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“THE EVER BIG MOUTH CARTER”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 20, 2014) — At a hearing on Monday morning requesting a new trial and that the judgment be suspended for Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, an eyewitness reported to The Post & Email that after just under an hour, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood said he would render a decision “in a day or two.”
Fitzpatrick has been imprisoned at the Bledsoe County Correctional Center (BCCX) since the end of August.
Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion, submitted briefs before the hearing arguing that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case and that the grand jury which issued the indictments on four charges was contaminated.
On March 18, Fitzpatrick submitted evidence to the McMinn County, TN grand jury of criminality on the part of judges, court clerks, law enforcement and prosecutors. Instead of considering the complaint, the grand jury issued indictments for aggravated perjury, extortion, harassment and stalking against Fitzpatrick without any apparent evidence or explanation, a contention made by Irion in his briefs.
Ultimately, Fitzpatrick was convicted of the perjury and extortion charges on June 25. On August 19, Blackwood sentenced Fitzpatrick to three years in prison after calling him “a moral coward” and complaining about “people talking about their constitutional rights” in the courtroom, to which eyewitnesses have provided sworn statements.
McMinn County court clerk Rhonda Cooley has refused to release an audio-recording of the sentencing hearing, although The Post & Email acquired an unofficial recording by alternate means which captured Blackwood’s remarks.
Assistant District Attorney General A. Wayne Carter excoriated Fitzpatrick in the pre-trial hearing on June 16; during the trial on June 24 and 25; and at the sentencing hearing, calling him a “liar” for naming numerous public servants as malfeasant, claiming that Fitzpatrick presented no evidence.
Over the last five years, Fitzpatrick has exposed systemic corruption in Tennessee grand juries by virtue of their judicially-selected foremen who carry out the judge’s bidding.
The Tennessee legislature has passed laws which protect judges from accountability for wrongful imprisonment, mittimus, deprivation of civil and constitutional rights, and other transgressions. Despite numerous complaints about judges’ misconduct in the courtroom, including drunkenness and denial of due process, no state legislator appears to have taken action.
Very recently, a Tennessee grand jury may have been used to target two state legislators for political reasons, which will be the subject of a separate article.
The eyewitness to Fitzpatrick’s hearing provided the following synopsis of events:
9:55AM Walter arrived and we all stood for him and we gave him a thumbs up.
10:05 the judge arrived and got things started. Van spoke first and before he even go one minute in that sleaze Carter stood up and interrupted Van. Carter had to sit down and Van continued. Van spoke to the charges of aggravated perjury and the extortion charge. Van made references to the transcript for several points and made reference to the judges instruction not being accurate for the circumstances. He reiterated that statements made about Walter trying to deceive were absolutely untrue. He also pointed out again that extortion requires a threat and certainly no threat was issued by Walter in any of this. He made it plain that Walter was in jail for trying to expose improper procedures and he explained why a grand jury member should have been disqualified and said the line has been crossed in this case. He also said this is first known case of this kind. Research does not show any similar case in the state of Tennessee or in the country that he could find.
At 10:35 the lady ada…..forget her name spoke for about 5 minutes and then Van rebutted for another 5 minutes and then the ever big mouth Carter spoke again and I had a difficult time understanding all he said, but he pointed his finger at Walter and said Walter had subpoenaed all the members of the grand jury. Van then asked to have Walter released. The judge said he would let Van know in a few days. No harsh words from the judge this time so maybe he does not want the backlash he received the last time. Oh yes, Carter told the judge that Walter was communicating with the internet and manipulating things from the prison…..that is how much he knows that Walter is not communicating with anyone. Walter was taken out and as he went out he said to us…”thank you, thank you”….
The Post & Email notes that Fitzpatrick insisted that he receive no letters, phone calls, visits or any other communications while he is in prison; therefore, we will contact Carter to ask how he believes Fitzpatrick is “manipulating things from prison.”
Previously, The Post & Email has contacted Carter to ask for documents in Fitzpatrick’s case prior to the trial. We have left several messages for his supervisor, District Attorney General Stephen Crump, about the commandeering of the county grand juries in the district, including in response to his statement made to The Chattanooga Times Free Press that grand juries are “an independent body exercising independent jurisdiction who can hear facts from…anyone they choose to hear from.”
Neither Carter nor Crump returned our calls.