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FITZPATRICK AND SWENSSON ARRAIGNED TODAY AT MONROE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 18, 2011) — Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III was arraigned at the Monroe County courthouse this morning for charges stemming from an April 1 citizen’s arrest for which he spent two months in jail.
The grand jury empaneled on January 5, 2011 indicted Fitzpatrick on charges of assault and resisting arrest which allegedly occurred on October 27, 2010, when Monroe County sheriff’s deputies broke down Fitzpatrick’s door, tasered, beat and took him to the Monroe County jail following the issuance of an unsigned arrest warrant claiming that Fitzpatrick had missed a mandatory court appearance.
Fitzpatrick said he was never properly served with notice of the hearing, which the court clerk said was arranged “to assist Mr. Fitzpatrick.” To our knowledge, the court produced no proof of service.
There was reportedly a heavy police presence in Madisonville, where the Monroe County courthouse is located, complete with police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and a canine unit. Officers Trent Prock and Lt. Wakefield were among the officers seen at the courthouse today.
Earlier Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email that there is a new grand jury foreman in Monroe County after Gary Pettway had occupied the position for 20 years. The Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA), Section 22-2-314 states:
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.
The new foreperson is Faye C. Tennyson, and Fitzpatrick said that her signature appears on the grand jury indictment.
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood dismissed a juror for recent prior service before Fitzpatrick’s December 1 trial began. However, he previously had allowed a grand jury indictment to stand despite the repeated service of Gary Pettway and Angela Davis.
While incarcerated, Fitzpatrick had reported that he had learned that Pettway had reportedly attempted to coerce a confession from an inmate at an earlier time.
Also arraigned today was Carl Swensson of Georgia, who was arrested on January 4, 2011 after attending a hearing for Darren Huff, who had pleaded “no contest” on December 1, 2010 to charges leveled for the same April 1 incident involving Fitzpatrick and was at the Monroe County courthouse on a federal matter.
At the hearing today, Swensson was charged by the June 3, 2010 grand jury wherein Angela Davis acted as foreman for riot, disrupting a meeting or procession, and retaliation for past acts. Fitzpatrick had been charged with the same plus other violations but convicted of only disrupting a meeting or procession and resisting arrest on December 1.
Swensson reported that when his name was called, he asked Judge Amy Reedy if it was true that she and the prosecutor had taken oaths to protect and defend the constitutions of the United States and Tennessee, and Reedy reportedly answered “yes.” Swensson then said:
I appear before this court as a living, breathing, natural-born American citizen with and claiming all rights guaranteed to me in the federal and state constitutions and with my name properly spelled in upper and lower-case letters.
He also asked for a change of venue and for Judge Amy Reedy to recuse herself, to which Swensson reported Reedy replied that she “would think about it.” Reedy had previously recused herself from Fitzpatrick’s case but presided over the arraignments of both Fitzpatrick and Swensson today.
Both defendants stated that Ms. Martha Cook, court clerk, was present in the courtroom today even though she reportedly chose the jury members for Fitzpatrick’s December 1 trial, about which Swensson commented, “They were caught jury-tampering and said “My bad.'”
Swensson has a court-appointed attorney, and his next court date is March 28. He stated that his only role in the April 1 citizen’s arrest was “a witness.” He told The Post & Email, “This has every potential to initiate the take-back of our grand juries as our fourth branch of government.”