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The memory of a beloved pet inspires one couple's fight against injustice.

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    Rob Holbert
    Alabama's right-wing media types never fail to astound with their dishonesty and incompetence. Take, for example, our "old pal" Rob Holbert, publisher of the Mobile-area weekly Lagniappe.

    When we last addressed the subject of Holbert, he was criticizing my reports about Governor Robert Bentley's affair with aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason, plus my outing of al.com journalist Charles J. Dean as a customer of the Ashley Madison extramarital-affair Web site. We showed that Holbert's commentary included so many errors that we didn't have enough fingers to count them all.

    Part of me wanted to write off the Holbert piece as the case of a publisher/writer having a bad day. But given Holbert's right-wing bona fides--he once served as deputy press secretary for former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS)--I thought it possible that Holbert was afflicted with the sort of deep-seated dishonesty that seems to have gripped so many postmodern Republicans. (See last Thursday's U.S. House of Representatives grilling of Hillary Clinton on the issue of Benghazi for a classic example.)

    In an October 21 piece titled "Schnauzer target tells magazine his posts changed her life," Holbert takes on the Jessica Medeiros Garrison story, which grew from her as-told-to article at marieclaire.com, attacking my reporting on her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

    The headline of Holbert's piece has all sorts of grammatical problems, and the story itself reveals that the writer still struggles with accuracy and a tendency to make bizarre statements that seem to come from . . . well, right field, I guess. But for now, we will focus on his dishonesty.

    Let's start by examining the third and fourth paragraphs from Holbert's article, where he addresses (sort of) my response to Garrison's piece:

    Garrison’s article appeared on marieclaire.com last week. At first, she writes, she just tried to laugh off Shuler’s accusations that she had been involved in a lengthy affair with Strange. Shuler also wrote numerous unflattering stories about Garrison’s ex-husband, Lee Garrison, as he ran for the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education. Shuler also published stories on his blog alleging Jessica Garrison received a sweetheart deal on the purchase of her home and questioning the sources of her pay. Garrison said Shuler even questioned the paternity of her son in print, an allegation he denies, although he has written about discussing the matter with Lee Garrison

    “Never have I reported that Luther Strange is the father of her child. In fact, I contacted Lee Garrison and interviewed him on the subject. He said he was convinced the child was his, and I never reported otherwise,” Shuler wrote last Friday in a scathing rebuke of the Marie Claire article. He didn’t explain why he would call the child’s father to discuss paternity if it wasn’t something he questioned.

    So, we can give Holbert a gold star for finding my blog and the response I had written to Garrison's
    PR-attack piece. (Why do we call the marieclaire.com article a "PR-attack piece?" Given the glaring number of errors in the article--and the fact writer Liz Welch never contacted me for comment and clearly never checked the public court record--I don't know what else to call it. The piece certainly cannot rest on its "journalistic merit" because it doesn't have any. Marie Claire is, after all, a women's fashion magazine.)

    How did Holbert know I had addressed the Garrison article on Legal Schnauzer? I told him I had when he contacted me via e-mail and asked if I had any comment about the Garrison story. (Please keep those two highlighted sections above in mind; we will return to them in a moment.)

    Then, we have this in the fifth and sixth paragraphs of Holbert's story:

    Shuler claimed Garrison’s article is full of inaccuracies and falsehoods, and reiterated claims her legal win against him came only “because I was not able to defend myself against her lawsuit, or bring a valid counterclaim” due to having been thrown in jail for five months for contempt in another defamation case, then finding his house in foreclosure due to other legal problems.

    When I emailed Shuler asking for comments on Garrison’s article, he referred me back to his website.

    Again, we see that Holbert actually has checked my blog post regarding Garrison, although he fails to mention specifics that I had laid out about the inaccuracies in the Garrison story. Still, we will give Holbert credit for doing at least a little homework. But then, note the highlighted section; he hints that I was dodging him, refusing to take questions, that I would let my blog post speak for itself and say nothing more.

    Is that true? Well, let's take a look at the full e-mail communication Rob Holbert and I had on the subject:

    Rob Holbert
    Oct 16 (7 days ago)

    to me

    Roger,

    Jessica Garrison published this piece yesterday in Marie Claire. http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a16418/jessica-garrison-blogger/

    I was curious if you have any comments about the story?
     
    ------------------------------ 
    Roger Shuler
    Oct 17 (6 days ago)

    to Rob

    I've written one response to it and probably will have more:

    http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2015/10/jessica-medeiros-garrison-launches-pr.html

    If you have specific questions, I would be glad to answer them. Probably would need to do that via phone.

    ----------------------------
     
    Rob Holbert
    Oct 17 (6 days ago)

    to me

    OK. I read your response. It answers any questions I currently have, but if I have more I'll let you know.

    Thanks,

    Rob

    As you can see, I did not simply refer Holbert to my blog. I specifically offered to answer any questions that he had and suggested we do that via phone. He told me my blog post answered all of his questions at the moment, and I never heard back from him.

    So why did he suggest that I was dodging him, that I was reluctant to talk about Garrison? I have no idea, but it suggests Holbert started his article with an agenda in mind--and the fact I was willing to take on questions about the Jessica Garrison case apparently did not fit that agenda.

    As for the first two highlighted sections near the beginning of this post, they are two of the strangest sentences I've ever seen a purported journalist write. As a reminder, here they are again:

    Garrison said Shuler even questioned the paternity of her son in print, an allegation he denies, although he has written about discussing the matter with Lee Garrison.
    and
    He didn’t explain why he would call the child’s father to discuss paternity if it wasn’t something he questioned.

    A few points:

    * I didn't just deny questioning the paternity of her son in print; I invited anyone to conduct a search on my blog, and it will show that I've never reported that Attorney General Luther Strange is the father of Garrison's son. That is a verifiable fact, but Holbert apparently can't be bothered to verify it.

    * Holbert seems surprised that I would write about discussing the matter with Lee Garrison. That's what journalists do, they ask questions. Jessica Garrison told marieclaire.com that, at the time of my reporting, rumors were flying about her relationship with Luther Strange, and its possible fallout. To my knowledge, I'm the only journalist to have contacted Lee Garrison--a key source on the subject--and asked him about it directly. Why Holbert seems to find that odd is beyond me.

    Jessica Medeiros Garrison
    (from al.com)
    * Finally, Holbert seems perplexed that I would question the parentage of Garrison's child, as if there is something improper about that. Never mind that Garrison acknowledges rumors were flying around the state about her relationship with Strange--they started long before I wrote about the subject, and they involved persistent questions about the father of her child, considering the timing of her divorce from Lee Garrison. As a journalist with a degree in the field and more than 30 years of professional experience--a fact Garrison and Holbert conveniently ignore--I don't just run with rumors. But when they seem serious enough, I do check them out--and that's what informed my reports about the Garrison/Strange affair--and I stand by those reports. That's also what drove me to contact Lee Garrison, and his answers to my questions convinced me that he is the child's biological father, and I never reported otherwise. Also, I should note that Lee Garrison, unlike his former wife, took questions on a sensitive subject and handled himself with considerable grace.

    As for accuracy, Holbert continues to struggle with it. For example, he writes, "[Shuler] claimed he was never legally served notice of the trial." Let me make this as clear as I can make it: There was no trial in the Garrison case, there was no pre-trial discovery, and there was no finding in an adversarial proceeding that my reporting was false or defamatory. In other words, neither Garrison nor Strange faced cross-examination about anything, they never sat for depositions, they never answered written interrogatories, they never turned over any pertinent documents (e-mails, texts, etc.). Jessica Garrison has proclaimed that she "won" her lawsuit, but that contention is based on . . . well, absolutely nothing, no contested record of any kind.

    Holbert doesn't even try to hide his bias on the matter. A reasonably objective journalist might refer to Garrison as the "subject" of my "reporting." Holbert and his Lagniappe crew refer to Garrison as a "target" of "online attacks." Garrison could not hire a PR firm--and she seems to have quite a nice expense account--to take a more one-sided approach than that.

    Our guy Holbert seems to have almost zero understanding of journalism, even though he holds the title of publisher at a weekly newspaper. He can't seem to grasp that my work never has been found false or defamatory in any trial or adversarial proceeding--and the public record at alacourt.com makes that clear. And yet, he portrays my posts as "online attacks."

    Here's one thing interesting about Holbert's piece: He manages to interview Garrison and lobs a few questions at her that would have to improve to reach the level of "softball." Meanwhile, I made it clear that I was happy to be interviewed, but he didn't bother with that.

    Holbert did manage to elicit a response or two from Garrison that contain a few kernels of truth, and we will address those in an upcoming post.

    Some folks probably think Lagniappe Mobile turns out journalism--and perhaps there are times when the weekly actually does that. But it's hard to expect much from an outfit led by a publisher who reveals himself as a partisan hack, one who is too lazy or incompetent to check the public record or interview a party who might actually bring Jessica Garrison's credibility into question.


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    X-rays of Carol Shuler's shattered arm, broken by a
    Missouri deputy. This image shows that titanium plates were required for a major portion of her upper arm, and more hardware was required for support below the elbow. 
    (X-ray from Cox South Medical Center, Springfield, MO,
    from the staff of trauma surgeon Dr. Brian Buck.)


    Police brutality continues to be in the news, and one of the most disturbing recent cases comes from Virginia. That's where University of Virginia honors student Martese Johnson was savagely beaten by agents from the state Alcohol Beverage and Control Department. Johnson has filed a $3-million lawsuit against agents who left him bloodied, with a gash in his head that required 10 stitches.

    It's hard to compare cases of police brutality for the horror they inflict on their victims. But a Missouri deputy left my wife, Carol Shuler, with a shattered left arm after an unlawful eviction at our apartment on September 9. Carol's arm was so badly broken that it required repair from Dr. Brian Buck, a trauma surgeon at Cox South Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri, and the University of Missouri.

    The beating of Martese Johnson
    Caregivers have told Carol that a good result from such an extreme injury would be 95-percent use of her arm. In other words, it's unlikely that her left arm ever will be the same. X-rays we've posted tell you why.

    In one image, at least nine screws are visible, holding titanium plates that are allowing Carol's arm to heal. In another image, four to five lines that represent fractures clearly can be seen.

    The images in today's post show the kind of support Carol's arm needed, both well above the elbow and below it. Based on our conversations with caregivers, our guess is that indicates Carol's arm was not just broken--it also was dislocated, likely due to severe and brutal twisting.

    We intend to follow the Martese Johnson case and hope he and his family get justice. We intend to fight, with all of our might, so that Carol might achieve justice, also.


    X-rays of Carol Shuler's shattered arm, broken by a
    Missouri deputy. This image shows another view of the support Carol's arm needed from screws and plates below the elbow.
    (X-ray from Cox South Medical Center, Springfield, MO,
    from the staff of trauma surgeon Dr. Brian Buck.)



