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ABUSE OF POWER LEADS TO PROSECUTION OF THE INNOCENT
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 17, 2014) — Marvin William Young is being prosecuted for two invented crimes by the corrupt Monroe County, TN judiciary, including the members of the grand jury who issued an indictment without any evidence.
More than two years ago, Young discovered that his father’s will was forged and reported it to then-Tenth Judicial District chief prosecutor R. Steven Bebb, who told Young that he agreed that evidence existed that a crime had been committed. However, Bebb took no action, nor did investigator Calvin Rockholdt after a face-to-face interview with Young wherein he saw Young’s documents showing his father’s authentic and forged signatures.
Young also took the information to Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens, who oversaw Young’s later arrest at the hands of the person who absconded his late father’s estate.
After approaching Bebb, investigator Calvin Rockholdt, and Bivens without result, Young went to see Larry David Godwin, who married Young’s father’s widow and inherited all of her estate when she died just seven months later.
After having a placid conversation with Godwin on the front porch of what had been Young’s father’s home, Young left the premises but was unexpectedly arrested an hour later and charged with “especially aggravated kidnapping” and “aggravated burglary,” which could place him in prison for the rest of his life.
Tellico Plains Police Chief Jeb Brown charged Young with “unlawful possession of a weapon.” Young told The Post & Email that he had a handgun in his pocket that day but did not use it against anyone. When The Post & Email contacted Brown in early July, he stated that his charge was unrelated to the other two, which were brought by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
We were unable to reach Det. Tonia Norwood, who signed the Affidavits of Complaint on the two felony charges which are not substantiated by any evidence. Norwood occupied Brown’s position before joining the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
The Post & Email has chronicled over the last five years the ways in which Tennessee grand juries have been tainted and co-opted by corrupt judges to extract the result they wish, which often results in the incarceration of people known to be innocent. All defendants are denied the due process promised by both their state and U.S. Constitutions.
In late June, Judge Carroll Lee Ross threatened Young to bring an attorney with him for the next status hearing on August 25, although Young is indigent, having become indebted for $50,000 in an attempt to defend himself against the false charges. Ross’s command effectively denied Young his constitutional right to an attorney, as Ross had done to defendant George Raudenbush in August 2011.
The new Tenth Judicial District lead prosecutor, District Attorney General Stephen Crump, has made no move to investigate the false indictments issued against Young or CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.), who is facing sentencing in nearby McMinn County on Tuesday on trumped-up charges.
Crump was sworn in by Ross, who for years has committed civil, human, and constitutional rights violations against the citizens he was paid to serve. After Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr. found that Raudenbush’s constitutional rights had been violated, an appellate court reversed his convictions, remanding the case back to Monroe County.
Atty. Stephen Pidgeon of the North American Law Center (NALC) has described the judiciary in eastern Tennessee as “hopelessly corrupted” in a Knoxville News-Sentinel story which has since been removed from the web.
After Fitzpatrick’s conviction, his attorney, Van Irion, told Dr. Laurie Roth on her radio show that certain counties “in the South” use the judicial system to target individuals against whom they bear a grudge and wish to punish with prison time. Grand juries are rigged with judicially-appointed foremen who serve for years or decades, witnesses routinely lie under oath, and prosecutors and defense attorneys covertly work together to see that large fines and fees are paid to the court in a scheme likely involving drug trafficking, racketeering and other crimes.
Having been jailed six times by Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens for exposing grand jury corruption, Fitzpatrick has described the Monroe County jail conditions as “medieval,” lacking proper sanitation, fresh air, heat in the winter and medical care, for which inmates are charged a fee. Following Young’s arrest last summer, he spent four days in the same facility and confirmed Fitzpatrick’s description of the conditions.
In a Motion to Revoke Bond filed by deputy prosecutor A. Wayne Carter against Young, Carter described Young as a “threat to the public safety” after Young requested a restraining order against Larry David Godwin, the “accuser” who invented the crimes against Young in order to remove him as a threat to his possession of Young’s father’s estate.
Carter is a part-time pastor and acted as Fitzpatrick’s prosecutor and accuser at his trial in June while lying in court about Fitzpatrick’s intentions when he brought evidence of judicial corruption to the McMinn County grand jury.
Young provided to The Post & Email samples of his father’s respective authentic and forged signatures with his commentary below. General Sessions Court Judge J. Reed Dixon approved the settlement of Charles William Young’s estate in February 2012 despite the lack of witnesses. When The Post & Email called the Sessions Court in July to report that Young possessed criminal evidence regarding the will, Dixon would not speak with us, and his clerk hurriedly ended the phone call by advising us to take the matter to a criminal court.
