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“WE HAVE THIS ON TRANSCRIPT!”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 13, 2014) — A Dixie County, FL Vietnam combat veteran has been deemed “competent” to appear without Bar Association counsel at an upcoming trial in February on charges stemming from his service as the county grand jury foreman.
The one-hour hearing had been scheduled for 15 minutes but consumed an hour. Trussell told The Post & Email that he expects a video of the hearing to be available by the middle of this coming week.
In April, Terry Trussell was empaneled into the Dixie County grand jury and appointed foreman. When he observed state’s attorney Jeffrey Siegmeister allegedly breaking the law and reported it to two judges, he was dismissed as foreman and his complaints marginalized. After taking a citizen complaint on an unrelated matter and his own complaint detailing Siegmeister and others’ allegedly unlawful actions to a Common Law Grand Jury in an attempt to fulfill his oath to the people of Dixie County, Trussell was questioned and then ordered arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) on ten felony counts. He was not indicted by a grand jury, but rather, through the “information” method, which is used in Florida in non-capital cases.
Trussell spent a night in jail in early September following his arrest after which he was released on bond. On October 9, he was ordered arrested by Judge James C. Hankinson for “failure to appear” while attempting to make his presence known to the judge in the courtroom. Trussell remained jailed until his arraignment on October 30, at which point Hankinson withdrew the “failure to appear” charge but added four more felony charges for a total of 14. He was then released on $14,000 bond against the recommendations of State’s Attorney Willie Meggs.
Trussell is 71 years old, and with each felony conviction comes a five-year prison sentence if guidelines are followed.
Hankinson has refused to provide Trussell with a Bill of Particulars stating the dates, times, places and circumstances of each charge, and The Post & Email has been told in a letter from the Dixie County courthouse that no such document exists.
At the October 30 hearing, Hankinson told Trussell that if were deemed incompetent and did not hire an attorney, only the state’s side of the case would be presented at trial.
On Saturday, Trussell told The Post & Email that he was officially declared “competent” and is now representing himself in the case. He further told us:
There were some things revealed in that court date yesterday. The judge tried to trap me a couple of times, and I was able to avoid it. I recognized what he was trying to do. He played games with words; he did a few things.
He also committed a couple of crimes, as did the state attorney. They don’t realize how many smart people are watching what’s going on with me and cluing me in to all of these little foibles that are coming about.
I’m not savvy enough in the legal field to catch everything they’re doing; the nuances of some of the terminology they use and how they play with it are kind-of lost on me. But when we go through the replay of it and people are pointing it out, I’m beginning to get an education really fast.
The one thing that I realized in comments that both the judge and the state attorney made is they have no clue what this case is all about; they only want to destroy me and shut me up.
The Post & Email asked, “Did they declare you competent?” to which he responded
Yes, and I am now my own attorney. I’ll tell you what’s happening: this thing is reaching such a high profile now that I’m starting to get calls from attorneys around the country offering to represent me in this case. To me, that’s amazing. There are so many lawyers who are watching this all over the country that are getting upset about what this judge is trying to do and his outrageous behavior and his violations of all my rights and of his own court procedures.
At one point, I said, “Sir, the Supreme Court of Florida says you’re supposed to follow this model,” and he said, “I don’t care about the Supreme Court; we’re going to follow my model.” We have this on transcript! (Laughs) Amazing!
The state attorney pulled a couple of things, too, but I let all of that go by and I am now my own attorney. I’m fine.
“Are you going to accept any of the offers from the attorneys who have contacted you?”
I don’t know what we’re going to do. He made several errors yesterday. We challenged jurisdiction, and when jurisdiction is challenged in a court, no other business can take place until jurisdiction is proven.
The proof has to come from somebody else; he can’t just say that he has it. So the people on my side are smart enough to know this, and they will drive right on through his protestations. He did blow right past it; we went ahead and handled other business, all of which is nullified by the fact that he did it after jurisdiction was challenged and jurisdiction was proven. Here’s the key: jurisdiction can’t be proven; he doesn’t have the jurisdiction.
We have motions in for a few other things, too.
“How do you know that he doesn’t have jurisdiction?”
Because no one has jurisdiction over the charges that he’s filed on me. These charges don’t apply to me. Since they don’t apply to me, then he doesn’t have jurisdiction.
“Did anyone give you a Bill of Particulars?”
No, he refused to give it to me. He said, “In the ‘Information’ is everything you need to prepare your defense,” and that’s absolutely false. He lied, and he knew he lied.
The Bill of Particulars does not have the facts in this particular case, because all it does is tell the time, the place, who was involved, and so on…I said, “But that’s the information I need; I don’t know how any of this stuff got applied to me.” And he said, “Everything’s in the Information.”
The one key that I can get is the discovery process, and we will do that.