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INMATE REACHES OUT TO “A TOTAL STRANGER” FOR HELP
June 2, 2011
Mr. Steve Shope
Attorney At Law
620 West Hill Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37902
Re: Your client, Ralph T. O’Neil III
Dear Mr. Shoup:
Per our telephone conversation yesterday regarding your client, Mr. O’Neil, enclosed please find the documents that he mailed to me from his jail cell on May 20, 2011, and that you requested that I send to you. These documents contain important information and requests about his case that require immediate attention.
As I indicated to you, Mr. O’Neil and his girlfriend had contacted me via telephone earlier in May asking for help. I don’t know which, but one of them had obtained my telephone number through directory assistance after reading an online posting I had written about the corruption in Tennessee.
I find it interesting that an incarcerated individual represented by an attorney feels their only hope for any justice in Tennessee is to engage a total stranger for help simply because I had spoken out against corruption in Tennessee on the Internet. Clearly, my posting about corruption in Tennessee was something Mr. O’Neil and his girlfriend identified with.
After speaking with Mr. O’Neil, his girlfriend and his mother on several occasions in May 2011, I offered to help in any way that I could as a concerned citizen. My motivation to do so is simply due to my growing very weary of witnessing and reading about the corruption in Tennessee that is violating the Constitutional Rights of many of its citizens. A number of them have been jailed and prosecuted on charges where law enforcement and the courts have employed corrupt and dishonest tactics to secure these convictions. Clearly this is a violation of one’s Constitutional Rights.
One would assume that the State of Tennessee would honor the Constitutional Rights of its citizens since it is a part the United States of America. However, from what I have experienced and read, this is not what is happening in many instances. It is a well known fact that Tennessee has operated under a “Good Ole Boy System” for years. Laws are being broken by those who are being paid with tax payer dollars to uphold the laws. In many Tennessee law enforcement agencies, courts, and other various agencies, the rules are often made up as they go along. I know this for a fact because I have documented evidence of it.
Low income residents as well as those seeking to expose the corruption are routinely victimized with corrupt and illegal behavior. Therefore, I protect myself from such judicial harassment and possible physical harm by copying all my correspondence regarding the corruption to media friends I have outside of this state where I once resided and worked as a private investigator. If anything should happen to me or my family, it would not go unnoticed. I consider myself an enemy of this state based on the evidence of corruption I have as part of my personal belongings. I know for a fact that one particular individual high in the state government would like me and my evidence of their corruption to disappear.
As I mentioned to you on the phone, my husband and I have fallen victim to this corruption since moving to Tennessee from out-of-state several years ago. Not quite like Mr. O’Neil, but we have been defrauded, lied to, and lied about in such a way that our life will never be the same. Likewise I have heard many firsthand accounts from others regarding the corruption in this state that spans law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors and even in the health care community and many businesses. Corrupt doctors and other business owners who have friends working in government agencies have the confidence to inflict any corruption on you that they choose for the purpose of lining their pockets. They will use their powerful friends in the law enforcement agencies and courts to make your life miserable if you stand against or expose their corruption. Even everyday consumers are being defrauded by these physicians and businesses who know they will never be held accountable because the local authorities have their backs.
The corrupt Good Ole Boys have infested our state and local government institutions at the expense of tax payers. They have a system that allows them to falsely charge and/or jail citizens for crimes they did not commit. They also have the power to trump- up charges to be more serious than an actual crime to make it appear as if they are doing a good job when the real criminal is still out there…, or for some other agenda that they have. They also have the power to file false charges on citizens as a means of intimidating them should they ever speak out against the corruption of the Good Ole Boys. The motive is financial profit, power, cover-up, and even revenge. And they do this whenever they think they can get by with it, which is more often than not.
Most recently, my husband (a local Christian minister with an impeccable record of integrity across this country) appears to have been targeted by a state government official. This official recently sought to “lure” my husband into his government office for a taped interview about our evidence of corruption committed by a state agency. The evidence we have is irrefuteable of which this official agreed. It appears he is pretending to investigate this corruption, when in fact, his actions appear to be more in line with seeking to cover it up and turn the tables on me and my husband to intimidate us into silence about the corruption. We did not fall for the “lure”, and instead stated that any additional questions about our experience of this corruption by a state employee / agency should be sent to us in writing and we would respond accordingly. We were so fearful that we told our story to one of the elders of our church who is a friend with an even higher state official. We are hopeful that our connections to this high state government official will result in the other one “standing down” and ceasing his corrupt behavior that would ultimately ruined my husband’s good reputation. In other words, our only hope was to use the “Good Ole Boy” system to protect us from the “Good Ole Boy” system. I resent having to rely on “who we know” to protect ourselves rather than relying on the laws of this land to do so. But in Tennessee that is the system. Is this not true, Mr. Shope? I believe it is.
