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Monday, September 25, 2017

Republican establishment is clutching its pearls as Luther Strange appears on the ropes in GOP runoff with Roy Moore for Alabama seat in the U.S. Senate

Luther Strange and Donald Trump
(From breitbart.com)
The White House and establishment Republicans are concerned about Luther Strange's chances in tomorrow's Alabama GOP runoff for a seat in the U.S. Senate, according to a new report at Politico. Meanwhile, Breitbart called Donald Trump's endorsement of Strange "tortured" and quoted Trump admitting that he "might have made a mistake" in getting involved with the race.

Strange and Roy Moore square off tomorrow in a runoff that has become the nation's No. 1 political story. The winner will face Democrat Doug Jones, who is as shallow and ethically compromised as either Republican, in the Dec. 12 general election.

Polls have shown Moore as the front-runner in the GOP runoff, and that apparently is causing furrowed brows in the Republican hierarchy. Perhaps Strange should adopt the No. 1 GOP electoral strategy of the past 20 years or so: Keep the race close enough that Karl Rove and his minions can steal it at the 11th hour. Roy Moore and his supporters would be wise to keep an eye out for that one. From Politico:

Top administration officials and allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have spent days poring over public and private polling that shows Moore consistently leading Strange, though the race has tightened, say those familiar with the numbers.

On his way to Huntsville on Air Force One Friday to campaign for Strange, President Donald Trump was joined by a small team of aides that included Rick Dearborn, a veteran of Alabama politics, and Bill Stepien, the White House political director. Both aides, as well as a number of other administration officials, have privately expressed apprehension about the state of the race. Stepien brought a sheaf of the latest polling data.

Are McConnell, Rove, and the Trumpistas getting desperate? It's looking that way:

With Strange on the ropes and time running out, the party has launched a coordinated, scorched-earth campaign to take down Moore. The sheer breadth of the anti-Moore campaign has stunned Alabama’s political class: It includes non-stop TV ads, a meticulously-crafted get-out-the-vote effort, and detailed, oppo-research-filled debate prep sessions for Strange.

Moore, a 70-year-old former state Supreme Court chief justice who rose to national fame after refusing a federal order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from a judicial building, is a staunch social conservative who has called for McConnell’s ouster and lambasted Republican leadership. If he comes out ahead on Tuesday, mainstream Republicans worry it would instigate a broader offensive by the activist right to unseat other GOP incumbents in the 2018 midterms.

"Winning here means we'll be able to focus our energy on defeating Democrats next year, instead of fighting useless and divisive intra-party battles," said Steven Law, a former McConnell chief of staff who serves as president and CEO of the Senate Leadership Fund, which has spent millions of dollars in Alabama.

Republicans could wind up coiled and hissing at each other, like the snakes so many of them tend to be? Gee, wouldn't that be fun?

Moore has hammered Strange for receiving support for national Republicans, casting him as a pawn of the party establishment and especially McConnell. He has framed his campaign as a David vs. Goliath battle that would provide momentum to other insurgents if he wins.

“Everybody in Washington, as I said tonight, is watching this election,” Moore said at a post-debate rally in Montgomery with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “The 2018 senatorial elections are coming up, and they see this could bring a change in our direction for the country. So this is a very important election.”

Moore’s side is gearing up, too. Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, has cut a robocall that's expected to go out to voters starting Monday. And that evening, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who has broken with Trump in the race, will join “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson and Brexit leader Nigel Farage for what is expected to be a raucous pro-Moore rally in Fairhope, Alabama.

Speaking of Bannon, his Breitbart sites says Trump is less-than-enthused about his support of Strange. Polls are showing that Trump's visit to Huntsville, AL, did little to help Strange's chances:

If Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) was hoping for a full-throated, straightforward endorsement from President Trump, he will have been disappointed with the somewhat tortured thumbs-up he received from the president at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, on Friday night. 
Strange, the establishment favorite in the Alabama Senate primary, is trailing in multiple polls to conservative opponent Judge Roy Moore and has clung to Trump’s endorsement as he seeks to sell himself as a candidate who will help drain the swamp and help Trump pass his agenda in Congress. 
Yet Strange’s history as a D.C. lobbyist, his wobbly stance on DACA, and his big-money backing by the establishment GOP has not warmed him to deep-red Alabama Republicans, and he needed a big win from Trump on Friday to get him back on track. 
But while Trump praised Strange as a “real fighter and a real good guy” and a “tough cookie” who “doesn’t deal and kowtow to anyone,” Trump also admitted he may have made a mistake getting involved in the race.

“We have to be loyal in life,” Trump said. “There is something called loyalty, and I might have made a mistake and I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake.”

Critical reporting on Doug Jones draws fire from know-nothing Democrats, but Jill Simpson stands tall on Jones' alliance with GOP bottom-feeder Rob Riley

Doug Jones
Alabama Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones conspired with Republican operative Rob Riley to hurt the chances for reversal on appeal of former governor Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, a retired attorney and prominent whistleblower said in a Facebook post over the weekend.

Dana Jill Simpson, who testified under oath before Congress about a Republican meeting (including Rob Riley) to plan a political prosecution of Siegelman, was responding to attacks against me for my critical reporting of Jones last week. Simpson, by the way, was not the only legal figure with deep knowledge of the Siegelman case to support my reporting on Doug Jones. (More on that in a moment.)

Simpson's comments come as Roy Moore and Luther Strange meet tomorrow in the GOP primary, with the winner to face Jones in the Dec. 12 general election. Moore and Strange offer a laughably bad choice for Alabama voters, but Simpson agreed with my assessment that Jones is not any better. From her Facebook statement:

Tonight I got an email saying Roger Shuler was being hit pretty hard over daring and writing negatively about Doug Jones. As most of y'all know I will not be voting for Doug or Roy or Lying Luther Strange. I think the citizens of the state picked the absolute worst slate of candidates for the Senator race and I don't like any of them enough to turn out and vote. I instead plan on using my pen to get rid of all of them in the next race as Alabamians are not going to be happy with any of these losers.

Why is Simpson down on Doug Jones? She says essentially that Jones jumped in bed with the hideously corrupt Rob Riley so they could garner millions in attorney fees from a civil case against HealthSouth -- by harming Siegelman and Scrushy on appeal of their criminal convictions. Simpson does not provide too many specifics, but she hints that Jones and Riley engaged in, or tried to engage in, obstruction of justice. From the Simpson Facebook statement (with some editing for clarity):

I must admit like Roger I don't like Doug Jones. I watched him run around with Rob Riley and do everything in his power to hurt Mr Scrushy and Mr Siegelman appeal so he and Rob could collect 55 Million in legal fees against Mr Scrushy [and] Healthsouth. I watched him say ugly things about Mr Scrushy in the Village Voice at a critical time during the appeal and I was repeatedly told he told folks in DC I was not believable or ready for Primetime. Well he isn't either in my opinion.

