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by Sharon Rondeau

The Tennessee Constitution was first ratified in 1796 and amended in 1835, 1870, and 1953.

(Jun. 18, 2011) — On April 1, 2010, Walter Fitzpatrick was arrested after conducting a citizen’s arrest, which is permitted by Tennessee Code Annotated, the state laws of Tennessee.  The arrest was of Gary Pettway, the grand jury foreman, who had been serving for 20 consecutive years in violation of TCA 22-2-314. The warrant included the names of Sheriff Bill Bivens,  Judges Amy Reedy and Carroll L. Ross, and Assistant District Attorney General James H. Stutts for “official oppression and additional related charges.”

The law mentions nothing of foremen being appointed by judges nor of serving longer than the normal term, which is 12 months.

Even the Rules of Criminal Procedure, written by the criminal courts, do not include a provision for a foreman to be reappointed to consecutive terms, contrary to a statement made by the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts.  State law trumps any “rules” written by the judiciary branch, and the Rules often include the phrase “as provided by law.”

The Rules also refer to Article I, Section 14 of the Tennessee constitution, which states:

That no person shall be put to answer any criminal charge but by presentment, indictment or impeachment.

The oath taken by all members of the grand jury, including the foreman, is as follows:

You as members of the grand jury do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will diligently inquire, and true presentment make, of all offenses given you in charge, or otherwise brought to your knowledge, committed or triable within this county; that you will keep secret the state’s counsel, the other jurors’ and your own; that you will present no person from hatred, malice, or ill will, nor leave any unpresented through fear, favor, or affection, or for any reward, or the promise or hope thereof, but that you will present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your skill and understanding. So help you God.

If a foreman serves consecutive terms and considers his position as “an employee of the state,” how can he or she be impartial?  Does the foreman in that case expect a “reward, or the promise or hope thereof” by serving at the judge’s pleasure?  Why wouldn’t the foreman be selected by the jurors themselves and vacate the position at the end of the term as is mandated by law?  Should the judge be allowed to pick the foreman “from wherever they choose?”  What would be the qualifications of the foreman in that case, and would it be a legal appointment?

If judges have been appointing grand jury foremen repeatedly throughout the years in Tennessee, what can be concluded from the indictments issued from the grand juries?  Are they valid?

How many innocent men and women may be in Tennessee jails right now, and how long have they been there?

On June 3, 2010, the grand jury which issued indictments against Fitzpatrick was compromised, as both the foreman and at least one other juror had served on the grand jury during the term preceding the June 3 issuing of indictments.  The Rules of Criminal Procedure provide for the following:

(c) Disqualification of Grand Juror for Interest.

(1) Disqualification. No member of the grand jury shall be present during–or take part in–the consideration of a charge or the deliberation of the other grand jurors, if:

(A) the member is charged with an indictable offense;

(B) the member is a prosecutor;

(C) the offense was committed against the member’s person or property; or

(D) the member is related to the person charged or to the victim of the alleged crime by blood or marriage within the sixth degree, computed by the civil law.

Is the Monroe County grand jury impartially reviewing evidence according to the facts and the law, or is it doing the will of the judges?

On June 3, 2010, Gary Pettway did not act as the foreman, but Angela Davis did.  Davis had already served within 24 months of that term in violation of TCA 22-2-314.  Is that why Attorney Stephen Pidgeon stated that the Monroe County judicial system is “hopelessly corrupt?”

The grand jury is also charged with overseeing the condition of jails and prisons, which has not been done in Monroe County as evidenced by the slovenly conditions reported by former inmates.

Are members of the grand jury indictable themselves for failing in their duties?  Why have the jail conditions been allowed to continue?  Why aren’t the members of the grand jury indicting the sheriff and his deputies for allowing raw sewage, substandard cold, and an absence of medical care to prevail in the Monroe County jail?

Why has Sheriff Bill Bivens  refused to serve grand juror Angela Davis, court clerk Martha M. Cook and current foreperson Faye Tennyson subpoenas issued by Fitzpatrick for his defense for a scheduled hearing on June 23, 2011?


