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IS THIS THE UNITED STATES OR THE OLD SOVIET UNION, CUBA OR CHINA?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 24, 2011) — Today a trial for George Raudenbush, a Monroe County, TN missionary and journalist, was scheduled at the Madisonville courthouse. The various charges arose from a December 30, 2010 arrest, after which Raudenbush spent more than six weeks in jail in what he reported to be deplorable conditions including black mold, rampant untreated illness, and questionable medical billing practices. Raudenbush has stated that he now suffers from a permanent medical condition which he did not have before. He claims that he is innocent of all of the charges and was obstructed from presenting evidence to the Monroe County grand jury last January.
The Post & Email was told on August 23, 2011 that Raudenbush had been arrested for allegedly “recording courtroom proceedings.”
Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III had gone to the Monroe County courthouse this morning to observe Raudenbush’s trial and reported that he was removed from the courtroom for no legal reason and prevented from returning. Fitzpatrick said that not one state office or law enforcement authority took action on the unconstitutional and illegal actions of Judge Carroll Ross.
Fitzpatrick told us:
I went to the courthouse this morning and got there just after 9:00. I had my recorder with me. I followed exactly the same procedures as I did the last time I was in the courthouse, which was back in June. I had my recorder with me that day, and I walked in without being obstructed at the front door by a deputy sheriff. I went up to the clerk’s office to request permission to record, obtained permission, and was able to take my recorder into the courtroom.
When I tried to do the same thing this morning, I was stopped at the front door by a deputy named Bowers. He was manning the metal detector, and he said, “Empty your pockets,” and I did. He went through everything, and he said, “What’s that?” and I said, “It’s my voice recorder,” and he said, “You can’t have that in here.” I said, “Well, I can have it in the building, and it depends on what day and who’s manning the watch here.” He said, “Well, I have to get permission,” and I said, “OK.” So he took me upstairs; I had to wait on the middle floor while he went in to the clerk’s office. Apparently, someone went in and asked the judge, Carroll Ross, if I could bring the recorder in, and Ross said “No.” So I was given my recorder back, and I took it back out to the car. I left my leather three-ring binder there which had my pencil and pad of paper and some other administrative things. So I went to the car, put the recorder back in the vehicle, and as I was returning to the courthouse, Bowers met me outside and he had my leather three-ring binder. He said, “You can’t have this in there, either.” He said, “We’ve taken out your pad and your pencil” and handed the binder to me. I said, “What’s objectionable about this?” and he said, “I don’t know; I just work here” kind of stuff. I took that back to the car and came back to the courthouse. I walked in, was searched again, was allowed to go through the metal detector, then upstairs. Then I walked in to the courtroom and George was there. I walked all the way over to get as close to George as I could.
[Note: Beginning time 0909 local 24 August 2011: Audio file #1 becomes relevant at time stamp 3 minutes 40 seconds. Turn up you volume. Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Bowers stops me at the door, I present the recorder, Bowers goes up to get permission for me to use it.
Beginning time 0916 hours local: Permission is denied. I return the recorder to my car.
Then the judge directed that the first two rows of the seating be closed off. So I was standing there about to take a seat close to George on the defense side of the room, I sat down, looked over and saw Stutts. Then the judge calls Sheriff’s Department Captain Bennie Byrum back up to the bench, whispers in his ear, and then Byrum comes and tells me I must leave the courtroom.
When I got outside the courtroom, Byrum said, “Because you tried to get in here with a recorder, the judge says you have to leave the building.” I said, “Excuse me? Why?” and there was a back-and-forth. And he threatened me with arrest if I didn’t leave. So I said, “Can you dispatch the Tennessee State Patrol from here?” and he said, “No, we can’t do that.” He was kind-of getting in my face, so I walked downstairs and approached Bowers again, and I said, “Can you dispatch the Tennessee State Patrol from here?” and he said, “No, I can’t.” So I left the building, went across the street and tried to contact the Tennessee Highway Patrol from Donna’s Café [DS400311]. I got a bunch of numbers that didn’t work, I called 911; they couldn’t help me out. I finally gave up because I was using the restaurant’s business phone, so I gave up and came home.
So throughout this morning, I called the FBI. The last of a series of phone calls was made to Special Agent Rob Root, who is the supervisory special agent in charge of judicial corruption, who hung up on me. I had an earlier conversation with FBI Special Agent Mike Harrell, who had referred me to Special Agent Root, and I also have a call in to the duty agent. In the meantime, I have called the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and they said they couldn’t help me. They said, “You have to go to Attorney General Cooper’s office.” So I called them [DS400312], and they said, “No, it’s not us; call the Administrative Office of the Courts.” And I said, “No, it’s not them, either. I’ve been that route already.” So I called the TAOC [DS400313] and got the runaround there. So there’s no one in the state who can do anything for you.
I called the Tenth Judicial District today; I spoke with the Assistant District Attorney General [DS400315], and he said, “Let me get back to you.” OK. Steve Bebb is in Madisonville today, I’m told. So I said, “You make arrangements for me to get back in that courtroom today.” Nobody is calling me back. I’ve been hung up on once. You see, this Carroll Ross is a criminal, and he knows he’s a criminal. I didn’t have the presence of mind to see if Denise Barnes was sitting next to him today. I made every effort to make eye contact with George, which he did. He was in civilian clothes; he wasn’t in any kind of jail stripes. I didn’t realize that he had been arrested yesterday.
