“A SIMPLE, CRUEL VENGEANCE”
by Dominic Martin
(Mar. 3, 2015) — [Editor’s Note: The following letter was received in the mail on Tuesday and written on behalf of CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.), who has been imprisoned since August 19, 2014 for convictions on two felony charges arising from a tainted Tennessee grand jury.
Over the last five years, The Post & Email has reported on the systemic corruption within the Tennessee judiciary which facilitates the incarceration of untold numbers of citizens by denying their constitutional right to due process.
Fitzpatrick retired from the Navy in 1994 after having been court-martialed for blowing the whistle on abuse of power and inefficiency within his chain of command. His court-martial file contains a forgery of his signature of which the Navy is aware but has refused to address since Fitzpatrick learned of it several years after the 1990 proceeding. Fitzpatrick is positive that his defense attorney, who is now employed in the public defender’s office in Kitsap County, WA, forged his misspelled name to the false confession letter in order to effectively end Fitzpatrick’s career, then lied to the NCIS about it.
After relocating to Monroe County, TN in 2007 to help a soldier accused of several crimes resulting from his service in the War on Terror, Fitzpatrick inadvertently learned that grand juries in the Volunteer State are commandeered by criminal court judges by their personal appointment of the foreman. While state law mandates that jurors come from a jury pool chosen randomly and blindly, the foreman, and at times, the jurors themselves, are installed by the judge. The judge then retains the option of reappointing the foreman for unlimited consecutive terms.
The foreman votes with the other grand jurors, often casting the deciding vote to indict an individual and thereby adding the government’s influence to a body constituted by the Fifth Amendment to act as an unbiased check on government against the citizenry.
Evidence from numerous cases tried in Tennessee courts includes crimes committed by government agents including forgery, bribery, falsification of court documents, hand-picking grand jurors and trial jurors, denying public records to requesters, and false arrests.
In 2013, Tennessee was rated the top producer of the 50 states in methamphetamine, and it is believed that the movement of the illicit drug through Tennessee to other states fuels the “prisoners-for-profit” enterprise in which the judges, sheriffs, court clerks, prosecutors, defense attorneys, bailiffs, and jury members are all participants.
Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood imposed a three-year sentence on Fitzpatrick, who had previously called Blackwood “a criminal” for knowingly appointing hand-picked grand jury foremen over his 20-odd-year career as a Tennessee judge.
Fitzpatrick also served considerable time in the Monroe County jail on six occasions for challenging the illegal activity he observed within the judicial system which his former attorney, Stephen Pidgeon of Washington State, termed “hopelessly corrupted.”
His current attorney, Van Irion of Knoxville, has appealed the convictions and is awaiting a hearing date.