(Note: Public records in the HealthSouth case indicate the legal fees were closer to $50 million. With numerous plaintiffs' lawyers involved, the money was split quite a few ways; it all did not go to Jones and Riley. But they likely made a significant amount, as we explained in an April 2011 post:

As we reported in December 2009, the court awarded almost $28 million in fees and expenses for the plaintiff attorneys in the HealthSouth case. The exact figure was $27,937,317. A recent check of court records reveals that in July 2010 lawyers were awarded another $22,815,000, plus $521,003.17 in expenses--a total of 23,336,003.17.

That brings the grand total, if our math is correct, to $51,273,320.17. It's a massive case, involving 50 to 100 plaintiff lawyers, so the money will be spread around. But court documents indicate that a big chunk of it will go to the lead firms in California and New York and to the co-liaison counsel--Doug Jones and Rob Riley.

(Jones worked at the time with the Birmingham firm of Haskell Slaughter. Records from the Alabama Secretary of State show that Jones formed G. Douglas Jones LLC in November 2008. Sources tell Legal Schnauzer that Jones did that to ensure he would not have to share proceeds from the HealthSouth case with the firm. That sounds like a swell way to endear yourself to co-workers.)

Dana Jill Simpson
(From blogtalkeradio.com)
Jones' skulduggery was not lost on Jill Simpson -- then or now. Jones, she says, is all about the money, and he even will pucker up to Rob Riley's behind in order to get it. From Simpson's Facebook statement:

I additionally have never understood why [Jones] would have extended Mr Siegelman's case time except for the fact that he and Rob had a deal to screw Scrushy to get a big legal fee in a case against Scrushy -- and [it] helped [to have] . . . Scrushy [go to jail], so they could collect a large fee.

As for my reporting on Jones, it came in a post last Thursday that mostly was about the Moore-Strange showdown. Here is a sampler about Doug Jones, and we will be reporting much more between now and Dec. 12;

What about Democrat Doug Jones, who already has a spot in the Dec. 12 general election? Despite a recent poll showing that Jones could make it close against either Moore or Strange, my guess is that he will get swamped by either. On top of that, Jones is a one-trick pony candidate and a sorry human being. He has conned a few Alabamians into believing he stands for social justice and the rule of law because of his ties to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case; Jones constantly brings up the case because, well, he has nothing else to stand on.

Here is the truth about Doug Jones: (1) He's a suck-up to the Riley Political Machine, thanks to his cash-grabbing alliance with Rob Riley in a HealthSouth civil case; (2) He's a cover-up for former UA trustee Paul Bryant Jr. and Bryant's ties to massive insurance fraud. I have asked Jones multiple times the following question: Did you, as U.S. attorney, call off a planned federal investigation of Bryant, based on revelations from the Allen W. Stewart case in Philadelphia, in which Bryant's company (Alabama Reassurance) was implicated? Jones has refused to answer the question -- and that's because he had become U.S. attorney in the Bill Clinton administration when the Stewart case ended, and that's when the Bryant investigation was called off. It's hard to think of anyone, besides Doug Jones, who could have made that decision.

The Stewart case meant tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of Americans were left with worthless life-insurance policies. But evidence strongly suggests Doug Jones was more interested in protecting Paul Bryant Jr. than enforcing the law. If you still think Jones is a good dude, ask Don Siegelman about the $300,000 Jones charged him for criminal defense -- and accomplished little beyond helping the prosecution (while praising the despicable Bill Pryor) with its statute of limitations problems. Within Siegelman's inner circle, it widely is thought that the former governor never would have been convicted had his original defense lawyer, David Cromwell Johnson, not died. (And that makes you wonder if Johnson died of natural causes.) Anyone who thinks highly of Don Siegelman -- and still supports Doug Jones in the Senate race -- is blindingly ignorant, easily duped, or both.

That did not sit well with certain Democrats who apparently know little about Jones, beyond his involvement in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case. Jill Simpson and I have seen a side of Doug Jones that he tries to keep hidden from everyday Democrats. Andrew Kreig, a lawyer and journalist who publishes the D.C.-based Justice Integrity Project, also has seen the ugly side of Doug Jones. Here is an Andrew Kreig Facebook comment on Jill Simpson's statement:

I believe what Jill says about the relevant history of Doug Jones, Roger Shuler and the overall circumstances of the Siegelman case. I can appreciate how Alabama Democrats can feel fortunate to have a relatively rich candidate in Doug Jones, and one who comes with the Birmingham Klan victory and good connections with DC Democrats. But it's important to think about how a lot of that money was made -- from the Scrushy case as co-counsel with Rob Riley -- and some of the rest of that history. More generally, part of the reason the Democratic Party is in such trouble nationally is that they've been picking deeply flawed candidates like this. Readers here may believe it's too late to do anything. But one thing people could do is not to blame Roger for pointing out, as here, things people need to know and letting the chips fall where they may.

As for Jill Simpson's thoughts on Doug Jones, she has much more to say. More on that subject is coming shortly.

(To be continued)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Subject of law-enforcement violence against Carol, leading to her broken arm and surgery, takes center stage at hearing yesterday in Greene County, MO

Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto
Police violence against my wife, Carol -- and not the assault "cover charge" cops caused to be brought against her -- was the focus of a hearing yesterday at the Greene County Courthouse in Springfield, Missouri.

It was the first time Carol's injuries -- her left arm was broken so severely that it required hospitalization and trauma surgery (see here and here) -- have been revealed or discussed in court. What impact did that have on Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto? She has a pretty good poker face on the bench, so it's hard to answer that question. But a reasonable person might have thought, "The cops claim Mrs. Shuler assaulted one of their own -- Officer Jeremy Lynn -- and yet Mrs. Shuler was the one who wound up in the hospital, with a broken arm that required surgery. Who assaulted whom here, and did cops push for criminal charges against Mrs. Shuler to help cover up their brutal acts against her?"

Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Jain has been stonewalling on producing discovery in the case, so Public Defender Patty Poe filed a Motion to Compel on Carol's behalf, and a hearing on that motion was conducted yesterday. Discussion quickly turned toward the injuries Carol sustained during our unlawful eviction from a duplex apartment, owned by landlord Trent Cowherd, in September 2015. (Motion to Compel is embedded at the end of this post.)

Oral argument centered around four items the prosecution has failed to produce, and Poe spells them out in items 6 and 7, on page 2 of the motion:

6. Additionally, Ms. Poe emailed Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Jain for additional discovery that falls outside of the media category. [Exhibit B].

7. That request included:

a. Copies of all communications between or among the Greene County Sheriff's Office regarding the eviction dated September 9, 2015.

b. Notes or reports from Deputy Scott Harrison regarding Mrs. Shuler's injuries.

c. Statements of any officer present at the scene on September 9, 2015.

d. Citizen complaints or allegations of excessive violence or force by the Greene County Sheriff's Office in the past five years.