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    Video that went viral yesterday of a South Carolina sheriff's deputy body slamming and dragging a 16-year-old high school girl across a classroom floor probably was shocking to many Americans. But it was not shocking to my wife, Carol, and me.

    For us, it was like living September 9, 2015, again.

    That's the date a Greene County, Missouri, deputy shattered Carol's left arm during an unlawful eviction, one where officers had no lawful grounds to even be on our rented property. I saw everything the deputy did to Carol, from about 15 feet away, and it looked a lot like what you see on the video above from Spring Valley High School, near Columbia in Richland County, South Carolina.

    The good news is that Ben Fields, the South Carolina officer, was fired this morning, and he remains under federal investigation because Sheriff Leon Lott quickly sought assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). MoveOn.org has launched a petition, seeking to have Fields charged with assault--and we strongly support such action.

    The bad news is that we see no sign that anything has happened to the Missouri officer who brutalized Carol; we do not even know his name. We doubt that the DOJ or MoveOn.org even know about Carol's case.

    Our understanding is that Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott is aware Carol's arm was broken, but no one from his department has contacted us or given any sign that the incident is being investigated. A Legal Schnauzer reader contacted Arnott and reported to me that the sheriff pretty much played dumb, acting like he knew nothing about the incident--even though he was standing about five feet away when Carol was assaulted.

    What was Arnott's immediate response to the assault? He lied, immediately proclaiming that Carol has assaulted the officer. A deputy drove Carol, in handcuffs, to the Greene County jail and told her she was facing a felony charge and a $100,000 bond. That only changed when Carol finally got someone to pay attention to her cries of severe pain in her arm--and X-rays immediately showed the break.

    The press in Springfield, Missouri, has shown no interest in covering the story--even though police brutality has been a national issue for more than a year. We've contacted several southwest Missouri law firms that supposedly specialize in police-misconduct cases, and they have either not responded or took our basic information and then quit responding.

    X-ray of Carol Shuler's arm, showing
    multiple fracture lines after trauma
    surgery that required at least nine screws
    and multiple titanium plates for repair. We
    will be fortunate if she regains 75 percent use
     of  her arm.
    Translation: A cover-up seems to be under way in the Missouri Ozarks--of a police brutality case that might be about as bad any we've seen in the United States over the past 15 months or so, at least among those that did not involve a victim death.

    In cases where victims were injured, I'm not aware of many injuries that could be classified as more severe than Carol's. Ironically, the one exception that quickly comes to mind happened in Alabama--where a cop flipped a grandfather from India on his head, causing a spinal injury that might keep the victim from ever walking normally again.

    As for Carol's injury, we had a follow-up visit yesterday with her surgeon, and we received X-rays of her original injury, before she had received any treatment. The images almost make me vomit, and we will be sharing them here at Legal Schnauzer soon. Carol is going to need at least eight weeks of physical therapy (three times a week, probably), and one caregiver today said the best outcome might be a return to 75-percent usage of her arm. An earlier estimate had been 95 percent, but the latest word is that we are highly unlikely to achieve that.

    How do the South Carolina and Missouri cases compare? The Missouri deputy did not throw Carol backward on her head, as happened to the victim in the South Carolina case. But Carol was slammed to the ground, landing on her rear end hard enough that I still think she sustained a concussion. To my knowledge, she has not been examined for head trauma. Carol was not dragged across the ground, as happened to the South Carolina victim, but the cop jerked both of her arms in a backward and upward motion that was so severe one of her broken bones almost came through the skin.

    Our understanding is that the South Carolina victim managed to escape injury, and we are grateful for that. We also are pleased that the victim is seeing some measure of justice already--and we hope more is headed her way.

    For that, we suspect she can thank the classmates who used their cell phones to capture video of the assault and cause it to come to quick public attention. Without it, the South Carolina sheriff and his acolytes probably would be lying and covering up, just as we are seeing in Springfield.

    It's possible video exists in Carol's case; we aren't sure if any of the half dozen or so officers was wearing a body cam. If such video is out there, it's under control of Sheriff Jim Arnott--and his department in Greene County, Missouri, seems to be doing its best to cover up the brutality inflicted on Carol.


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    Jessica Garrison, with U.S. Judge
    Bill Pryor and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions,
    two of her right-wing mentors.
    Republican political operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison tries to portray herself as a champion of women in a recent online rant against Legal Schnauzer. That notion is laughable to anyone who knows the first thing about Garrison's background. And in the course of her rant, as told to Liz Welch of marieclaire.com, Garrison winds up affirming some of the worst stereotypes women have had to fight for years.

    Garrison claims that my reporting about her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is a form of bullying--and the point of her Marie Claire piece is to stand up for other helpless women who might become the subjects of evil journalists. This is how Garrison so nobly puts it:

    This is about more than just me. It's about the women who are bullied, trolled, and victimized online because someone has an agenda, or a chip on their shoulder, or a self-righteous feeling that they simply ​can​.

    Wow, that Jessica is quite a gal, standing up for imperiled women everywhere. But is her concern real? Not even close.

    The first clue comes when Garrison tells us about her professional life:

    By then, I was a Executive Director at RAGA, the Republican Attorney General's Association, in Washington, D.C. My job was to meet with corporations to promote working with Attorney Generals. One day, I went to a meeting with the Government Affairs director at Apple at a restaurant in Cupertino, California. When I arrived, he said, "I looked you up online so I could recognize you." My heart stopped beating. All I could think throughout the meeting was, 'This man thinks I slept with the Attorney General of Alabama.'

    Let's examine that first highlighted sentence for a moment. Garrison says her role is to encourage corporations to work with attorneys general. (Jessica has a little problem with grammar here; the plural is attorneys general, not attorney generals. You'd think a woman with a law degree, who had been appointed to a job in the Alabama AG's office and as executive director of an association of AGs, would know that.) But Jessica says she represents only Republican AGs, so her line about promoting work with all AGs? Well, that's a lie.

    Even more troubling is this: The attorney general, in most jurisdictions, is defined as the chief law-enforcement officer and chief legal adviser to the state government. In other words, a big part of the job is to prosecute individuals, including corporate titans, who violate state laws. A state attorney general should be one of the last people corporate heads would want to work with.

    Apple Inc. headquarters in
    Cupertino, California
    Unless, of course, Jessica's real job is to more or less conduct a "shakedown cruise" of corporate executives, assuring them that a contribution to RAGA will make it more likely that Republican AGs look the other way when said executives step in legal doo-doo. Was that the whole point of Garrison's visit to Apple in Cupertino, California?

    Now, Jessica wouldn't do that would she? A 2014 New York Times article suggests that's exactly what someone at RAGA does:

    The Republican Attorneys General Association, created nearly 15 years ago, has grown in prominence as the number of Republicans holding the job has surged, reaching 25 as of this year. RAGA takes in millions of dollars a year from major corporations — companies that are seeking help to move their agendas or have been targets of investigations.

    Why would major corporations need help from attorneys general to "move their agendas"? I can see how they might need experts in advertising or public relations or lobbying. But an attorney general? I can't fathom a legitimate reason for a corporation to want the help of AGs to "move its agenda"--unless, of course, the corporation is up to no good and needs AGs to look the other way. Is Jessica Garrison a glorified "bag man" (or "bag gal") for conservative law-enforcement types?

    Here's a better question: Does anyone seriously think Jessica Garrison is a champion, of any sort, for women? She has publicly stated that her professional mentor is U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, a former Alabama Attorney General. Pryor might be one of the most virulent anti-woman political figures in modern American history. When President George W. Bush nominated Pryor to the federal bench in 2003, civil-rights and women's groups were so outraged that Bush was forced to make a recess appointment.

    (By the way, who started RAGA, the outfit that now employs Jessica Garrison? It was Bill Pryor. Does Jessica Garrison pretty much owe her career to the anti-woman Bill Pryor? A strong argument could be made that the answer is yes.)

    Did Garrison help the cause of women with the shrill, high-anxiety tone of her Marie Claire piece? Given that women have had to fight the stereotype that they are prone to be nervous, hysterical, overwrought, and high strung . . . well, I would submit that the answer is no, she did not help the cause of women. In fact, she probably caused them to take several small steps backward.

    Garrison's piece is filled with so much overtly emotional language that it can set one's nerves on edge just to read it. As a public service, I counted the number of times Garrison used certain emotionally charged terms. Here is my count:


    * Shocked -- 1

    * Tears or "in tears" -- 2

    * Heart stopped beating -- 1

    * Paranoid -- 1

    * Mortifying or mortified -- 2

    * Shouting or elated -- 2

    * Anxiety, stress, or sadness-- 1 each


    That's 12 high-intensity words or phrases in a relatively brief, 18-paragraph story. I think I need to take a Xanax after finishing it.

    Consider Garrison's tone, compared to the calm, professional demeanor of Hillary Rodham Clinton when she recently faced intense grilling about Benghazi before a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Who is the better role model for women?

    Heck, consider Garrison's self-centered tripe to the reporting I've done on real women--Sherry Carroll Rollins, Linda Upton, Angela Drees, Bonnie Cahalane--who have been abused by the Alabama justice system, Has Jessica Garrison ever taken a stand for such women? Has she ever taken a stand for any woman, other than herself--or maybe a sorority sister who is as self-absorbed as she is?

    In short, who is more the champion for women--Jessica Garrison or Legal Schnauzer? Under any reasonably objective examination, my record would trump hers eight days a week.

    Oh, and we mustn't forget this: Garrison's marieclaire.com article reveals her to be a hypocrite of Bunyanesque proportions. We've already noted this quality in Garrison on the subject of Big Tobacco. But now, her gross hypocrisy is on display regarding another major issue of the day.

    More on that coming soon.


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    Jessica Garrison and Luther Strange
    (from Facebook)
    Conservatives have a special knack for hypocrisy, and it's possible that no one does it better than Alabama GOP operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison.

    Garrison put herself in the headlines recently by attacking our reporting on her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange--and its proximity to her divorce from Tuscaloosa businessman and school-board member Lee Garrison. (Does any of that keep Jessica from touting her "family values"? Probably not.)

    We've already shown that Garrison can take hypocrisy to extraordinary heights on the subject of Big Tobacco. After all, she griped in divorce papers that Lee Garrison and his new wife smoked around the Garrison's son--never mind that Jessica has proclaimed U.S. Judge and noted tobacco whore Bill Pryor as her professional mentor.

    But Garrison takes hypocrisy to new levels in her PR-attack piece against Legal Schnauzer at the women's fashion site marieclaire.com. In this instance, Garrison proves to be mind-bogglingly two-faced on another hot-button political issue--gay rights.

