What are the Similarities Between the Zimmerman and Fitzpatrick Cases?

DOCUMENTS IN EACH CASE APPEAR TO LACK PROBABLE CAUSE

by Sharon Rondeau

(Apr. 18, 2012) — Radio show host Rush Limbaugh spent the 20 minutes of his opening monologue today speaking about the charging documents being used to indict George Zimmerman for second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Legal experts who have weighed in on the Zimmerman arrest are Andrew McCarthy, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, and talk show host Mark Levin, who said that the documents do not “support probable cause” in the incident.

“This is an attack on excellence,” Limbaugh said of the way in which prosecutor Angela Corey is moving forward to charge Zimmerman after she bypassed a grand jury and issued the charging document herself.

If the charging document in the Zimmerman case is insufficient, what about the forged documents being used against Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III on the charge of “tampering with government records?”

During a probable cause hearing on January 17, 2012, Chief Court Clerk Martha M. Cook admitted that she did not place her signature on the arrest warrant and affidavit of complaint used to incarcerate Fitzpatrick on December 7, 2011.  The name of the person who signed it has not been revealed. “It raises up the issue of what is at the core of all this, which is a challenge to the jury system starting in eastern Tennessee,” Fitzpatrick said.  “Who forged her name, and why?” he asked.

Despite Cook’s admission that she did not sign the arrest warrant and affidavit of complaint, the documents were relied upon to confiscate Fitzpatrick’s computer and two printers on the evening of December 7, 2011.

Was there probable cause to believe that Fitzpatrick intended to steal the documents?  While Monroe County Sheriff’s Department Detective Conway Mason told The Post & Email in December that a video existed of Fitzpatrick taking government papers, it was not shown during the probable cause hearing.  Fitzpatrick said he does not know whether or not the grand jury assembled to evaluate the evidence against him viewed the purported video.

Judge H. Reed Dixon presided over the probable cause hearing, during which he stated that a judge would choose the special grand jury in Fitzpatrick’s case.  The Post & Email is in possession of the audio recording of the hearing.  Judge Amy F. Reedy then advanced the case on March 26, 2012, scheduling a hearing for April 30.

Because Cook stated that she did not sign the documents, Assistant Prosecutor Paul D. Rush identified himself as the accuser.  “Paul Rush became my replacement accuser for the person who forged Cook’s signature,” Fitzpatrick said.  “Neither one of those people can be placed in a situation where they have to answer questions about the charging documents, which are forgeries,” he stated.

During the hearing, Cook stated that her deputy clerks “quite often” sign her name to court documents.

In February, Fitzpatrick had reported the documents as containing forged signatures to the Sweetwater Police Department during an interview about his stolen household possessions.  Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email that at the same time, he gave them a copy of the audio recording from the probable cause hearing on which Cook can be heard admitting that she did not sign the documents and did not know who did.

Following receipt of the documents issued by the Monroe County clerk’s office, Detective Conway Mason countersigned them.  “He signed them after they were forged,” Fitzpatrick said.

The grand jury which was reportedly “picked” by a judge in violation of state law contained a foreman who was compromised, Faye C. Tennyson, who had served as foreman last year and would have been familiar with Fitzpatrick.  Fitzpatrick maintains that he was “falsely accused” and that his computer and printers were “stolen.”

“It is an attack against the Constitution of the United States of America and the Tennessee state constitution.  They’re attacking me because they’ve been caught rigging the juries.  What’s going on down in Florida?  It’s the same thing.  They’re getting around the system, and people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are trying to make political hay out of this thing.  Where do you find a way to stop it?  ‘We the People’ and the construction and operation of a legitimate grand jury,” Fitzpatrick said.  “If they can get forged documents through a legal system here in the state of Tennessee, there’s nothing to stop them from doing the same thing to Mr. Zimmerman in Florida.”

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