Palmietto took the matter under advisement and scheduled the next appearance for Oct. 4. (See docket entries for 1631-CR07731 - ST V CAROL T SHULER at case.net.) The judge appeared set to order production of items a, b, and c. Item d was the main point of contention.

Jain argued that citizen complaints of excessive force were not relevant, based primarily on his interpretation of a case styled State ex rel. City of Springfield v. Brown, 181 SW 3d 219 (Mo. Court of Appeals, Southern Dist., 1st Div. 2005) Poe argued that Carol's injuries made any citizen complaints about excessive force relevant. From the Motion to Compel:

10. The last requested piece of material consists of citizen complaints or allegations of excessive violence or force by the Greene County Sheriff's Office in the last five years. The reason for such a request is based on the fact that after this altercation between Ms. Shuler and the Greene County Sheriff's Office, Ms. Shuler had to be taken to the hospital for a broken arm.

Our impression was that this might have been the first time Palmietto (or Jain, for that matter) had heard about Carol's injuries. They were mentioned prominently, with copies of X-rays, in at least one motion Carol filed while acting pro se. (See Amended Motion to Dismiss Charges Under Missouri's Castle Doctrine Law . . . ) Unfortunately, we've seen no sign that Palmietto has read any of Carol's pro se motions; the judge certainly has not heard oral argument on any of them, or ruled on them.

What do yesterday's developments mean for a bogus criminal case we've had hanging over our heads for eight months now? That the judge now knows Carol was brutalized by Greene County deputies seems to be a positive. At the same time, we continue to pick up troubling vibes from those involved in the case.

Carol filed pro se documents in March, April, and May that should have led to the case being dismissed; by law, it should not have dragged on this long. But Palmietto seems to have ignored those motions, and both she and Poe seem fine with the case going to trial -- even though the case cannot go to trial, on multiple constitutional and state-law grounds.

So, where is this case headed? You might say that Carol and I are "traffled" -- a combination of troubled and baffled. About all we can say for sure is that we should know more on Oct. 4

Black Wednesday for "Big Lutha": Breitbart News plans to go negative on Strange Senate campaign, while finance chair Mike Thompson is linked to nonprofit at the heart of Superfund bribery scandal

Luther Strange and Roy Moore
The Luther Strange U.S. Senate campaign took two blows to the chin yesterday. If we're lucky, one or both will prove to be a knockout blow for "Big Lutha." Win or lose, Strange surely will maintain his spot among the five most vapid, craven, and morally bankrupt political candidates in Alabama history -- and you have to work to earn those spots.

Does this mean I'm pulling for Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore in the Sept. 26 Republican run-off? "Pulling" isn't exactly the right word, but if Luther Strange is the alternative, count me in for Roy Moore.

What about Democrat Doug Jones, who already has a spot in the Dec. 12 general election? Despite a recent poll showing that Jones could make it close against either Moore or Strange, my guess is that he will get swamped by either. On top of that, Jones is a one-trick pony candidate and a sorry human being. He has conned a few Alabamians into believing he stands for social justice and the rule of law because of his ties to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case; Jones constantly brings up the case because, well, he has nothing else to stand on.

Here is the truth about Doug Jones: (1) He's a suck-up to the Riley Political Machine, thanks to his cash-grabbing alliance with Rob Riley in a HealthSouth civil case; (2) He's a cover-up for former UA trustee Paul Bryant Jr. and Bryant's ties to massive insurance fraud. I have asked Jones multiple times the following question: Did you, as U.S. attorney, call off a planned federal investigation of Bryant, based on revelations from the Allen W. Stewart case in Philadelphia, in which Bryant's company (Alabama Reassurance) was implicated? Jones has refused to answer the question -- and that's because he had become U.S. attorney in the Bill Clinton administration when the Stewart case ended, and that's when the Bryant investigation was called off. It's hard to think of anyone, besides Doug Jones, who could have made that decision.

The Stewart case meant tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of Americans were left with worthless life-insurance policies. But evidence strongly suggests Doug Jones was more interested in protecting Paul Bryant Jr. than enforcing the law. If you still think Jones is a good dude, ask Don Siegelman about the $300,000 Jones charged him for criminal defense -- and accomplished little beyond helping the prosecution (while praising the despicable Bill Pryor) with its statute of limitations problems. Within Siegelman's inner circle, it widely is thought that the former governor never would have been convicted had his original defense lawyer, David Cromwell Johnson, not died. (And that makes you wonder if Johnson died of natural causes.) Anyone who thinks highly of Don Siegelman -- and still supports Doug Jones in the Senate race -- is blindingly ignorant, easily duped, or both.

As for Luther Strange, here is how his "Black Wednesday" went: First, we learned that Breitbart News and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon have vowed to attack "Big Lutha," even though he is Donald Trump's favored candidate. News on that front can be found at a CNN report titled "Bannon orders Breitbart to step up negative coverage of Trump-backed candidate." Ouch! Then came word that Mike Thompson, Strange campaign finance chair, is listed on federal tax documents as an officer in a nonprofit agency prosecutors say was used to bribe former State Rep. Oliver Robinson. That makes the second time Strange's name publicly has been linked to the evolving Birmingham Superfund scandal -- and it probably makes sphincters tighten on the campaign team.

What is the gist of Breitbart's plans to bash "Big Lutha"? This is from CNN:

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Tuesday morning ordered top editors at Breitbart to step up its overwhelmingly negative coverage of the Alabama Senate candidate backed by President Trump, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.

Trump has endorsed Luther Strange in the race that will decide who will fill the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became attorney general. Bannon, who returned to Breitbart as executive chairman following his exit from the White House, is supporting anti-establishment candidate Judge Roy Moore.

Shortly after Bannon told top editors to increase the site's volume of reporting on the race, Matthew Boyle, Breitbart's Washington editor, told staff "the only story that matters until next week is Alabama."

"As of now, everyone is working on the Alabama race," Boyle wrote in a message obtained by CNN in the company's internal Slack channel. "If anyone has any questions please let me know."

The "only story that matters is Alabama"? Wow, the Breitbart crowd is taking this seriously. (Hmmm . . . wonder if Boyle knows about the Luther Strange/Jessica Garrison extramarital affair?) Why is Breitbart intent on going after Strange -- not that he doesn't deserve it?

Bannon and his allies are readying primary challenges against Republican senators, a person close to Bannon told CNN earlier this month. Bannon has said he does not believe the Republican establishment supports Trump and has promised to fight for the ideas that got him elected from outside the White House.

"They do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented," Bannon said during a recent "60 Minutes" interview. "It's very obvious."

