At the P&E, Sharon Rondeau writes:
In an indictment issued against both Huff and Fitzpatrick stemming from the citizen’s arrest, the foreman was identified as a “juror.” However, in a court brief filed in defense of the government’s conviction of Fitzpatrick in a case arising in December 2011, the state of Tennessee now claims that the foreman of any grand jury in Tennessee is not a juror, but rather, a court employee appointed by the judge by an unknown vetting process.
The foreman is part of the jury but is not a juror in the sense that unlike the jurors, he is selected by the judge and appointed to manage the grand jury business. He is ‘the thirteenth juror’ but as the rules, history and legal precedent show, he is not summoned after having been selected randomly from a pool of eligible candidates.
Rule 6 TN Rules of Criminal Procedures (In Tennessee the legislature approves the rules of the court)
The foreperson and the twelve qualified jurors whose names are first drawn constitute the grand jury for the term and shall attend the court until dismissed by the judge or until the next term.
Anyone who is willing to do a little research would have come to realize these simple facts. For example, there are several bills in the legislature which address the Grand Jury, one of them is trying to change the selection of the foreperson from the present day situation to one where he is also randomly selected. It is unlikely that such a proposal will be successful as the role of the thirteenth juror is administrative.
Again, Rule 6 explains
(g) Appointment, Qualifications, Term, Compensation, Vote, and Duties of Foreperson.
(1) Appointment of Foreperson. The judge of the court authorized by law to charge–and receive the report of–the grand jury shall appoint the grand jury foreperson. When concurrent grand juries are impaneled, the court shall appoint a foreperson for each grand jury.
(2) Qualifications of Foreperson. The foreperson shall possess all the qualifications of a juror.
(3) Duration of Appointment. The foreperson shall hold office and exercise powers for a term of two (2) years from appointment. In the discretion of the presiding judge, the foreperson may be removed, relieved, or excused from office for good cause at any time.
(4) Duties of Foreperson. The grand jury foreperson has the following duties:
(A) to assist and cooperate with the district attorney general in ferreting out crime, to the end that the laws may be faithfully enforced;
(B) out of term, to advise the district attorney general about law violations and to furnish names of witnesses, whom the district attorney general may, if he or she deems proper, order summoned to go before the grand jury at the next term;
(C) in term, (in addition to the district attorney general who also has such authority) to order the issuance of subpoenas for grand jury witnesses; and
(D) to vote with the grand jury, which vote counts toward the twelve necessary for the return of an indictment.
See also TN Public Acts 1919 Ch 37 – Foreman of Grand Jury which was replaced by Rule 6
If some people could just read the precedents such as I have presented here, Walt might have saved himself from a few arrests and convictions. Needless to say, Mr Pettway’s appointment was legal and Walt’s attempt to perform a citizen’s arrest was poorly informed in law, resulting in the inevitable charges levied against him. Why Walt believes that it is ok to interrupt a meeting of the Grand Jury is beyond me.
His more recent complaints about the selection process appear to be based on a failure to fully comprehend how jurors are selected, and then summoned. Since I lack the full details, I am amazed that others have not taken it upon themselves to attend these court sessions. One would imagine that it would be trivial to document, if indeed the court was breaking the law here. But based on what I have read, the Court was just following the law here. As to whether or not it was ok for Walt to remove material from the court house is something the court will have to rule upon. Given that there is no clear evidence of a crime or that immediate actions were necessary, I find the defense a bit shaky, however we may hear soon from the appeal’s court as to their thoughts on these matters. It was a foolish moment and Walt was lucky that he got away with time served.
As to Darren, he was foolish enough to brag about his intentions and furthermore transported firearms across the state line, providing sufficient support for his conviction by a jury of his peers. I told him several times that he was not doing himself any favors by publicly stating his case and describing what happened. Contrary to what some believe, the police presence in Madison was informed by concerned citizens, including the bank manager and his assistant who forwarded some worrisome statements about what was going to happen on that day. One may only imagine what could have happened if there had not been such a police presence, as it was clear that some people were still intent on breaking the law by performing ‘citizen arrests’ of people who they believed were in violation of some ‘law’, and it was also clear that they were bringing guns in support of their efforts.
For example, the following web site documents the rhetoric of those days
Fellow AGJ member Carl Swensson posts about Fitzpatrick’s incarceration on his Web site, telling site visitors that Fitzpatrick has “put his life on the line for us in very much the same fashion that our founding fathers did.” Swensson then asks: “What do you intend to do for him, and for this country? If we don’t come to his assistance, if we don’t get to the courthouse, if we don’t call him, if we don’t walk and march on that courthouse and that sheriff’s department, we don’t deserve the freedoms we have.… Get down there, get him out of jail, and make sure that justice is served.” [Carl Swensson, 4/5/2010; TPM Muckraker, 5/6/2010; Crooks and Liars, 5/6/2010]
Swensson said he planned to go to the courthouse and ask for Fitzpatrick’s release and for the arrest of those involved, and he urged listeners to join him “in mass”. “Get down there, get him out of jail, and make sure that justice is served,” Swensson exhorted his followers.
I documented some additional information
I will finish the job he started by affecting (again) the citizen’s arrest of these out of control politicians (copies of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant can be found here). The call went out then and only two (2) Oath Keepers showed up. Is this the kind of showing you guys, ahem, I’m also a member, are accustomed to?’
Let there be no doubt, they know we’re coming and only by having a large number of Patriots show up can we begin to affect the kind of meaningful change this country wants and needs. No less than the repatriation of America with its God given rights as expressed in the Constitution. That very document we all took an oath to uphold and defend.
Of course, when faced with a large police presence, our ‘patriots’ quickly reconsidered, but for some it was too late as they had shown intent combined with an act of transporting firearms across state lines, leading a jury of his peers to convict him.
Even if the police stop of Darren’s vehicle is ruled in admissible, Darren shared publicly his adventures with a wide audience. Combined with his clearly stated intentions to others, it is doubtful if suppression of Darren’s interactions with the police, would have made a difference.
A little more hope is found in the transport of a firearm in commerce, although the concept is broad enough here. The law itself is not the prettiest one, and may be found too broad, which may lead Darren to spend next Christmas with his friends and family. But there are no guarantees here, as the issue is quite limited. Not that there was any ‘evidence’ that could have swayed the judges one way or another.
As to Walt, he seems intent on continuing his follies and will likely try again to have his ‘complaints’ heard and rejected again by the Grand Jury, although by now, there is no reason for a Grand Jury to keep hearing his ‘arguments’. Once rejected, they are not open for further discussion.
But Walt will keep on trying, accusing more and more people of crimes, and as was the case with his court martial, be totally unsuccessful.
Oh and let’s not forget these gems
“We fully intend to proceed forward with the citizens’ arrests,” Huff says in the video. The roadside stop included bomb-sniffing dogs checking out his truck and Huff chatting with the officers about religion and guns“I’ve got my .45 because ain’t no government official gonna go peacefully,” Huff tells them in the video.
“Rules of Civil Procedure along with the Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Rules of Appellate Procedure, are “law” of this state, in full force and effect, until such time as they are superseded by legislative enactment or inconsistent rules promulgated by this court and adopted by the general assembly.”
Source: Tennessee Dep’t of Human Services v. Vaughn, 595 S.W.2d 62, 1980 Tenn. LEXIS 417 (Tenn. 1980).
A few hours of research…