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Disturbing article at the Post & Email

RaudenbushSharon Rondeau has published an interview at the Post & Email with an unnamed observer1 at the trial of  George Joseph Raudenbush III (2006 Raudenbush photo at right), a case that I have not been following and know little about. (There is some discussion of the fellow over at The Fogbow which I haven’t read yet.) I wouldn’t be writing about it now except for the birther angle created by the Walter Fitzpatrick III connection.

Apparently Raudenbush had some run-in with the police that allegedly involved speeding and resisting arrest. Rondeau’s article is: Reporter With Recording Device Allowed to Remain in Monroe County Courtroom after Fitzpatrick Was Removed for Allegedly Having a Recorder…Which He Didn’t Have.

What was disturbing about the article was not what is described in the article’s title, but the observer’s description of the trial. According to the article:

  1. Raudenbush asked for an attorney but was refused one, and told he had to represent himself.
  2. Raudenbush was in custody and unable to prepare his defense.
  3. The court refused most of Raudenbush’s witnesses
  4. Police officers lied under oath
  5. Raudenbush was not allowed to present evidence of prior misconduct on the part of the police witnesses (misconduct that the observer seemed remarkably informed on).
  6. One reporter (who allegedly had a recording device) was barred from the court room.
  7. Raudenbush was convicted of a charge not returned by the Grand Jury.2
  8. The judge forced the jury to remain until midnight and return a verdict.

If the full account is accurate and complete, Raudenbush (convicted on all counts), didn’t get a fair trial. In fact, the whole description of the trial sounds like some Soviet show trial from the 1960’s.  It’s very powerful stuff  and very upsetting.

The problem is that we have no way of confirming this anonymous account and whether it bears any resemblance to what really happened. According to the Post & Email, one reporter was at the trial; so far I haven’t seen anything come from that. We do have local press reports (see Read More section below) about Raudenbush’s  New Years Eve arrest and subsequent charges. They paint a very different picture. In the press reports, Raudenbush was pulled over for speeding and driving over the center line. When asked for his license and registration, he rolled up his window and refused. Police broke the driver’s side window and eventually Raudenbush gave a license and registration issued by The Kingdom of Heaven. Raudenbush then sped away and during the ensuing chase attempted to ram the police car. He was apprehended without incident when he fled his vehicle.

The P&E observer said that there was no evidence that the police car had been rammed (photos show no damage), and could not understand why the Jury convicted Raudenbush of ramming the police car. However, press reports that I presume are based on police reports said that Raudenbush “almost” rammed the car, which of course leaves nothing to show in a photo.

It appears that the local Monroe County papers are weeklies, so perhaps we’ll have news on the trial in a few days. [And indeed, we do. See article Update below.]

Read more:

UPDATE:

As I hoped, the Monroe County Advocate and Democrat did publish an abbreviated account of the trial online, and not surprisingly the news report includes additional information missing from the Post & Email version that sheds an entirely different light on the events. Referring to Raudenbush not having an attorney, Michael Thomason wrote:

Raudenbush, who appeared to have developed a keen sense of what ticked off Criminal Court Judge Carroll Ross, was representing himself after he first refused an appointed attorney earlier this year, then wouldn’t sign an affidavit of indigency that would have given him a court appointed attorney earlier this month.

Please take note of additional links above in the Read more section.


1While it is pure speculation on my part, the unnamed observer may have been Jim Hutchins, a former army chaplain (Raudenbush himself a “missionary”) who had previously made complaints about police refusal to let him look at Raudenbush’s arrest report. The Post & Email makes it a point to say that the observer attends many trials and does not disclose any particular connection between the observer and Raudenbush. However, the specific knowledge the observer claims to have about the arresting officers suggests that he has a special interest in the case.

2According to The Buzz article, the grand jury actually returned true bills on 17 charges.

3According to The Post & Email, it was the reporter from The Buzz who was removed from the court room for having a recording device.

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38 Responses to Disturbing article at the Post & Email

  1. avatar
    dunstvangeet August 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    It’s probably not…

    For instance, on #1, he may make too much money to be provided a court-appointed attorney and must provide his own. If he doesn’t provide his own, he isn’t entitled to a court-appointed one. For instance, is a multi-millionaire entitled to have the court provide an attorney for free?

    The rest are probably exaggerations of the like.

  2. avatar
    Keith August 27, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Is it a Patriot Act charge? Doesn’t that prevent publicly funded lawyers?