“She didn’t even spell his name right,” Young said, referring to the lack of an “r” in “Charlie,” a nickname which he said his father never used. “It’s so blatantly ‘in-your-face.’ That’s the problem here.”
He continued, “I would have had the finances to fight this in a probate court if Godwin hadn’t come after me with these criminal charges. He wanted to break me financially so that I couldn’t hire an attorney to fight the probate issue. And the attorney that I did hire dragged this situation along so that the statute of limitations would run out. I’m absolutely convinced of that. Three times, we requested a meeting with another attorney in his office who deals with probate issues. She refused to meet with us. When we finally did, she said he hadn’t even mentioned anything to her. He had been promising this since back in March, and this was done in late June of last year, so we went several months then knowing that time was of the essence. The first attorney turned around and explained to me, ‘You paid me $10,000; you owed me another $5,000; I didn’t think I was going to get that money at all, so why in the world would I turn you on to another attorney…?’ Well, to start out with, I’ve got a forgery case here, and even on a contingency plan of 25%, this man would have received several hundred thousand dollars. So why would he not pursue that unless, of course, he had other reasons not to? He could have taken it to Probate Court, but to do that, he would have had to fight his cronies over there in Monroe County, whether it was Bivens or whoever, and they would not have gotten their cut.”
On August 7, Bivens was voted out of office in favor of candidate Randy White, but questions remain about White’s eligibility to serve, and a lawsuit filed by Bivens and the Monroe County Democrat Party has yet to be heard. The Post & Email was unable to obtain comment from the county attorney, White or his attorney, or the Monroe County Democrat Committee.
Systemic corruption in the Tennessee judiciary has existed for at least six decades, with appellate courts and the Tennessee Supreme Court protecting trial court judges routinely. In the August 7 elections, three state Supreme Court judges on the ballot for a “retention or replace” vote were retained.
The Tennessee constitution states that all voters are to elect judges, but the legislature passed a law four decades ago which took away the voters’ right to directly elect them. Rather, voters can either “retain” or “replace” the judge in question, with the governor appointing the replacement.
Because the corrupt judicial system has bankrupted him, Young told The Post & Email, “I can’t buy any justice anywhere. If Sheriff Bivens had acted on this three months after my father died, Godwin would never have married Deborah, and I would never have been out there. In my opinion, Bill Bivens is responsible for every bit of this.”
“Godwin falsely accused a 76-year-old friend of my family of ‘criminal trespassing’ and lied on the police report,” Young revealed. Young was also told in the spring by a witness that Godwin had threatened to kill him, which caused him to request an order of protection against Godwin. The matter was heard and denied in June, after which Carter moved to revoke Young’s bond.
Atty. Clifford Wilson, who is blind, handled Young’s father’s estate for his widow Deborah and is now Godwin’s attorney. Young told The Post & Email that at the hearing for the restraining order, Wilson said, “If Mr. Young would like to take the stand…” However, Young said that Judge J. Michael Sharpe responded that Young was not the person accused of making the threat. Carter then used against Young the fact that Young did not “testify” at the hearing by filing the motion to revoke his bond, which will be heard on the 25th.
Young said that he filed a request for a Bill of Particulars more than two months ago which the court has failed to answer.
“The huge story here is the fact that the sheriff was confronted, agreed with to the point where he sent me to Steve Bebb; I faxed the information to Steve Bebb; Bebb looked at it and also made the comment that there was definitely a forged will here and that I needed to hire an attorney. It wasn’t just a civil situation; there was a crime committed. At that point, he didn’t step up and do anything,” Young told us. “If that wasn’t enough, I showed his investigator, Calvin Rockholdt, the proof, so they had two opportunities to do something about this, and they turned it down both times.”
Of his meeting with Godwin prior to his arrest, Young said, “The criminal charge I have is because I went to talk to this man because no one else would. The man had to unlock the door when he came home; I didn’t burglarize anything. When he got home, he asked me to come in and sit down in the living room and talk with him, but I didn’t want to be in a confined area with him. I wanted to sit out on the porch where I felt safe and he felt safe. I had found the criminal accusations against him and I didn’t know what the man would do. I had no idea. Plus, my dad died right there in the back room. So when I walked in and went around the table I walked right across where he died.”
Young said that he has been “told by sources in Monroe County” that if he is sentenced to prison, he “will not come out.” “These people know that I won’t quit, and the only way I’ll quit is if I’m dead.”