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Disturbing article at the Post & Email

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:

  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 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.

Read more:


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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10 Responses to Disturbing article at the Post & Email

  1. avatar
    Phil Cave August 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    As of April had he not been released from jail?

    http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/04/16/missionary-and-former-inmate-at-the-monroe-county-jail-returns-to-court-on-monday/

    I find it very hard to believe the judge violated Gideon for what appears to be at least one serious felony charge. He may have told him he was not qualified for a public defender and to pay for his own lawyer? I notice he went pro se in his 1999 appeal, but that’s a different issue (maybe an Evitts v. Lucy question)..

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    The Buzz article says that Raudenbush posted bond after being in Jail for 7 weeks; that would have been in February. I think maybe Raudenbush was back in jail for being in contempt of court, for trying to sneak a recording device into the courtroom. Whether it was a ballpoint pen or a ballpoint pen that looked like a voice recorder, I cannot say.

    The P&E makes a big deal of its allegation that much of the proceeding happened while the “microphone was off.” The implication is that the official trial record will not reflect what really happened (and of course all the recording devices were excluded).

    Since we cannot personally attend the vast majority of criminal trials, we have to rely on the press and the official court transcripts. Those who consider these fakes are well on their way down the rabbit hole. Further, that scenario allows folks like our observer to make stuff up.

    Phil Cave: As of April had he not been released from jail?

  3. avatar
    US Citizen August 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Something is definitely wrong with this blog, Doc.
    When I came to it today, this “Disturbing article…” post was duplicated twice.
    The first post had zero comments and this one showed only two.
    I tried reloading it and even entering it into several different browsers (one which has never been here before) and they’re all the same.
    Sorry it ain’t us with the problem, but I wish you good luck in solving it.

  4. avatar
    Keith August 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    US Citizen:
    Something is definitely wrong with this blog, Doc.
    When I came to it today, this “Disturbing article…” post was duplicated twice.
    The first post had zero comments and this one showed only two.
    I tried reloading it and even entering it into several different browsers (one which has never been here before) and they’re all the same.
    Sorry it ain’t us with the problem, but I wish you good luck in solving it.

    I only see it duplicated once, but I have tested it only with Firefox 7.0

  5. avatar
    Majority Will August 27, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    Has the Post & Email ever published anything that wasn’t disturbing?

  6. avatar
    Daniel August 28, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Consider the source

  7. avatar
    realist August 28, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    All due respect, Doc, but if your conclusion is that the 8 enumerated items in your article, if true, proves Raudenbush did not receive a fair trial, I must disagree.

    The only disturbing thing I noted in report of the trial was that the judge held the jury late into the night and completed the trial. Even on that statement we don’t know whether the judge asked the jury and they agreed they’d prefer to go late and finish.

    1. The mere fact he was refused counsel in no way indicates he did not receive a fair trial. Perhaps he did not qualify for indigent status.

    2. This trial was based on a January arrest. He was in jail for a few weeks. He was then recently held in contempt and in jail for a few days. He had plenty of time to prepare a defense.

    3. Witnesses being denied the opportunity to testify does not mean he did not receive a fair trial. Witnesses were denied the opportunity to testify based on what?

    4. How would this observer know witnesses lied under oath? There’s no indication this observer was present at the arrest.

    5. Also does not prove an unfair trial. Prior misconduct would be irrelevant unless it related to Raudenbush directly, and even then may be irrelevant to the charges before the Court.

    6. How in the world does a reporter being ejected have anything to do with a fair trial?

    7. Even if 7 is true, there was most likely a mistake in the jury forms… it happens. It’s easily corrected and would not by any means mean there was not a fair trial.

    8 I’ve already commented on.

    Bottom line, even if all those statements were true, there could be legitimate reasons for every one of those statements (sans the lying under oath by officers, and I commented on that above) and even if that were true it does not mean he didn’t get a “fair trial.” It is for the jury, as the trier of fact, to determine the veracity of any witness’ testimony.

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    My recollection from the article was that it was specifically said that the judge did not ask agreement from the parties to run the trial late.

    realist: The only disturbing thing I noted in report of the trial was that the judge held the jury late into the night and completed the trial. Even on that statement we don’t know whether the judge asked the jury and they agreed they’d prefer to go late and finish.

  9. avatar
    realist August 29, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    And what I’m stating, Doc, is that regardless of that report, which is fraught with observances by this unknown which are sensationalized about the trial, such as they had many sidebars and the judge turned off the mic, which is very standard.. no is procedure, and others, I do not believe this person would have any way of knowing whether the judge asked the jury or not. It certainly would not have to have been done in open court.

    Your quote concerns him asking the parties. My statement concerned keeping a jury over without asking. Normally a judge would tell (not ask) the parties what he’s planning to do and then would inquire of the jury if it was okay with them and would base his decision on what the jury stated, not the parties.

    Walter Fitzpatrick claimed he was denied counsel, yet by his own admission he turned down an attorney, stating that his trial could not take place in a TN courtroom, therefore no one could defend him. Yet in the P&E article regarding his trial he was denied counsel.

    Could there be some yahoo renegade court/judge in Madisonville? Of course. I’m simply stating that one should not reach that conclusion based on this article, in my opinion.

    Dr. Conspiracy August 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm (Quote) #

    My recollection from the article was that it was specifically said that the judge did not ask agreement from the parties to run the trial late.

  10. avatar
    realist August 29, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    A link to a brief article from the Advocate and Democrat on the trial. There was apparently a more complete article in Sunday’s paper.

    http://advocateanddemocrat.com/story/22930

    “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 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.