  3. avatar
    Zixi of Ix August 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I’d blow this off as yet another typical birther exaggeration, if not for the fact that I’m pretty familiar with that area due to extensive family ties.

    This could go either way. Neither result would surprise me.

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Yes, one of the things that makes this propaganda piece so powerful is a deeply-held view that there are places in the US that are run like petty dictatorships, and where the police and the courts are the real villains.

    Zixi of Ix: I’d blow this off as yet another typical birther exaggeration, if not for the fact that I’m pretty familiar with that area due to extensive family ties.

  5. avatar
    Rickey August 28, 2011 at 4:46 am #

    Raudenbush is a fraud. I wouldn’t believe anything about the Pest and E-Fail’s account without verification from a reliable source.

    http://tn.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20090116_0000064.TN.htm/qx

  6. avatar
    Robi August 28, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    After reading that transcript, I certainly have developed some extra doubts about the validity of the Pest and EFail story. I look forward to reading fresh info as it appears.

  7. avatar
    Stanislaw August 28, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Is it bad that I am automatically skeptical of anything written in the P&E? In my mind, whatever they claimed to have happened probably didn’t. Most likely, these are likely extreme exaggerations. For example, there could be a number of reasons why the court wouldn’t have allowed a witness to testify. What if the witness was an “expert” that didn’t pass the Daubert standard? We all know how birther sites twist reality into a pretzel when it serves their purpose.

  8. avatar
    That Other Mike August 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Stanislaw:
    Is it bad that I am automatically skeptical of anything written in the P&E?

    I would say it demonstrates simple good sense – they frequenly post articles bending the truth and outright lying. It would be bad if you took anything they said at face value, given their previous record.

  9. avatar
    GeorgetownJD August 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Stanislaw:
    Is it bad that I am automatically skeptical of anything written in the P&E? In my mind, whatever they claimed to have happened probably didn’t. Most likely, these are likely extreme exaggerations. For example, there could be a number of reasons why the court wouldn’t have allowed a witness to testify. What if the witness was an “expert” that didn’t pass the Daubert standard? We all know how birther sites twist reality into a pretzel when it serves their purpose.

    It is not bad. On the contrary, your skepticism well grounded by experience. What Sharon Rondeau writes about any event and what actually occurred, as observed by independent and non-interested witnesses, are always at a 180-degree variance, Whether she does this deliberately or out of gross stupidity is the only thing I have wondered, and I usually conclude that it is the former.

  10. avatar
    Reality Check August 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    I seem to recall that when Raudenbush was arrested for ramming the police car the only drivers license he had was a “citizen of the.world” license.

  11. avatar
    Majority Will August 28, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Reality Check:
    I seem to recall that when Raudenbush was arrested for ramming the police car the only drivers license he had was a “citizen of the.world” license.

    Is the expiration date on the cereal box the same as on the license?

  12. avatar
    charo August 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Raudenbush v. City of Englewood http://tn.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20100121_0000089.etn.htm/qx

    The case in the link was a civil case. Raudenbush was allowed to proceed in forma pauperis. Because it was a civil case, he did not have the right to an attorney, but to have the cost of litigation paid for provided the case was not frivolous. That would not be true in a criminal case. Much more protection is provided. The judge found his case to be frivolous and therefore dismissed his claim to proceed in forma pauperis. He had proven the financial aspect of the claim to proceed IFP. What is very disturbing is this: Do you really believe that a guy like Raudenbush entered a new income bracket since December 22, 2009? It sounds like he was denied the right to an attorney, a very serious constitutional violation. I am willing to admit that his finances could have improved since his application. If they did not, then this is very disturbing.

  13. avatar
    charo August 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    What I meant when I said that would not be true in a criminal case is that there would not be an examination beyond the finances of the defendant.

  14. avatar
    Randy August 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    In Texas if you are out on bond, you pay for the lawyer. If you are incarcerated at the time of your trial they will dress you up in street clothes, if you are pleading not guilty, and grab a lawyer who has the bad luck of being on the same floor of the courthouse and you will have a lawyer.

    If you make bail the court believe that you can pay for your own lawyer. If you don’t than they will revoke your bond and give you a lawyer.

    I don’t know enough about Mr. Raudenbush’s case and situation to make a call of unconstitutionl. There is a case in texas where a man with a very healthy back account is charged with arson, kidnapping and rape, where the court has told the defendant that he must hire his own lawyer. If Raudenbush can afford a lawyer and did not retain one, i see no violation.