So, Bannon plans to bash Trump's candidate for Trump's own good? Does anybody believe that? Sounds to me like Bannon has a mad-on over being booted from his cushy White House gig -- and this is his way of getting back at, not helping, Trump. If Luther Strange gets caught in the cross fire? Well, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Steve Bannon
(From theatlantic.com)
Meanwhile, the Mike Thompson story might prove to be more troublesome for Luther Strange than anything Steve Bannon can concoct. From a report at al.com:

Neither prosecutors nor court documents have said Thompson was in any way involved in the bribery scheme, but tax records show he was one of only two officers for the Alliance for Jobs and the Economy. According to the nonprofit's tax filings, Thompson served as secretary for the AJE from its incorporation in 2015 through at least the end of 2016, the time period when, prosecutors say, every dollar raised by the nonprofit was used to buy influence from then-state Rep. Oliver Robinson.

Strange named Thompson to lead his campaign's Financial Leadership Committee in June.

"Mike not only played a crucial role in President W. Bush's re-election campaign in 2004, he also has a proven track record of helping conservative Republicans win in Alabama," Strange said in a press release announcing the appointment in June.

The Thompson story originated with the D.C.-based Project for Government Oversight (POGO). From the POGO report, which hits close to home for a number of major names in Alabama -- including Jeff Sessions, Drummond Co., and Balch Bingham:

Thompson isn’t Strange’s only link to the bribery investigation. In late 2014 and early 2015, as Alabama’s Attorney General, Strange took official acts to oppose the EPA’s proposed actions at the Superfund site around the same time he took a total of $50,000 in campaign contributions from Drummond.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s Northern District Jay Town, who was confirmed by the Senate in August, both have personal and political connections to parties that have a stake in the outcome of the investigation. POGO has called for them to recuse themselves from the investigation. The investigation is being run by the U.S. Attorney’s Office now headed by Town.

As POGO and others have previously reported, Drummond Co. and Balch were among two of Sessions’ top campaign funding sources over the course of his Senate career.

Thompson has also made campaign contributions to Sessions.

Many Balch partners have worked directly for Sessions; a top Sessions deputy runs the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and was a Balch lobbyist until Inauguration Day (that deputy has recused himself from any matter involving Balch, including the Birmingham Superfund issue).

As for Town, he has advised Strange on political campaigns, and Strange supported Town’s nomination as U.S. Attorney.

Where is the Superfund scandal headed? That's hard to say, but POGO puts matters in perspective:

The DOJ began and publicly announced its investigation prior to Town’s confirmation as U.S. Attorney.

“This case gets at the heart of public corruption in Alabama,” Acting U.S. Attorney Robert Posey, a career official, said in June.

With Robinson’s guilty plea and pledge to cooperate with federal investigators, the investigation is now more likely to threaten members of Alabama’s political establishment and its key business allies. But parties connected to the case, such as Sessions, are in positions to influence the investigation’s direction. U.S. Attorney Town, a political appointee with no civil service protections who can be fired at will by Sessions, could also simply think twice about pursuing leads that would take him higher up the food chain from Robinson and could threaten his and Sessions’ political benefactors.

The Bannon story might cause headaches for Strange between now and next Tuesday. But the Superfund story could produce headaches that last much longer than that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

When my brothers' bogus reports to our health-care provider didn't result in much, they contacted cops directly to claim Carol and I were mentally unstable

David Shuler
(From linkedin.com)
How desperate were my brothers to portray Carol and me as threats to law enforcement regarding our unlawful eviction in September 2015?Documents obtained via discovery in the bogus "assault" case against Carol reveal they were pretty darned desperate.

My brothers contacted Burrell Behavioral Health to report a "threat" we had never made -- and on top of that, we likely had withdrawn permission for Burrell to communicate with any of my family members. According to 911 records, that resulted in a finding that I had no significant call history, and "no other police action [would be] taken at this time." To be precise, there probably was no call history at all on me, and no police action ever was taken -- much less "other" police action.

So, it seems my brothers' efforts to cause a stir failed, but they didn't stop there, according to police documents. What would make David Shuler (an attorney, with an apparently busy divorce practice) and Paul Shuler (who long has worked as a radiology technician at Mercy Hospital Springfield) spread word that we were dangerous, without any evidence to support that?

The scary and disturbing question in my mind is this: Were they trying to get us killed, and if so, who put that notion in their minds? If that was their plan, it damn near worked. A thuggish cop almost ripped Carol's left arm apart at the elbow, requiring trauma surgery. And another cop barged into our home and pointed an assault rifle at my head, with his finger on the trigger. The slightest bump or flick could have caused my brains to land all over the wall behind me.

Calling our health-care provider did not accomplish much, so David and Paul apparently tried calling cops directly. (Documents are embedded at the end of this post.) This is from Deputy Debi Wade's written report, dated 9/10/15, the day after our eviction:

On August 30, 2015, we received the Writ of Execution to post at the residence. It was posted by Deputy Harrison on the morning of September 1, 2015, with a deadline date of 09-09-15 @ 9 a.m. given. Between the 1st and the 9th of September, two deputies with our agency were contacted by two different brothers to Roger Shuler. The brothers . . . both wanted to warn deputies that their brother was mentally unstable. They both stated that they feared for our officer's safety during the eviction. I was told that one of the brothers stated that Roger's wife Carol had the same mental instability and belief system as Roger and would more than likely go along with whatever her husband did or said. We were not aware that Roger had a wife in the home up to that point.

This is pretty mind-blowing stuff, so let's try to digest it:

(1) Between Sept. 1-9, roughly three weeks after the 911 call from Burrell hadn't accomplished much, both of my brothers contacted deputies to claim I was mentally unstable. What evidence did they present of that? We have no idea.

(2) Why did my brothers consider it their concern to worry about officer safety? Most officers have the equipment and training to take care of their own safety, right? Were my brothers at all concerned about the legality of the planned eviction or danger to OUR safety that their call was causing? Doesn't sound like it. Perhaps they wanted us to be in danger.

(3) Carol and I have a "belief system" that makes us a threat? What the hell belief system is that -- being a Democrat, expecting courts and law enforcement to act without corruption? Has our country dropped into such a hole that these "beliefs" and expectations are considered unusual, even threatening? Sheesh.

What about the words of Deputy Scott Harrison, who seems to have been involved in this up to his eyeballs? The first word of a 911 call came via an e-mail from David Shuler, based on information supposedly provided by Scott Harrison -- and it claimed I had issued a threat via 911, which even officers now seem to admit was false. Harrison notes the "threat" was issued via a 911 call from Burrell Health, and then writes:

Roger's brothers, David Shuler and Paul Shuler, had also both independently expressed concerns for our officers' safety due to this threat made by Roger to harm the Law Enforcement officers tasked with enforcing the eviction. David Shuler and Paul Shuler both advised that they were unaware of whether or not Roger owned any guns or other weapons, but both felt he was capable of carrying out his threats given his current mental state and psychological issues. We were . . . told that Roger Shuler's wife Carol also suffered from mental illness.

What jumps out here?

