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by Sharon Rondeau

CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.), August 18, 2015, at a barbecue on the day prior to his sentencing arranged by community members and Lt. Col. Field McConnell (Ret.) of Abel Danger

(May 6, 2015) — Atty. Van Irion has filed a brief in response to the “Brief of the State of Tennessee” in the case of State of Tennessee v. Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, 14CR69, now on appeal with the Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals-Eastern Division.

Irion filed Fitzpatrick’s appeal in early February.  Oral argument is scheduled for May 19, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EDT in Knoxville.

The case arose after Fitzpatrick, a retired career Navy commander, attempted to submit what he believed was substantive evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of public officials in McMinn County, one of four counties in the state’s Tenth Judicial District.

In the fall of 2009, Fitzpatrick inadvertently discovered that Tennessee grand juries utilize foremen who are appointed by judges, serve unlimited numbers of consecutive terms, and vote with the members of the grand jury when the required 12 votes to indict are not met by virtue of a dissenting vote from one of the 12.

However, Tennessee law requires that grand juries have 13 members. The District Attorneys General Conference describes a grand jury as “a group of thirteen citizens chosen from the jury panel. One of these thirteen is the fore person and will preside over the grand jury. “

Tennessee code mandates that no juror is allowed to serve a second term within 24 months on either a grand jury or trial jury anywhere in the state.  However, Fitzpatrick discovered instances of both as he became a close observer of the judicial process in Monroe County, also part of the Tenth District, where he lived before moving to McMinn County in early 2012.

Fitzpatrick was imprisoned five times in Monroe County for attempting a citizen’s arrest on April 1, 2010 on then-Monroe County grand jury foreman Gary Pettway and additional charges arising from the incident.  In an April 22, 2012 editorial, Fitzpatrick termed Pettway as being “at the center of a criminal syndicate that’s been operating out of Monroe County, TN for 28 years,” which was the length of time Pettway had been installed as grand jury foreman.

Fitzpatrick also learned through an Open Records request response that no documentation existed that Pettway had ever been sworn in or formally appointed.

Multiple reports from others victimized by the corrupt Tennessee judiciary have reinforced Fitzpatrick’s identification of a “prisoners-for-profit” operation which seeks a continual supply of local citizens to fill jails and prisons for the benefit of an unknown number of government operatives.   Defendants have described rigged grand juries and trial juries, an absence of due process, numerous violations of Tennessee code, convictions without evidence, an inability to obtain court transcripts, falsified transcripts, physical abuse while incarcerated, and trumped-up charges pursued by prosecutors operating without any legal restraint.

Tenth Judicial District chief prosecutor Stephen Crump stated in an interview late last year that “government influence” on the grand jury is “unethical.”  However, Crump failed to respond to a letter from The Post & Email in January citing the myriad violations of law occurring in his district which defy his statement.

On March 18, 2014, Fitzpatrick brought a petition to the McMinn County courthouse, submitting it to the court clerk for consideration by the sitting grand jury.  Fitzpatrick had submitted a number of different petitions between August 2012 and March 18 of last year dealing with suspected election fraud; wrongdoing on the part of judges, court clerks, grand jury foremen, prosecutors, law enforcers, and others in positions of public trust; and particularly, then-McMinn County grand jury foreman Jeffrey Cunningham, who is a licensed Tennessee attorney and CEO and President of the Athens Federal Community Bank.

In late 2011, Cunningham was hand-picked by then-Criminal Court Judge Amy Armstrong Reedy, who lost her bid for re-election to an eight-year term last August.  After considerable first-hand observation, Fitzpatrick described Reedy as “a criminal” for engaging in the hand-picking of the foreman and members of the grand juries, for her apparent familiarity with certain trial jurors, and for her sentencing of a defendant to life in prison for murder without any forensic evidence having been presented at trial.

In December 2011, Fitzpatrick observed that rather than selecting grand jurors for the coming year “randomly,” as Tennessee law requires, Reedy selected the names from slips of paper placed on her desk in a face-up position.

