ATTY. VAN IRION TO PRESENT ORAL ARGUMENT
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 15, 2013) — On Friday evening, The Post & Email learned that a hearing in an appeal for CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) has been scheduled for Wednesday at the Tennessee Appellate Court at 505 West Main Street, Suite 200, Knoxville at 9:30 a.m.
Last December, Fitzpatrick was found “guilty” of taking documents from the Monroe County, TN courthouse in December 2011 after Irion was not allowed to present a defense, as is guaranteed by the Tennessee constitution and Bill of Rights.
Judge Walter C. Kurtz, a Vietnam veteran, presided over last year’s hearing. Deputy District Attorney General Paul D. Rush prosecuted and presented the state’s case, upon which the jury based its decision.
Irion filed a request for a new trial at the end of December which was denied: Fitz Mtn. New Trial filed
In motions hearings in advance of the trial, Fitzpatrick pointed out that the name of the chief court clerk, Martha M. Cook, was signed to the charging documents by an unauthorized person. While Kurtz said that the action was inadvisable, he allowed the charges to stand.
Rush has been found to have committed ethics violations by the Tennesse Board of Professional Responsibility (BOPR). Last year, Rush called out this writer for a lack of “ethics” and “integrity” after she published redacted forms used by Monroe County to collect the personal data of prospective grand jurors. However, Rush never contacted The Post & Email directly.
Grand juries and trial juries have been shown to be manipulated and illegally convened in Tennessee. Many grand juries are given guidance by longstanding foremen who in some cases have served for decades at the pleasure of the local judge or judges in violation of state statute. Judges also take an active role in choosing jurors.
In January, Irion submitted a Notice of Appeal on Fitzpatrick’s behalf: Fitz Ntc. of Appeal filed
Irion’s appeal brief was filed on July 1: Fitz Appeal Brief 4.4 and claimed a “defense of necessity” on Fitzpatrick’s part. Irion also wrote that the individual serving as the grand jury foreman which indicted Fitzpatrick was not eligible to act in that capacity.
The hearing on Wednesday is open to the public.