  15. avatar
    charo August 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    Randy:
    In Texas if you are out on bond, you pay for the lawyer.If you are incarcerated at the time of your trial they will dress you up in street clothes, if you are pleading not guilty, and grab a lawyer who has the bad luck of being on the same floor of the courthouse and you will have a lawyer.

    If you make bail the court believe that you can pay for your own lawyer.If you don’t than they will revoke your bond and give you a lawyer.

    I don’t know enough about Mr. Raudenbush’s case and situation to make a call of unconstitutionl.There is a case in texas where a man with a very healthy back account is charged with arson, kidnapping and rape, where the court has told the defendant that he must hire his own lawyer.If Raudenbush can afford a lawyer and did not retain one, i see no violation.

    If a person has a healthy bank account, he is not indigent. Raudenbush was found to be indigent on December 22, 2009. Did his circumstances change for the better between December 2009, and his new charges? I don’t know, but given his background, it doesn’t seem likely.

  16. avatar
    charo August 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Randy:
    In Texas if you are out on bond, you pay for the lawyer.If you are incarcerated at the time of your trial they will dress you up in street clothes, if you are pleading not guilty, and grab a lawyer who has the bad luck of being on the same floor of the courthouse and you will have a lawyer.

    If you make bail the court believe that you can pay for your own lawyer.If you don’t than they will revoke your bond and give you a lawyer.

    I don’t know enough about Mr. Raudenbush’s case and situation to make a call of unconstitutionl.There is a case in texas where a man with a very healthy back account is charged with arson, kidnapping and rape, where the court has told the defendant that he must hire his own lawyer.If Raudenbush can afford a lawyer and did not retain one, i see no violation.

    I was appointed an Assistant Public Defender while I was in jail. I bonded out of jail. Will I be able to keep my Assistant Public Defender?

    This depends on your individual circumstances. While many courts consider your ability to post a bond as a factor in determining if you are indigent, this is not the sole factor. If you were appointed an Assistant Public Defender while you were in jail, many courts will reevaluate whether you are indigent. If the Court determines that you are still indigent, it will instruct your Public Defender to remain on your case.

    http://www.dallascounty.org/department/pubdefender/adult_criminal_faq.php

  17. avatar
    Randy August 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    Dallas County is the county I was referring to.

  18. avatar
    obsolete August 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    From NBC’s article:

    “Nothing in Article I, section 9 of the TN Constitution requires the Judge to provide Raudenbush with defense counsel, although, if Raudenbush is indigent, he may be assigned a public defender. But since Raudenbush has refused to submit the required form that attests to his status, the Judge appears to be well within his right to refuse the defendant a public defender.”

    http://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/did-a-judge-deny-the-right-to-be-represented-by-a-laywer/

  19. avatar
    charo August 28, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    obsolete:
    From NBC’s article:

    “Nothing in Article I, section 9 of the TN Constitution requires the Judge to provide Raudenbush with defense counsel, although, if Raudenbush is indigent, he may be assigned a public defender. But since Raudenbush has refused to submit the required form that attests to his status, the Judge appears to be well within his right to refuse the defendant a public defender.”

    http://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/did-a-judge-deny-the-right-to-be-represented-by-a-laywer/

    The U.S. Constitution confers the right. He didn’t sign the form, which I would guess resulted in it not being submitted. If the facts are to be believed, he said he would not sign the form (in part) because he needs a lawyer to advise him before signing. I am wondering if he is illiterate.

  20. avatar
    G August 29, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    Probably just plain mentally ill.

    charo: I am wondering if he is illiterate.

  21. avatar
    Rickey August 29, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    charo: The U.S. Constitution confers the right. He didn’t sign the form, which I would guess resulted in it not being submitted.If the facts are to be believed, he said he would not sign the form (in part) because he needs a lawyer to advise him before signing.I am wondering if he is illiterate.

    He has the right to counsel, but he does not have a right to have counsel provided for him at taxpayer expense unless he can establish that he can’t afford to hire his own attorney. He obviously did not do that.

    And he is not illiterate. He is the National Missions Coordinator for Appalachian Youth Missions.

    http://www.appalachianyouthmission.org/letter.html

    I agree with G. Raudenbush is a very troubled individual. Did you see the prior note where on at least one occasional he fraudulently held himself out as a mediator for the courts in Tennessee?