The appointment by the judge of the grand jury foreman is so entrenched in Tennessee that few have questioned the practice.  When it has been challenged, judges typically refer to Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 6(g), which states that the judge can choose the foreman.  However, it also states, “The foreperson shall possess all the qualifications of a juror.”

In 1919, the legislature approved a law which permitted the judge, “within his discretion,” to appoint the grand jury foreman, although it was repealed six decades later in 1979.  Nevertheless, judges continue to appoint the foreman “from wherever they choose” by an unknown vetting process, if one even exists.

On February 18, 2014, Fitzpatrick filed paperwork for a protective order against Cunningham after Cunningham approached him with an armed sheriff’s deputy and asked him to leave the courthouse while he was awaiting the disposition of a submission to the grand jury.  Cunningham additionally told Fitzpatrick that if he should return with another grand jury petition, Cunningham would have him arrested.

In its brief, the state claimed that Fitzpatrick misrepresented the facts on the application for the protective order.  It claimed that Cunningham felt threatened by Fitzpatrick, while Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email at the time that he felt threatened by Cunningham’s actions.

After handing his submission to the court clerk on March 18, Fitzpatrick was sitting on a bench outside the grand jury room awaiting a decision and reading a book when he was approached by two sheriffs’ deputies, handcuffed and arrested as a result of a grand jury indictment signed by a foreman appointed just minutes before by Reedy.  When Fitzpatrick asked why he was arrested, he was told that the charges advanced from the grand jury were “extortion,” “aggravated perjury,” “stalking,” and “harassment.”

Fitzpatrick was jailed for approximately a week before making bond.

During a pre-trial hearing on June 16, Cunningham testified that he never accused Fitzpatrick of “anything,” although Cunningham was identified as the victim of Fitzpatrick’s alleged crimes.  Two of the grand jurors who indicted Fitzpatrick reportedly provided testimony at the hearing which differed from statements they had made to Irion beforehand.

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood presided over the trial on June 23 and 24, which resulted in convictions on the perjury and extortion charges.  Blackwood had dismissed the “harassment” charge, and the jury found Fitzpatrick not guilty of “stalking.”  None of the jurors would speak on or off the record with this writer.

At Fitzpatrick’s August 19, 2014 sentencing hearing, Blackwood delivered a lengthy soliloquy in which he called Fitzpatrick “a moral coward” for having accused him of criminality.  Blackwood, too, has appointed and reappointed numerous grand jury foremen over his 30-year career and has been made aware of jurors serving consecutive terms in violation of law, yet taken no action to correct it.

State code allows any citizen to bring evidence of alleged criminal activity to his local grand jury.  Following the sentencing, Irion stated that criminalizing a citizen’s ability to bring a petition to the grand jury created a “chilling effect” on the First Amendment right for citizens to seek redress of grievances from their government.

In the State of Tennessee’s brief, Attorney General and Reporter Herbert Slatery III and his deputy, Jeffrey D. Zentner, identified Cunningham as “an employee” of the Athens Federal Community Bank.  On pp. 4-5, the state maintained that “Mr. Cunningham knew his appointment as foreperson by judge’s order in 2011 to be valid and lawful and not an indictable offense.”

The state presented a false statement of fact when it wrote, “Mr. Cunningham did not block the November petition-twelve grand jurors heard it.”  The full McMinn County grand jury did not review any of Fitzpatrick’s petitions.

In his brief on behalf of Fitzpatrick, Irion claimed that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.  “Because grand juror Hicks was a victim of the alleged crime of extortion as charged on the indictment, Hicks was disqualified to participate in discussion or vote on that indictment. TN R. Crim. Proc., 6(c)(1)(C). Because Hicks did participate in discussion of that indictment, and did vote on that indictment, the indictment is void, at least as to the extortion charge,” Irion wrote.

The state’s brief can be read here:  Fitzpatrick State Appeal Brief April 2015

Irion’s response brief can be read here:  Fitz II Reply Brief 5.2

Fitzpatrick is currently housed at the Northwest Correctional Facility in Tiptonville, where several inmates reportedly have been murdered.  Prior to his incarceration, Fitzpatrick requested no letters, mail, visits, or telephone calls, but rather, that supporters familiarize themselves with the functioning of the grand juries in their own communities.

