Tennessee Grand Jurors Take a Deficient Oath…If They are Sworn in at All

NOT TO THE STATE OR U.S. CONSTITUTIONS, BUT TO THEIR “SKILL AND ABILITY”

by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III

The McMinn County courthouse is located in Athens, TN, where in 1946 corrupt officials were removed from their positions by citizens and World War II veterans from McMinn and Meigs Counties for voter fraud and intimidation

(Sep. 21, 2011) — In Monroe County, there are no appointing orders.

We don’t need a judge to say he or she is stacking a jury.  We have proof that they are.  The DNA that we have right now supports a raid into these offices and the arrest of a whole bunch of people.

If they have an appointing order for this Tennyson person, why don’t they have even one for Pettway?

We have five appointing orders from McMinn County.   We have two from Monroe County:  one for Angela Davis and the one for Tennyson, whoever she is.  We have examples of what an appointing order looks like.

Every appointing order I’ve looked at except one is defective.  It’s not a proper appointing order; there’s something wrong with it.  This gets back to the notion that the appointing order for the Tennyson person, which we also know is clouded, is “just a simple spelling error.”  I’m offering up to you that the name on the Tennyson document – “Fay” – was done on purpose.  They’ve been doing this on purpose for a long time.  Either they don’t have a document or the one that’s in place is somehow clouded or legally defective.

We saw the five appointing orders coming from the McMinn County grand jury.  When I got these, we had an appointing order signed out by Carroll Ross on December 5, 2007.  The one that Carroll Ross signed is the kind of appointing order that we would expect to see in every circumstance.  This is a proper – I think – appointing order.  I’ll deal with the “I think” part in a minute.  It says:

I, Carroll Ross, Judge of the Criminal Court for McMinn County, do hereby appoint Joel Riley as foreman of the McMinn County Grand Jury, he being a good, substantial citizen of McMinn County, Tennessee, and well qualified to fill said position.

THEREUPON, Joel Riley, was sworn according to law as such foreman and now having received the oath of said office is hereby appointed to serve as foreman of said Grand Jury until December 2009.

This the 5th day of December, 2007.

and then Ross signed it out.

Appointing order for Joel Riley as foreman of the McMinn County Grand Jury for a two-year term beginning on December 5, 2007 signed by Carroll L. Ross

So we have a name, Mr. Riley, and I believe the name is spelled correctly.  It says that he’s been placed under oath, and it gives the effective date of his term of service:  two years from the date of appointment.  It was filed on 5 December 2007 and dated 5 December.  It has a beginning date and an end date, and he’s been placed under oath.  This is what I would consider to be a lawful, proper appointing order with one problem:  the oath that’s given to these foremen.  It’s not an oath.  If the oath were to the constitution, then it would be proper, but this gets us closer to what an appointing order should be.  Now we’ll compare this to the Reedy document.

The next appointing order for Mr. Riley is signed out by Amy Reedy the next year, in 2008.  On the 18th of December 2008, Reedy appointed Riley as the grand jury foreman again, even though his two-year term wasn’t up yet.  So why would Reedy come in and issue another appointing order one year later?

The reason Reedy did that was to cloud the appointing order to undo the fact that Riley really was grand jury foreman for a year.  He could have gone after the judges or any government official because according to the document, he was completely authorized to go for two years.  But she took that authority away from him and clouded his appointment because she does not give an effective date.  She did this on purpose.  The language is different:

Appointing Order for "Joe Riley" signed by Judge Amy Reedy dated December 18, 2008

The appointing order reads:

I, AMY ARMSTRONG REEDY, Criminal Court Judge of the Tenth Judicial District of Tennessee, do hereby appoint Joe Riley as Foreman of the Grand Jury of McMinn County, Tennessee, he being a good, substantial citizen of McMinn county, and well qualified to fill said position.

THEREUPON, Joe Riley, was sworn according to law as such Foreman and now having received the Oath of said office is hereby appointed to serve as Foreman of said Grand Jury.

And her signature follows.

She does not give an effective date.  There are several reasons why a judge would want to cloud a grand jury appointing order.  In Mr. Pettway’s case, they just didn’t even do it.  Not giving specific dates in the long term means that there is no recording.  Remember Marsha Crabtree in Hamilton County?  They did that at the end of the term.  What the judge wants to do is be able to dismiss people for cause.  That’s why Reedy came back in: so that they can dismiss him if he steps out of line.

Faye Tennyson’s appointing order didn’t have an effective date, either, which means that these people, who are surrogate employees for the judges and prosecutors, if they don’t do as they’re told, they can be dismissed instantly, without any reason being given, in the moment.  This means they can be relieved.  This appointing order from Reedy which was issued when it didn’t need to be was done on purpose.  I believe that she did it on purpose, and she clouded the “Fay” document by misspelling the name because these appointing orders are of no effect.  They’re making it easier to move people in and out of the juries without having to explain their actions.

It gives a judge the flexibility to dismiss at any moment for cause without having to cite the cause.  There are other reasons why they would want to cloud the appointing order, and again, in Mr. Pettway’s case, there aren’t any.  There’s no record that a man named “Gary Pettway” was ever authorized or sworn in under oath to act as a juror in the state of Tennessee, and certainly not as a foreman for any jury in the state of Tennessee.

Appointing order for Joel Riley as grand jury foreman for McMinn County signed by R. Steve Bebb, who is now a district attorney general for the Tenth Judicial District

Rule 6 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure says that all jurors are placed under oath, which reads:

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…

and this is the last sentence:

according to the best of your skill and understanding. So help you God.