    Consider this from Garrison's marieclaire.com article:

    By then, I was a Executive Director at RAGA, the Republican Attorney General's Association, in Washington, D.C. My job was to meet with corporations to promote working with Attorney Generals. One day, I went to a meeting with the Government Affairs director at Apple at a restaurant in Cupertino, California. When I arrived, he said, "I looked you up online so I could recognize you." My heart stopped beating. All I could think throughout the meeting was, 'This man thinks I slept with the Attorney General of Alabama.'

    Garrison tells us--some might call it bragging--that she has the clout to get an audience with a top executive at Apple Inc., long considered one of the most innovative and progressive companies on the planet.

    It's probably safe to say that Garrison did not inform her lunch companion that her mentor, Bill Pryor, founded RAGA, the outfit for which she now serves as executive director. Why might Garrison have kept that news under wraps? Well, Pryor is considered one of the most anti-gay political figures in modern American history--to the point that Pryor revealed during his confirmation hearings that he and his wife, Kristan W. Pryor, rescheduled a family vacation to Disney World when they discovered the Orlando, Florida, theme park had scheduled "Gay Days" festivities at the same time as their planned visit.

    Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.
    Speaking of hypocrisy, Bill Pryor is a noted homophobe, even though nude photographs taken during his college days showed up in the 1990s at the gay-porn Web site badpuppy.com.

    Why would Jessica Garrison likely not tell an Apple executive about her ties--and RAGA's ties--to Bill Pryor? Well, Apple CEO Tim Cook is openly gay. In fact, Cook is the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to publicly identify as gay.

    Ironically, Tim Cook has powerful ties to Alabama. He was born in Mobile (Bill Pryor's hometown) and grew up in Robertsdale, going on to earn a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University.

    Jessica Garrison has built her career on a foundation of homophobia, but she seeks support from a company led by the nation's most famous gay corporate leader.

    It takes some "brass ones" to attempt that. It also takes a heavy dose of hypocrisy--and Jessica Garrison, like many conservatives, has a major supply of that.


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    X-ray of Carol Shuler's shattered arm, broken by a Missouri deputy. This image, taken before any repair efforts, shows that the force was so violent that the humerus (the large bone in the upper arm) almost was forced through the skin. 
    (X-ray from Cox North Medical Center, Springfield, MO,)


    How violent was a Missouri deputy's assault on my wife that left her with a shattered left arm during an unlawful eviction on September 9? The image above provides the best answer we have so far to that question.

    How corrupt and dishonest was Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott, who oversaw the eviction and was standing about five feet away when one of his deputies slammed Carol to the ground and violently yanked her arms in a backward and upper motion? The circumstances surrounding the origins of the above image provide a solid answer to that question.

    We've presented several X-rays of Carol's broken arm after it was repaired by Dr. Brian Buck, a trauma surgeon at Cox South Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri, and at the University of Missouri Health System in Columbia. (See here and here.) Those images are hard to look at--at least for me--with nine screws that we can count and multiple titanium plates holding Carol's arm in place.

    But the above image is the first one we've shown of the original damage--showing the jagged edges of her humerus (the large bone in the upper arm), with what appears to be a piece of the bone left hanging just above the elbow joint. You also can see that the force almost drove the bone through the skin, and caregivers said parts of the bone were essentially pulverized and could not be salvaged. Our understanding is that the plates and screws were implanted, in part, so that the remaining pieces of bone can grow together, filling in where parts of bone no longer exist.

    I have a hard time looking at this image without throwing up--and I don't think it's entirely because that arm happens to be attached to my wife. It makes me sick that one human--a so-called "officer of the law"--could do this to another. And what are the repercussions for Carol? She's going to need at least eight weeks of physical therapy, and we don't know how we are going to pay for it. On top of that, therapists say a good result for such a severe injury might be 75 percent usage of her arm--that is significantly down from the 95 percent figure we originally were hoping for.

    Why are we just now presenting these images of the original damage? That brings us back to Sheriff Jim Arnott, and we will examine that question further in an upcoming post.

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    Luther Strange and Jessica Medeiros Garrison
    You might expect a lawyer to display a reasonable command of fundamental legal concepts--and maybe an appreciation for the rule of law. But you aren't likely, it appears, to get either from Jessica Medeiros Garrison, who holds the title "of counsel" at the Birmingham law firm Balch and Bingham.

    The "of counsel" designation, by the way, usually is reserved for senior attorneys, those who have enjoyed distinguished careers and shown high-level knowledge in certain areas of the law. How did Garrison, with her thin legal resume, manage to obtain such a title at Balch and Bingham? I've asked that question of several lawyers, and they tend to shake their heads or shrug their shoulders as if to say, "Beats me."

    In launching a public-relations attack on our reporting about her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, Garrison reveals that her legal bona fides are shaky, at best.

    In her as-told-to rant at marieclaire.com, for example, Garrison says there was a trial in her defamation case against me. Anyone with a computer and willingness to pay a small fee can check alacourt.gov and see there was no trial in the case--no jury, no discovery, no adversarial proceeding of any kind. There was a default-judgment hearing, for which the record shows I was not sent notification, but there was never anything remotely close to a trial. Jessica Garrison, with a law degree and a license to practice, doesn't know the difference between a trial and a hearing? Hmmm.

    Then, we have these words from Garrison:

    When Shuler was served with the papers from my attorney, he was already in jail for another defamation case. (Robert Riley, a lobbyist, sued Shuler for alleging he'd had an affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke.) When we met in court for a preliminary hearing, Shuler came in wearing an orange jumpsuit.

    Garrison makes it sound like it's routine for a journalist--or a blogger or anyone--to be jailed in a defamation case. In fact, my incarceration--based on alleged contempt of court regarding an unlawful temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction--violated more than 200 years of First Amendment law.  Specifically, it violated Near v. Minnesota, a 1931 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that is widely considered the "foundational" case for 20th-century defamation law in the United States.

    Judge Claud Neilson's ruling in the Rob Riley/Liberty Duke case was so off-the-charts illegal that I can find no other case in American history where a journalist has been imprisoned under such circumstances. Even conservative/libertarian legal analysts, such as Ken White at Popehat blog, proclaimed that Neilson was acting way outside the law. In fact, White said that Riley lawyer Jay Murrill was "blindingly ignorant" or "cynically dishonest."

    Does Jessica Garrison seem to know the first thing about First Amendment law and related constitutional issues? Nope. Does she seem to care that Alabama courts routinely are the place where the rule of law goes to die? Nope.

    But she doesn't stop with just one ignorant statement. There's more, from marieclaire.com:


    When the trial came, Shuler didn't show up. (After five months, he'd gotten out of jail—his wife unpublished the posts about Riley.) Both Luther and I were called to the stand. Seeing Luther responding to questions about the rumors was mortifying. My job had been to help him present a strong front—the exact ​opposite​ of making him vulnerable to such scandalous lies. I knew it wasn't my fault, but I couldn't help feeling like I failed him somehow.

    Yes, I didn't show up for the hearing (there was no trial) because notice was neither sent nor received. All of that was complicated by the fact that my wife, Carol, and I had been forced to exit our home of 25 years because of a foreclosure that almost certainly was unlawful. But aside from that, consider the stunning material that is highlighted above.

    Google headquarters
    Garrison almost casually mentions that I had been in jail for five months, as if that happens all the time in defamation cases. But our research indicates it's never happened like this in American history. Then, Garrison gives the impression that it's routine for a journalist's spouse to be force to "unpublished" blog posts as a sort of ransom for her husband's freedom. Has this ever happened in U.S. history, especially regarding articles that have never been determined at trial to be false or defamatory? My research indicates it's an absolute first--that Claud Neilson, Rob Riley, Liberty Duke and associated lawyers acted in a corrupt fashion that never before has been pondered in the U.S. court system.

    Finally, we have this from an article by Rob Holbert, of Lagniappe Mobile, about Garrison's Marie Claire piece:

    Garrison said she is fighting to have Google remove searches that would take people to Shuler’s stories about her. With the defamation judgment against him, she hopes that will soon happen.

    Garrison is too dishonest to say it, and Holbert apparently is too lazy or ignorant to ask, but here is what Garrison is trying to do: She's trying to get Google to hide articles that never have been found to be false or defamatory at trial, by a jury, as required under First Amendment law.

    In other words, Garrison is pushing for censorship, and she's trying to get Google to go along with her little con game.

    If Garrison is successful in this gambit, she and Google might find themselves the target of a First Amendment and civil-rights lawsuit.

    We've presented substantial evidence that suggests Jessica Garrison is dishonest, shallow, poorly informed, and not terribly bright. On top of that, we see evidence that she is one crappy lawyer.

    Is Google going to jump in bed with her? The company would be wise not to make that mistake.

    Jessica Garrison wants to remove articles from the Web that never have been found at trial (or in any adversarial proceeding) to be false and defamatory? Again, that is censorship, and Garrison is trying to enlist one of America's most powerful companies to help in her effort to trample the U.S. Constitution.

    In terms of First Amendment law, it doesn't get much more outrageous than that.

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    X-ray of Carol Shuler's shattered arm, broken by a Missouri deputy. This image, taken before any repair efforts, shows that the force was so violent that the humerus (the large bone in the upper arm) almost was forced through the skin. This is X-ray No. 2 of three showing the injury before treatment.
    (X-ray from Cox North Medical Center, Springfield, MO.)



    Why are we just now able to show you original X-rays of my wife's broken arm, taken before trauma surgery was performed to repair the damage? The answer lies with Jim Arnott, the Sheriff of Greene County, Missouri, who was standing about five feet away when one of his deputies slammed Carol to the ground and yanked on her arms while handcuffing her during an unlawful eviction on September 9.

    Carol was trying to enter our apartment to retrieve some of our belongings, as she had been told she could do. Specifically, she was trying to get our cat's litter box and was headed to the front door for that purpose, when a deputy jumped her. I saw the whole thing from about 15 feet away, while seated in the driver's seat of our automobile, which was parked in the driveway. Arnott saw it from a vantage point about 10 feet closer than mine.

    And what was the sheriff's immediate reaction to seeing one of his deputies brutalizing a 55-year-old woman who was trying to get her cat's "latrine"? Arnott's response was to lie. He pointed at Carol and said, "She assaulted a police officer."

    That statement is absurd to anyone who witnessed the event. And it's even more absurd when you consider that Carol wound up with a severely broken arm that required surgery, and there is no indication that any of the half dozen or so officers on hand--armed with at least one assault rifle and numerous handguns--suffered the slightest scratch.

    How badly was Carol's arm broken? The image above is the second of three X-rays we received of her original injury, before any repair was attempted. The break is so severe that . . . well, I get both sick and outraged just looking at it.

    Why have we been slow to bring these images to you? Well, that's largely because Carol was in custody when they were taken. Yes, you heard that right--with her arm broken as you see above, she was handcuffed (both arms twisted behind her), thrown in the back of a cruiser and transported to the Greene County Jail.

