by Sharon Rondeau

(Apr. 28, 2014) — On Monday morning, The Post & Email contacted the law office of Biddle, Trew & Parr in Athens, TN, to request an interview with either Atty. Biddle or Atty. Trew, the authors of an advertisement in The Daily Post-Athenian urging voters not to cast their vote for Atty. Van Irion, who is running for criminal court judge in the Tenth Judicial District of Tennessee.

The primary contest for the position, which began on Friday and ends on May 6, is between Irion and Deputy District Attorney Sandra Donaghy.  A local observer told The Post & Email last week that he has seen many signs, particularly large signs on business storefronts, for Irion as opposed to a smaller number of lawn signs for Donaghy throughout the district, which includes the four counties of McMinn, Monroe, Bradley and Polk.

Systemic corruption within the criminal and civil courts in Tennessee has been found and reported by The Post & Email over more than four years, with a concentration on the Tenth Judicial District, where grand juries have become tools which are used against the people they are supposedly serving in a Fifth Amendment capacity.

Corruption includes hand-picked jurors and grand jury foremen; ethics violations on the part of prosecutors; convictions issued without law enforcement performing its due diligence to provide proper evidence; cronyism, police brutality, forged signatures on charging documents; different versions of the same court transcript; threatening and intimidation on the part of judges; and issuing indictments leading to arrests without any evidence.

A reader of the The Post & Email recently related that when he called the office of a state legislator, the staffer admitted that they are aware that judicial corruption is a problem but advised him to contact the head of the District Attorneys General Conference.  However, District Attorneys General and their deputies within the four-county region have also been found to skirt the law, abuse government vehicles and funds, commit perjury and even allegedly assault a co-worker.

In their paid advertisement, Biddle and Trew took Irion to task for suggesting that corruption is a problem within the Tenth District.

Irion is running on a platform of defending the U.S. Constitution and providing a check on possible unconstitutional legislation or situations.  Donaghy is running on her experience as a private attorney; deputy district attorney in both the Tenth and Seventh Judicial Districts; her work as a public defender and her trial record.

In the same edition of the publication on Friday, ads were also published on behalf of Irion’s and Donaghy’s respective campaigns.

The advertisement submitted from Biddle and Trew bore a resemblance to Donaghy’s in that it used bullet points which outlined many of the same “reasons” why they believed that citizens should instead vote for “either of the other candidates.”  Judge Amy Reedy is the incumbent and will face the winner of the Republican primary.

Over the weekend, The Post & Email contacted Reedy and Donaghy through their respective campaign websites, raising the issue of the composition of the grand jury as stipulated by state law and the way in which it is actually done in the district.

Irion has argued that the Monroe County grand jury was operating illegally when it indicted CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) in December 2011, as the foreman was serving in a second consecutive term.  TCA 22-2-314 states that a period of 24 months must ensue between terms of jury service.

On Sunday evening, Reedy responded to our initial query.  We then recontacted her with additional questions and are awaiting a reply if she chooses to provide one.  We have not received any response from Donaghy.

The receptionist at Biddle, Trew & Parr was very courteous as we told her that we were calling to request an interview regarding the column Biddle & Trew had authored and published in the newspaper.  We provided our full contact information, including the website url.  She then thanked us for our interest and stated that someone would return our call.

Approximately 45 minutes later, the same woman called and stated that “They said that they are not interested in doing interviews at this time.”

Both Reedy and Donaghy have operated within the corrupt Tennessee Criminal Court system for decades.  Both allegedly seek to “improve” the system.

Biddle and Trew concluded their column with “These other candidates have the experience and also share similar core values as the silent great majority of citizens in McMinn County and our surrounding Counties.”

To which “core values” do the attorneys refer?

While Biddle, Trew and Donaghy attacked Irion personally and professionally in their advertisements, Irion’s ad detailed his experience, including appearances on Fox News as a constitutional analyst, and intentions if elected.

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