Educating the Confused – Walt and the Hixson brief

Assistant Attorney General Kyle Hixson submitted the following brief in the Appeal of Walt’s case State of TN v Fitzpatrick.

The State respectfully submits that the defendant misapprehends the purpose of section 314. Section 314 does not speak to the qualifications of a citizen to serve as a juror. 6 Section 314 simply prohibits the government from requiring citizens to appear for jury service too frequently. Further, the foreperson of the grand jury is not “impaneled” from the “summoned” members of the”jury pool.” See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 22-2-306, -307, and -310. The foreperson is “appoint[ed] by the trial court. Tenn. R. Crim. P. 6(g)(1). As such, section 314, by its terms, does not apply to the appointment process of the grand jury foreperson.

Section 314 refers to the Tennessee Code Annotated 22-2-314.

In order to understand the definition of the terms, one has to look at the meaning of “impanel”, “summoned” and “jury pool”.

Impanel (v) – The act of selecting a jury from the list of potential jurors, called the “panel” or “venire.” The steps are: 1) drawing names at random from a large number of jurors called; 2) seating 12 tentative jurors (or six where agreed to); 3) hearing individual juror requests for being excused, to be determined by the judge; 4) questions from judge and lawyers for both sides; 5) challenges of tentative jurors either for cause (decided by the judge) or peremptory (no reason given) by the lawyers; 6) swearing in the jurors who survive this process. See also TCA 22-2-310 Impaneling jurors

Summon (v) – To order to come; send for, esp to attend court, by issuing a summons. See also T.C.A 22-2-307 Summoning jurors

Juror (n) –   T.C.A. 39-16-101  (1) ”Juror” means any person who is a member of any jury, including a grand jury, impaneled by any court of this state or by any public servant authorized by law to impanel a jury. “Juror” also includes any person who has been summoned or whose name has been drawn to attend as a prospective juror;

Rule 6 explains that the foreperson is not summoned

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.


4 thoughts on “Educating the Confused – Walt and the Hixson brief

  1. I notice that Rondeau claims to have sent a letter to several persons (including the Tennessee Supreme Court) that contains the following statement:

    “After Cunningham gave false testimony on March 18 to his “grand jury” to have Fitzpatrick arrested, Blackwood was the judge called in to preside over the initial hearing on March 24, 2014. How could that not be considered a conflict of interest?”

    Question for any legal minds out there. We understand that just about any unfounded allegation can be made in a lawsuit, without being subject to sanction as libel. But what about statements in a letter like this?

    Has Rondeau libeled Cunningham with this statement?

  2. That’s for the jury to decide. However, her statement is quite unambiguous and Rondeau’s defense is similarly limited, unless she can show that it was truthful.

    Perhaps she wants to be closer to Walt?

  3. There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person must prove that the statement was false, caused harm, and was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. These steps are for an ordinary citizen. For a celebrity or a public official, the person must prove the first three steps and that the statement was made with the intent to do harm or with reckless disregard for the truth,[12] which is usually specifically referred to as “proving malice”.[13]


  4. Rondeau has not done her position a favor by her earlier statements on Cunningham, and the letter in which she makes the comment, could be used against her in a court of law.

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