BUT “PAROLE” WAS NOT THE ISSUE
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 12, 2015) — On March 3, The Post & Email received and published a copy of a letter written by a high school friend of LCDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.), who was sent to state prison in Tennessee last summer on convictions of “aggravated perjury” and “extortion.”
On March 18, 2014, Fitzpatrick had attempted to expose public corruption by asking for an audience with the McMinn County grand jury. Instead, however, the grand jury hastily indicted Fitzpatrick on four charges based on his written submissions and clear manipulation on the part of the criminal court judge and former chief prosecutor, R. Steven Bebb.
At a trial last June, one charge against Fitzpatrick was dismissed, while he was acquitted on the fourth charge.
The sentence meted out by Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood was three years in state penitentiary. At the time, Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion, said that he expected his client would spend “just over a year” in prison before being released on parole.
Fitzpatrick is currently incarcerated at the NWCX facility in Tiptonville, which is nearly a 12-hour drive from Irion’s law office in Knoxville.
A professional video was made of Fitzpatrick’s many attempts to expose systemic corruption in Tennessee involving grand juries, trial juries, judges, prosecutors, court clerks and defense attorneys. Over nearly six years, The Post & Email has reported on the deep-seated criminality taking place in both Tennessee criminal and civil courts following Fitzpatrick’s discovery that criminal court judges hand-pick the grand jury foreman, who can then serve for decades if the judge so chooses.
As a result of its unconstitutional system, Tennessee has imprisoned perhaps thousands or more of its own citizens out of retaliation, personal vendettas, or because they failed to “pay for leniency,” as one inmate recently described it.
Two previous videos detail Fitzpatrick’s treason complaint filed against Barack Hussein Obama in March 2009 and his attempt to place then-Monroe County grand jury foreman Gary Pettway under citizen’s arrest.
Originally, Tennessee Board of Parole employee Judith Hilton-Coffman wrote in her report on Fitzpatrick’s case that there was “no victim,” but during the sentencing hearing, she verbally changed her story to say that a victim had been “found” in the person of former McMinn County grand jury foreman Jeffrey Cunningham.
Cunningham is CEO and president of Athens Federal Community Bank. He is also a licensed attorney with an interest in the area of “criminal prosecution.” He was hand-picked by former Criminal Court Judge Amy Reedy in late 2011 and acted as foreman from January 2012 to early March of last year. Contrary to that which is stated in Slatery’s brief filed in Fitzpatrick’s recent appeal of his convictions, Cunningham did not permit any of Fitzpatrick’s submissions to be reviewed by the full grand jury.
Written by Dominic Martin, the letter sent on Fitzpatrick’s behalf in March was addressed to Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter Herbert Slatery, III, who took office last summer after Robert E. Cooper, Jr.’s term ended. Slatery had been Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief counsel and is the first Republican to hold the office since the Reconstruction era.
A copy of the letter was sent to Gov. Bill Haslam in which Martin wrote that Fitzpatrick’s convictions were “trumped up and exaggerated” and his incarceration the result of “a simple, cruel vengeance.”
Martin’s letter mentioned nothing of the possibility of parole for Fitzpatrick, but rather, asked Slatery to expedite Fitzpatrick’s appeal process, the final brief for which Irion filed last week with the Court of Criminal Appeals for the Eastern Division.
In his brief, Irion contended that one of the grand jurors who indicted Fitzpatrick was herself a victim of the crimes of which Fitzpatrick was accused by virtue of her having expressed fear of Fitzpatrick based on statements made by Cunningham. Irion wrote that the grand jury was therefore compromised and that the court had had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
On Tuesday, The Post & Email received a copy of a response Martin had been sent by Rita Jorgensen, Haslam’s Legislative Liaison.
The Post & Email has reason to believe that Ms. Jorgensen’s letter is inaccurate in that Fitzpatrick might never have “met with the Board of Parole.”