WHY ARE THE PEOPLE ALLOWING JUDGES TO BE ABOVE THE LAW?
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 1, 2011) — Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood has refused to answer a subpoena from LCDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, which is needed for an appeal for his convictions on two misdemeanor charges from last December.
Other counties to which Fitzpatrick has sent subpoenas are also stonewalling his requests.
Fitzpatrick has been reporting extensively on the corruption within the judiciary in Monroe County, TN, and Blackwood is the judge who presided over his trial on December 1, 2010.
An eyewitness to one of Fitzpatrick’s hearings stated that Judge Blackwood cited case law as taking priority over state law, particularly as it applied to grand juries.
At issue is whether or not Blackwood was compromised for in the past having appointed a foreman to the grand jury in Roane County, where Blackwood had presided prior to his formal retirement in 2004. There is no provision in Tennessee state law for a judge to make such an appointment, although the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts has admitted that it is done routinely throughout the state, citing the Rules of Criminal Procedure as justification.
The law does not say that the foreman is appointed by a judge, except if he is “unable to serve or is relieved.” While the judges rely on the Rules of Criminal Procedure to appoint grand jury foremen, there is nothing in either the Rules of Criminal Procedure created by the courts nor the statute which allows a foreman to serve beyond the same term limits as any other juror.
Even the Rules of Criminal Procedure state that the foreman must possess all the qualifications of a juror, which the law describes as:
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.
Despite the fact that at least two members of the June 3, 2010 grand jury which indicted Fitzpatrick had violated their terms of service, Judge Blackwood had allowed the original indictments against Fitzpatrick to stand.
The chief court clerk in Monroe County has served as both a witness and in the jury selection for Fitzpatrick’s trial, which would indicate a conflict of interest. Rather than being charged with jury-tampering or public corruption, she is still presiding over trials in her capacity as chief court clerk.
On December 1, Blackwood had dismissed a juror from Fitzpatrick’s trial jury for the admission that he had served on a jury within the last 24 months, which showed Blackwood selectively enforcing the law.
Fitzpatrick stated that Judge Carroll L. Ross brought the charges against him for lack of any other accuser after he entered the Monroe County courthouse on April 1, 2010, to arrest then-foreman Gary Pettway, who had been serving in that position for 20 years.
Carl Swensson of Georgia has been indicted by the same June 3, 2010 grand jury. Swensson has been charged with interrupting a public meeting even though he has stated that he was not at any time inside the courthouse where the grand jury was convening at the time.
Court reporter Denise Barnes, who charges $4.00/page for transcripts which should automatically become part of the court record, still maintains her position despite multiple accusations that her work products are “doctored.” A complaint for her fees was filed by The Post & Email in late January 2011, but the Tennessee Supreme Court, which oversees court reporters, said it saw “no basis for the complaint.”
It appears that taxpayer money is not enough to operate the courts in Tennessee; money is extorted from defendants in the form of invoices for court costs, bail, impound fees, and even charges to see the nurse while in the Monroe County jail. To date, no one has been able to trace where the money goes, although there is speculation that Sheriff Bill Bivens is involved in the drug trade and will have those whom he views as competitors arrested in retaliation.
Fitzpatrick has accused Judge Carroll L. Ross with having “made up his own law” and of possessing the “diligence of a dictator” in a criminal complaint sent to the two sitting federal grand juries in Knoxville, TN. He recently received an invoice for $4,776 requested within 30 days despite his pending appeal.
The body of the complaint reads:
1. An EXTORTION demand for money is received Wednesday, 6 April 2011. (Enclosure)
2. Carroll L. Ross’ hands are the hands of every judge or prosecutor or common man participant strangling the life out [sic] U.S. Citizens as those Citizens struggle to breathe the air of freedom and liberty.
3. Surprised by a Citizen’s Arrest, Ross experienced a moment of vision of the inevitability of his own fate. Ross’ first reaction was the grounded feral instinct of an animal facing its demise. Ross’s furious alarm was that of a man all of a sudden faced with the very real consequences of his serious crimes.
