“A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 22, 2014) — In checking the McMinn County Sheriff’s Department website for inmates, an entry on Friday morning indicates that CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) was moved at 7:54 a.m. EDT.
The destination location is not noted.
The Post & Email searched on the website for the state prison used for processing new inmates at Pikeville but did not find his name listed there as of 10:06 a.m. EDT.
Fitzpatrick was taken into custody on Tuesday following a sentencing hearing on convictions of “extortion” and “aggravated perjury,” even though there was no police report showing evidence of a crime. He was arrested on March 18 following his submission of a petition to the McMinn County grand jury containing evidence of criminal behavior alleged on the part of the grand jury foreman, Judge Amy Reedy, prosecutors within the Tenth Judicial District, and court personnel.
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood excoriated Fitzpatrick in the courtroom, calling him “a moral coward” and denying the wrongdoing of which Fitzpatrick accused him, which includes appointing grand jury foremen for consecutive terms which at times stretched into decades. The Post & Email possesses the appointing orders showing that Fitzpatrick’s allegations in that regard are correct unless Blackwood’s signature is forged. One county reported that it could not locate any appointing orders because of Blackwood’s level of disorganization before he became a retired “Senior Judge.”
Blackwood was also heard to have exclaimed, “I’m sick and tired of all these people who want to talk about their constitutional rights.”
During the American Revolution, thousands of colonists died so that the United States of America could be free of government oppression, excessive taxation, dictatorial edicts and attainder, or punishment without a jury.
“The grand jury is what makes us a constitutional republic,” Fitzpatrick has said on many occasions.
Roane County grand jury foreman Charles C. Snow was appointed by Blackwood in 1990 and is still serving. Blackwood had said in a previous case of Fitzpatrick’s that “the grand jury foreman is no different than any other juror.” However, state law requires that no juror serve a consecutive term.
Fitzpatrick has called the stacking of the grand jury with a judicially-selected foreman “the dictatorship of the judiciary.”
Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion, had asked that Blackwood recuse himself and the Tenth Judicial District for conflict of interest, but he refused.
Blackwood pronounced a sentence of three years, requiring that 30% be served. It is The Post & Email’s understanding that the conviction from Monroe County on “tampering with government documents” which was suspended by Judge Walter C. Kurtz in late 2012 pending appeal is to be served after the sentence on the two felony charges.
Having discovered in 2009 that Tennessee grand jury foremen are routinely appointed by judges “from wherever they choose” and not from a randomly-selected jury pool as is mandated by state law, Fitzpatrick felt it was his constitutional duty to challenge the practice. The government fought back by jailing him six times in Monroe County and twice in McMinn County, both of which are part of the Tenth Judicial District, which is known for public corruption.
In August 2012, The Chattanooga Times Free Press published a series of reports containing allegations about then-Tenth Judicial District chief prosecutor R. Steven Bebb, who became the focus of a criminal probe. In March 2013, the Tennessee Attorney General declared that Bebb’s actions had not risen to the level of criminality. However, local citizens were unsatisfied and demanded that the legislature remove Bebb from office. A House panel filed an ethics complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility (BOPR) which was later dismissed.
Bebb signed the indictments issued by the McMinn County grand jury against Fitzpatrick.
Three other inmates were reported moved on Friday morning, with one, Raymond McDermott, noted as having spent more than 18 months in the county jail.
The Post & Email spoke with an employee at the administrator’s office at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville and was told that an inmate’s name will not appear in a search until he or she actually arrives at the facility. She also said that the complex receives inmates from the county jails “almost every day” and that they can arrive at any time of day up until midnight. From the conversation, it appears that Fitzpatrick will be taken to Bledsoe, as it is the designated processing center for all new inmates from county jails.
The Bledsoe facility is where inmates Mike Parsons and Todd Sweet are currently housed. A letter received from Sweet on Thursday reports the complex favorably, although in January, Sweet described a room “exposed to the elements” and 38 degrees F while allegedly misreported by The Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Professional filmmaker William F. Fain is producing a video of the Fitzpatrick story and hopes to later release a documentary on the judicial corruption which has indicted and convicted an innumerable amount of Tennessee citizens, denying them the due process guaranteed by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments as well as the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions.
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.