This is why I would not divulge to you the county in which I live when you asked me that question toward the end of our conversation. The fear of judicial harassment or physical harm lives in the hearts of many people here. This fear results in citizens failing to defend themselves or offer help to anyone else who has been victimized by the corruption. If it were not for the national media, our connections in this state, and my belief in the motto “Give me Liberty or Give me Death”, I suppose I might also be completely silenced and incapable of speaking on behalf of Mr. O’Neil or any other citizen. But I don’t value my life so much that I will allow myself to live in silence and tyranny. I am a law abiding citizen with an impeccable record and I WILL advocate for the Constitutional Rights of my brothers and sisters across this country as much as it depends on me and my limited ability to do so.
Mr. Shope, I have opened this letter with the above noted dialoge as my introduction into the issue of your client, Mr. O’Neil, for obvious reasons. Clearly, if the charges against Mr. ONeil were legitimate and 100% true, state officials would not have employed corrupt tactics to charge and convict him in a manner that violated his Constitutional Rights. Consequently, he has been jailed for quite some time without even being sentenced. And if his allegations of judicial corruption is true, he has been illegally charged, tried, and jailed. I smell a rat here and it smells like all the other rats I have read about where the authorities resort to violating the Constitutional rights of citizens to convict them of a crime.
Rock solid evidence does not result having to resort to these tactics. The agenda now appears to be “let’s just get Mr. O’Neil sentenced and out of the way”. Based on my telephone conversation with you, you appear to share in this agenda. If I read you wrong, I apologize. In that instance, I trust you will represent Mr. O’Neil as he has requested in the enclosed documents.
Specifically, Mr. O’Neil has previously requested (and still does) that you immediately file a Rule 33 Motion for a new trial. He would like for this motion to be filed prior to his June 9, 2011 sentencing. Obviously time is running out. This would not be the case if Mr. O’Neil’s request had been granted prior to this late date. The enclosed documents that Mr. O’Neil sent to me should support this motion. In reviewing these documents, you will see that Mr. O’Neill has made some convincing arguments as to why he did not receive fair and just treatment regarding charges and a conviction of which he will be sentenced in Knox County on June 9, 2011. A legitimate criminal investigation, a fair and honest trial, and a legal incarceration are not reflected in these documents. I don’t think Mr. O’Neil could have concocted this kind of a story if he tried.
After reading Mr. O’Neil’s documents and after having several phone conversations with him, his girlfriend and mother, I find their allegations of judicial wrongdoing and the violation of his Constitutional Rights and the Constitutional Rights of his girlfriend to be consistent with what other citizens of this state have been forced to endure for a number of years. Again, if the evidence against Mr. O’Neil was so rock solid…, then there would be no need for he and his girlfriend’s Constitutional Rights to have been violated by the authorities or the employment of that corrupt judicial process to have taken place in order to convict him of this crime. This is self explanatory. Clearly, one has to smell a rat here. Yet this appears to be what has happened and this is consistent with what has happened to others in Tennessee.
For example, I know for a fact that similar corruption has taken place in Roane, Sevier, and Monroe counties. It’s shocking when you talk to local citizens and hear their stories. I was recently a participant in a conference call with other Tennessee residents speaking with a national organization about the corruption in Tennessee. The personal testimonies I heard in this conference call about the Good Ole Boy System in our law enforcement agencies and the courts is very troubling. Surely Knox County is not a participant in this corrupt “Good Ole Boy” system, are they Mr. Shoup? I suppose you would know the answer to this question since you stated you have worked here as a defense attorney for a number of years. I am reminded of a conversation I had with a local public defender and a member of our church. He stated that he has told his own children never to trust the cops here. This speaks volumes into what this man knows about the corruption in the Tennessee county in which he works.
Based on what you said to me in our phone conversation, it appears Knox County also has “their own judicial system”. What I am referring to is your comment to me about “How it is done here”. Were you referring to Knox County or Tennessee when you said this? You used this phrase several times as we were discussing Mr. O’Neil’s June 9, 2011 court date for sentencing and his requests that you file a Rule 33 Motion for a new trial based on the lack of “real” evidence in his case and the violation of his Constitutional Rights to a fair trial in order to obtain that conviction. I have not read the transcripts yet since they are not available. However, “real evidence” is not testimony obtained by the authorities who threaten to jail poor mothers and take their children from them as a means of intimidating them into making false statements such as what occurred with Mr. O’Neil’s girlfriend. I have enclosed her written statement giving an account of this illegal interrogation that resulted in the authorities scaring her into making a false statement against Mr. O’Neil. She regret having done so. But I certainly understand her buckling under the threat of being jailed or having her children taken away. A mother will do most anything to protect her kids, and the cops used this unscrupulous tactic to get a false statement from her.
Also, Mr. O’Neil’s girlfriend states that she requested to have an attorney present during her frightenting interrogation, or otherwise exercise her 5th Amendment Right, but was denied both. This is egregious considering we have boots on the ground defending such freedoms on behalf of our citizens. These kinds of violations of one’s Constitutional Rights are not what thousands of men have died for throughout our country’s history. I suppose they would roll over in their graves if they could witness what is going on.