    Because of Arnott's lying eyes--and lying tongue--she apparently was going to be charged with assaulting a police officer. The deputy who drove her to the jail told her she was facing a felony and likely a $100,000 bond. 

    At some point, Carol (likely in shock; she would receive treatment with oxygen) announced that her arm was killing her. Someone finally took notice, decided this might be serious, and had her transported to Cox North Medical Center, a few blocks from the jail. 

    Most of Springfield's modern medical facilities--including Cox South (where Carol eventually had surgery)--is on the city's southside, in an area known as "The Medical Mile." Cox North, which dates to 1906, is a remnant of the city's medical past. When I was growing up here in the 1960s and '70s, Cox North was known as Burge Hospital.

    The facility now is used mostly for psychiatric services, but it does have X-ray equipment. And after seeing images produced at Cox North, it didn't take a knowledgeable medical person long to say, "This woman's arm is broken, badly."

    News must have gotten to Arnott in a hurry because Carol was taken to Cox South to have her arm set and get scheduled for trauma surgery. At some point, Arnott must have decided that Carol didn't assault anyone after all--and bringing bogus charges against her might make his department look even worse than it already was looking.

    At any rate, we haven't heard anymore about charges against Carol. As for charges against the officer, that might be another story. 

    It looks like Ben Fields, the school-resource officer who was fired in Richland County, South Carolina, after body slamming a 16-year-old female student and dragging her across a classroom, might face criminal charges for assault--and it appears, thankfully, that the student sustained no serious injuries.

    A look at the image above (plus another one below) make it clear that Carol was severely injured. And while the South Carolina officer was lawfully on school property, the Missouri deputy had no lawful grounds to be on our rented property.

    We are consulting with a number of individuals about the possibility of filing criminal charges (likely a felony) against the officer, along with a civil-rights complaint to the FBI, and a police-brutality lawsuit.

    As for Sheriff Jim Arnott, we know his first instinct was too lie. His second instinct seems to be to "stick his head in the sand" and hope the problem goes away. We don't think either of those strategies is going to work. 


    X-ray of Carol Shuler's shattered arm, broken by a Missouri deputy. This image, taken before any repair efforts, shows the shredded humerus just above the elbow joint. This is X-ray No. 3 of three of the injury before treatment.
    (X-ray from Cox North Medical Center, Springfield, MO,)



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    Gov. Robert Bentley and
    Rebekah Caldwell Mason
    Why did Alabama Governor Robert Bentley last week remove authority to enforce gambling laws from Attorney General Luther Strange?

    That is the question of political intrigue that now envelops "The Heart of Dixie," which has been ranked as the sixth most corrupt state in country--and, with Bentley's help, is making a strong push for No. 1. Experience with Alabama politics tells us that a straightforward answer to our question probably is not forthcoming. So what's the real reason for Bentley's action last week, what is--to borrow a phrase from the late Paul Harvey--"the rest of the story"?

    Here are a few issues to ponder:

    * Is Bentley's action driven, in part, by his extramarital affair with "adviser" Rebekah Caldwell Mason, which led First Lady Dianne Bentley to divorce the governor after 50 years of marriage? Are  problems connected to Mason percolating beneath the surface of the Strange decision? (Our guess? Yes.)

    * Did former Strange campaign manager Jessica Medeiros Garrison, who had an extramarital affair with her one-time boss, launch a public-relations assault on Legal Schnauzer, in part, because she knew the Bentley decision was coming, and it somehow spelled bad news for the attorney general and his dreams of procuring higher office? (Our guess? Yes. After all, our blog broke both the Strange/Garrison and Bentley/Mason affair stories. And a basic rule of Alabama politics seems to be, when in distress, with no defense, attack the messenger.)

    * Did Bentley's action cause consternation among those tied to the political machine of former governor Bob Riley? The answer to that one clearly is yes. And that might be the most interesting development of all.

    John Tyson, former head of Riley's anti-gambling task force, expressed dismay about Bentley's decision. Reports al.com:

    Tyson said he and Riley encountered what he termed "stiff resistance" by local law enforcement in a number of counties when they moved to enforce the laws against electronic bingo.

    "It was stiff, very stiff," said Tyson. "Places like VictoryLand in Macon (County) and GreeneTrack in Greene (County) and a casino in Lowndes County, local law enforcement wasn't generally enforcing the laws against gambling in those places then. And I've been gone a few years now but I suspect it will be a problematic thing to get them to enforce the law now."

    News flash for John Tyson: Maybe local law-enforcement officials presented stiff resistance because they knew electronic bingo was legal in their jurisdictions? Tyson conveniently fails to mention that voters in Macon County, for example, approved a constitutional amendment that allows bingo at VictoryLand--and an Alabama circuit judge recently found that included electronic versions of the game. In a fashion that is standard for "Riley Robots," Tyson proves to be a flagrant liar--saying something is unlawful, when it actually has been found to be lawful.

    Former state senator Bryan Taylor, another Riley Robot of longstanding, was equally deceitful. Reports al.com:

    Former state Senator Bryan Taylor was a key adviser to Riley in the days leading up to the formation of the task force and during the bingo wars of 2009-10.

    He said Riley had no choice but to form a task force and appoint a commander once he believed that then-attorney general Troy King was not enforcing the laws against gambling and after local sheriffs and DAs in some counties refused to act.

    When King challenged what Riley had done in forming the task force, the state Supreme Court ruled that Riley had the legal power to act to enforce any law he believed that was not "faithfully" being enforced.

    Since signing his latest executive order placing local sheriffs and district attorneys as the primary enforcers of gambling laws some have speculated that Bentley has tied Strange's hands and his authority to enforce gambling laws. That's a move pro gaming forces would hope is true since Strange has been strongly opposed to gambling.

    But Taylor said Bentley has not tied the hands of the AG nor could he. And he said anyone using the task force decision by the high court to argue the governor can do such is just wrong.

    "What the case does not say, no matter how vehemently the gambling interests will argue it, is that the governor may cut off or diminish the attorney general's jurisdiction to enforce the law," said Taylor. "The case simply upholds a proper balance of power where both constitutional officials — the attorney general and the governor — are accountable under the law. Under this case, the court quite clearly recognizes that both officials may assert a position in court."

    Is Taylor a solid source of legal analysis on gambling in Alabama? Not exactly. We have shown that Taylor's knowledge of gambling-related issues tends to spring leaks. We've also shown that Taylor, like former "First Son" Rob Riley (and Jessica Garrison, for that matter), tends to resort to dubious defamation lawsuits against those who report uncomfortable truths.

    AG Luther Strange and Jessica
    Medeiros Garrison
    So what drove Bentley to take the bite out of Luther Strange on gaming issues? Here is a key point to consider: A May 2010 Alabama Supreme Court decision, which appeared to be tailored for Bob Riley, said the governor had "supreme executive powers" that usurped those of the attorney general. That goofy ruling appeared to trample all sorts of legal precedent, but it made this much clear: If such supreme authority rested with Gov. Bob Riley, it also rests with Gov. Robert Bentley.

    That means Bentley could have neutered Strange at any time over the past five years. So why is he doing it now?

    Our view is that Bentley has major problems brewing over the Rebekah Caldwell Mason affair, and the Strange decision was designed to somehow limit the fallout. How serious could the fallout be? Birmingham attorney Donald Watkins has reported that Mason was paid via a "slush fund." If that is proven, members of Team Bentley could be facing dire consequences. From Donald Watkins:

    For over a year, the governor seemed oblivious to the hurt and pain he had caused to Mrs. Bentley and his children by his love affair with Rebekah. Since he was re-elected last year, Bentley’s primary concern has been figuring out how best to use the financial resources of the state, along with leftover campaign funds and the financial resources of friendly political groups, to support his romantic lifestyle with Rebekah.

    In February, Governor Bentley established the Alabama Council for Excellent Government, a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation. Bentley’s former legal advisor Cooper Shattuck formed the Council at Bentley’s request. The stated purpose of the organization is to “support Governor Bentley in his efforts to solve real problems and to make Alabama greater, stronger and more excellent for all the hardworking men and women who call this great state our home.” In reality, the Council is a slush fund that was set up to (a) fund Bentley’s love affair with Rebekah while concealing payments to her from the view of public oversight and accountability, and (b) stash money for life with Rebekah after the governor’s divorce from Mrs. Bentley.

    Bentley funded the Council with excess campaign funds left over from his 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The Council has also received a $25,000 contribution this year from AEA and $20,000 from the Alabama Hospital Association.

    As usual, something ugly is going on among Alabama's ruling conservative elites. It might get even uglier very soon.


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    Jefferson County tax collector
    J.T. Smallwood
    (from YouTube)
    A prominent booster of the University of Alabama football program used the "N word" to describe Crimson Tide and opposing players--and he made the comment while watching a game from the private box of trustee Paul Bryant Jr.

    The University of Missouri, it seems, is not the only Southeastern Conference school where racism and football collide. Is Missouri the only school where football players have enough social conscience to stand up to racism that mostly white administrators tend to tolerate? The answer to that question might be revealed in the coming days.

    For now, the power of college athletes is on full display after yesterday's announcements that the president and chancellor of the University of Missouri would resign after football players threatened a strike over the administration's tepid response to several incidents of racism on campus.

    Missouri, however, hardly is the only Southeastern Conference school where racism among moneyed boosters and administrators (mostly white) hovers over the activities of athletes who, in big-money sports such as football, increasingly tend to be black.

    At the University of Alabama, for example, a Jefferson County political figure, while a guest in the private box of prominent trustee Paul Bryant Jr., used the "N word" to refer to players from both teams while looking down on the action at a packed Bryant-Denny Stadium (named, in part, for Bryant's father, the late Hall of Fame coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.)

    The political figure was Jefferson County tax collector J.T. Smallwood, and he made the comment to youth minister Matt Pitt and several of his associates, who had been invited to watch a Crimson Tide game from Bryant's luxury box. Pitt is best known for creating The Basement, which is billed as the "fastest growing youth movement" in America.

    Part of Pitt's plan has been to build a ministry that embraces diversity and reaches out to young people of all colors and ethnicities. While viewing the Alabama game from Bryant's box, Pitt was stunned and sickened to see Smallwood look out over the massive crowd and state: "Can you imagine this many people pay us to watch n-----s beat up on each other?"

    We reported on this incident in a post dated April 22, 2015. This is the first time we've revealed the speaker as J.T. Smallwood.

    What led to Smallwood's grossly racist comment, inside the luxury box of Alabama's most powerful football booster? Here is the background, as we described in our earlier post, which focused largely on Pitt's legal problems that grew, on the surface, from an honorary sheriff's badge he received:

    Pitt's troubles with law enforcement began when he refused to do the bidding of conservative political/corporate forces who wanted to use his ministry (The Basement) for their own purposes, sources tell Legal Schnauzer. Those forces allegedly include former Governor Bob Riley and University of Alabama trustee Paul Bryant Jr. Our sources say Pitt never would have been prosecuted if he had allowed his ministry to be used for the political and financial interests of others. They also say Pitt has made enemies from his desire to build a ministry that reaches across racial boundaries. . . .

