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AND IT WAS KURTZ HIMSELF
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 10, 2012) — Rocky Joe Houston and his brother, Clifford Leon Houston, are well-acquainted with Judge Walter C. Kurtz, who has been presiding over Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III’s case in Monroe County.
Kurtz has stated that Fitzpatrick’s claim of forged signatures on the charging documents is “irrelevant.” Rocky Joe Houston told The Post & Email that Kurtz forged the signature of the Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, Cornelia A. Clark on documents relating to one of his cases in 2001.
The brothers were charged with murder in the deaths of a Roane County, TN deputy sheriff and companion in May 2006. Rocky Joe had told The Post & Email that he and his brother were fired upon first on their property on May 11, 2006, and shot back in self-defense, but a special prosecutor appointed to the case stated that “Houston didn’t necessarily have to shoot first to be the aggressor.”
Clifford Leon Houston was acquitted, although Rocky Joe spent four years in prison before an appellate court ruled that he could not face trial again following a split verdict. Rocky Joe has told The Post & Email that a judge and district attorney presiding over his original case had failed to take the oath of office before taking action in his case.
In April, The Post & Email reported on the Houstons’ signage outside their home in Roane County accusing public officials of misconduct and corruption both in Tennessee and at the federal level. Rocky Joe reported yesterday that the number of names on such signs on his property is now 41, to include Eric Holder for his role in Fast & Furious, the gunrunning operation which ended in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry.
It was revealed yesterday that Terry and “an elite squad of federal agents” had fired beanbags, not bullets, at Mexican drug cartel members after having been attacked. After refusing to turn over documents related to the gunwalking which ultimately killed Terry, Holder is now claiming that the Department of Justice has an “unrelenting commitment” to finding the perpetrators of Terry’s murder. Terry’s family has been unsatisfied with Justice’s handling of the investigation thus far.
The Houston brothers have also dealt with Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, who has presided over some of Fitzpatrick’s previous cases. Blackwood accused Rocky Joe of being “engaged in conspiracy theory for years” after Houston asked for a new trial following a finding of guilt of “reckless endangerment” and “evading arrest” prior to the shootout at his home in 2006.
The Houstons’ cases were heard in “Roane County Criminal Court,” which was outlawed in 1984 by the Tennessee General Assembly, when county courts were ordered to handle civil matters only and trial courts were directed to reorganize at the district level. Districts were to include multiple counties in most cases. The state of Tennessee has a history of judicial corruption which dates back to before 1830. Both district trial courts and county trial courts have been utilized beginning with the first state constitution in 1796.
The law directing county courts to handle only civil matters reads:
© 2012 by The State of Tennessee
All rights reserved
*** CURRENT THROUGH THE 2011 REGULAR SESSION ***
Title 16 Courts
Chapter 16 County Courts
Part 1 General Provisions. [Repealed in certain counties]
Tenn. Code Ann. § 16-16-107 (2012)
16-16-107. Original jurisdiction.
(a) (1) The county court has original jurisdiction in the following cases:
(A) The probate of wills;
(B) The granting of letters testamentary and of administration, and the repeal and revocation of letters testamentary and of administration;
(C) All controversies in relation to the right of executorship or of administration;
(D) The settlement of accounts of executors and administrators;
(E) The partition and distribution of the estates of decedents; and for these purposes, the power to sell the real and personal property belonging to the estates, if necessary to make the partition and distribution, or if manifestly for the interest of the parties;
(F) To sell real estate for the payment of debts of a decedent as provided in former §§ 30-602 and 30-603;
(G) The appointment and removal of guardians for minors and conservators for persons adjudicated incompetent, and all controversies as to the right of guardianship and conservatorship, and the settlement of guardian and conservator accounts;
(H) The partition, sale or division of land;
(I) The changing of names and the legitimation of children;
(J) The issuance of inquisitions of unsoundness of mind; and
(K) The binding out of apprentices, and all controversies between master and apprentice.
(2) In counties having a county judge, the county judge shall have the powers enumerated in subdivision (a)(1).
(b) Subsection (a) shall only apply in counties having a population, according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census, of: Click here to view image.
(c) In counties having a population of not less than thirty-nine thousand fifty (39,050) nor more than thirty-nine thousand one hundred fifty (39,150), according to the 2000 federal census of population or any subsequent federal census, the circuit court clerk, who also serves as the general sessions court clerk, shall serve as the clerk of the court with probate jurisdiction in any such counties.
HISTORY: Code 1858, §§ 4201, 4202 (deriv. Acts 1797, ch. 41; 1805, ch. 2, § 1; 1815, ch. 115; 1835-1836, ch. 6, § 2; 1849-1850, ch. 27, § 1; 1849-1850, ch. 77, § 1; 1849-1850, ch. 185, § 1; 1851-1852, ch. 338, §§ 1, 2; 1853-1854, ch. 53, § 1); Acts 1873, ch. 64, § 1; Shan., §§ 6027, 6029; Code 1932, §§ 10225, 10227; impl. am. Acts 1951, ch. 202; Acts 1976, ch. 529, § 5; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 16-709; Acts 2003, ch. 310, §§ 1, 6-10; 2005, ch. 24, §§ 1, 2; 2011, ch. 47, § 14.
Clifford Houston filed a civil lawsuit against Kurtz, Blackwood, Roane County clerks and deputy clerks, Judge David B. Hayes and Judge James B. Scott for $5,000,000 under the federal statute 42 USC 1983 for deprivation of civil rights. Kurtz refused to recuse himself for conflict of interest and dismissed the case, citing previous lawsuits which he claimed granted him “judicial immunity.”
Kurtz wrote in his opinion:
Acting on behalf of the State of Tennessee and Judges Scott and Hayes, the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02 to dismiss the complaint against the judges for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, asserting specifically the doctrine of sovereign immunity on behalf of the State, and judicial immunity on behalf of the two judges…
The attorney general of Tennessee is appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court rather than elected by the people, the only state in the Union with such a provision.
When Kurtz dismissed Clifford Houston’s case, local media reported that the lawsuit had “hit the trash.”
Of Kurtz’s actions, Rocky Joe Houston said, “In order to become a judge, you’re lawyer first,” Houston said. You have to swear by an oath to become an attorney. That’s one oath he was administered. Once he becomes a judge, he’s administered an oath again. If he’s been in the military like you said, that’s another oath that he has violated. He’s violated three oaths: his military oath, his oath as an attorney, and his oath as a judge. He’s engaged in acts of treason,” Houston said.
Houston also said that in Clifford’s case against Kurtz, Kurtz issued a bill to his brother for $974.00 for court costs which was not itemized, as state law requires. “They’re supposed to itemize it; it’s supposed to be entered on record, signed, dated and timed, but it don’t exist on record,” he said. “It does not have one signature on it; it’s not been itemized; it’s not been dated.”
Houston also told us that there is a “revolutionary nihilist” group whose aim is to do away with state laws and constitutional rights in Tennessee, and that at least one judge that he knows of is part of the movement.
Like Fitzpatrick, Rocky Jose has said that he fears for his life.