(1) Harrison fails to mention that, based on records of the 911 call, David and Paul created the "threat" out of thin air. There is zero evidence that I made such a threat.

(2) David and Paul admit they have no idea whether I have any weaponry to carry out a "threat." In fact, I didn't and never have. Ironically, Paul is the gun nut in our family; he has taken several trips out west to shoot moose, elk, and other animals. But he thinks I have an issue with guns?

(3) What makes Paul and David experts on my mental state, or Carol's? Since we've been in Missouri, we've barely spoken three sentences to either of them. Neither ever has voiced the slightest concern about Carol's shattered arm, or that I came close to having my head blown off with an assault rifle.

Let's not leave out the words of Officer Jeremy Lynn, who also referenced the 911 call, noting supposed "violence" that seems to have grown from David and Paul's fertile imaginations:

In addition to the above information, two of Mr. Shuler's brothers, one of which is an attorney, had contacted members of the Sheriff's Office to share the fear they had of what he may do during the eviction process to law enforcement.

Probably unknown to Officer Lynn -- it's a matter of public record, via a vicious ex parte letter to the judge in our eviction case -- is that David Shuler was working against us and in favor of landlord Trent Cowherd. And he was doing so, even though Cowherd's eviction action was unlawful on four grounds at the time, with two more (a. acting before rent was at least one month late; b. acting contrary to Missouri's Castle Doctrine Law) discovered later.

The actions of my brothers, according to law-enforcement records, were so outrageous that I'm left with two alarming questions: (1) Were they trying to get us killed? and (2) On whose behalf were they working? It certainly wasn't ours.

If there are other explanations for their actions, I can't think of any.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Smashing Siegelman interview: Shining light on Charlton Heston, Jeff Sessions (gov. in '06?), and a new GOP whistleblower (in addition to Jill Simpson)

Don Siegelman
(Image by Marc Parker,
A 2002 endorsement from actor and NRA president Charlton Heston might have been the spark that caused Republicans to concoct a political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

Jeff Sessions, then a U.S. senator and now Trump attorney general, might have played a larger role in the Siegelman prosecution than generally is realized, partly because Sessions was interested in running for governor in 2006.

A new Republican whistleblower has emerged to state under oath that Alabama GOP officials scheduled a meeting to discuss a plan to indict Siegelman in the midst of the 2006 election; this sworn statement, which we have not yet seen, appears to largely confirm Jill Simpson's testimony about a similar meeting, involving Bill Canary, Rob Riley, and other GOP luminaries.

Those are three key takeaways from a fascinating new interview with Siegelman by Marc and Melissa Parker, who publish Smashing Interviews (SI) magazine from their base in Calera, Alabama. This interview truly is smashing, in the most positive sense of the word. It's one of  the most insightful interviews I've read or heard with Siegelman. The former governor seems most comfortable in the print-interview environment, where he can explain himself without commercial interruptions. The Parkers prove to be top-notch miners, searching for journalistic gold among the ruins of a once promising political career, hijacked by Karl Rove and other Republican thugs. They come away with a number of gleaming nuggets, items that are not widely known about the Siegelman odyssey. For example:

Charlton Heston is onboard

Siegelman became the only Democrat in 2002 to receive an endorsement from Charlton Heston. That, Siegelman believes, had major repercussions. Siegelman provides rather lengthy background on what led to the Heston endorsement. But the big story involves the possible fallout. From SI:

It’s a long story. But I honestly think that was when Rove said, “Get that son of a bitch! Kill him!” They were so shocked and could not believe I pulled that off.

My wife and I flew down to Mobile and met Charlton Heston at the hotel. The next morning, he stood before the cameras and endorsed me. I swear I think that’s when they went crazy and said, “We need to make sure we have plan B in place.” Plan B was to steal the election. Having done a pretty good job as governor and having woven my way through the political landmines, I thought it was time for me to challenge Bush on education, the economy and those stupid wars that he got us in that was going to bankrupt us and stir up a hornet’s nest. This was in December of 2002. I made the same speech to the Democratic Governors Association, but obviously I hadn’t been elected, but I was still determined.

Jeff Sessions for governor in 2006?

After Republican operatives stole the 2002 election for Bob Riley, the GOP governor promptly fell into disfavor because of his attempts at tax reform. With Riley cratering in the polls, another Republican thought about jumping into the breach for the 2006 race. That, Siegelman says, was U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions. Siegelman is asked, "So all the dots definitely connect back to Karl Rove?" Here, in part, is Siegelman's response:

All I can say is Karl Rove had to vet Bill Pryor for his judgeship for the Eleventh Circuit. Interestingly enough, as soon as he was appointed, Jeff Sessions made the comment, “We would’ve gotten Bill on the bench earlier, but we needed a Republican governor in place first.” That was 2003. You will remember that Bob Riley pushed his $2 billion tax bill and his popularity sank. My popularity rose. The political surveys in 2003 showed that I was going to just beat the stew out of him in 2006.

At that point, the state Republican Party chairman, Marty Connors, was summoned to Jeff Sessions’ office in Washington where they had a discussion about the parameters under which Jeff would run against me in 2006. Sessions told Connors, “I want a close field for the Republican primary. If Riley is out of there, I’ll leave my Senate seat. I’ll run for governor.” Maybe the discussion centered around who he’d appoint as governor to fill his unexpired term in the US Senate. At that point, Sessions was interested in running for governor in 2006.

Did Sessions want Siegelman out of the way to enhance his own ambitions for the governor's office? Siegelman doesn't go quite that far in the SI interview, but one gets the feeling he is holding some ammunition in reserve. Sessions already is reeling from his connections to Trump and RussiaGate. Being unmasked as a criminal conspirator in the Siegelman case could prove devastating for the man who is supposed to be the nation's top law-enforcement officer.

We suspect the name Marty Connors will come up again in the Siegelman story. He was Alabama GOP chair from 2001 to 2005. Our advice? Remember that name.

Move over Jill Simpson, here comes another GOP whistleblower

Siegelman is asked if Alabama Republicans launched his political prosecution or if it came from Washington, D.C., via orders from George W. Bush to Karl Rove. Here, in part, is Siegelman's reply:

I’m not sure what came first. I do know that Karl Rove said his job was to protect the president politically, and we’ve got sworn testimony that he had directed the Department of Justice to pursue me. There’s another Republican whistleblower that said Rove was invited to a meeting by the Alabama Republican Party chairman where it was to be discussed how they could use Leura Canary to indict me in the middle of the election. He said that Karl Rove was supposed to be in the meeting along with Bob Riley and some other people. I think he mentioned Michael Scanlon.