As Irion is working pro bono, he established a legal defense fund through his office for those wishing to support Fitzpatrick.

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  1. Walt was the first to call out this political filth, theft and cabal they call the DNC that has installed an illegal POTUS, brought U.S. wide corruption to all the judicial to lock down Criminal Presentments and perform full blown Constitutional violation at every turn with no accountability while they freely and illegally imprison American Veterans to keep their mouths shut-6 on record-Walt being the first. We now have a full all stops out effort to scrub Hillary’s criminal perverted career using Serco with Jarrett and others to apply Hillary’s anti-terrorist QRS11 and ATI Aviation systems stolen from the Navy carrier systems to land planes on ATC commands to inject nose up signals into outer waypoint avionics guidance systems to crash commercial aircraft to reap profits from Catastrophic Bonds. The Germans pulled the systems from their Boeing planes in 2011 and were furious when they found out the intentions of the systems. The corruption is voluminous and now Benghazi, Extortion 17, Fast And Furious, Hillary’s server scrub is being minimized beyond any imaginable realm. The Clinton’s are nothing new to murder, sex scandals, swingers clubs, dirty deals and lies that go beyond any imagination to get and keep more power. Jarrett and Hillary were probably the upper level DNC people with Axelrod that ordered the illegal imprisonment of Walt and we have seen what lengths the DNC cabal will go to. It is out of the question to believe that none of these people will go on without criminal prosecution and prison for life. The damage done to millions and other professional Military and other leaders is to great to think about. The theft and coverup of an illegal POTUS and theft of money has been their legacy-not leadership or anything you would have to be qualified, experienced, have earned or otherwise. Deceit, deception, coverups, extortion, lies, cheating, voter fraud, identity fraud, treason, perjury, misprision of felony, election fraud, stimulus fraud goes on like free candy. In the mean time, we continue to support news agencies that have given little or no support to any Veterans that have stood up or have been illegally imprisoned to make way for more minute by minute Democratic Party corruption and theft. Obama (Bari Malik Shabazz), Holder, Jarrett are all devout Muslims who are continuing their agenda of Caliphate and Sharia Law to be forced on the American Public without their permission of approval. The government is preparing for civil war with their new group of millennial puppies that are being brainwashed into the “new age” thinking process. Operation Jade Helm 15 is now being reported to the masses about the national Military exercise that will begin in many states and will be cause for many problems. The Democrats will continue to force this militia mentality on the American people until they may attempt to force gun confiscation which will at that point be the beginning of obfuscation of all Constitutional Rights Of The People to forward their agenda and that will possibly start massive civil unrest that will lead to all Veterans being forced to assemble and attempt to reinstall our Constitutional Rights-they know that and they are willing to risk America to keep their power. Our Constitution provides for that counter insurgence to resist enemies foreign or DOMESTIC that would attempt to push taking away our rights. That time and their power may clash in the future. Living under a dictatorship is not what America was designed to function under. We have a dictator now, how much longer America will be forced to endure this faux lifestyle and pretense must end soon or Americans will demand their written rights one way or the other. The ball is still in their court. Walt is a hero-not a coward/thief/liar/deviate/criminal or anything that makes a Democrat. He is a dedicated Naval Academy Graduate, a hero and a patriot-something the Democrats would never know about since they don’t earn things-they take them by whatever means necessary. Soon, they will be given the same medicine they have forced down Americans and Veterans throats for nearly 8 miserable years as we have listened to the lies, watched the massive theft and extortion as 95 million Americans have lost jobs, ability to support their families and watch the American way of life become a house of prostitution run by the Clinton’s, white Godless Marxists, Black Power/Black Panther/Black Muslim’s that will stop at nothing to gain power and personal wealth at everyone’s expense. Tax and spend. Release Walt, he has only done his trained job and shown his intelligence and experience-something no Democrat has shown or exibited-cowards and thieves don’t do things as honest people-that’s why they need to in jail with the others that believe that. We are dedicated to prosecuting ALL Democrats/Politicians/Judges that have aided this cabal of Treason, Perjury, Voter Fraud and Misprision Of Felony.