Additionally, for the authorities to also obtain false testimonies by threatening to jail people and/or promise them reduce sentences for their false testimony is not “real evidence”. Any evil person with enough power can coerce folks to make false statements. All it takes to gain a false statement is a corrupt police officer and/or prosecutor to make these kinds of threats. Clearly these people are feared because they have the power to carry out their threats and/or fulfill their promises; whatever tactic it is they seek to use on any given occasion. I can only pray that prosecutors and the courts stop engaging defense attorneys to participate in their corruption. Yet, I have firsthand knowledge of this actually happening in another county in Tennessee. Some defense attorneys are indeed violating the Constitutional Rights of their clients in the state of Tennessee, and are motivated to do so for a number of reasons.
When discussing Mr. O’Neil’s request for a Rule 33 Motion to be filed prior to the June 9th sentencing date you several times “That is not how it is done here”. I found this language to be consistent with the attitudes of many in the Tennessee Judicial System. Yet, “how it is done here” is no excuse for someone’s Constitutional Rights to be violated regardless of how well funded the Tennessee Good Ole Boy system is.
Mr. Shope, your refusal to honor Mr. O’Neil’s direct request (reiterated through me) to file a Rule 33 Motion for a new trial suggest to me that perhaps you might be working on behalf of the state’s agenda to get him sentenced vs. what your client has requested regarding filing the Rule 33 Motion. What else am I to think? Unless Rule 33 Motions are never filed prior to a sentencing date. If that’s the case than I owe you an apology for my ignorance. But if I recall correctly, I had asked you this specific question, and you indicated to me that “yes” a Rule 33 Motion could be filed before the sentencing date… but “that is not the way it is done here: If this is what I heard you say and a Rule 33 Motion is not filed, I would find this very troubling.
Clearly, waiting until after the sentencing and then appealing the conviction as you seem insistent on doing would result in Mr. O’Neil being held in jail another two years at the very minimum. Yet you stated that the only thing the courts in Knoxville will allow you to do is “be there for his sentencing and then work on his appeal”. Are you saying then that the federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee will not allow you to file a Rule 33 Motion for a new trial to be filed prior to Mr. O’Neil’s sentencing on June 9th? You added that you had been doing this for over 35 years and that is not the way they do things here. Forgive me for my redundancy. I will be looking into the laws on this matter for further understanding of Rule 33 Motions as soon as I am able. Perhaps you are right about this and Mr. O’Neil has been misinformed. But I don’t think so. We will see.
If not, then it appears the Tennessee Judicial process and the courts here may be dictating to a defendant’s attorney to participate in the violation one’s Constitutional Rights for sincere legal representation and a fair trial by not allowing you to file the Rule 33 Motion. You wouldn’t do that, would you Mr. Shoup? If not, then I trust you will read the enclosed documents that Mr. O’Neil sent to me which support his request for filing the Rule 33 Motion for a new trial. Then you will file the Rule 33 Motion prior to the June 9, 2011 sentencing date. Then you will obtain the affidavits Mr. O’Neil has requested in hopes of exonerating himself of these charges. The above noted would be evidence of representing your client as required by the State Bar Association regulations and laws as well as the U.S. Constitution.
Mr. Shope, should you fail to honor your client’s wishes and his Constitutional Rights for legal representation, I have to assume that perhaps you might be a part of the Good Ole Boy System in Tennessee or you are afraid of it. If either were true, then clearly the state appears to control and intimidate even the attorneys for the defense. If this is not an example of tyranny, I don’t know what is. In that instance, I would hope that you would stand against it regardless of the cost. The only thing for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. I am not a man. I am only a middle aged woman in not so good health with limited education. If I can advocate for a man whose rights have been violated, surely a man with a law degree being paid to represent this man can to and should do this.
You don’t fear being harmed by the authorities, do you Mr. Shope? If so, I understand. I fear that sometimes too. I fear it so much that I seek to protect myself from the corrupt authorities in this state by copying my letters and documents to several media friends outside of this state. Should any false charges or physical harm come upon me, the word is out as to why that might have occurred.
I have a contact with ABC News who I have done work with before. I could check with him as to whether he would be interested in talking with you if you feel threatened into not filing the Rule 33 Motion as Mr. O’Neil has requested. Just let Mr. O’Neil know if you would like me to put you in contact with my contact at ABC News about any intimidation that you might be dealing with from the state that would prevent you from representing Mr. O’Neil as he has requested.
In the meantime, there are several eyes on this case from inside and outside of this state. I would like to be able to help Mr. O’Neil more with the legal aspect of his case, but I am not qualified nor am I in good health. However, I will advocate for him or anyone else who is has been denied their Constitutional Rights. National media exposure of the corruption in Tennessee may be the only hope our citizens have. I hope this is not the case and that more people inside this state will stand against the tyranny that is taking place here.
I extend my best wishes to you for this opportunity to stand on the right side of justice and the U.S. Constitution.
Thank you for your time.
A Concerned Citizen
cc: Various news sources, government agencies, and citizen advocacy groups.
P.S. Mr. O’Neil can contact me directly with a request to speak with you further if you wish. In that instance, I will contact you via telephone upon Mr. O’Neil’s request.