We think the identity of the second Republican whistleblower -- notice Siegelman's use of the pronoun "he" -- will become known before too long. The whistleblower's statement could become a central part of the former governor's effort to seek justice for having his career ruined and his life (and his family members' lives) turned upside down.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bogus 911 call related to our eviction case came from Burrell Behavioral Health -- with help from my brothers -- and it damned near got Carol and me killed

Burrell Behavioral Health
(From psychologyinterns.org)
If I didn't make a 911 call or communicate a threat to law-enforcement officials -- and their written statements via discovery in my wife, Carol's "assault" case indicate that I didn't -- then who did?  The discovery documents present so many varieties of the story that it's hard to nail down the answer. But it appears the 911 call and information about an alleged threat came from: (A) My health-care provider; and (B) My brothers.

Do the documents provide any evidence that I actually communicated an unlawful threat to anyone? Nope. But officers used information based on fourth- or fifth-hand hearsay to justify barging into our home and pointing assault rifles and pistols at us. (Documents are embedded at the end of this post.)

In other words, an individual from Burrell Behavioral Health and my brothers (Paul and David) damned near got us killed.

Records show that the 911 call came at about 10:22 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2015, from a Burrell Health case manager named Joshua Davis. Here is the key note regarding the call:

CLR (caller) is a Burrell case manager. SUS (suspect) threatened to shoot anyone who came to evict them. There is an eviction notice on the door.

SUS: DOB 1956. MW, 55-60, gray hair, he owns a gun, prescription medication for PTSD and depression. Last spoke to Roger on 8/4/15. Roger's relatives called Josh with Burrell to report threats. Burrell made a Dept. of Health and Senior Services on (sic) 8/7/15

Roger's phone number is 205-381-5673.

What do we learn here:

(1) I (the "suspect") supposedly threatened to shoot anyone who came to evict us, but there is zero information about how Burrell would know that. There also is no evidence;

(2) I supposedly own a gun. The truth: I've never owned a gun in my life, unless you count the B-B gun I got as a Christmas gift when I was about 12 years old. I didn't own a gun at the time of the call, and I don't own a gun now.

(3) I've taken prescription medication for PTSD and depression. That medication was prescribed via Burrell. Millions of America's take medication for those conditions. Does that mean we all are "armed and dangerous"?

(4) My relatives (likely my brothers) called Josh Davis to report threats. This indicates no one at Burrell reported hearing such a threat from me. They heard something third- or fourth-hand and decided to call 911 based on their "duty to warn" protocol. Do they have a "duty to get the truth" protocol? Apparently not.

(5) Burrell had my phone number and could have called me to ask about this. Instead, they put my life (and Carol's life) at risk by calling 911 when they had no remotely direct evidence for doing so.

Let's establish a couple of key facts here:

(1) I've spoken with Josh Davis one time in my life, and it was via phone about an issue related to Carol's social worker. It was long before the eviction issue ever arose, and it had nothing to do with guns, threats, medication, or anything related to that. Our understanding is that Josh Davis has left Burrell, and that probably is a good thing. One wonders if he left of his own accord.

(2) I've never communicated with my brothers, or any other family member, about a threat or any other possible response to an eviction.

(3) I'm pretty sure Burrell had no release from us to talk to any member of my family. When we first became engaged with Burrell, we left it open for them to speak with family members. But we got a report that my lawyer/brother, David, called a caseworker and said I had asked him to call her. That was a lie, and we then signed papers instructing Burrell not to discuss our care with family members or anyone else. At the time Josh Davis took the call from my "relatives," I'm pretty sure we had withdrawn approval for such communications. But Davis went ahead and not only talked to them -- against our instructions -- but called 911 about us, with zero evidence of a "threat." That might help explain why Davis no longer is at Burrell.

What would make my brothers think Carol and I were a threat to anyone? I don't know, but it seems to be a notion they simply pulled out of their asses. Documents suggest my brothers certainly tried to portray us as threats -- even though they had zero evidence to support it.

The 911 records conclude with this notation: "No significant call history of Roger Shuler, senior services and county already notified. No other police action to be taken at this time."

That, however, does not mean my brothers were finished trying to incite violence against Carol and me. It makes you wonder if they wanted to get us killed.

(To be continued)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Missouri blogger Randy Turner gets punched in the face by a man apparently upset about reporting on sexual-harassment lawsuit involving Sonic Drive-In

Randy Turner
(From The Turner Report)
A Missouri blogger heard a knock on his door Monday afternoon and answered, only to be greeted by a stranger who punched him in the face.

Randy Turner, who publishes Joplin-based The Turner Report, reportedly told police he thought the assault was related to his recent reporting on a sexual-harassment lawsuit involving a former supervisor at a Sonic Drive-In.  The Joplin Police Department yesterday afternoon issued an arrest warrant for Christopher Alred, 31, of Springfield, MO., the former Sonic supervisor who is a defendant in the federal lawsuit.

The punch knocked Turner to the ground, causing a knee injury and black eye, according to a report at the Springfield News-Leader. Turner said in a blog post that he expects to be fine. But the incident is another example of the dangers that can confront bloggers who tackle sensitive subjects -- a topic we know a lot about. From the Springfield newspaper report:

[Turner] said he feels fortunate that Monday's incident was not worse.

"This guy took a punch at me because I stupidly opened the door without looking through the peephole," Turner said.

Turner said he will now be more cautious when opening his door, but he said the assault will not deter him from reporting on controversial topics. He said he has been a reporter for the last 40 years and has operated his blog since 2003.

What events preceded the assault? Here is how Turner describes it in a post yesterday:

Alred, who formerly worked as a supervisor at the Rangeline Sonic, 1101 S. Range Line, was the subject of Turner Report posts Sunday and Monday noting that he was one of the defendants in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former Sonic carhop, that he was facing charges of statutory sodomy for a forced encounter with that same carhop, and that he was charged August 27 with his sixth DWI when the Sarcoxie Police Department arrested him for allegedly driving drunk while his eight-year-old daughter was in the back seat.

Turner's reporting on the federal lawsuit against Sonic and others began with a Sunday post, titled "Explosive lawsuit claim: Pervasive sexual harassment at Rangeline Sonic led to two rapes of underage girls." The headline was an attention-grabber, and so was the content:

A lawsuit filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri this week claims management at Rangeline Sonic, Joplin failed to do anything about a culture of sexual harassment and that inaction led to the rape of two underage girls by a 30-year-old supervisor.

The supervisor, Chris Alred, a former Joplin resident, who now lives in Springfield, is facing felony statutory sodomy charges in Jasper County Circuit Court in connection with his actions toward the plaintiff in the lawsuit, who was only 16 when the crime allegedly occurred.

According to the petition, the teenager began working at the Sonic at 1101 S. Range Line in late spring 2015 and heard "various sexual jokes made between managers and staff, including minors."

It was not long before she became the target of sexual jokes, the lawsuit says, and was referred to as "a slut" because she had been involved in a relationship at one time with another car hop.

The second lawsuit-related post came on Monday, titled "Sonic supervisor cited in sexual harassment lawsuit cited for sixth DWI." From that post:

A former Joplin Rangeline Sonic manager charged with statutory sodomy for allegedly forcing a teenage carhop to perform a sexual act is free after posting bond, but that may change.

