ARE COUNTY OFFICIALS PERFORMING THEIR JOBS SATISFACTORILY?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 25, 2014) — The Post & Email has been told by a McMinn County Sheriff’s Office corporal that CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) will be relocated to the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex (BCCX) at some point in the near future.
On Friday, the McMinn County Sheriff’s Office website showed that Fitzpatrick had been moved out of the local jail at 7:54 a.m. The Post & Email checked the Bledsoe Correctional Center’s website throughout the day and over the weekend, knowing that Bledsoe is the intake center for state inmates, but Fitzpatrick’s name was not registered there as of Monday morning.
We contacted Bledsoe’s administrative office seeking information on processing times for inmates. The woman with whom we spoke told us that inmates are received there almost daily until midnight but did not know how long it normally takes to process them such that an inmate search would indicate their presence at the facility.
However, on Monday morning, we noted that Fitzpatrick was again listed as an inmate at the McMinn County jail. We contacted the sheriff’s office and were connected with Corporal Ruebush, who said that Fitzpatrick was moved and returned because “we missed the intake time.” Rather impatiently, she said that the sheriff’s office had taken Fitzpatrick to Bledsoe but “had to bring him back.”
“He’s going to prison, ma’am,” we were told when we asked for clarification.
On Tuesday, Fitzpatrick was given a three-year sentence from two convictions on “aggravated perjury” and “extortion” for which no police report or evidence existed other than Fitzpatrick’s several petitions submitted to the McMinn County grand jury containing allegations of crimes against public officials, including Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, who presided over the trial and sentencing.
During the sentencing hearing, Blackwood was noted by eyewitnesses as reported by The Chattanooga Times Free Press to have said, “All he [Fitzpatrick] can say is that the grand jury foreperson is not being chosen properly. So what? So what?” and “I’m sick and tired of all these people who want to talk about their Constitutional rights.”
The Post & Email has exposed corruption within the Tennessee courts over the last five years as discovered by Fitzpatrick in late 2009, when he brought a petition to the Monroe County grand jury charging Barack Hussein Obama with treason. While then-grand jury foreman Gary Pettway obstructed the petition from reaching the grand jury, Fitzpatrick discovered that Pettway had been serving for 28 consecutive years in violation of state code. The Tennessee legislature, Administrative Office of the Courts, Tennessee Supreme Court and attorney general have all allowed the violations of law to continue unabated to affect an unknown number of their own constituents who remain in jails and state prisons today as a result.
Fitzpatrick also discovered tainted trial juries which appeared to have been hand-picked by a court clerk, the documentation of which The Post & Email has in its possession in hard copy.
Also on Monday morning, The Post & Email has made inquiries with the Tennessee Secretary of State, the Department of Finance & Administration, and the Comptroller of the Treasury regarding which public servants are or are not required to be bonded by a surety bond.
Thus far, we have been told in writing that the Department of Finance & Administration does not handle surety bonds. The public information officer from the comptroller’s office told us:
Judges are not required to have surety bonds in the state of Tennessee. Our in-house surety bond person is not aware of any state statute requiring prosecutors to have surety bonds. The Administrative Office of the Courts would know for sure, and might be a good contact if you have more questions about this:
Here is the AOC contact info:
615-532-6047 (direct line)
County court clerks ARE required to be bonded. These bonds should be on file in the county clerk’s office as well as the county register of deeds office. It is possible we might also have a copy of these bonds if they cover an elected official prior to August 13, however, the county should have copies irregardless of the time period.
Public Information Officer
TN Comptroller of the Treasury
The Post & Email is presently awaiting responses from both Wojciechowski and the McMinn County court clerk’s office. Last week, we requested a statement from Wojciechowski regarding Blackwood’s statements made in the courtroom on Tuesday, and we made two requests of two court clerks for an audio and typed transcript of Tuesday’s hearing, offering to pay reasonable costs for both. Our second request was framed as an open records request under TCA 19-7-503. After Monday, the clerks have five remaining business days to respond to our request before we file a complaint against them for violation of law.
“County court clerks ARE required to be bonded,” said the Public Information Officer for the Comptroller of the Treasury.
The Post & Email previously asked Wojciechowski for a telephone appointment to discuss concerns we had about the operation of criminal courts in Tennessee. Initially, she indicated a willingness to research our questions and respond, but after we sent her recordings from Fitzpatrick’s pre-trial and trial hearings, we did not hear back from her.
Inmates Mike Parsons and Todd Sweet are currently housed at BCCX. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion, said that a previous suspended sentence from Monroe County for “tampering with government documents” and the current sentence will be served consecutively.
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.