    Based on comments left at al.com, quite a few people in the Birmingham area hold animosity toward Pitt--for reasons I can't quite grasp. I can only attribute the ill will to possible jealousy or fear that The Basement will cut into membership figures at established churches. It also might be due to Pitt's efforts to build an inclusive ministry, one that reaches people of all colors, I've lived in Alabama long enough to know that the notion of races mixing in a religious environment makes many people uncomfortable.

    Also, Alabamians have a long history of trying to bring down those who might try to separate the state from its ugly past. Is Matt Pitt the kind of person who might strike fear in those who cling to the Alabama of yesterday? I suspect the answer is yes. The Basement is billed as "the fastest growing youth movement in the country." And it reaches way beyond Alabama; I've seen pictures of Pitt preaching from coast to coast--in Colorado, Ohio, California, Texas, Missouri, New York, and many other states.

    Pitt's success, sources say, caused powerful forces to want influence with his ministry:

    Matt Pitt could be the next major, positive religious figure on the American scene, but Jefferson County prosecutors persist in pursuing him for a felony that he almost certainly did not commit--one that carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

    What led to Matt Pitt's legal problems? Our sources point to three key events:

    (1) Political figures, apparently with ties to Riley and Bryant, encouraged Pitt to use The Basement to endorse a slate of white, conservative political candidates;

    (2) Business figures encouraged Pitt to do the ministry's banking with Bryant Bank;

    (3) Pitt and a few associates were invited to attend a University of Alabama football game and sit in Bryant's private box. During the game, a Bryant crony was heard to say, after looking out over the packed stadium, "Can you imagine this many people pay us to watch n-----s beat up on each other?"

    Pitt rebuffed the first two entreaties and was so disgusted by No. 3 that he decided to have nothing to do with Paul Bryant Jr. or his bank.

    Before long, Pitt was in trouble with the law because of an honorary sheriff's badge that he never asked for--Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale gave it to him.

    Smallwood reportedly played a major role in awarding the badge to Pitt. The name Smallwood has been familiar around Jefferson County, Alabama, for years.  J.T. is the son of Tennant Smallwood, who served as a circuit judge for 44 years and died in 2011.

    Paul Bryant Jr.
    (from Bloomberg Markets)
    An article about J.T. Smallwood's background describes him as a "political advisor for state and local government and businesses" and a consultant "on numerous state and local campaigns."

    Does that include serving as a sort of political "handyman" for Paul Bryant Jr.? Does that include spreading racist messages--which serve as the most vile kinds of insults to UA's own players--while situated in Bryant's private box? The answers appear to be yes.

    University of Missouri football players have shown college athletes have the power to make a difference on social issues--in a hurry--when they have the guts to stand up in a united way.

    Do University of Alabama players have those kinds of guts? We will see.


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    Luther Strange and Jessica Medeiros Garrison
    In attacking our reporting about her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, does Republican operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison reveal signs that she might have what psychologists call a "thought disorder"?

    The answer is yes, and while I'm not qualified to pinpoint such a disorder, even a non-professional can see signs of illogical thinkingderailment, and racing thoughts--plus a serious dose of narcissism--in Garrison's article at marieclaire.com, plus an analysis at Lagniappe Mobile.

    We've already shown that Garrison has a tendency to use what might be called "high-anxiety" language. But what makes her thinking disjointed, hard to follow, and . . . well, wacky?

    Consider these words, as told to writer Liz Welch, at marieclaire.com, regarding Garrison's claims that I had stalked her:

    Shuler posted photos of my home on his website, which felt like a threat, not to mention a huge violation of privacy. Had he been at my house? Was he stalking me? I installed a home security system and put the police on notice. I was so paranoid that I called the cops in tears one night, convinced someone was outside, and was relieved—and slightly mortified—to learn it was the police doing a drive by.

    Never mind that the photo in question was from a real-estate Web site and almost certainly was taken long before Garrison lived in the house. But as you can see, Garrison is highly unnerved by the notion that I might be obsessively watching her. Then we have this, from the same article, about a hearing where we both appeared in her defamation lawsuit:

    When Shuler was served with the papers from my attorney, he was already in jail for another defamation case. (Robert Riley, a lobbyist, sued Shuler for alleging he'd had an affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke.) When we met in court for a preliminary hearing, Shuler came in wearing an orange jumpsuit. He sat directly across from me, but never looked at me. He didn't seem to care that his lies could have destroyed my personal and professional life. I can only assume that his goal was to damage Luther politically, and that he thought using a woman who worked closely with the AG was the best way to do that. He didn't realize that he'd bitten off more than he could chew.

    Now, Garrison seems to be upset that I was NOT looking at her. Which is it: Am I eyeballing her on a regular basis as a stalker or am I ignoring her? Either one seems to upset Garrison. There is no consistency, or logic, to that kind of thinking.

    Garrison considers me callous, it seems, for not expressing great remorse that my "lies" had harmed her personal and professional life. It apparently never occurred to Garrison that I don't consider my reporting to be "lies," that I consider it to be based on facts, and that I had no reason to show remorse for practicing journalism as allowed under the First Amendment. It also must have never occurred to Garrison that at no point in the proceedings did she come close to meeting her burden of showing that my reporting was false and defamatory at trial, before a jury. Thanks largely to her machinations, there was no trial and there was no jury.

    Want another example of Garrison's peculiar thinking. Consider these words from her marieclaire.com piece:

    There is no second place in politics—you either win or you lose—and this ridiculous little blog was being used as a tool to try to gain a competitive advantage. I was livid.

    OK, we've established that, in Garrison's mind, Legal Schnauzer is a "ridiculous little blog." But in almost the same breath, she recounts a story of meeting an executive from Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California, who said he had looked her up online prior to their lunch meeting. Garrison says her "heart stopped beating" out of fear that the exec had read my reporting on her affair with Luther Strange.

    Hmmm, sounds like my blog isn't so "little" and "ridiculous" after all.

    In Rob Holbert's article at Lagniappe Mobile, Garrison said she was "on business" in Portugal when someone asked her about my posts. (Question: Why does Garrison, the executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association [RAGA], have business in Portugal? Some entity in Portugal has an interest in the actions of state attorneys general in the United States? Why would that be?)

    Then, we have this from Holbert's article:

    Speaking with Garrison last week, she said the reason she decided to talk about her experience is to help others understand the effects lone wolf bloggers like Shuler can have on others and the rather low threshold of proof they appear to have before publishing something as potentially damaging as allegations of an affair.
    “The effect of one stroke of the keyboard is amazing,” she said.

    Now, all of a sudden, I have "amazing" powers--ones that resonate across oceans and time zones--with "one stroke of the keyboard." Again, Garrison seems to have decided that Legal Schnauzer isn't so "little" and "ridiculous" anymore.

    How are we to know Garrison's real thoughts on certain issues? Beats me. Her thoughts seem to change from one paragraph to another.

    As for narcissism, consider these words from Garrison in the marieclaire.com article:

    I've worked since I was 16, was the President of the Student Government Association in college, and got a job out of law school at a firm where I worked for nine years before starting on Luther's campaign in 2009. Now, it felt like all that hard work was under threat.

    It's as if Garrison is unique in having worked hard, from an early age, in an effort to make a life for herself. Newsflash for Jessica: Lots of people have done that. I started making money by hauling hay (one of the hardest, hottest, dirtiest, sweatiest jobs on earth) when I was 15. I started mowing yards before that. When I was in college I worked during the summer at a factory that made rubber V-belts (used in cars, lawn mowers, refrigerators, all sorts of machinery). It was not uncommon for a worker to lose a limb, or more, in that factory. While I was there, one guy had his arm dragged into a machine and sheared off at the elbow.

    Before the rubber-factory job, I worked at a drive-in theater, cleaning up the parking lot from the previous night's showings. You'd be amazed at what you find in a drive-in theater parking lot the morning after shows. At age 16, I didn't even know what some of those objects were.

    My wife, Carol, started working when she was 16. Later, she worked eight hours a day at Alabama Power while carrying a full academic load at UAB--and she made straight A's for grades.

    Carol and I have busted our buns for decades to try to have a life. But almost all of it has been stolen from us by Jessica Garrison's colleagues in the legal profession. I have little doubt that Jessica knows for sure who cheated us out of our jobs, who cheated us out of our house via a wrongful foreclosure, etc.

    Has Jessica spoken up about that, as anyone with the slightest hint of a moral compass would do--as Jessica is required to do by the rules of her profession? Of course not. Having your personal and professional life threatened is only a concern when it affects Jessica.

    What kind of "thought disorder" does that point to? I'm not sure, but I would suggest it probably points to something more serious than that--it's a sign of "character disorder" also known as a "personality disorder."

    Regardless of the proper scientific term, Jessica Garrison reveals herself to be extraordinarily shallow. No wonder she found a home in the conservative movement.

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    J.T. Smallwood (left) and Matt Pitt (center), with an
    unidentified man as Pitt receives an honorary sheriff's
    badge from Jefferson County.
    (From Google+)

    A number of readers have expressed doubt or surprise about our report this week that a political figure and University of Alabama football fan used the "N word" to describe college football players--including those wearing Crimson Tide jerseys. The report came in the wake of news that a threatened boycott by University of Missouri football players, over the administration's tepid response to several race-based incidents on campus, helped cause the school's president and chancellor to announce their resignation.

    The point of our post was to show that the University of Missouri hardly is the only school--not even the only one in the Southeastern Conference--where racism and college athletics collide. We also asked the question: Will Alabama players show the kind of social conscience, and guts, that caused University of Missouri players to rise up against a mostly white administration that seemed willing to tolerate all sorts of ugliness targeting black students?

    Specifically, we reported that Jefferson County Tax Collector J.T. Smallwood was watching an Alabama game from the private box of Trustee Paul Bryant Jr., while hosting Trussville-based youth minister Matt Pitt and several of his associates as guests. Here's how we described the ugly scene that followed:

    Part of Pitt's plan has been to build a ministry that embraces diversity and reaches out to young people of all colors and ethnicities. While viewing the Alabama game from Bryant's box, Pitt was stunned and sickened to see Smallwood look out over the massive crowd and state: "Can you imagine this many people pay us to watch n-----s beat up on each other?"

    Why do some folks not want to believe this happened? One reason, I suspect, is that many Crimson Tide fans have a strong emotional attachment to their team, and they want to believe that fans view the team's black players with affection and respect. Some readers indicated they know J.T. Smallwood and found it hard to believe he would utter such a vile and racist statement.

    I have no doubt that the incident happened. For one, Matt Pitt related it to me directly, with plenty of details and no hesitation about recounting the words he heard--and the circumstances under which he heard them.