Chris Alred
(From The Turner Report)
 The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney is asking that the bond of Christopher Alred, 31, Springfield, (formerly of Joplin and Carthage) be revoked after the Sarcoxie Police Department arrested Alred August 27 for driving while intoxicated. . . .

A primary reason for revoking the bond, it is made clear in the motion is Alred's long history of driving while intoxicated.

The probable cause statement for Alred's most recent arrest, shows that he has pleaded guilty to DWI charges five times, along with another guilty plea to amended excessive blood alcohol content.

Do we live in an age where writing a blog post, based on public records, is a threat to your safety? This is from another Turner post:

When I opened the door and the man asked, "Are you Mr. Turner?" and I said I was, bringing on the punch that floored me, it was not just an aging blogger who was attacked -- it was the First Amendment.

The man waited until he had it confirmed that the person looking at him was the person who had written the post or posts that did not meet with his approval. (Note: Police do have a specific suspect.) Then he attacked. . . .

Randy Turner being attacked is no big deal. Someone being attacked for reporting the facts is. And please, let's drop the negative commenters' self-serving claims that I am writing a bunch of lies. In posts like the ones that brought on the assault, every item in them comes directly from public records.

There is a reason why these records are public, even though sometimes they make us uncomfortable.

Kristen Lawrence Milling might have a snazzy job at Spire Energy, but her words sound a lot like her dumb-ass uncle, Mike McGarity -- the guy with the extensive criminal record who launched our legal nightmare

Kristen and Chris Milling
Kristen Lawrence Milling has two accounting degrees from Auburn University, designation as a certified public accountant, and a snazzy job at Spire Energy, parent company for Alabama Gas. She obviously isn't stupid. But comments she left here at Legal Schnauzer sound a lot like words I've heard from the mouth of Mike McGarity, her dumb-ass uncle and our former criminal neighbor -- the guy more responsible than anyone else for our legal nightmares of 17 years, and counting.

While Kristen Milling's words are more eloquently stated than anything Mike McGarity would be capable of, they reflect a mindset that is just like his. If she hadn't told me who she was -- and someone had told me, "Guess what family this young woman is from," I think I would have gotten it correctly in a matter of seconds.

Ironically, Mike McGarity also somehow managed to land a job in corporate Birmingham, with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BCBSA). How he managed to do that, while having at least eight criminal convictions on his record, remains a mystery. As a regional Medicare administrator, BCBSA is subject to strict federal oversight of its hiring practices. That is particularly true because various "Blues" around the country have experienced employee fraud, including a 2009 case in South Carolina. According to a whistleblower complaint from former auditor Frank E. Body, fraud has found a home at BC/BS of Alabama, too. With that as background, what does BCBSA spokesperson Koko Mackin think of McGarity's criminal record, which even includes getting into a fight at a gay nightclub in Birmingham? We intend to find out, soon.

As for Kristen Milling, what prompted her to write? It appears she was displeased that I had included the names of her mother (Nancy McGarity Lawrence, Mike's sister) and her grandfather (Edmund C. McGarity, Mike's father) in a post about the criminal histories of Mike and his three brothers (all Kristen's uncles). How did Kristen express her displeasure? Let's take a look at the first comment she left at 2:50 a.m. on July 17, 2017:

Kristen Milling has left a new comment on your post "Here's the Story of Family Dysfunction Behind My N...":

I am Nancy McGarity's daughter and am saddened by the hate you have for my family. For her to be pulled in this article, my grandad, and the rest of my family is so hurtful. I can't imagine how you or your loved ones would feel to have an article like this published about your family. I hope you can put yourself in others shoes and realize the frivolousness of this all. There is more to life than to waste so much time being hateful. I pray that love can be replaced by your hate as there is an exhaustion and burden that comes from exerting so much hate toward a family. I am deeply hurt by the statements made by my family. Deeply hurt. Prayers for you and your family to find compassion and not take your anger out on people you don't even know. God bless you.

Posted by Kristen Milling to Legal Schnauzer at July 17, 2017 at 2:50 AM

What do we learn from this comment? Here are several points that jump out at me:

(1) Kristen claims I have "hate" for her family, but she never points to anything in the post that is untrue or malicious;

(2) Kristen claims it is "hurtful" that I included mentions of her mother and grandfather in the post. But they are (or were) Mike McGarity's sister and father. One point of the post is to describe the environment in which Mike McGarity and his three brothers, all with criminal records, grew up. Nancy and Edmund McGarity were right in the middle of it. That's true, it's a matter of public record, and Kristen makes no claim otherwise. Carol and I lived next to Mike McGarity for roughly 15 years, and we took the the brunt of his belligerent, antagonistic, disrespectful, dysfunctional personality. Our impression is that members of the McGarity family have known about Mike's tendency to bully others, but they've done nothing about it. Now, Kristen claims my reporting on her family's blindness is "hurtful," showing no interest in the "hurt" Mike McGarity has caused for others.

(3) Kristen wonders how I would feel if an article like this had been published about my family. Well, thanks to issues that started with her uncle, I unlawfully was thrown in jail for five months in Shelby County, and that received international news coverage, with my mugshot spread all over the Web. My wife, Carol, has twice been unlawfully arrested and incarcerated in Missouri, with her mugshot spread around the Web. Neither of us committed a crime or even a civil wrong. We've been beaten -- Carol's arm has been broken -- all because of false charges brought against us. Yet, everything I've written about the McGarity family is true, and Kristen makes no attempt to claim otherwise. But she wants to lecture me about the "hurt" her family has felt? Puh-leeze.

(4) Kristen claims our issues caused by her uncle are "frivolous." She thinks having your jobs and your house stolen from you, largely because of her uncle, is frivolous? She thinks me being beaten up and kidnapped from my home -- and Carol having her arm broken by Missouri deputies -- is frivolous? Perhaps this young woman is in the dark about the reality of what has happened to us because of Mike McGarity. Maybe she doesn't care enough to educate herself about the issues. But her use of the word frivolous suggests a shallow mind that cares only about her little world -- and nothing that goes beyond that.

Mike McGarity:
A criminal in the making
(5) The rest of the comment consists of Kristen offering up prayers, that I will find the "compassion" to overlook the ruination her uncle has brought upon us. This points to a form of "Christianity" that is about as deep as a mud puddle. It consists of simplistic platitudes that require nothing of Kristen. It allows her to focus on her own "hurt," while showing zero concern for the real damage that has been done to others.

Now, let's take a look at Kristen's second comment, which came a few minutes later, at 3:05 a.m. on July 17:

Kristen Milling has left a new comment on your post "Here's the Story of Family Dysfunction Behind My N...":

I am Nancy's daughter and this blog is the most insensitive and hurtful writing toward my family. I respectfully ask you to remove this as people are brought into your post that don't deserve it. It is beyond unfair and unreasonable to take out hate on a person's immediate and extended family. This is damaging, hateful, and hurtful. I would hope you could put yourself in other people's shoes and realize the magnitude of this.

