by Sharon Rondeau

(Jan. 13, 2019) — On Sunday evening, Christian missionary George Raudenbush contacted The Post & Email to say that he very recently learned that an exoneration request he made last year to outgoing Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam might not have been received.

Evidence forwarded to the Tennessee Board of Parole showing his innocence may not have been forwarded to the Governor, Raudenbush said.  Haslam leaves office on Wednesday, January 16, 2019.  Raudenbush is asking for individuals to contact the governor’s office at (615) 741-2001 in support of the exoneration.

On December 30, 2010, Raudenbush was arrested in the town of Tellico Plains in Monroe County, TN for seven alleged vehicular infractions which he said he did not commit.  At trial, in violation of the Sixth Amendment, he was not allowed defense counsel and was convicted by a jury on all charges.

He spent more than two years in state prisons when a state appellate court reversed his conviction on the grounds that he had been denied his constitutional right to an attorney by now-retired Judge Carroll Lee Ross.  A new trial was ordered.

In December 2014, a jury again convicted him on all charges, this time expressed at lower levels in an apparent attempt to avoid the “double jeopardy” provision of the Fifth Amendment.  Fellow missionary the late Gary Church, who was an eyewitness at the trial, told The Post & Email afterward that the procedure was “rigged” and the outcome “predetermined.”

On February 1, 2018, Raudenbush applied to the governor for a full “exoneration” of his conviction.

Raudenbush believes then-Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens exercised “retaliation” against by ordering the confiscation of a Youth Missions trailer containing tools and equipment valued at over $120,000 owned by Appalachian Youth Missions.

Since the fall of 2009, a myriad of Monroe County citizens have reported to this publication systemic judicial, jury and prosecutorial corruption.  Beginning with the Monroe county grand jury, our coverage later expanded to Tennessee county jails and state prisons, where dangerous conditions exist and contraband is introduced on a virtually daily basis, according to inmate reports.

Although convicted a second time, at sentencing Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood announced that he could not assign Raudenbush to further prison time since he had served the maximum allowable by law.  Initially given probation, the Parole Board oversentenced Mr. Raudenbush and discontinued the parole when he brought it to the attention of The Tennessee Department of Corrections.

Of his request of the governor, Raudenbush said in explanation, “I am not asking for a pardon because I did not commit a crime. I am asking for a complete exoneration which is the highest and most powerful remedy the governor can give as a result of judicial misconduct. An Exoneration says that I was innocent of the charges against me.”

A background narrative of the events leading to his arrest and imprisonment written by Raudenbush states, in part:

The full document can be read here:  EXONERATION BRIEF

The govenor’s office can be contacted at (615) 741-2001 for all who wish to ask if Haslam’s office has received Mr. Raudenbush’s Petition for Exoneration.  “Records, evidence, documents and testimony show that there was no evidence to support any felony conviction against me,” Raudenbush told The Post & Email.

In addition to the above document, Raudenbush forwarded to us more than a dozen letters, including one from a former prison cellmate, in support of Raudenbush’s exoneration.

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