Sharon Rondeau has published an interview at the Post & Email with an unnamed observer1 at the trial of George Joseph Raudenbush III, a case that I have not been following and know little about. I wouldn’t be writing about it now except for the birther angle created by the Walter Fitzpatrick III connection. (There is some discussion of the fellow over at The Fogbow which I haven’t read yet.)
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:
- Raudenbush asked for an attorney but was refused one, and told he had to represent himself.
- Raudenbush was in custody and unable to prepare his defense.
- The court refused most of Raudenbush’s witnesses
- Police officers lied under oath
- 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).
- One reporter (who allegedly had a recording device) was barred from the court room.
- Raudenbush was convicted of a charge not returned by the Grand Jury.2
- The judge forced the jury to remain until midnight and return a verdict.
If the account is accurate, 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.
- 1999 Appeal of Raudenbush conviction for speeding (denied)
- Article on Raudenbush’s New Year’s Eve arrest Monroe County Advocate
- The Buzz3 article on Raudenbush case from last February
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.