  22. avatar
    mimi August 29, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Advocate and Democrat via the Fogbow:

    “August 29, 2011

    Raudenbush found guilty on all charges
    Published: 9:18 AM, 08/29/2011 Last updated: 9:18 AM, 08/29/2011

    Author: Michael Thomason
    Source: The Monroe County Advocate

    MADISONVILLE-“I’m not really prepared.” When George Raudenbush uttered those words Wednesday morning, there may have never been a truer sentence spoken in a Monroe County courtroom.

    Raudenbush, who appeared to have developed a keen sense of what ticked off Criminal Court Judge Carroll Ross,was representing himself after he first refused an appointed attorney earlier this year, then wouldn’t sign an affidavit of indigency that would have given him a court appointed attorney earlier this month.

    When Raudenbush stepped before the jury to give his opening statement, he told them he wasn’t prepared, offered the first of many, many, many apologies andtold them he had been denied counsel.

    Ross softly but sternly reminded him he knew why he had been denied a court appointed counsel and told him to get on with the case.”

    TexasFilly says there was a longer article in the Sunday paper.

    Fogbow:

    http://www.thefogbow.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=1289&start=4225#p283013

    Advocate and Democrat:

    http://advocateanddemocrat.com/story/22930

  23. avatar
    Rickey August 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    I also learned that Raudenbush has been in Federal prison. His register number was 14068-058, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons web site gives no information on what he was convicted of.

    Name: GEORGE JOSEPH RAUDENBUSH III

    Register #14068-058

    Age-Race-Sex 48-White-M

    Release Date UNKNOWN

    Location NOT IN BOP CUSTODY

  24. avatar
    G August 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Great find, Rickey!

    Six years ago in Polk County, he was ordered to stop impersonating a county constable. He was also ordered to repay a neighbor $1,000 that records show he obtained fraudulently.

    Now, 6 On Your Side has learned, according to court documents from May 1996, the U.S. Government charged Raudenbush for transporting and selling stolen vehicles when he lived in Asheville, North Carolina. Raudenbush was found guilty on each count.

    “It’s been nothing but heartache since we’ve been in here because of him,” Marlene says.

    Although the Duncans are neighbors of the mission, they say Raudenbush has not been neighborly and neither are his associates.

    My guess is that his time in federal prison was for the transporting & selling stolen vehicles, which sounds like the most serious of the charges mentioned. I imagine that would be a form of Grand Theft Auto type charge.

    Sounds like the man has a history of being intentionally difficult and that the judge was on to him and his obstinent antics.

    Rickey: More on Raudenbush’s checkered past here:http://www.wate.com/story/4874596/self-proclaimed-missionary-faces-more-legal-problems?clienttype=printable&redirected=true

  25. avatar
    HellT August 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    The Kingdom of Heaven-issued license and registration makes me strongly suspect this guy is a sovereign citizen. They’re real emphatic about their god-given right to drive on the roads without government-issued licenses and registration, and they specialize in creating phony documents.

    The whole damn sovereign citizen movement is just a front for thieves and swindlers. Judging from this guy’s history, he’s a natural. SC’s are heavily into birtherism, too. If this guy is a SC, he deserves everything the court throws at him.

  26. avatar
    Sef August 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    HellT: The Kingdom of Heaven-issued license and registration makes me strongly suspect this guy is a sovereign citizen. They’re real emphatic about their god-given right to drive on the roads without government-issued licenses and registration, and they specialize in creating phony documents.

    And if, heaven forfend, they should get in an accident with someone, they probably have no insurance and no money to pay for the problems they create.

  27. avatar
    Rickey August 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    G:

    My guess is that his time in federal prison was for the transporting & selling stolen vehicles, which sounds like the most serious of the charges mentioned.I imagine that would be a form of Grand Theft Auto type charge.

    Sounds like the man has a history of being intentionally difficult and that the judge was on to him and his obstinent antics.

    You’re probably correct about the Federal rap. It’s amazing how many of the birther heroes turn out to be petty crooks with long rap sheets – Fitzpatrick, Lucas Smith, Raudenbush, and who knows how many others

  28. avatar
    Phil Cave August 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Raudenbush, who appeared to have developed a keen sense of what ticked off Criminal Court Judge Carroll Ross, was representing himself after he first refused an appointed attorney earlier this year, then wouldn’t sign an affidavit of indigency that would have given him a court appointed attorney earlier this month.

    When Raudenbush stepped before the jury to give his opening statement, he told them he wasn’t prepared, offered the first of many, many, many apologies and told them he had been denied counsel.