What William Windsor is going through is the same kind of thing I’m going through here.
The Post & Email interjected, “The Atlanta office of the FBI has set up a special task force to combat public corruption asking why the same thing can’t be done in Tennessee.”
I talked to Special Agent Harrell about that this morning, and he gave me a number to call. I called the number, and the guy hung up on me. The number I was given is 865-602-7006. I called Special Agent Root at that number, and somewhere in my preamble, he hung up.
I didn’t call the TBI this morning, but I called everybody else. The reason I didn’t call the TBI was that I called the Tenth Judicial District office, which can dispatch the TBI. I was told that Steve Bebb was in Madisonville today on other appointments, and I said to the young lady with whom I was speaking, “You call him and tell him to to meet me at the courthouse to escort me back into the courthouse this afternoon. Ross has committed another crime.”
I didn’t do anything wrong this morning. I emptied my pockets and did all of the thing he asked. If he hadn’t been there, I would have gone up into the clerk’s office and asked permission to take the recorder into the courtroom. You can have a recorder in the building; you just can’t have it in the courtroom without permission. So he stopped me at the door, and I said, “Yes, I have a recorder here.” He took a hard look at my fountain pen a couple of times; he thought it was a recorder. I said, “No, it’s a fountain pen. Here’s how it works.” Same thing with Bennie Byrum.
These guys are scared to death. They know they’re being watched. They know they’re breaking the law, and they are trying to control every aspect of what’s going on. I was there only a couple of minutes. Judge Ross had me walked out of the courtroom today and broke the law by doing that.
I called the governor’s office and tried to get a hold of Nathan Buttrey [DS400310] [DS400314]. It was another recording. You call the offices and they say, “It’s not our job; it’s their job.” When I got to the Administrative Office of the Courts, I talked to a guy named Haines, who said, “I don’t know where to send you. Get an attorney.” I said, “Attorneys aren’t law enforcement officers. An attorney isn’t going to get me back into the courtroom this afternoon. Who do I go to escort me back into the courtroom so I can watch what Carroll Ross is doing this afternoon?” There’s nobody.
The Post & Email said, “It sounds like the old Soviet Union” instead of the United States.”
It’s a rule of the court that you can’t have any recording devices inside the courtroom without permission. Having a recorder in the building ifs not a violation of anything, but if you take it into the courthouse, it’s a violation of the courthouse rule. I’ve read the local rules to make sure I knew them for June 23. At that time, the judge said, “Yes, you can have your recorder in here today,” and I did. So you never know from one day to the next. Ross is out of control. There’s no law enforcement. This is a dictatorship.
When I walked into the courtroom, I didn’t have my recorder with me; it was in my car. I didn’t try to hide it; there was no attempt on my part to do anything other than to present myself and everything that was in my pockets. I did everything by the book. When I came back to the courthouse the second time, the deputy didn’t tell me that I couldn’t go into the courtroom. I hadn’t done anything wrong. It wasn’t until I got into the courtroom and he saw me – he knows who I am and he knows what I’ve written, and he knows what kind of a threat I am to him – there’s no one to turn to. I’m waiting for a return call from law enforcement. Nothing. The Tennessee Highway Patrol has no jurisdiction here.
That’s what’s going on today. This is how they did it in Soviet Russia. This is how they did it in Germany in the late 1930s and all through the war. Judges are taking over complete control of these courts. There is no public scrutiny…you can’t record; you can’t even be in the courtroom. People are being ordered out of the courtroom under threat of arrest…for what?
I walked past Mark Boring of The Buzz; he was sitting at the back on one of the benches. I walked right past him. They know that I’m there to report and they know that I can report and have reported, so Judge Ross said, “No, you can’t be in here,” and for no lawful reason. It’s because Mark Boring prints stuff that the court is OK with. The information that goes into The Post & Email is, as Mark Boring calls it, “outlandish.”
Update, August 24, 2011, 6:30 p.m. EDT: Walter Fitzpatrick reported the following: “No one called back today…no one!”
Editor’s Note: The Post & Email left messages today with the Tenth Judicial District and the Knoxville FBI public corruption hotline but received no response.
Update, August 25, 2011: The following message was received from a reader:
I’m sending this anonymously because I don’t know how you handle confidential information.
You are completely wasting your time going through one of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s administrative offices. They are ALL corrupt. No one holds an administrative post unless he/she does what they are ordered to.
Their mobster-like handling of attorney “discipline” is why you will NEVER get anywhere with an attorney. He/she will know their license and livelihood can be ripped away without cause and without any due process — all behind closed doors. On the other hand, any attorney that is politically connected faces no chance of even an inquiry.
Case in point: I have personal knowledge of several complaints against well-connected attorneys that were dismissed outright, with no investigation. One complaint was made by a sitting Trial Judge in Middle Tennessee. He complained that an attorney from a large, well-connected law firm committed tampering DURING a jury trial he was overseeing. This would get most attorney’s disbarred but there was never even an investigation.
No one can see the records of this cover-up because, well, they’re conveniently “confidential.” Hmmmmmm.
There are many more examples but my point is that the Tennessee Supreme Court is absolutely corrupt and will operate behind the scenes to dismiss your matters (yes, without any comment, just “DISMISSED”) without any public record being created.