Monroe County Chief Court Clerk Admits Grand Jury Foreman of 27 Years Illegitimate

LETTER FROM COURT CLERK IS “THE SMOKING GUN”

by Sharon Rondeau

For how many decades has an unappointed and unaccountable person been posing as foreman of the grand jury and issuing indictments?

(Sep. 20, 2011) — A chief clerk in Monroe County, TN has admitted, and The Post & Email can now confirm, that there has been no duly-appointed grand jury foreman in Monroe County, TN for at least the last 27 years.  The foreman is responsible for signing indictments indicating that there is “probable cause” to go forward with a prosecution.

Monroe County Chief Court Clerk Martha M. Cook has stated in a letter to Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III dated September 16, 2011 that no appointing orders exist for the grand jury foreman dating back to at least 1985.  Although Gary Pettway had been acting as foreman for at least 20 consecutive years between 1990 and 2010, Cook has stated that the court has no official appointing order or evidence that he was ever sworn in as required by the Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Tennessee constitution.

Rule 6(g) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure states that the judge of the criminal court appoints the foreman of the grand jury.  It also states that “The foreperson shall possess all the qualifications of a juror,” which are outlined in TCA 22-2-314.  All grand jurors must be sworn in before serving.

Cook has told the media that the judge “can pick the foreman from wherever they choose” but has also claimed in writing that juror selection for Monroe County is performed in an automated way.  The law states that juror selection must be made by automated means.

The Knoxville FBI had told Fitzpatrick that in order to effect an arrest in Monroe County, it needed a “smoking gun” such as a person who would be willing to “wear a wire” and record a judge admitting to rigging the juries.  There is now a written admission that the Monroe County grand jury has been operating illegally and that the clerks and judges are perpetrators of crimes against the citizens they are expected and being paid to serve.

On September 14, Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III submitted a public records request to the Monroe County, TN court clerk’s office for the appointing orders of the grand jury foreman from 1985 through 2010 and offered to pay any applicable copying costs.  Deputy Clerk Darlene Moser stated that she didn’t believe the court had the documents on file.

On September 15, Fitzpatrick requested appointing orders for the grand jury foreman for the years 2007-2010.  On September 19, 2011,  Moser, who had signed a “Capias and Bond” document calling for Fitzpatrick’s arrest along with Cook last fall, left a voice message for Fitzpatrick stating that Cook had sent him a letter responsive to his two document requests.  [DS400361]  Moser stated that Fitzpatrick could come in to the courthouse to pick up the letter if he did not receive it in the mail that day.

 

Document issued by Chief Court Clerk Martha M. Cook stating that no appointing orders exist for Gary Pettway, who had served in that capacity for at least 20 years, but 27 years by both Pettway's and Cook's accounts
Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Martha Cook's letter to Fitzpatrick stating that no appointing orders are on file for Gary Pettway

The text of Martha Cook’s letter reads:

September 16, 2011

Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III
P.O. Box 375
Sweetwater, Tn. 37874-2714

In Re: Open Record Request of September 14, 2011
Open Record Request of September 15, 2011

Dear Mr. Fitzpatrick:

On the above dates you filed a request under the open records to request copies and or [sic] inspection /access [sic] of Judicial Appointing Orders for Forman [sic] to the Monroe County Tennessee Grand Jury from 1985 to 2010- each and every one, and also Monroe County Grand Jury Foreman Appointing Orders for the years 2007,2008, 2009 and 2010 [sic].

After reviewing your request, this Office is unable to provide you with either all or part of the requested records.  The basis for the records is that this office does not maintain a list of all of the foremen for the requested years and that in order to provide such a list, we would have to search through the minute books and compile the information and essentially create a new record, and we are not required to do so under the Tennessee Public Records Act, TCA Section 10-7-503(a)(3).  The code reads in part, “This section shall not be construed as requiring a governmental entity or public official to sort through files to compile information.  Your request is denied because no such records exist. [sic]

If you would like to inspect the minute books and compile a list you may do so during normal business hours.  As I advised you previously, if you wish to do so, please let the office know so we can run a copy of the minute book and redact all the confidential information and when you have viewed one book then we can prepare the next minute book.  In order for us to comply with the laws we will be able to provide one minute book per week for your inspection.

Sincerely,

Martha M. Cook

Fitzpatrick had not requested that a list of grand jury foremen be compiled, but rather the appointing orders indicating the individual(s)’ official appointment to the foremanship.  The court had produced an appointing order for 2011 naming a “Fay Tennyson” as grand jury foreman with no effective or ending date as well as a misspelling of her first name.  When Fitzpatrick brought the misspelling to the attention of Deputy Clerk Moser, she replied, “We haven’t fixed it yet.” However, on January 5, 2011, a notice was posted on the announcement board in the courthouse that Gary Pettway was the grand jury foreman.  It is unknown when or if Tennyson was ever officially appointed or sworn in, although she is functioning as a grand jury foreman and signing indictments, two of which were issued against Fitzpatrick on January 5, 2011.

Pettway’s signature appears on an unknown number of indictments against citizens of Monroe County.  The number of defendants who have been sent to jails and prison because of the false indictments is unknown.

On January 21, 2010, Cook had responded to a letter of inquiry from a member of the public regarding grand jury operations in Monroe County by stating that “Mr. Pettiway [sic] has served as Grand Jury Foreman for appx 27 years.”

Letter from Martha Cook to Mr. Donald McDougall stating that Pettway had served as grand jury foreman for "appx 27 years." She did not say he was "appointed."

The text of the letter reads:

Dear Sir:

Concerning your letter of January 14, 2010, I have attached and also attempted to answer your request for information.

1. Process selection of Grand Jury/ I have attached copies of TCA 22-2-101 which describes the procedure.  As to who is involved, I serve as jury coordinator and also a deputy clerk in my office assist [sic] me.