    On top of that, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to suggest that Smallwood was part of an effort to use Pitt's immensely popular The Basement ministry to endorse a slate of white, conservative political candidates--and to place The Basement's money with Bryant Bank. Pitt was strongly opposed to both requests.

    The gruesome injury that ended Tyrone Prothro's
    football career at the University of Alabama.
    (From Flicker)
    Pitt said Smallwood helped arrange for him to receive an honorary sheriff's badge, which led to criminal charges that Pitt had impersonated a police officer. (He was found not guilty.) Pitt showed me probably a dozen or more photographs of him and Smallwood together, including one taken as Pitt was receiving the honorary sheriff's badge. (See photo at the beginning of this post.) Another shows Pitt and a friend "locked" in a cell from a historical display at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, while Smallwood flashes a sheriff's badge to the camera. (See photo at the end of this post.)

    Was Smallwood imitating an officer? Was he hinting at what was to come for Pitt if he did not cave into demands that the minister endorse certain political candidates and put his money with Bryant Bank?

    As for Bryant Jr., no one should be surprised at any sign he is affiliated with backward thinking. Consider his business practices, as we described in an April 27, 2015, post titled "New study indicates Paul Bryant Jr.'s bank has adopted mortgage-loan policies tinged with racism." From the post:

    Tuscaloosa-based Bryant Bank makes almost no mortgage loans to black or Latino customers, a new study shows.

    In an article titled "The Color of Money Runs White At The Crimson Tide's Bank," Adam Rust of banktalk.org shows that Bryant Bank rarely makes mortgage loans to certain minority groups. . . .

    How much does race matter at Bryant Bank? Rust's research indicates the answer is "a lot."

    My review of their Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data suggests that they rarely extend the same opportunity to minorities who want to buy a home for their families. Between 2011 and 2013, the bank made two owner-occupant loans to African-American borrowers, two to Asian applicants, and another to a Latino applicant. They made a home purchase mortgage loan to an African-American in 2010, but they did not do so in 2008 or 2009.

    Do many Alabama fans respect their black football players? I feel certain the answer is yes. But does the Crimson Tide fan base include quite a few Neanderthals, including some who have lots of money and hang out in luxury boxes? The answer definitely is yes, and no one who has spent time around athletics in the Deep South--and I've covered sports in Dixie on a full- or part-time basis for more than 30 years--should be surprised by that.

    How much do some Alabama players sacrifice to help the Crimson Tide win games? Consider Tyrone Prothro, a receiver for the Tide from 2003-05. Prothro suffered a gruesome leg injury while trying to catch a pass in the end zone against the Florida Gators in 2005. Ten years later, video of the play remains gut-wrenching to watch.

    Prothro had three surgeries to repair the leg, but never was able to resume his football career. He has gone on to have 10 surgeries on the leg, but the injury still bothers him.

    Tyrone Prothro essentially gave up a leg for Alabama Crimson Tide football. Would he receive a mortgage loan from Paul Bryant Jr.'s bank? It doesn't sound like it. Would J.T. Smallwood use the "N word" to describe Prothro? Sure sounds like it.


    J.T. Smallwood flashes a badge as Matt Pitt and a friend
    are "behind bars" at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
    (From usreligion.blogspot.com)



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    Jessica Medeiros Garrison
    An organization that claims to be dedicated to improving the legal profession and the nation's justice system reportedly has invited Alabama Republican operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison to participate in a panel discussion about defamation law in the Internet age.

    The National Lawyers Association (NLA), however, might want to think twice about allowing Garrison to speak on the subject. If Garrison plans to discuss her defamation lawsuit against me and Legal Schnauzer, she would be wise to think real hard about whether or not that's a good idea.

    How do we know that Garrison might speak before the NLA? She revealed that little nugget in an interview with Rob Holbert, publisher of Lagniappe Mobile. Here is how Holbert put it:

    As more and more bloggers fill the web with "journalism" that displays wildly varying degrees of ethical standards, accountability and verification, it seems likely the subject is going to be more widely discussed. Garrison said the National Lawyers Association will soon be conducting a panel on the matter, and she has been asked to join the discussion.
    Does it make sense to include Garrison on such a panel? Not one bit.

    We've already presented evidence that suggests Garrison knows virtually nothing about First Amendment law--and cares not one iota about the rule of law. Those two characteristics alone would make her a poor choice to participate in a panel about communications in the digital environment.

    But issues with Garrison go way beyond that. In an as-told-to article at women's fashion site marieclaire.com, Garrison attacked my reporting about her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. She even crowed that she had "won" a $3.5-million default judgment against me.

    But there were a number of facts Garrison either lied about or neglected to tell her audience:

    * Garrison said there was a trial in the case, but there was nothing even approaching a trial; in fact, there was no adversarial proceeding of any kind.

    * Longstanding First Amendment law holds that defamation cases must go to trial, that a judge cannot act as a one-man censor on an issue so central to our democracy as a free press. Did Garrison tell her audience this? Nope.

    * First Amendment law also holds that defamation cases must be decided by juries. Again, the thinking is that these issues are too important to leave in the hands of a judge who could act as a solo censorship board. No jury ever was present for Garrison's case, and she did not even ask for a jury trial in her initial filings; she only did so after I asked for a jury trial in my answer.

    * Garrison only received a default judgment because, the record shows, I neither received nor was sent notification of the default-judgment hearing. That means, by law, the judgment is void, and I've seen no written document in the record that counters that.

    * Overpowering evidence suggests that Garrison lied under oath in the hearing--and that, if proven, would amount to a crime called perjury. It also is possible that Strange testified falsely under oath, meaning, in essence, that Garrison's $3.5-million judgment is built on a mountain of fraud.

    Does the National Lawyers Association mean well? The "About" page on its Web site includes this statement:

    The National Lawyers Association (NLA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(6) membership organization devoted to advancing the legal issues that concern our members. Without regard for politics or prevailing fashion, we dedicate our work to the belief that there is a national imperative to improve the legal profession and the justice system of the nation. There's never been a more important time to be a member of the NLA.

    That sounds good, but if the NLA thinks Jessica Medeiros Garrison is going to help further that noble cause, it is sadly mistaken.

    Garrison touts herself as a victim of defamation. But there is nothing in any court file to support that claim. There is no finding at trial, or any form of adversarial proceeding, that my reporting was false or defamatory. There is no jury finding, as required by law, that my reporting was false or defamatory.

    Does the NLA really want a non-victim, one who has shown little to zero knowledge of First Amendment law, to pontificate on defamation in the digital age? If so, the NLA could be headed down a treacherous slope.

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    Terror attacks in Paris
    (From Getty Images)
    If you watched news coverage last night about terrorist attacks in Paris, you probably had the impression that the United States will not tolerate terrorists on its shores. In fact, you might have come away with the impression that America is on the verge of engaging in a holy war against terrorism. After all, 27 governors, all but one Republicans, have said they will not allow Syrian refugees to enter their states for fear that one refugee, or more, will turn out to be a terrorist.

    But what is the truth? America has tolerated terrorists on our soil for years. In fact, we not only tolerate them, we elevate them--we let them wear robes, we give them immunity from almost all lawsuits, we give them lifetime appointments (in some instances), and we call them "Your Honor."

    Yes, we are talking about American judges as terrorists, and regular readers of this blog know that we have presented mountains of evidence to show that some judges (one would be too many) use their exalted positions to terrorize certain parties that come before them. We've also shown that individuals in certain professions--lawyers, law-enforcement officials, corporate executives--all too often serve as enablers and accomplices for corrupt judges.

    Terrorist networks in the United States might not always engage in violence, but there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism. Violence often is considered part of the equation, but not always--use of intimidation and threats can be enough. Some use the term "illegal use of force," which might not always entail violence.

    We have used the term "financial terrorism" (see here and here) to describe terror tactics associated with U.S. judges and lawyers.

    Greene County, Missouri, Sheriff Jim Arnott
    (From KSPR)
    But my wife, Carol, and I have experienced abuse over the past two years or so that matches almost any definition of terrorism--including the element of violence. Consider the following:

    Roger Shuler apparently is the only journalist in U.S. history to be incarcerated because of a preliminary injunction that violates 200 years of First-Amendment law--Beginning in January 2013, I wrote a series of posts about Birmingham lawyer Rob Riley (son of former GOP governor Bob Riley) and a lobbyist named Liberty Duke. This apparently upset Alabama's ruling conservative elites, so Riley and Duke filed a defamation lawsuit against me and Carol (even though Carol had nothing to do with the posts, or the blog in general, at the time.) Riley and Duke asked Circuit Judge Claud Neilson to violate more than 200 years of First Amendment by issuing a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction. In short, Riley and Duke sought a "remedy" that is not available under the law, but Neilson granted their request--essentially finding that my reporting was false and defamatory, even though there had been no discovery, no trial, no jury.

    To this day, there never has been a finding at trial that my reporting on Rob Riley and Liberty Duke was false or defamatory. But I still was arrested and spent five months in the Shelby County Jail because Riley and Duke (and probably others) wanted me punished in a way that the law does not allow. I planned to challenge Neilson's ruling on several fronts--first, by showing that Carol and I were unlawfully served during a traffic stop that violated the U.S. Fourth Amendment, and second, by showing that the remedies Riley and Duke sought were blatantly unconstitutional.

    I filed a Motion to Quash Service and was waiting for a ruling on that when Deputy Chris Blevins entered our garage on October 23, 2013--without showing a warrant, stating he had a warrant, or stating his purpose for being there--and beat me up (knocking me to a concrete floor three times) and spraying mace in my face before hauling me to jail.

    Was this violent? Without a doubt. Was it designed to intimidate and threaten for political reasons? Absolutely. Was it terrorism on American soil? No doubt in my mind.

    Missouri deputies shatter Carol Shuler's arm as she was trying to retrieve our cat's litter box during an unlawful eviction--Cowherd Construction, of Springfield, Missouri, was seeking to evict us from an apartment late this summer (in violation of the terms in our lease). An eviction date was set for September 9, which is inside the 10-day window where, under Missouri law, a landlord cannot carry out (the legal term is "levy") an eviction. That was not the only problem owner Trent Cowherd faced--we also had filed a Notice of Appeal (clearly shown in court records), and that put an automatic stay on the eviction.

    With the help of the Lowther Johnson and Shuler law firms (headed by my own brother, David), Cowherd moved forward anyway. Deputies burst through our door, pointing at least one assault rifle at me (along with multiple handguns) and immediately handcuffing Carol and me, even though we had been accused of no crime.

