Folly in Monroe County
Last week, parts of the Internet were abuzz. A county grand jury in Tennessee was going to consider treason charges against Barack Obama. Many friends of mine repeated this on Facebook. I tried to politely tell them this one was a crock, but unfortunately, the story continued to grow. I emailed a friend who had been repeating the story and asked him what he expected out of this. He said he hoped the grand jury would return a “True Bill” and then the courts would be required to subpoena Obama’s actual birth certificate from Hawaii.
Walter Fitzpatrick decided he wanted to present this evidence to the county grand jury in Monroe County, Tennessee. Monroe County is a small Tennessee county, in the southeastern corner of the state, bordering on North Carolina. I do not know if Fitzpatrick lives there or if that was just a target of opportunity. Either way, it was a waste of time and he made a fool of himself and the movement he seeks to advance.
A grand jury in Tennessee is required to investigate and inquire about criminal violations that occur within a specific county. Under Tennessee law, an indictment can only be returned for violations of the Tennessee Code Annotated. Treason is not a violation of the Tennessee Code Annotated.
On December 1, 2009, Fitzpatrick, apparently ignorant of the purposes of a grand jury in Tennessee, went to present his matter to them. He became very upset when he was told he would only be allowed to present the matter to three members of the grand jury.
In Tennessee, cases are generally presented to the grand jury that originate from a law enforcement agency. Those go, with the assistance of the District Attorney’s office, which acts as legal advisor to the grand jury, directly to all thirteen members. Citizens who wish to make complaints to the grand jury may do so. Typically, when a citizen petitions to present a matter to a county grand jury, they will first be asked to present their matter to the foreman of the grand jury and two other members of the grand jury. Jurors serving on the grand jury are citizens doing their jury duty just like anyone else and this is a procedure that exists to save time and minimize inconvenience to the citizens serving.
WVLT TV out of Knoxville aired video of the event. Fitzpatrick is seen on the video becoming very agitated and being told by someone, presumably the foreman of the grand jury, to calm down. Eventually, he went in and presented his “evidence” to the three-member panel.
I really wish Fitzpatrick and his supporters had thought about what they were doing or had even bothered to get some legal advice before proceeding.
A Tennessee county grand jury cannot return a treason indictment against Obama. If for some strange reason it did, the District Attorney would immediately dismiss it as an invalid indictment, as a Tennessee county grand jury cannot indict someone for something that is not a crime under the Tennessee Code Annotated. And if for some reason the DA refused to dismiss the case, a court would do so immediately before requiring service of subpoenas. As much as I dislike Obama, I would agree with the grand jury, the DA, or the Court.
For anyone who thinks I am the one who does not know what he is talking about, you should know that I have practice law in Tennessee for almost 22 years. I spent ten years as a prosecutor and have worked with and presented to county grand juries.
At the end of the day, all that happened in Monroe County is that the grand jury had its time wasted and Fitzpatrick accomplished nothing. While I do not care what liberals think and there is nothing we can do that will make them approve of us, there is a middle ground an America that we need in order to get a majority and take this county back. This kind of foolishness will not help us win.