Two Grand Juries are impaneled in December and serve for a period of 1 year.  They rotate months for appearing.  Example:  Panel 1 report in Jan. Panel 2 Feb. Panel 1 March etc [sic]

2.  Mr. Pettiway [sic] has served as Grand Jury Foreman for appx 27 years.

3. Mr. Pettiway receives $15.00 per day for his service.

I think I have answered all the questions you requested.

Sincerely,

Martha M. Cook

Letter to Donald McDougall stating that “The foreperson of the Grand Jury is appointed by the judge of Criminal Court.”

The text of the letter reads:

Re: Request for Information/ Addtional

Dear Sir:

In your request for additional information received by this office on 2-02-10, the answers to your questions are as follows:

1. The foreperson of the Grand Jury is appointed by the judge of Criminal Court.
2. Our jury selection is totally automated.

Sincerely,

Martha M. Cook
Circuit Court Clerk

“That is a proven lie.  This is one of our smoking guns.  That’s physically not possible based on the facts we have come across now,” Fitzpatrick said.

On June 3, 2010, Fitzpatrick and another man went to the Monroe County courthouse and looked through many “minute books” for the past 20 years.  Cook referenced the minute books in her September 16, 2011 letter, stating that she could provide “one minute book per week” for inspection.   “There’s a lot of paper in them.  On June 3, 2010, Martha Cook had told us, ‘We can’t let you have these to inspect them as a public record because there is information in here that is sensitive.’  These records are supposed to be kept secret,” Fitzpatrick said.  “We saw Mr. Pettway’s signature on indictments that are part of these minute books that go back 20 years.  We were looking for something that showed us when Mr. Pettway first came to the podium as a grand jury foreman.  We went back as far as 4 January 1990, and when we got to 1989, Mr. Pettway’s name is not there. You don’t find him.  So that’s where we got the figure ’20 years.’  On 3 June 2010, we thought we had the best number that we could come up with.  We weren’t able to go back any farther than that and decided to stop.  I suspect we’ll find Mr. Pettway’s name going back almost 30 years.”

Regarding Cook’s response to the citizen inquiry about grand jury service in which she approximated Pettway’s years of service, Fitzpatrick and the other researcher had asked Cook, “Why did you approximate that?  Why didn’t you go looking for the record?” Fitzpatrick reported that Cook answered, ‘We get public records requests all the time from the inmates, and we just don’t have time to answer all of them.”

Over the last two years, Fitzpatrick has exposed jury tampering, jury rigging and altering of official court records as routine in Monroe County.  Citizens are frequently “chosen” to serve on the jury who have served within the last 24 months in violation of TCA 22-2-314.  Judges deny defendants their right to counsel and deprive law-abiding citizens of their constitutional and civil rights, such as attending a public trial.  Sheriff’s deputies inflict lasting physical and psychological trauma on their unsuspecting victims, after which judges and corrupt defense attorneys extort money from them in return for their freedom.

Other residents of Tennessee have reported grand jury, court and prosecutorial corruption within their own counties.  Law enforcement agencies and personnel have refused to act.  The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary, which oversees the state’s judges and evaluates complaints, is under review by a special legislative committee investigating “the failure of the judiciary system to discipline judges for ethics violations.”

First page of response letter to a complaint filed by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III with the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary on February 23, 2010 against Monroe County Judges Carroll Ross and Amy Reedy
Page 2 of letter from the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary dismissing Fitzpatrick's complaints

The letter above dismisses Fitzpatrick’s complaints against the judges by stating, in part:

…After careful consideration of your complaints, I have determined that they do not rise to the level that would justify further action.  In order for us to proceed, the statute requires allegations of specific fact which would cause a reasonable person to believe that there is a substantial probability that the judge has committed judicial misconduct.  See Tenn. Code Ann. § 17-5-304(a).

A Tennessee watchdog group reported in December 2009 that “only 23 public actions – reprimands, censures, suspensions or agreed orders – by the COJ against Tennessee judges for the last 10 calendar years. That total represents less than one percent of the almost 3,000 complaints lodged against judges in the last decade.”

On June 28, 2010, Judge Carroll L. Ross stated during an arraignment hearing for Fitzpatrick in the Monroe County courthouse that he had “never appointed a grand jury foreman in Monroe County.” However, the court transcript states that Ross said “McMinn County.”  The Post & Email obtained a copy of the transcript in January 2011 several weeks after sending payment, and it was not the only existing version.  Ross has appointed at least one grand jury foreman in McMinn County, proving the transcript false.

Fitzpatrick had inadvertently discovered the corruption in Monroe County after he had taken a complaint for treason against Barack Hussein Obama II to Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC.  While returning to Tennessee, it occurred to Fitzpatrick that he could take the complaint to his local grand jury in Monroe County.  After being obstructed from reaching the grand jury, Fitzpatrick began to investigate the way in which the grand jury operated and discovered that its apparent foreman, Gary Pettway, had been serving for 20 years consecutively.

On April 1, 2010, Fitzpatrick went in to the courthouse to carry out a citizen’s arrest of Pettway but was himself arrested by local police and members of the sheriff’s department upon the order of Judge Carroll L. Ross.  Fitzpatrick has stated that Ross knew that Pettway had been serving as an illegitmate foreman to the Monroe County grand jury without appointing orders or having taken an oath of office.

Without a record of Pettway’s appointment, what position did he occupy for 27 years?

The Post & Email will release another report on the defective oaths of office which the Tennessee judiciary uses which exonerate jurors from their responsibilities under the state and U.S. Constitutions.

“We found all of this out because of Obama.  This is all seeing the light because of Obama,” Fitzpatrick said.