WHAT WAS THE RUSH?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 9, 2014) — An eyewitness to the trial of CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) on Monday, June 23 and Tuesday, June 24 in McMinn County, TN told The Post & Email that she does not believe the 12 jurors could have properly reviewed the evidence provided to them during their deliberations on June 24, after which they pronounced Fitzpatrick guilty of “aggravated perjury” and “extortion.”
Fitzpatrick had submitted several petitions to the McMinn County grand jury over a number of months containing evidence that judges, prosecutors and court personnel had violated the law continuously by rigging juries and appointing grand jury foremen who serve for years at the judge’s pleasure.
Fitzpatrick’s final grand jury petition was submitted through the court clerk’s office on March 18, after which Fitzpatrick was arrested in a rapid sequence of events brought about by Judge Amy Reedy which included an abrupt appointment of a new grand jury foreman.
Public corruption in East Tennessee is a way of life, where judges are active participants in ensuring that defendants are discriminated against and found guilty by the jury. Because the grand juries are tainted by judicially-selected foremen, the grand jurors are heavily influenced as to whether or not to vote to indict a suspect.
A high percentage of the population of Monroe County is accused, convicted, incarcerated or on court-ordered probation, where considerable fees are collected by the court from the person on probation. For each day that an individual is jailed, the state of Tennessee pays a set fee, even if the jail is overcrowded or substandard. State penitentiary inmate Todd Sweet has likened Monroe County to “a town in Cuba,” and a victim of police brutality on the part of Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies told us that it reminded him of the old Soviet Union.
On July 21, Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion, told Dr. Laurie Roth on her radio show that the jury had criminalized a citizen’s First Amendment right to petition his government for a redress of grievances. “I’m now scared to go to the grand jury,” Irion told her.
Irion believed that McMinn County was pursuing a vindictive prosecution against his client, but Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood refused to recuse the Tenth Judicial District or himself from the proceedings.
Fitzpatrick’s sentencing date is August 19, at which time Blackwood is expected to consider the “enhanced punishment” request from Assistant District Attorney General A. Wayne Carter. At the same time, a federal lawsuit naming Barack Hussein Obama as the defendant in the wrongful deaths of 2,000 U.S. soldiers who have died since his occupation of the White House will be filed in Fargo, ND by proxy in the name of Lt. Col. Field McConnell, USMC (Ret.).
McConnell will be standing in the courtroom with Fitzpatrick on August 19 to show support for Fitzpatrick’s defense of the U.S. Constitution by attemptig to bring evidence of wrongdoing to the McMinn County grand jury.
Having previously lived in Monroe County, which shares the same judiciary as McMinn, Fitzpatrick discovered that grand jury foremen in Tennessee are judicially-appointed with no public vetting process and serve for as long as the judge desires. After approaching then-Monroe County grand jury foreman Gary Pettway with a citizen’s arrest on April 1, 2010, Fitzpatrick was ordered arrested and was retaliated against for the next two years by judges, court clerks and sheriff’s deputies.
Blackwood has himself appointed numerous grand jury foremen to longstanding positions in Fayette County, although he has also stated that the grand jury foreman “is no different than any other member of the grand jury.” State law prohibits jurors from serving consecutive terms anywhere in Tennessee.
Blackwood had originally scheduled Fitzpatrick’s trial for May 28 and 29 but was forced to reschedule it after Carter failed to produce a Bill of Particulars in time. When it was produced, there were no specifics stated as to date, time, place, or incident alleged against Fitzpatrick, nor was there a police report of any kind.
During testimony, former McMinn County grand jury foreman Jeffrey Cunningham, who was hand-picked by Reedy in late 2012, admitted that he could find nothing untrue in Fitzpatrick’s petitions and denied having been his accuser.
The trial observer said that six envelopes containing Fitzpatrick’s attempted submissions to the Monroe and McMinn County grand juries over the span of more than three years were the only “evidence” given to the jury to decide Fitzpatrick’s fate. She stated that she believed there was “no way” that the 12 members of the jury could have read all of the petitions to decide the “perjury” charge.
Fitzpatrick’s March 17, 2009 treason complaint against Barack Hussein Obama was included in the evidence and was read out loud during the trial, along with articles from The Post & Email reporting on judicial corruption in both counties and the greater Tenth Judicial District. Since 2009, many other individuals have accused Obama of committing treason against the United States.
“For 12 people to go through that and look at that and have a discussion over it would take hours, I would think, because they didn’t know what they were looking at. If I was on the jury and I didn’t know the story, it would have taken me hours. You’ve got 12 people that have not seen these six papers before…to find perjury, I just don’t understand how it happened so quickly,” the observer told us. “There is no way; it would take a whole day for them to actually go over those to be able to pinpoint perjury…And ‘extortion?’ No way. There was nothing to gain.”
The observer said that three witnesses testified under oath while she sat in the courtroom: McMinn County court clerks Rhonda Cooley and Gwen Chrisman, and Cunningham. During both a pre-trial hearing on June 16 and on June 23, Cunningham denied having made a formal accusation against Fitzpatrick.
The observer was aware that Tenth Judicial District Judge Amy Reedy had brought in Larry Wallace, a 40-year veteran of law enforcement, to replace Cunningham when he resigned the foremanship in early March.
Of the events on Tuesday, June 24, the observer said, “They went into session at about 8:00, and I got there a little before lunchtime, and he was already out of the courtroom knowing that he was a convicted felon. Jeff Cunningham finished that morning and then Jeff and them rested their case, and then they had closing arguments, and then they went in for deliberation. There is no way…that means an hour and a half, two hours, maybe, to deliberate? There’s no way,” she reiterated.
The Post & Email located phone numbers for nine of the 12 jurors, none of whom has been willing to discuss his or her jury service on the case.
In a spontaneous change of subject during the interview, the observer commented, “I think about the money that this trial is costing. I just don’t understand how they feel that it’s that important that they need to hush him,” meaning Fitzpatrick.
Since McConnell and others’ publicizing of the verdicts in the case, some have called for Blackwood’s indictment, while others have contacted the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees to demand a congressional investigation of Tennessee courts and judges.
As The Post & Email reported on June 30, “petitioning the government is now a crime punishable with prison time.”