Posted by Kristen Milling to Legal Schnauzer at July 17, 2017 at 3:05 AM

What do we learn from this comment? Here are several points that jump out at me:

(1) Kristen makes extraordinary use of the words "hate" and "hurt." By my count, in the two comments, she uses some form of the word "hate" six times; she uses some form of the word "hurt" five times. In each instance, she talks about "hate" that I allegedly have toward her family; no mention of the heaping helpings of hate that her uncle, Mike McGarity, has directed toward Carol and me. The "hurt" is always about the pain Kristen feels; no mention of the genuine hurt Mike McGarity, her uncle, has inflicted on us. Kristen gives no hint that she cares about, or even recognizes, our pain.

(2) Kristen complains that it is "beyond unreasonable and unfair" to report on a criminal and the family environment that produced him. Shelves of books have been written on that subject. If it is accurate -- and Kristen makes no claim that my posts are inaccurate -- how is such reporting unfair? Again, Mike McGarity has been a dangerous person for a long time; his criminality goes back roughly 40 years, into the 1970s. Kristen doesn't seem bothered by it, as long as others are taking the brunt of it. She only becomes concerned when accurate reporting about the criminality that has been lurking in her family for decades shines an unflattering light on her and her mother.

(3) Kristen complains that I don't "realize the magnitude" of my reporting about her family. Now, this might be her most interesting comment of all. In her first comment, she labels as "frivolous" the problems Carol and I have experienced because of Mike McGarity. But my reporting on her family? Why, that's of a magnitude that is so great, Kristen can't even find a term to put on it.

What do we learn from all of this? Kristen Milling's two comments include 15 sentences, and throughout, they display a stunning level of self-centeredness and unawareness, topped with a dose of shallow piety. I find it noteworthy that she makes no effort to defend Mike McGarity's actions. In fact, she doesn't even mention him by name. It's as if he's an "out of sight, out of mind" issue for her. He sure has hell hasn't been that kind of issue for us . . . but, hey, that's not Kristen's problem, so she doesn't care.

Public records indicate Kristen Milling is about 28 years old, and she holds a professional position of considerable responsibility. But the comments left here, suggest she has a self-centered worldview, a lot like the one we've seen from her criminal uncle. Perhaps she has some growing up to do. But if this is driven by the dysfunction that seems to permeate the McGarity family, it might be so deeply ingrained that time won't change it.

My prayers are with her. With McGarity blood running through her veins, she likely will need them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Despite attorney's claim, a defendant cannot face a criminal count that isn't "plainly stated" in charging documents, under both Missouri and federal law

Carol Tovich Shuler
Can a defendant face a criminal count that is not mentioned in charging documents? In other words, can you face a criminal charge that, on paper, does not exist?

An attorney connected to my wife Carol's case in Missouri suggests the answer is yes. Missouri and federal law say the answer is no. Just another case of a lawyer knowingly spreading horse manure? The answer probably is yes.

The issue arises from Officer Debi Wade's claim in her Probable Cause (PC) Statement that Carol "barreled head first" into her during our unlawful eviction in September 2015. Anyone who knows Carol must chuckle at that assertion, but it's a serious matter. Such an act could be construed as "Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer," and that's the one charge Carol still faces for an alleged push of Officer Jeremy Lynn -- which Lynn himself admits, in his incident report, didn't happen.

The Lynn charge, at least, is mentioned in the Misdemeanor Information (MI), which is the official charging document in Missouri. That's more than can be said for Debi Wade's "barreling" allegation, which is mentioned only in her PC Statement -- the document that, under Missouri law, is supposed to provide evidence to support the MI. Wade's allegation is nowhere to be found in the MI, so that means Carol isn't charged with it, right?

Well, not according to our lawyer contact. Said lawyer suggests that, because Wade is author of the PC Statement, her allegations automatically are incorporated into the MI. Just one problem with the lawyer's interpretation: It's way off target. (The PC Statement and MI are embedded at the end of this post.)

A single Missouri case tells us so. The case is styled State v. Metzinger (Mo. Ct. of Appeals, 2015), and it shows that the lawyer in question is wrong on at least three grounds:

(1) A case is due to be dismissed if the information is insufficient, and it is insufficient if it fails to allege facts constituting an offense. From Metzinger:

The trial court dismissed the charge on the basis of a deficiency in the information – specifically, its failure to allege facts constituting an offense . . . The trial court heard arguments on Defendant’s motion to dismiss the information, but it did not hear evidence on the question of Defendant’s guilt or innocence.

What do we learn? A case is toast if the information is deficient. Guilt or innocence isn't an issue when prosecutors bring deficient charges.

(2) The charges in an information are important, based on the U.S. Constitution and the Missouri Constitution. From Metzinger:

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 18(a) of the Missouri Constitution guarantee a defendant the right “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation . . . .” Rule 23.01 provides that the indictment or information shall “[s]tate plainly, concisely, and definitely the essential facts constituting the elements of the offense charged . . . .” Measured by these standards, the test of the sufficiency of an indictment is whether it contains all the essential elements of the offense as set out in the statute and clearly apprises defendant of the facts constituting the offense in order to enable him to meet the charge and to bar further prosecution.

What do we learn? The information in Carol's case alleges no facts that constitute an offense regarding Debi Wade. Thus, Carol's guilt or innocence is not an issue. There is no charge involving Debi Wade.

(3) An information is not just words on paper. It has an important purpose, under the law. From Metzinger:

One purpose of an indictment or information is to “permit[] the trial court to determine whether sufficient facts are averred to support a conviction. . . . ” Thus, “[a]n indictment is bad and is properly dismissed if all the facts stated are true, and yet the accused can be innocent of the crime intended to be charged, or if the acts alleged in the indictment if proven do not constitute a violation of the law. . . . ” Defenses based on defects in the . . . information are generally required to be raised by motion before trial[.] . . . 

What do we learn? The court cannot determine if facts could support a conviction on the Debi Wade claim because no facts are presented in the information about the Debi Wade claim.  An "indictment (or information) is bad if all the facts stated are true, and yet the accused can be innocent of the crime intended to be charged." Well, the information clearly is bad if no facts are stated at all.

(Note: Carol has filed a pre-trial motion pointing to defects in both the PC Statement and MI that should force dismissal of the case. We've seen no sign that Judge Margaret Palmietto has read the motion. That's troubling, given that Carol has a constitutional right to have this matter resolved in a speedy fashion.)

Why did the prosecutor fail to include Debi Wade's claim in the MI? We don't know, and it's not Carol's duty to find out. It's the prosecution's duty to properly bring its case. On the Debi Wade claim, they failed miserably.