4. Ross’ contrivances accelerate and move at a galloping pace. Using the distance of time combined in his practiced deceit, Ross’ panic is evolved into an urgent counterattack showcasing a sophistication borne of decades-long outlaw experience. Enlisting the criminal assistance of Amy Armstrong Reedy and Jon Kerry Blackwood (judicial racketeers) and others, Ross demonstrates the diligence of a dictator who enjoys the confidence of a man who perceives his actions are not actionable.
5. Ross’s early accusations were the product of Ross’s terror in being found out. Ross is but one of a number of “judge CEOs” responsible for a judicial business model wherein “this for that” patronage relationships are elemental. Jury memberships are handed out in the construction of “proper” juries ensured to generate and grow profit revenues. Not finding law, not needing law, Ross made up his own law. Ross manipulates laws to serve and grow the criminal industry. Meanwhile, Ross condemns the sanctity regarding Citizen’s Arrest, it being not good for business. More: There was never a case here. Public records are not publicly available to the public. Court records are counterfeited. No constitutionally recognized jury is yet present. And now the tyranny of EXTORTION! EXTORTION, ATTAINDER and TREASON enough! (Enclosures)
5. [sic] The necessity regarding federal Grand Jury intervention in the exercise of the POWER of PRESENTMENT is urgent.
Regarding Blackwood’s refusal to answer the subpoena, Fitzpatrick said:
The first .pdf record is the subpoena served on Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood dated 13 April 2011 via the Monroe County Court Clerk – Martha M. “Marty” Cook. The subpoena was received on 15 April 2011 in the Monroe County Courthouse – Clerk Renee Ezell signing. Ezell did not file the subpoena as a court record.
The subpoena was sent to Blackwood who–through Blackwood’s administrative assistant Karen S. Smith–refused to answer the subpoena (see the second .pdf record attached).
Blackwood worked out of Roane County Tennessee throughout his career as is reported to me. It’s my speculation that Blackwood signed at least one of the judicial appointing orders naming Mr. Snow the foreman to the Roane County Grand Jury.
Roane County is under subpoena as of 6 April 2011 (the day the subpoena is recorded – attached as the third .pdf record) to produce all Grand Jury appointing orders since 1985.
The Roane County subpoena goes unanswered.
Now, regarding the letter I received today:
Blackwood’s administrative assistant–Administrative assistant Karen Smith–reports that Blackwood has not appointed a Foreman since his retirement. Ms. Smith gives an answer to a question not before her or Blackwood. I asked for any appointing order Blackwood has applied his signature to throughout Blackwood’s entire time on the criminal court bench (throughout his “judicature”).
Next: A response to a subpoena and a response to a public records request differ in this very significant way: A response to a public records can be redacted (words blacked out) at the discretion of the public official releasing the record. Also this: A public official can deny any request for a public record.
The original of my subpoena to Blackwood is received back to me. It’s not been filed as a court record anywhere.
It’s my opinion (for the moment) I think it safe to believe that Jon Kerry Blackwood has judicially appointed a Tennessee State Grand Jury foreman using a process not found in Tennessee State law, and is thereby guilty in the crime of rigging a jury.
Jon Kerry Blackwood is the same judge who sat on the bench on the first of December and was involved with Marty Cook, who rigged the jury of 1 December 2010. Blackwood was part of that. Neither Blackwood not Judge Carroll L. Ross dismissed Ms. Cook from her position in the clerking of my case after she became a witness for the state of Tennessee. She’s the woman who rigged the jury of 1 December. It was Jon Kerry Blackwood who dismissed the issue that was raised before him on the 5th of October when Stephen Pidgeon stood up and said, “Excuse me, but this Angela Davis from 2009 is the same Angela Davis from 2010 who handed down this presentment, this indictment, this formal accusation from the grand jury against my client, LCDR Fitzpatrick.” That jury was completely undone, but Blackwood allowed it to stand as competent.
