by Sharon Rondeau

(Jul. 6, 2016) — A Tennessee prison inmate has reported to The Post & Email that the Shelby County Criminal Court has assessed him for more than $16,000 in fees, fines and taxes, including a $37.50 fee for being “Indigent.”

The roster of fees, dated October 14, 2013, lists 15 different taxes, fines, fees and charges stemming from his incarceration in the county jail from July 11, 2010 to June 29, 2012. The last item, an “Admin Fee” coded “450,” is assessed at “$0.00.”

In the accompanying letter, dated June 29, 2016, the inmate wrote, “… These corrupted officials are saying that I owe them $16,442.98 which is my overall total for being incarcerated and for me having to pay for many, many other things such as construction tax $10.00, library tax $4.00, county tax $86.50, county expense $5.00, clerk fee $96.00, sheriff service fee $459.00…”

The inmate described the bill as “an embezzlement scheme,” which he defined as ‘to take money for one’s own use in violation of trust.'”

He further opined:

This is also misappropriation of taxpayers’ money, by taxing all working citizens of Tennessee for city taxes, county taxes, and for the housing of inmates. And they tax all our loved ones who send money to us inmates by taking half of it. I’m not the only one that this corrupt practice is being used on, the deck is already stacked against us inmates…So this is slavery by putting their foot on the inmate’s neck and keeping them down throughout their life. The people of Tennessee are paying taxes for all inmates that’s incarcerated, but here they are all together now charging the inmates as well. They are double charging by charging inmates. So now it’s a fact that they are making money off indigent inmates for their own personal use by charging the inmates for housing as well.” [sic]

Referring to Tennessee’s corrupt grand jury practice wherein the criminal court judge selects the foreman from outside of the jury pool and reappoints him or her for as many terms as the judge wishes, the inmate wrote, “The Tennessee officials are first making the innocent the object of an attainder, meaning ‘To punish one without the permission of a lawful grand jury.'”

“Then, after punishing you by having you locked up they then charge the inmates for being locked up while yet still taxing the working citizens of Tennessee,” he continued. “This is called the ‘Ball and Chain Act’ by the state officials of Tennessee.”

In May 2012, LCDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, himself a Tennessee resident and also currently incarcerated, discovered that in 1984, the state’s county criminal courts were directed by the legislature to discontinue their operations and form judicial districts comprising one or more counties as set forth in the new set of laws. While 30 judicial districts were, in fact, formed and judges rotated among the counties each district contains, the individual county criminal courts continued to impanel their own grand juries and trial juries.

The laws have never been repealed, replaced or amended.

In addition to the hand-selection of the grand jury foreman, Fitzpatrick and others have identified numerous violations of the Tennessee Constitution, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Tennessee law, and ethics violations on the part of judges, court clerks, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the grand jury foremen.

Neither the Knoxville nor Chattanooga offices of the FBI have chosen to act on the crimes reported to them by Fitzpatrick, this publication, and other concerned parties.  One excuse proffered by an FBI Special Agent in Charge at the time was, “We wouldn’t know where to start.”  Another was, “We could claim distress.”

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