Sheriff Bill Bivens has refused to accept a subpoena from Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III for himself and others whom Fitzpatrick is calling as witnesses for his trial on June 23. The yellow label says "Return to Sender" "Refused" "Unable to Forward"

When a citizen is charged with offenses presented by a tainted grand jury, are the indictments valid?

If the court transcript has more than one version and is not made available to the defendant, is that possible racketeering?

The local news media will not report the fact that jurors are serving in violation of TCA 22-2-314.  Writer Michael Thomasson, who frequently covers judicial matters in Monroe County, was allowed to witness the jury selection for the trial of Michael Ellington, but other journalists and citizens were not.  The Rules of Criminal Procedure state that jury selection must be done in open court.

Why was this rule violated?  Was it because the trial jury was “customized and tailored” to achieve a certain result behind closed doors?

Article I, Section 2 of the Tennessee constitution states:

That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

Of citizens’ arrests, Tennessee Code Annotated states the following:

Arrests by private persons:

  • 40-7-101: An arrest may be made by a private person.
  • 40-7-103: Grounds for arrest without a Warrant.
  • 40-7-109: A private person may arrest another for a public offense committed in the arresting person’s presence, or when the person arrested has committed a felony (although not in the arresting persons’ presence), or when a felony has been committed and the arresting person has reasonable cause to believe that the arrested person committed the felony.
  • 40-7-110: “A private person may make an arrest for a felony at any time.”
  • 40-7-111: Notice of grounds in support of arrest at time of arrest by a private person of another.
  • 40-7-112: Notice of intention to make an arrest – “If the person to be arrested has committed a felony, and a private person, after notice of the person’s intention to make the arrest, is refused admittance, the arresting person may break open an outer or inner door or window of a dwelling house to make the arrest.”
  • 40-7-113: “A private person who has arrested another for a public offense shall, without unnecessary delay,…deliver the arrested person to an officer.”

Specific felony criminal acts supporting a Citizens’ Arrest include TCA 39-16-402 (Official misconduct) and TCA 39-16-403 (Official oppression).

A second arrest of Fitzpatrick occurred on June 8, 2010 for two additional charges.  Fitzpatrick describes the events this way:

The arrest took place at 1034 hours local on my front lawn. The Sheriffs came to the house. Detective Captain Michael Morgan, Chief Jailer (or Chief) Trent Proct, and one other Sheriff whose name I can’t recall.

Thursday’s “SPECIAL” Grand Jury issued the arrest warrant (CAPIAS…Latin meaning “to take” or “to capture”) after handing down a “new bill” of indictment for two offenses as are recorded on the attached .pdf file:

1. TCA 39 – 16 – 510: Retaliation of past action.
2. TCA 39 – 17 – 309: Civil Rights intimidation.

There is no narrative. No dates. No names. No places. No times. No one could tell me anything about the grounds for this arrest yesterday.

I’m told Bivens and Jones–two men Stutts called to the stand–gave a report to the “SPECIAL” Grand Jury on Thursday explaining why their two names appear on the arrest warrant.

My most aggressive twenty-something female inquisitor asked me Thursday whether my actions had anything to do with Gary Pettway being black.

Without the narrative it’s safe to say Jim Stutts accused me on Thursday as the state prosecutor of having placed Pettway under citizen’s arrest in retaliation for Pettway’s actions as the impostor Grand Jury Foreman. And the state alleges the Citizens’ Arrest of Pettway was racially motivated.


Arrest warrant for Walter Fitzpatrick, who was jailed a second time on June 8, 2010

So what did Fitzpatrick do wrong?  Why did he spend more than two months in jail?  Why is there a trial scheduled for June 23 if the original charges were issued by an illegally-seated grand jury?

If the grand juries are rigged, what chance do the citizens have of obtaining justice?

Which judge will hear the case given that they are all compromised and refuse to answer Fitzpatrick’s witness subpoenas?

What are they afraid of?