We know that that grand jury is infected not only because Ms. Davis was in a jury in 2009 and again in 2010 and found herself promoted to the foremanship of the grand jury of 2010; we also know that every single person in the grand jury on the 3rd of June, which is the same grand jury that handed down the formal accusation against Carl Swensson, knew Mr. Gary Pettway and was not allowed on the jury. Simply from knowing him, they weren’t allowed to hear a case which involved him. But it was Jon Kerry Blackwood who let that grand jury’s former accusations stand, and he is the same judge who is letting it stand against Carl Swensson.
If Blackwood had condemned the 3 June 2010 grand jury of which Ms. Davis sat as the foreman, then Carl Swensson would not be having to drive up here, back and forth, back and forth; he wouldn’t be accused today. Blackwood is behind the case that’s being forced against Carl Swensson.
Now we have a question that goes directly to the issue: Has Blackwood himself appointed anybody into the foremanship of a grand jury in the state of Tennessee during his 20+ years on the bench? And he’s come back now and said, “I’m not going to answer the question.” From a judge!
You see, to answer the question means that he admits, and I believe he has picked a foreman to a grand jury. Blackwood comes out of Roane County. That’s one of the courts in which he used to sit. Roane County has had Mr. Snow sitting there for 23 years. So I’m confident that Blackwood has appointed, at least in one of those years and probably more, a grand jury foreman and reappointing him. I haven’t gone to the other three counties in the judicial district where Roane County is located, but I will. But I have enough already. And in the letter from his administrative assistant – and now we have a direct address for Blackwood, which I didn’t have before – it didn’t come from Blackwood. They sent me back the original subpoena, and it hasn’t been filed in any court right now. It should have been filed out of the Monroe County clerk’s office. They didn’t file the document.
I know Blackwood has appointed a grand jury foreman, because if he hasn’t, all they would have to do is come out and say, “No, he didn’t.” End of sentence. So he has. In the letter, you’ll see her say, “Senior judges do not appoint grand jury foremen.” I know that. I know that once these judges have retired, they are no longer in a position to appoint a grand jury foreman. But that’s not the question that was before Blackwood. She answered a question that was not in front of her or in front of Blackwood. What I asked for was any appointing order that he may have signed throughout his entire career as a judge. That’s the question that was before them.
So we both know that the reason that she’s trying to dance around this thing is that he has, in fact, signed an appointing order, and that makes him a criminal. And these judges have been doing this for years.
A Donald P. Harris, the judge who has been assigned to Carl’s case, is the same judge who has been assigned to my case, which consists of the two charges of resisting arrest and assaulting Michael Morgan. I have sent subpoenas to the four counties where Judge Donald P. Harris was the criminal circuit judge for 20 years in the 21st Judicial District. Carl can send out the same series of subpoenas.
I haven’t received a response from Judge Donald Harris or any of the counties that he has been sitting in. We don’t have an answer back from Roane County because we know that Blackwood’s name is going to appear on one of those appointing orders. Using one of his sycophants, he is saying that he isn’t going to answer the question. “You have to go and get this information through a public records request” – that’s what this woman put in the letter. It’s the same song and dance that I’m getting from the attorney out of Bradley County, Joseph Berg. I’ve sent a subpoena to Bradley County for the third time. They know that this Judge Harris has been assigned to my case. They looked at the judge, and they said, “Do we have to answer Fitzpatrick’s subpoena?” and the judge hasn’t answered them. He hasn’t given any dates for my case; I haven’t heard from the man for several weeks now.
Here’s why they want us to use a public records request: If I go to you as the clerk of whatever county you are the clerk of and I ask for a public document, you can refuse to produce it. You can say, “No, we’re not going to give that to you,” or “If we do give it to you, we’re going to black out this name and that word…” In other words, they can black out the whole thing and say, “Your answer is here,” and there’s no answer at all. A public records request does not carry with it the same kind of an authority that a subpoena does. Under subpoena, nothing can be blacked out, and it has to be answered in total.