    X-ray of Carol Shuler's arm before
    trauma-surgery repair
    (From Carol Shuler and Cox North
    Medical Center)
    In the chaos that followed, Carol was given permission to enter the apartment to retrieve items that we could put in our car. She was in the process of doing that--specifically, trying to get our cat's litter box--when at least three deputies surrounded her. One or more slammed her to the ground so hard that I still think she suffered a concussion. As Sheriff Jim Arnott stood watch a few feet away, a deputy yanked and twisted on Carol's arm so violently that her left arm was shattered--requiring trauma surgery and at least eight weeks of physical therapy--and her right arm was mostly purple from bruising.

    Despite all evidence to the contrary, Arnott claimed Carol had assaulted a police officer, ordered her handcuffed again, and transported to the Greene County Jail, where she apparently was facing a felony charge and bail of $100,000. When X-rays showed that Carol's arm was broken, someone in the sheriff's hierarchy apparently decided that the evidence didn't support an "assaulting a police officer claim." In fact, it supported an assault charge against the police officer in question. (We still don't know his name.)

    Was this violent? Without a doubt. Was it designed to intimidate and threaten for political reasons? Absolutely. Was it terrorism on American soil? We invite you to take a look at the X-ray of Carol's arm, before repair via trauma surgery, and decide for yourselves.


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    Sheriff Jim Arnott
    (From KSPR)
    The Missouri sheriff who caused my wife, Carol, to be falsely arrested--and to have a deputy shatter her arm, requiring trauma surgery--now is claiming the Greene County Jail he operates is overcrowded.

    Sheriff Jim Arnott was standing about five feet from Carol on September 9 when three deputies surrounded her, brutally slammed her to the ground, and yanked so violently on her arm that it snapped the humerus and pulverized portions of the bone to the point that they were useless in the repair effort.

    Despite all evidence to the contrary, Arnott pointed at Carol and said, "She assaulted a police officer."

    How is that for law-enforcement hypocrisy? On one hand, Arnott falsely causes a citizen to be arrested--and a deputy told Carol the sheriff planned to hit her with a felony charge and $100,000 bond--leading to her being handcuffed, placed in the back of a squad car, and driven to the Greene County Jail. On the other hand, Arnott claims the jail is overcrowded, and he has adopted a policy of turning away municipal inmates that traditionally have been housed in the county jail.

    In fact, the City of Springfield has filed a lawsuit against Arnott over his change in policy. The following is from a news report about the impact of Arnott's decision on public safety:

    The report says local police agencies, between April 3 — when Arnott changed the policy — and Oct. 21, "came face-to-face with 2,812 people wanted on 2,763 warrants" and were forced to release them.

    It says those nearly 3,000 crimes have gone "essentially unpunished" and have included 701 stealing warrants, 56 assault warrants and 53 DWI warrants.

    The report includes excerpts from police reports in which alleged offenders taunted police using "the jail situation as evidence that there was nothing that could be done."

    Does Sheriff Jim Arnott care if public safety is compromised because of the policies at his supposedly overcrowded jail? Doesn't look like it. Can Arnott concoct a bogus arrest of my wife in order to provide cover for the deputies who brutalized her and broke her arm? Sure does look like it? Is Jim Arnott willing to ignore jail crowding when it suits his unethical (and likely unlawful) purposes? Yep.

    Cowherd Construction
    Arnott apparently wasn't just trying to protect rogue deputies. He also was trying to protect Trent Cowherd, landlord and owner of Cowherd Construction, which seemingly was hell-bent on conducting an unlawful eviction against us. Cowherd had given us a notice to vacate that violated the terms of the lease. (See lease at the end of this post.) Specifically, Cowherd sought to have us re-qualify because the cosignor (my mother) wanted off our lease, even though there is no language in the lease that required us to re-qualify. Cowherd's own representative at trial admitted there was no such language in the lease.

    We challenged the eviction as wrongful in trial court and had timely filed a Notice of Appeal, which put an automatic stay on the eviction. Cowherd, his law firm, the sheriff's department, and my own brother (attorney David Shuler, representing our mother) all chose to ignore the stay. On top of that, Cowherd and its law firm (Lowther Johnson) scheduled the eviction inside the 10-day window, where no such action can take place under Missouri law.

    Does Jim Arnott take directions from Trent Cowherd and his law firm, regardless of what the law says? Does David Shuler do the same thing? Sure looks that way from here.

    As for Carol, once X-rays at the nearby Cox North Medical Center showed the large bone in her upper arm had been shattered, jail personnel allowed paramedics to transfer her to Cox South, where she eventually underwent seven hours of trauma surgery, performed by Dr. Brian Buck. Carol now is facing at least eight weeks of physical therapy, with the "best case" outcome probably being a return of 75 percent usage in her arm.

    The sheriff's department--with evidence showing that Carol was assaulted and not the other way around--apparently has decided that filing a bogus "assaulting an officer" charge would not be a good idea. But if Carol's arm had not been broken, it's likely she would have been facing a bogus charge and would still be in jail. With $100,000 bond, I would have had to pay $10,000 to get her released, and I'm not sure I would have been able to do that. Thanks to Jim Arnott, Carol would have been in jail for more than nine weeks, with no end in sight. All for a "crime" she did not commit--in fact, for a crime where she was the victim, not the perpetrator.

    How do we know that is the case? There are two forms of felony assault in Missouri. Here is the description of Assault of a Law Enforcement Officer in the first degree under Section 565.008.2 of the Revised Missouri Statutes.

    565.081. 1. A person commits the crime of assault of a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, emergency personnel, highway worker in a construction zone or work zone, utility worker, cable worker, or probation and parole officer in the first degree if such person attempts to kill or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, emergency personnel, highway worker in a construction zone or work zone, utility worker, cable worker, or probation and parole officer.

    I doubt even Jim Arnott could claim with a straight face that Carol tried to kill an officer or cause serious physical injury, especially since it seems clear no deputy on site that day left with a scratch on him/her.

    Here is the definition of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer in the second degree:

    A person is guilty of the crime of assault in the second degree against a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, emergency personnel (such as a firefighter, emergency room personnel or emergency medical technician), highway worker, or probation and parole officer if he:

    * knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical injury to the victim by means of a deadly weapon or other dangerous instrument

    * recklessly causes serious physical injury to the victim
    X-ray of Carol Shuler's broken arm,
    before repair via trauma surgery
    * while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, operates a motor vehicle with criminal negligence and causes physical injury to the victim

    * acts with criminal negligence and causes physical injury to the victim by means of a deadly weapon purposely threatens the victim with immediate serious physical injury, or

    * acting with criminal negligence, creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to the victim.

    Carol had no deadly weapon or dangerous instrument in her possession, she didn't cause serious physical injury to anyone, she doesn't drink or use illegal drugs and she was not driving, she didn't have a deadly weapon with which to threaten anyone, and she created no risk of death of serious physical injury to anyone.

    The only one who was seriously injured was her. And the whole incident, when taken in context with the overcrowded Greene County Jail, shows that Sheriff Jim Arnott is both a liar and a monumental hypocrite.




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    LaToya Ware
    (from MySpace)
    A Montgomery, Alabama, woman this week pleaded guilty to attempting to reveal confidential grand-jury information. LaToya Ware is black, and the charges against her stem from proceedings related to a federal-state drug investigation, where most of the targets appear to be people of color.

    All of which raises this question: LaToya Ware was charged with one count of violating the Alabama Grand Jury Secrecy Act, so why haven't similar charges been brought against white, conservative political/legal figures who apparently revealed grand-jury information related to the investigation in Lee County of House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn)?

    Court documents in the Hubbard case indicate Hubbard, former Governor Bob Riley; his son, Birmingham attorney Rob Riley; former Hubbard aide Josh Blades, and former Deputy Attorney General Sonny Reagan either leaked or received leaked grand-jury information. According to a report from Bill Britt of Alabama Political Reporter, evidence also suggests that Birmingham attorney Bill Baxley has been involved in schemes to obstruct the Hubbard grand jury.

    Information about apparent efforts to corrupt the grand-jury process in Lee County has been known at least since September 2014. So why have charges not been brought against any of the possible participants? Are such charges more likely to be brought if you are a black female hearing a drug-trafficking case--such as LaToya Ware--than if you are a white male, with legal and political ties to ruling Alabama conservatives--such as the individuals in the Hubbard case?

    Attorney General Luther Strange was quick to bring charges against Ms. Ware. But we've seen no sign that he intends to bring charges against Bob or Rob Riley, Josh Blades, Bill Baxley, or anyone else who--based on e-mail evidence in the Hubbard case--apparently released or sought secret grand-jury information.

    Is Strange sitting on his hands because he has been political allies of the Rileys, with all of them having strong ties to the powerful Bradley Arant law firm in Birmingham--and all with apparent addictions to Indian gambling money, which has led them to attack non-Indian gaming facilities in Alabama, such as VictoryLand in Macon County and Center Stage Alabama in Houston County, near Dothan?

    Is Strange giving Baxley a pass because the veteran Birmingham lawyer represents former Strange campaign aide Jessica Medeiros Garrison in a defamation case against this blog and me? Garrison has crowed about receiving a $3.5-million default judgment in the case, even though my reporting about her extramarital affair with Strange never has been proven false or defamatory at trial, before any jury.

    Here is a disturbing question: Is Luther Strange practicing a smelly form of politics while serving as Alabama's chief prosecutor and law-enforcement official?

    Luther Strange
    I have no idea what kind of legal representation LaToya Ware had, but a first-year law-school student should be able to argue that Strange's prosecution violated equal-protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Alabama Circuit Judge William Shashy already has found that Strange's crusade against VictoryLand violated equal-protection principles.

    Here is an uber disturbing question: Should the Mike Hubbard prosecution be dismissed because Luther Strange clearly is playing politics, by going after LaToya Ware while keeping hands off on Bob Riley, Rob Riley, Bill Baxley, etc.?

    All evidence we've seen strongly points to Mike Hubbard being guilty. But as evidence mounts that Luther Strange is a political game player, Hubbard's claim that the AG targeted him for political reasons--to remove a prime opponent in a future race for governor--gains traction.

    Those of us who opposed the political prosecution of former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman should also stand up for Mike Hubbard's right not to be targeted for political reasons.

    The more Luther Strange plays softball with those who apparently violated grand-jury secrecy laws, the more it appears the Mike Hubbard case should be dropped.

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    UA students Kaylin Lee, Maiya Gaspard, and Alexis
    Moody gather for a protest at Rose Hall
    (from al.com)
    The University of Alabama is one of several campuses around the country where students and faculty are protesting over race-based issues, in solidarity with students who recently forced leadership changes at the University of Missouri.

    In fact, a student-faculty group called "We Are Done" staged a protest yesterday morning near Foster Auditorium on the UA campus. The group has issued a list of 10 demands that it claims will foster an environment of diversity and tolerance at UA.

    We suspect the protests at several campuses are largely symbolic. But that should not be the case at the University of Alabama, where we have shown racism exists in very high places--and it's even directed at the powerhouse and supposedly beloved Crimson Tide football team.

