BUT WHAT OF THE COMPROMISED GRAND JURY?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 22, 2013) — In a letter received approximately two weeks ago, Tennessee state prisoner George Raudenbush wrote that “This may be one of the last mission update reports I send from North East Correctional Center, as my release could be any day.”
On Saturday, The Post & Email received a message from Atty. Richard Hughes, who is representing Raudenbush during the appeals process. Hughes confirmed that the ruling of the Monroe County Criminal Court in August 2011 was overturned and that Raudenbush could be released from prison on $10,000 bond if the requisite 10% ($1,000) could be raised.
In previous letters, Raudenbush had indicated that his convictions on eight counts of motor vehicle infractions were reversed because the presiding judge, Carroll Lee Ross, had denied him his constitutional right to counsel. Ross had insisted that the trial be completed in one day, hence the 14-hour hearing lasting until nearly midnight which ended in convictions on all counts, with the eighth count having been illegally added during the trial.
Raudenbush has been in prison for more than two years during which he has communicated with The Post & Email and others on a regular basis in the form of personal letters and a newsletter.
When Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III had attempted to witness Raudenbush’s trial in August 2011, Ross had him ejected from the courtroom despite the fact that Fitzpatrick had done nothing wrong. This past August, Ross announced that he would work for one more year and retire, adding, “I hope I have done well.”
Monroe County is one of four counties within the Tenth Judicial District in eastern Tennessee, where government corruption is rampant, deep and has remained unchecked for decades. The Tennessee General Assembly is currently acting to remove from office District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb, who has been accused of criminal malfeasance although exonerated by Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr. earlier this year. An assistant to Bebb, Paul D. Rush, was recently cited for ethics violations stemming from a case which went to trial in 1999.
In late 2009, after filing a criminal complaint with the Monroe County grand jury, Fitzpatrick discovered that the foreman had been serving in that capacity for at least 20 years in violation of state law. Tennessee Code Annotated requires that all jurors, both grand and trial, must be selected by random, automated means without the opportunity for human intervention.
In an indictment against Fitzpatrick issued on June 3, 2010, the foreman was described as “a juror,” but in a stunning turn of events, Tennessee’s deputy attorney general wrote in September that the grand jury foreman is court-appointed and never selected by random, automated means (bottom of page 13).
Court-appointed foremen have provided the 13th vote when grand juries vote on whether or not to issue a “true bill” containing indictments against an individual. With the foreman chosen by the judge, he or she represents the interests of the county or state. The Fifth Amendment provides for a grand jury review of evidence without any government influence.
Grand juries in the Tenth Judicial District have also been tainted by jurors serving consecutive terms in violation of TCA 22-2-314.
For four years, Fitzpatrick has demonstrated that the judges in the Tenth Judicial District are part of “a criminal syndicate.” He has approached the two federal grand juries in Knoxville but been prevented from presenting evidence by U.S. Attorney William C. Killian and U.S. District Court Judge Thomas A. Varlan.
It remains to be seen if the indictments issued against Raudenbush by the Monroe County grand jury in order to charge him will be challenged based its illegal composition.
In the ruling of the Appeals Court, Judge Thomas M. Tipton wrote that Raudenbush had been deprived of his constitutional right to an attorney. “Because the Defendant was denied his right to counsel and required to proceed pro se, his convictions must be reversed.” Tipton identified other items which he stated were not handled properly by Ross and declared that the case was “remanded for a new trial.”
Raudenbush, Fitzpatrick and Darren Wesley Huff, who is currently serving an unjustified four-year sentence in federal prison, have all been labeled “sovereign citizens” by the state of Tennessee for attempting to stand up to the corrupt judiciary in Monroe County. At the time, the mainstream press published stories which toed the government line but did not issue corrections when clear corruption in the courts was demonstrated.
In 2006, Raudenbush was severely beaten and reportedly close to death. He suspects that the perpetrators were sent by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in a retaliatory action following the confiscation of property with which Raudenbush was associated.
In an addendum to his latest letter, Raudenbush claimed that a new trial would “clearly show malicious prosecution under the state’s authority.”
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.