A Felon-free Refresher (or as the postman said, “look at the question behind the question as the real reason”)

February 19, 2011

Jimmy 44 Foster (or Grand Delusions and the Case for Expulsion Presented on a Silver Platter)

Supposedly, all rough ashlars must have within them the potential to be made into a perfect ashlar. 

Factually, not all do.

Per the Florida Digest of Masonic Law Penal Code:

James Anderson “Jimmy” Foster in withholding felony convictions and lack of restoration of full civil rights upon petitioning for membership to Hillsborough Lodge No. 25 in Tampa, Florida violated:


31.03   A Lodge may not receive a petition for the Degrees of Freemasonry from any person who has been convicted of a felony and who has not been restored to full civil rights.



44.07   Obtaining a Degree or Degrees of Freemasonry by fraud, untrue statements of representations or by knowingly concealing and withholding information relevant and material to eligibility for such Degrees is a proper subject for Masonic discipline.

Upon the September, 2009 discovery of his criminal history, Foster initially denied the convictions yet later claimed disclosure of his felonies despite previous secretaries and Past Masters decrying otherwise.

His assertion is subjective given the disappearance of his petition, which seemingly vanished during or within a year of the time in which he was Worshipful Master and his tenant, William P. Jones, was secretary. 

Indulge briefly; suppose Foster did disclose his felonious background without restoration of civil rights and somehow, miraculously survived investigation and ballot:


Per 31.04:  Lodge may receive petition for Degrees of a man convicted of felony provided Lodge has evidence of restoration of petitioner’s civil rights.

Petitioner disclosed conviction of aggravated assault but Lodge received petition, balloted favorably thereon and conferred Entered Apprentice Degree.  Progress of candidate should be suspended since crime of aggravated assault is a felony under state law and action of Lodge was contrary to Regulation 31.03.  Upon proof that candidate has been restored civil rights progress of candidate may be resumed.

Foster’s convictions for aggravated battery and aggravated assault, counts 12 and 18 on the violent crimes list and both of which Foster was convicted on February 3, 1983,  preclude restoration of civil rights.



  •  No violent offenses (see Level I list; please click on the above link to view Levels I and II, Rule 9- Rules of Executive Clemency)
  • Not declared a habitual violent felony offender, a 3-time violent felony offender, violent career criminal, prison releasee reoffender, sexual predator

Enter the following information provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the link for proof that Foster lacks restoration of civil rights: 


Name:  James Anderson Foster

Date of Birth:  12/17/1960

Florida Department of Corrections Identification Number:  0144204

His extensive, violent background (including 3 felony convictions, a 25 year prison sentence, and a 15 year probation term): 


At least 28 Master Masons in good standing were then notified of Foster’s criminal history last September; only 3 are known to have presented the information to the Worshipful Master.

The remaining 25?  One who forthrightly admitted to filing false Masonic charges at Foster’s behest deemed the report a ”vendetta” in which he would not partake.   Another has since advised others to avoid this site. 

It shall be the duty of the Worshipful Master of a Lodge to promptly notify in writing the Grand Master, the Grand Secretary and the District Deputy Grand Master of the District the name and address of any member of his Lodge and the name and address of any unaffiliated Mason residing in the Penal Jurisdiction of his Lodge:
Should the felon’s allegations prove true, Florida’s Grand Master has violated his obligation and the rules and regulations of Masonic law with which he is charged to uphold. 
Thus far, no comment from Grand Lodge.  Except for this delicious Grand Irony:


Herein lies the Grand Master’s opportunity to recover this unfathomable felonious fumble and set precedence.  Felon-free Masonry humbly suggests alternative punishments respectful of Masonic law and befitting Foster’s fraudulent entry into the fraternity: 

A)  Expulsion.  Or as many say, “the obvious choice.” 

B) An indefinite suspension to be lifted only with restoration of full civil rights and offering no re-entry without re-petitioning and re-balloting.  

C) Maintain the five year definite suspension and begin the petitioning process anew.   As Foster appears cocksure of the Craft’s acceptance, submittal to a paid background check, attachment of his Florida Department of Corrections rap sheet to the petition, and re-balloting by an informed Craft pending a positive investigation outcome should pose no threat.  

(1) who is convicted of a criminal offense involving moral turpitude under any State or Federal law, or
(2) who is being charged with any such offense and who enters any plea other than “not guilty,” or
(3) who, when charged with any such offense, enters into a “pre-trial intervention program” or joins in any “plea-bargaining” in which one of the stipulations is that he admits his guilt as to the charges, together with a copy of the charges of which the Brother was convicted, or to which he entered a plea, a copy of the judgement and sentence and other relevant information or a copy of the stipulations of a pre-trial intervention program in which he admitted his guilt as to the charges and in which he may have also agreed to a specified term of probation after which time, and if all the stipulations are satisfied, the charges would be dropped. (1995)
Moral turpitude is that element of an offense that characterizes the act done as an act of depravity, baseness, vileness, wickedness or evil and contrary to the accepted and customary rules of right and justice and violative of the duty between man and man and includes any and all violations of moral law.
 Foster claims that in a private, pre-May 1, 2010 Masonic trial meeting, the Grand Master of Florida allowed him to devise his own (pseudo) punishment:  an alleged five year definite suspension in which two years must be served (pending restoration of full civil rights) with readmittance to the Craft without re-petitioning and re-balloting.  
If true, this directly contradicts 44.21:
Notwithstanding the provisions of Regulation 44.56, any suspension hereunder shall continue until the member has served his sentence of imprisonment, parole and/or probation or had his civil rights restored, whichever last occurs; and the member may not seek reinstatement until one (1) year after expiration of his suspension. The Petition for reinstatement may be filed with the Lodge and take its usual course and the ballot must be unanimous. The timely filing of an appeal of the conviction to the appropriate civil court shall stay action under this Regulation until the appellate process has been concluded.

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