As a circuit court criminal judge in the 21st Judicial District for 20 years, I’m confident that Harris signed at least one appointing order for a foreman for a grand jury, and I’ve asked them to produce any document that has his signature on it doing that. However, nothing has arrived in the mail. The subpoenas which I sent to the other four counties have not been answered.
On Monday, Carl was first on the docket; God was on our side. Carl and I had a half-hour or 40 minutes with the public defender, Jenny Wiggins. She knows what’s going on, and as I think about this, I’m convinced that she’s scared to death. There is a federal investigation into this; we were told that back in October. That was the morning of the 27th of October when I was arrested; I was told that day that the FBI was investigating this. They have listened to me now for hours and conversations and interviews which I’ve had with them in their office. They’ve received several other documents, and I’m convinced that there’s a federal investigation into this. Ms. Polly Paul left the phone to go and talk to the agents who were involved in the investigation. The agents have been in the community; they know that there’s something going on and the FBI is looking into this. In the meantime, we have gone to the two grand juries in Knoxville, and who knows where that information is going and what the U.S. attorney is doing about that? But there is unrelenting pressure coming from us through the federal government leading into the issues here.
The other thing that happened on Monday is that Jim Stutts was in the building; in fact, he was in the courtroom. But he was not the attorney at the podium when Judge Amy Reedy handed down her decision that another judge was going to take over the case. The guy who was at the podium was an attorney named Andrew Freiberg, so apparently, it’s not going to be Jim Stutts who tries to prosecute this case. This guy is a weasel.
There’s no case against Carl, and they are persisting. And they’re persisting with a felony. This is huge. Wiggins knows about this; there’s no question about this. As we said, this has been going on for years. This is really, really, really a big deal. It’s huge. There’s another explanation. She knows that Carl is going to be convicted no matter what happens.
This is epic. Anything else that comes in just makes it more epic. The fact is that the judges in this state have taken over. We know now that this is throughout the entire state. It’s one judge protecting the other; it’s everyone acting together. This has been out there for the better part of the last year, and there hasn’t been a single judge, attorney or law enforcement official in whatever capacity to come forward and say, “Yes, CDR Fitzpatrick is correct, and this has been going on, and we really do have a very large, massive issue in Tennessee.”
What we know is that our government has turned against us, and the judges have taken over. Tennessee has become a totalitarian state, because this is how a totalitarian dictatorship operates. The judges aren’t accountable to anybody; they don’t have to answer to anyone. They have been locking up innocent people; they have made a business of it. They have been preying on the citizenry, using them as a business. All of a sudden, the citizen’s arrest issue came up, and they had to quash that quickly. So Judge Carroll L. Ross, acting in a panic, came up with these bogus charges against me, and now it’s the same thing with Carl Swensson. This is how a dictatorship works.
So they are working furiously against Carl, and they’re working furiously against me, and they’re trying to make sure that nobody else has the gumption to stand up and say, “You’re not going to do this any more.”
I used to live in the state of Washington, and I saw the same thing going on there. I reported it to the FBI there. There are no grand juries in the state of Washington; they’ve done away with them. We have found out information about other states, and we know that this is going on in all 50 of them to one degree or another. This is the kind of thing a grand jury was given to us by the Founders to stop and to prevent.
I have done everything a person can do under our Constitution lawfully, and we are being turned away. The law no longer works in the state of Tennessee. Once this gets unraveled here, and it is unraveling – and that’s the good news about the state of Tennessee; we do know what we know about what’s going here – there isn’t an argument to be made to say that what they’re doing here is lawful or constitutional.
In an interview prior to his December 2004 retirement, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood was asked, “What are your impressions of how the legal profession has changed in Fayette County during your lifetime (since you were born and raised there)?” and he answered, “The legal profession in Fayette County is much more hectic and fast-paced than when I started. The business side of the legal profession plays a more prominent role today.”
When asked, “What do you wish the public better understood about Circuit Court and a judges [sic] role?” Blackwood replied, “A judge does not have the wide discretionary roles that are so often visualized by the public. We are constrained by guidelines and rules of evidence and procedure that the public does not understand. We play a very small role in the outcome of any case.”
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.