by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 8, 2014) — Dixie County, FL resident and Vietnam War veteran Terry George Trussell has not received a Bill of Particulars, or list of specifics relating to the 14 felony charges brought against him, but he is scheduled to undergo an evaluation for “competency” on December 12.
In April of this year, Trussell was empaneled into the Dixie County grand jury and appointed foreman. On September 2, he was arrested on ten felony counts after reporting violations of law on the part of State’s Attorney Jeffrey Siegmeister, who insisted on being present while the grand jury deliberated evidence submitted by a Dixie County resident regarding the state’s implementation of the Common Core Educational Standards.
Florida statutes state that no one is to be present in the grand jury room while it is strictly deliberating evidence. If witnesses are called, the state’s attorney is required to be present. However, Trussell reported that Siegmeister interviewed each grand juror before the group’s deliberations commenced and insisted on being present with three staff members during deliberations.
The two judges to whom Trussell reported the allegations against Siegmeister were unavailable to consult with him, and Trussell later came into possession of evidence that Chief Judge Greg Parker instead communicated with Siegmeister about Trussell’s dismissal from the foremanship.
As he viewed the Dixie County statutory grand jury compromised from Siegmeister’s influence, Trussell brought the Common Core evidence his own account of Siegmeister’s allegedly illegal conduct to a Common Law Grand Jury which met inside the courthouse on August 14. The Common Law Grand Jury deliberated and issued two True Bills which Trussell brought to Court Clerk Dana C. Johnson, who stamped and filed them. At that point, Trussell believed his work was done and that the proper law enforcement entities would be notified.
Trussell was subsequently questioned twice by employees of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), to whom he explained why he felt it his duty to take the evidence to the Common Law Grand Jury. The interviews culminated in an affidavit of complaint and Trussell’s arrest at his home on September 2. He spent one night in jail before making bond, then was rearrested at a scheduled October 9 hearing for while present and attempting to make his way to the front of the courtroom to identify himself to Judge James C. Hankinson.
Hankinson instead ordered his arrest for “failure to appear,” and sheriff’s deputies handcuffed and took him to jail, where he remained until his arraignment on October 30.
During the latest hearing, Hankinson dismissed the “failure to appear” count. However, four more felony charges were added to the ten alleged in the original affidavit issued by the FDLE. Hankinson also stated that he could not provide a Bill of Particulars to Trussell directly, but only to an attorney that Trussell might retain.
Trussell was released on a $14,000 bond, added to the $5,000 bond he had made the first time he was incarcerated.
Trussell has not been able to retain an attorney, as several with whom he has consulted have opined that his case is “political” and declined to assist. “Every attorney that I’ve talked to so far has turned the case down. They don’t even want to touch it because they say it’s too political. They said if they take the case and lose, they look really bad. If they take the case and win, it hurts them professionally. So nobody wants to touch it because of the political nature of the charges,” he told us.
The Post & Email then observed, “Then you were a political prisoner when you were in jail on both occasions,” to which Trussell responded, “Correct. I have been a political prisoner; I am now. Even though I’m out on bond, that doesn’t mean anything. I’m still in custody and have to look over my shoulder every minute because of everything that’s being done. And I’m restricted; I can’t go to the courthouse; I’ve been denied due process from that standpoint. I can’t even file my own papers or do research. I can’t attend court hearings to see how they’re run so I can get an idea of how to defend myself. It’s nuts. I can’t even walk around town, because if I come into contact with certain people that they’ve named – and they’re named in the True Bills because these people were suspected of being involved in criminal activity – if I happen to bump into them, I can go back to jail just because I was in their proximity. I can’t go to church because there are two school board members who are members of the church. I’ve just been denied that right.”
Through an open records request made to the Dixie County clerk’s office, The Post & Email was informed by standard letter last week that no Bill of Particulars relating to Trussell’s case exists. Trussell believes that the court is now using the term “Statement of Particulars” but that the document has not yet been drafted, although he has requested it twice in writing. “They use this as a game. They are correct; there is no Statement or Bill of Particulars on the docket in my case. The reason is that the court refuses to give it to me unless I have an attorney or until I have qualified, according to their evaluation, as being ‘sane,'” Trussell said. “That is contrary to statutes. I have gone back through the statutes and Florida Supreme Court proceedings, and those say that they are required to give it to me ‘upon motion.’ The Statement of Particulars is the nature and cause of the charges. According to the constitution, I am entitled to know the nature of the charges. There are charges against me, they’re claiming, and there is my name, but there are no specifics or ‘particulars.’ How do I defend myself? That’s where I am with this whole thing.”