This oath says nothing about obedience to the constitution of the state of Tennessee.  And in the Tennessee constitution, Article 10, Section 1 describing the oath of office reads:

1. Oath of Office

Every person who shall be chosen or appointed to any office of trust or profit under this Constitution, or any law made in pursuance thereof, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath to support the Constitution of this state, and of the United States, and an oath of office.

That’s required by the state constitution and would include grand jurors and trial jurors.  You must swear your allegiance to both of the constitutions and then take an oath of office to serve.

Let’s say you’re a witness in a Tennessee trial and you’re going to be sworn in before testifying.  You would be asked, “Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” with your hand on the Bible.  This oath that I read to you should be the same kind of oath.  It says to the juror, “You will present truly the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God.”  A person would pledge obedience to the constitution and to the law and then take the oath of office.  That’s not what this says. I’ll rephrase the oath above so it reads like the one for the juror:

Do you pledge to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your skill and understanding…(emphasis ours)

The sentence which says “according to the best of your skill and understanding” gives anybody in the jury an “out.”‘ They can’t be prosecuted.  The standard that’s supplied here is different from the standard applied to the witnesses who come before them who promise to tell the truth, the whole truth…  As a witness, if you state anything other than the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, they can put you in jail for perjury.   If you get in there and the oath that they give you is that you promise tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth according to the best of your skill and understanding, if you get caught in a lie, you can say , “Well, I did my best.  I gave testimony according to the best of my skill and understanding.  You can’t prosecute me for perjury because my oath was to do the best I could according to my skill and understanding.”

This is not an oath of office.  It’s not an oath that would stand up for a witness in a trial.  It’s not an oath that can be acted upon to punish a juror for not doing his duty as a witness would have to do.   “According to the best of your skill and understanding” is an escape clause in the oath so these people, when they’re handpicked, are told, “Not to worry.  Nobody can lay a glove on you.”

If you were called to the stand and the bailiff and put one hand on the Bible and said to you, “Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth as best as you can?” that’s not an oath.  When you are testifying under oath, you are obliged to tell the whole truth, not do “as best you can.”  With the grand jurors’ oath, they can’t prove that you didn’t do “the best you can.”  The attorneys know that this oath is substandard; it’s not legally sufficient.

Coming back to the Carroll Ross appointing order for Joel Riley in 2007, it says that he was placed under oath, but what oath was he under?  That’s why I said the appointing order was OK except for the part about the oath.

If you are a witness coming into the Monroe County grand jury, the Waiver of Immunity states:

I,                                                      , have been advised that I can be prosecuted for any matter of which I testify about before the grand jury…Having been advised of this right, I nevertheless choose voluntarily to waive the right to appear before the grand jury and testify about certain matters knowing full well that an indictment arising out of such matters could be returned against me.

They threaten you with a Miranda warning.  You have to waive your rights before getting to speak to the grand jury that’s not a jury.  This Miranda warning is more severe than the oath which the grand jurors have to take.  They’re not held to the standard to which a witness is held.  This is very crafty, and they’ve been doing it for a long time.  In regard to Mr. Pettway, they didn’t place him under oath at all.

None of the appointing orders we see are clean.  Carroll Ross’s with Riley is as close as it gets, but then you take a look at the oath, and you find out that the oath is worth nothing.

When you come into an employment circumstance, or conversely, into a government position, there are always conditions of your employment.  If you don’t meet the conditions of your employment, you are fired.  When you come into a government position, it’s a little bit different, because a judge, juror, a prosecutor, defense attorney, a clerk, people who are officers of the court, are obligated to take an oath to the Constitution.  A condition of their employment, of their performance of their duty, is that they obey the law.  Their condition is to be obedient to the law.

We’ve just talked about taking an oath to the Tennessee constitution, the federal constitution, and then you take an oath of office.  The Tennessee constitution states that anyone in a position of trust must take an oath to the constitution.  It’s a condition of your employment that not only can you be fired; you can be prosecuted.  These jurors and Mr. Pettway and other people in these positions are not held in a circumstance where the condition of their employment requires them to take an oath that is recognized by Tennessee state and the federal constitution.  They’re just regular employees.  That’s why the judges clouding the appointing orders means the foremen are working for the judges and the prosecutors.  And they could be told off the record, “We’re going to take real good care of you, and you get to walk around town as the Monroe County grand jury foreman.”  They give them a title…Mr. Pettway was never placed in an employment circumstance where he had to obey the law.  He was working for a criminal syndicate, just like a mobster, where he had to be obedient to them, or he’d lose his job.

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Editor’s Note:  In two instances, “appointing orders” signed by Judge Amy Reedy leave off a letter from the person’s first name: Faye C.  Tennyson appears as “Fay” and Joel Riley appears as “Joe.”

REEDY JUDICIAL ORDERS APPOINTING “JOE” THE FOREMAN:

08 December 2006 Amy Reedy Appointing Order “Joe” the Foreman  (1) (CLICK HERE)

18 December 2008 Amy Reedy Appointing Order “Joe” the Foreman  (2) (CLICK HERE)

14 December 2010 Amy Reedy Appointing Order “Joe” the Foreman  (3) (CLICK HERE)

REEDY JUDICIAL ORDERS APPOINTING “FAY” THE FOREMAN:

03 January 2011 Amy Armstrong Reedy Appointing Order “Fay” the Foreman (CLICK HERE)