    Ross softly but sternly reminded him he knew why he had been denied a court appointed counsel and told him to get on with the case.

    If a lawyer did this I think he’d be subject to a discipline complaint and sanctions, and potentially a very nasty “instruction” from the judge to disregard the statement and possibly telling the jury why. That doesn’t do anything for credibility.

  29. avatar
    Zixi of Ix August 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    HellT:
    The Kingdom of Heaven-issued license and registration makes me strongly suspect this guy is a sovereign citizen. They’re real emphatic about their god-given right to drive on the roads without government-issued licenses and registration, and they specialize in creating phony documents.

    The whole damn sovereign citizen movement is just a front for thieves and swindlers. Judging from this guy’s history, he’s a natural. SC’s are heavily into birtherism, too. If this guy is a SC, he deserves everything the court throws at him.

    Who is “behind” the front?

    I have met a few people over the years who believe this stuff, and none of them seemed to be thieves. They seemed to be incredibly gullible and wildly misinformed, but honest about believing what they claim.

    Helpful Hint: If you ever meet one and want to send them off the edge and into a spittle-flecked rant, innocently ask about the gold fringe on the American flag.

  30. avatar
    HellT August 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Zixi of Ix: Who is “behind” the front?

    I have met a few people over the years who believe this stuff, and none of them seemed to be thieves. They seemed to be incredibly gullible and wildly misinformed, but honest about believing what they claim.

    You aren’t honest when you are evading taxes, hiding assets, filing bogus legal documents, creating fake drivers’ licenses, stealing people’s property out from under them by fraudulently filing property transfer documents, and harassing enemies by filing numerous fake liens against their properties, ruining their credit in the process. All of those are standard procedures for sovereign citizens. Doesn’t matter if they believe they’re entitled to break laws, they’re still crooks and thieves.

  31. avatar
    G August 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Agreed.

    HellT: You aren’t honest when you are evading taxes, hiding assets, filing bogus legal documents, creating fake drivers’ licenses, stealing people’s property out from under them by fraudulently filing property transfer documents, and harassing enemies by filing numerous fake liens against their properties, ruining their credit in the process. All of those are standard procedures for sovereign citizens. Doesn’t matter if they believe they’re entitled to break laws, they’re still crooks and thieves.

  32. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Please take note of an update to the main article. Thanks to Mimi for the link to the new article at the Advocate Democrat.

    George Raudenbush is the “National Missions Coordinator” of Appalachian Youth Missions, a Christian camp in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. Here’s a YouTube video of the camp and its activities. It looks like the kids are basically fixing the place up.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weyR68ia0tM&feature=player_embedded

    I visited Tellico, Plains Tennessee, last year. They have this fantastic museum of telephone equipment.

  33. avatar
    mimi August 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    George Raudenbush is an alias.

    “According to a law enforcement official, George Joseph
    Raudenbush III is an alias. Raudenbush has also gone by
    the names George Williams and Jeffery Manning and he
    has served time in federal prison. His criminal and civil
    record stretches across at least seven states.”

    http://www.advocateanddemocrat.com/story/7141

    We ran across Raudenbush awhile back when Walter first appeared in Birfistan. I don’t know where we discussed him though. Maybe at Politijab?

  34. avatar
    Phil Cave August 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I wonder if Ms. Rondeau now knows something we do; and that is why the piece is closed to comments. No comments, no rebuttal or additional information. My wife’s a journalist (a real one). I’ll have to ping at her about whether or not it is proper to update or “correct” a story that is wildly inaccurate.

  35. avatar
    Tarrant August 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    The entire Post and Email went closed to comments a while back if I recall. Rondeau I think got tired of deleting comments that reflected reality.

    I miss them, they had a special kind of crazy there. Not Dr. Kate-level mega-conspiracy, but beyond the typical Freep or ORYR. I think she should get some volunteer moderators and open them back up.

  36. avatar
    G August 29, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    Wow…this creep’s troublesome story just goes deeper and deeper…

    mimi: George Raudenbush is an alias.“According to a law enforcement official, George JosephRaudenbush III is an alias. Raudenbush has also gone bythe names George Williams and Jeffery Manning and hehas served time in federal prison. His criminal and civilrecord stretches across at least seven states.”http://www.advocateanddemocrat.com/story/7141We ran across Raudenbush awhile back when Walter first appeared in Birfistan. I don’t know where we discussed him though. Maybe at Politijab?