Regarding the upcoming hearing, Trussell told us:
On December 12, my Faretta hearing is scheduled for them to evaluate my mental state. It was named after a case in California where a man wanted to defend himself. I am presenting myself before the court sui juris, which means “in my natural right.” It’s my right to present myself before the court. I don’t “represent myself” because I’m competent and I am me. I don’t represent anything or anyone. It’s a small change in terminology, but the courts use all of these little tricks to take advantage of us.
The Post & Email asked Trussell if he found anything specific in the Florida statutes touching on sui juris appearances.
If you go to the Sixth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, that’s where it’s identified. I have a right to know the nature and cause of the charges. There is no state statute or rule that can exist that’s contrary to the Constitution. There are court procedures that state very succinctly that I have the right, without challenge, to present myself before the court. They call it sometimes “representing pro se.” I’m saying I’m not “representing myself;” I’m presenting my natural self to the court, which is my right.
There is a dance that’s done in this that if you don’t do it exactly right, if you make a misstatement, if you use a word the wrong way, they can put you in prison for the rest of your life. I don’t understand the law or the justice in that. That’s the game that’s being played with it. I’m having to be very careful with everything I say and everything I write so that I don’t fall into one of these traps that they put out there.
If these were the people’s courts and they were there for justice, those things wouldn’t exist. Why would you set traps for the very people you’re supposed to be serving?
These commercial courts are making money. This is what a lot of people don’t see. No matter the outcome of a case, the court makes money which flows through their system right to the Bar Association, which is sending it to the U.N. The U.N. is sending it to Europe. It’s a criminal syndicate. That’s what’s happening, and it’s very difficult to get people to accept or understand it.
Let’s say I go in there, and my wife and I have property. We have to sell or lien our property, because we don’t have $75,000 in cash lying around to hand to an attorney. The attorney is supposedly working for us, but his primary commitment is to his oath to the Bar Association and his allegiance to the court. So really, what he does is work to convert everything we own to cash to go through the court system. That’s the way it works.
Every attorney I’ve talked to wants to negotiate down the charges. They say, “Oh, you’ve got 14 charges; that’s ridiculous. I can get it down to four.” Well, that’s still 20 years in prison; are you serious? I haven’t done anything. But that’s the way they think. It’s like, “OK, let’s just not do anything to upset the court; let’s keep them happy and give them a pound of flesh just because they said this about you.” It’s insane.
It’s not just the people they hook into the system. They don’t care who it is. They have them go to an attorney, who is going to drain them for everything that they can get. The court’s going to get them for everything they can get. If they don’t have anything, then it doesn’t really matter because then they’re going to put the taxpayer on the line. That’s when they really start sucking blood. “You want peace, and you want to be able to live your life; if we don’t take these people off the streets, it’s just going to be mayhem.” Well, they’re the ones actually creating mayhem. The reason this country is so lawless is that our courts don’t obey the law. They don’t even obey their own statutes and court procedures. It’s as if these judges are turned into little kings, and they run their courts as if nobody is watching over them.
“CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) calls it ‘the dictatorship of the judiciary.'”
I call it “judicial terrorism.” That’s what they do. They just get you in there and wring you out.
Trussell’s Faretta hearing will commence at noon on Friday, December 12 at the Dixie County courthouse. When The Post & Email asked Trussell if he has filed anything with the court since our last interview on November 17, he responded:
We have filed demands to dismiss the case, and we’ve given them good cause for doing that. There’s a little bit of difference between my case and a number of others out there. There was no precipitating crime. I wasn’t busted on drugs; I wasn’t driving without a license; I don’t have tax problems. I try to avoid trouble. I’m 71 years old; my wife and I were retired. All we want to do is live out what’s left of our lives as peacefully as possible. I thought I was doing my civic duty, paying back, and I ended up with all of this…
There’s no connection, from what I can see, between the charges they’ve made and me. I understand how they’re trying to rationalize it, but how they’re going to justify it and get it down to the point where they’re going to explain it to a jury is totally beyond me. But I don’t think like a prosecutor.