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“THERE WAS NO CRIME COMMITTED IN THAT MOMENT”
by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III
(Mar. 21, 2012) — [Editor’s Note: On Monday, March 26, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. Walter Fitzpatrick has a motion hearing regarding the charge leveled against him of “tampering with government records.” Here Fitzpatrick explains how he came into possession of the documents and what he did with them on December 7, 2011.
The Post & Email was told that a video of his taking the documents exists, but it was not aired at the probable cause hearing on January 17, 2012. During that hearing, the court clerk admitted that it was not her signature on the arrest warrant, and Judge J. Reed Dixon stated at the end that a third grand jury would be picked by a judge to review the charge. Tennessee state law mandates that jurors be chosen “by random automated means, without opportunity for the intervention of any human agency to select a particular name and in a manner that causes no prejudice to any person.”
Detective Conway Mason, mentioned below, stated during the probable cause hearing that “it was clear that he [Fitzpatrick] committed the crime…He took the records; he never brought them back, and they appeared on a website that Mr. Fitzpatrick regularly posts to and gives interviews for.” DM420189
Fitzpatrick’s accuser was identified as Assistant Prosecutor Paul D. Rush. The Post & Email will be airing audio of the judge’s statement in the next installment.]
A whole bunch of documents were picked up off the table. That was video-recorded. There was no crime committed in that moment. They were left on the table ready for pickup, and they were picked up, and then they were mailed off. There’s been no crime committed.
Knowing that no crime has been committed, and knowing that the documents were left out ready for pickup, the sheriff’s department came to my door to tell me that those documents had been left on the table inadvertently; they should have been protected; they weren’t protected; “Can we have them back?” So they came to the house to say that the documents were left on the table; “We have reason to believe you picked them up off the table; we’d like them back.” They didn’t come out to arrest me for a criminal event. They came out there to tell me that the documents had been left on the table by a clerk, inappropriately; it was a mistake on their part. They left the documents there publicly. There was no crime committed by me in picking those up. The sheriff’s department came to my house that afternoon to tell me that the documents had been left there by mistake or unprofessionally, and they wanted them back.
What changed between that moment and their leaving is that Conway Mason, with other people in his group, decided that I was in the house. His decision was reinforced by a phone call he received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to say that “Fitzpatrick was in the house,” and I was in the house and I did not respond to Mason, however he tried to contact me when I was inside. Does that now change what I did into a criminal act because I didn’t come to the door? Even if I was at home and decided not to come to the door, they cannot at that point establish probable cause for an event that took place earlier in the Chancery Courtroom downstairs. Even if I had been at home, there could have been 100 reasons why I would not come and answer the door with a Monroe County sheriff there to try to encourage me to come outside the house. I’ve done that before. It happened to me on the 8th of June 2010. There was a Monroe County sheriff, Mike Morgan, Trent Prock, and they arrested me. I innocently answered the door, and they said, “You’re under arrest.”
The point that I’m making is that I am not under any obligation to answer a knock at the door. And that does not establish probable cause with respect to an event that took place earlier in the day. Then Conway Mason and his group leave the house and they say, “Because he was home and he didn’t come to the door, we believe that there’s probable cause to believe that he’s committed a crime.”
They’ve made all of this up. What makes matters worse is that 1) I wasn’t home; and 2) the FBI called the sheriff’s department after I called the FBI for help, reaching out to them for assistance, to tell them I was under surveillance, and instead of helping me, they turned around in their swivel chair and called the sheriff’s department and said, “He’s there.” Conway Mason used that confirmation that was given to him by federal agents to say “He really was home.” But the question is the same one for the FBI and for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Whether or not I was home is not the issue. Either way, how does my being home or not being home establish probable cause for the recovery of documents that were left on a table in plain view, publicly accessible? How do you establish probable cause?
Another significant question is, “Why did they think that I was home?” I was walking to the post office to mail the stuff to you! I wasn’t there, but even if I had been there, my being there and not answering the door does not in itself constitute a crime, nor does it connect to anything that happened earlier in the day. There was no probable cause.
OK, they say that probable cause has been established and then we say to them, “OK, who made the call?” Let’s do the instant reply on this one. “Who made the call?”
So you look at the documents where this decision has been made, and they’re signed by Marty Cook, and when the documents were made available to me, I was locked up. So I couldn’t compare them. So Marty Cook was called on the stand and I said, “OK, you’ve made this decision here, Ms. Cook. How did you do that? I have questions.” And she said, “I didn’t sign those.” “Oh, really? Who did?” “All of my clerks have the authority to sign my name to these things.” “OK, well, then, tell us which one of your clerks signed your name here.” And she couldn’t say. So in Monroe County, TN a deputy can get an arrest warrant without probable cause, working in the system, which is all manufactured…they made the whole thing up. They made it look official; they said, “We have probable cause” when they didn’t…well, how did they do that?
There never was probable cause; there never was any basis for anybody to determine probable cause. But beyond that, we don’t even know the person who’s signing these documents. It could have been Conway Mason who forged Marty Cook’s name, for all we know.
Editor’s Note: Fitzpatrick argued at the probable cause hearing that “these documents were in a publicly-accessible area” and that the court did not have evidence to “advance the case to a grand jury.” DM420190