 3, 2010 filed by Pat Brown, the mother of the ride-along officer, Michael Brown, one of the two who were killed on May 11, 2006 at the Houstons’ home. Mr. Houston stated that he is “comfortable” that the charges will be dismissed, as upon questioning, Ms. Brown admitted that she had been a witness to her son’s discussing his desire for the Houstons’ demise prior to the shootout.
Mr. Houston stated that since he and his brother were acquitted or found “not guilty” of all charges, they will be seeking a civil rights attorney to file suit and assist them in recovering the property which the court still holds as bond as well as their personal firearms and other items confiscated after the May 11, 2006 incident. A Roane County judge threw out a previous attempt by Mr. Houston to file a suit for civil damages because he claimed that “officials and judges” were “simply doing their jobs.”
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.