    Some students already have called attention to the ugliness that rests beneath the surface at UA. Several of them recently released a video about their encounters with racism on the Tuscaloosa campus. (See video at the end of this post.)

    How high does racist rhetoric go at UA? As high as the private box of Paul Bryant Jr., a trustee emeritus and perhaps the Crimson Tide's most powerful booster.

    J.T. Smallwood, the tax collector for Jefferson County, was in Bryant's box at an Alabama football game when he looked down over the enormous crowd and was heard to say the following:

    "Can you imagine this many people pay us to watch n-----s beat up on each other?"

    Language doesn't get much more vile and racist than that. When you consider that it was directed at football players, including those wearing crimson jerseys . . . well, it looks like "We Are Done" has a lot of work to do in Tuscaloosa.

    Ironically, it was a threatened boycott from football players that apparently led Missouri's president and chancellor to announce their resignations after a series of race-based incidents on campus. Alabama, ranked No. 2 in the country, has a much better football team than Missouri. But that apparently has not earned much respect for Crimson Tide players among certain high-level fans and administrators.

    Jefferson County tax collector
    J.T. Smallwood
    (from YouTube)
    What was yesterday's protest like? Here is an account from Nick Privatera in The Crimson White student newspaper:

    [Yesterday] morning, students with the We Are Done organization gathered in protest on campus at the Malone Hood Plaza and then marched to the steps of Gorgas library, where several students spoke at length and the protestors chanted for change.

    The demonstration was held to promote changes on the issues of race, gender, sexuality, religion and socioeconomic status. We Are Done is also calling for the administration and the Board of Trustees to acknowledge the existence of the Machine and make strides to bring it above ground.

    Some of the main goals for the group is to remove names of white supremacists and Confederate generals from University property, or at least erect markers denoting the racist history of the buildings’ namesakes.

    Who is behind "We Are Done" at UA? The answer is not clear, but a recent article by Alyx Chandler in The Crimson White provides insight. From Chandler's article:

    The group of concerned students, none representing specific organizations, collectively wrote a letter titled “We only have one demand” and placed it in University president Stuart Bell's secretary's possession that morning before classes started. The secretary confirmed that she received the letter.

    “We want the administration to actually acknowledge that racism exists on campus," said Maiya Gaspard, a sophomore majoring in general health studies and one of the students standing in front of Rose. "We want for people to call it what it is, so we can start change."

    The UA students stood for two reasons.

    One was as concerned students for the University of Missouri, where the University president stepped down on Monday after controversies in which minority students demanded action from school leaders over what student activists called a climate of racism for the predominately white campus. . . .

    “It's [Mizzou] creating a bridge,” said Kaylyn Lee, a senior majoring in political and communications studies.

    The second reason dealt with students' grievances about administration involvement and acknowledgement on the UA campus about diversity and racism. The letter addressed the need for a diversity officer, a cultural diversity space and an updated version of the University's 2008 strategic diversity plan.

    It should not be hard for university administrators to acknowledge that racism exists on campus. It easily can be found in the luxury box of perhaps the university's best known official. If it can be found there--directed toward Crimson Tide football players--God only knows where else it is present.




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    Jessica Medeiros Garrison
    The careful reader might ask, "Schnauzer, why have you spent so much time lately on Jessica Medeiros Garrison and her attack piece at marieclaire.com?I realize this must be a topic that inflames your passions, but isn't it time to move on to something else?"

    That's a fair question, and here (I think) is a reasonable answer: Substantial evidence suggests Garrison's defamation lawsuit never has been about my reporting on her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange; that story is true, and Garrison, of all people, has to know that.

    From a legal standpoint, Garrison has done nothing at trial, before a jury (as required by law), to show that my reporting was false and defamatory. On top of that, substantial evidence suggests she committed perjury during a hearing that led to a $3.5-million in her favor, and it's possible that a transcript of the proceedings would show that AG Strange also lied under oath.

    That suggests Garrison's lawsuit, and her recent rant at women's fashion site Marie Claire, involve ulterior motives. I submit that's the reason Garrison's recent statements are filled with numerous falsehoods; it's pretty easy to keep your story straight when you are telling the truth--but Garrison isn't.

    One of her bogus claims involves weighty, constitutional matters, and that's why I have pursued the story in considerable detail. Garrison portrays herself as a victim of defamation--even though my reporting never has been found to be false or defamatory at trial or in any adversarial proceeding--and she claims to be protecting other women from journalists. Given Garrison's political background, that is laughable.

    In fact, Garrison is attacking journalism itself--and the First Amendment that is supposed to ensure a free press. That's why this story matters so much.

    First, Garrison isn't just ranting about my reporting at Legal Schnauzer. She reportedly is trying to get Google to hide my posts in searches--even though they've never been found to be false or defamatory at trial. That is a blatant attempt at censorship. Google would be wise to steer very clear of that path.

    Garrison also reportedly might speak at a National Lawyers Association (NLA) panel discussion on defamation law in the digital age. The public record, however, shows that, by law, she has not been defamed--at least not at Legal Schnauzer. Statements she might make at such a discussion likely would result in Garrison and the NLA defaming me. I sent an e-mail to the NLA, asking for information about the event, seeking a transcript (when it's available), and warning of the possible repercussions about possible false statements about me and my reporting on their platform. I have not received a reply.

    Garrison likes to brag these days about trips to Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California, to apparently solicit funds for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which was started by her mentor, the virulently homophobic Bill Pryor, now a Bush-appointed federal judge. (Apple's Tim Cooks is the first openly gay CEO in American history.) But what is really going on with Garrison? What points to her lawsuit, and her recent PR attack, being about something other than our coverage of the Luther Strange affair? We spelled that out in a post dated September 11, 2013. Here is the key material:

    We've established that the first of my two communications with Jessica Medeiros Garrison came on July 12, when I sent her an e-mail requesting an interview about her relationship with Attorney General Luther Strange. I gave Garrison more than four days to respond, and I never heard from her, so my first report on her extramarital affair with Strange was published on July 17.

    From that date until August 13, I published six posts about the affair, and I never heard from Garrison or her attorney, Bill Baxley.

    My second e-mail to Jessica Garrison was sent at 1:50 p.m. on August 14 and included questions about two issues that have little, if anything, to do with Luther Strange. One issue was her purchase of a house that was appraised for almost $440,000 in the Crestline section of Mountain Brook. The other involved her business relationship with a man named Erik Davis Harp, who was indicted in 2009 as one of two kingpins in an illegal gambling ring based in Panama. According to published reports, leaders of the ring had ties to the Gambino and Genovese crime families.

    Regular readers probably remember my first e-mail to Garrison, requesting an interview about her relationship with Luther Strange. But readers might have forgotten that the first e-mail generated no response from Garrison or her lawyer--not even when I wrote six posts about the Luther Strange affair in the aftermath, Readers might also have forgotten that I sent a second e-mail, one month and two days later, and that prompted an almost instant response from Garrison and Baxley.

    Here are the contents of that second e-mail, dated August 14, 2013:

    Ms. Garrison:

    I am a journalist in Birmingham, reporting on justice/legal issues at a number of Web sites, including the blog Legal Schnauzer. I have been reporting about your relationship with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and would like to ask you a few questions for upcoming related articles:

    (1) A document from your custody case, dated 5/23/12, states that you had a new address of 119 Main Street, Mountain Brook. Another public document shows that the property was sold at "public outcry" on two different dates, 6/12/12 and 7/20/12.

    A. How could you have this new address in May when the property wasn't sold to you at public auction until June and July?

    B. Was there really a public auction, where the property was available for open bids, or was the house somehow cherry picked for you? If so, who assisted in this matter, and why?

    (2) Public records indicate you've had a business relationship with a man named Erik Davis Harp, formerly of Tuscaloosa. Published reports show that Mr. Harp was indicted for helping to run an illegal offshore gambling operation, based in Panama. Published reports further state that the operation had connections to the Gambino and Genovese crime families.

    A. What was the nature of your business relationship with Mr. Harp? Is that relationship ongoing?

    B. Given your public statements against gambling, and considering Luther Strange's strong opposition to gambling, how could you be connected to a gambling kingpin with ties to major criminal factions?

    I ask that you respond to this request by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16.

    Thank you,

    Roger Shuler

    legalschnauzer.blogspot.com
    (205) 991-7438

    As you can see, the second e-mail had almost nothing to do with the Luther Strange affair. It primarily involved the following issues:

    * Garrison's apparent sweetheart deal on a house valued at more than $400,000 in the Crestline section of Alabama's snazziest suburb, Mountain Brook;

    * Garrison's business ties to Tuscaloosa native Erik Davis Harp, who was indicted for his role as one of two kingpins in an offshore gambling operation that was based in Panama and drew scrutiny from the district attorney's office in Queens, New York;

    The late Mafia kingpin
    John Gotti, of the
    Gambino family
    * The gambling ring's ties to the Gambino and Genovese crime families--which, given Garrison's ties to Harp, raise questions about her connections to organized crime;

    * Garrison's stunning hypocrisy on gambling.

    So what's the real reason Jessica Garrison filed a defamation lawsuit against me for reporting about her affair with Luther Strange that has never been proven to be false?

    Garrison's own actions suggest the lawsuit, and her recent Marie Claire rant, have nothing to do with the Strange affair. The real reason behind her jihad, I would suggest, lie somewhere in that second e-mail published above.

    Translation: I likely wasn't sued for anything I reported; I was sued because of questions I was asking.

    An attack on journalism? That's exactly what Jessica Medeiros Garrison is involved in.

    0 0


    Laquan McDonald
    (From crooksandliars.com)
    Police brutality remains front-page news around the country, with the latest outrage coming from Chicago, where video was released last week of the Laquan McDonald shooting.

    The McDonald story has far-reaching dimensions. In a roundabout way, it touches on the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. It has sparked a scathing rebuke of police officials from a Harvard-law graduate, writing at the nation's No. 1 law blog. And it prompts this troubling question: Is police dishonesty more common--and perhaps an even bigger threat to society--than police brutality?

    My wife, Carol, and I have been asking ourselves that question since deputies in Greene County, Missouri, invaded our apartment on September 9--with an assault rifle and roughly a half dozen handguns drawn--for an "eviction"that was unlawfully scheduled and had been automatically stayed when we filed a Notice of Appeal the day before.

    Carol and I both were handcuffed and led outside--even though there was no indication either of us had engaged in criminal activity--and a deputy eventually slammed Carol to the ground and broke her left arm so severely that it required trauma surgery for repair. Carol now is in intensive physical therapy for at least eight weeks, and caregivers have said she is expected, at best, to regain 75 percent usage in her arm.

    How could this happen? Carol had been given permission to enter our apartment and retrieve personal belongings. She already had placed several items in our car and was about to make a second trip--primarily to retrieve our cat's litter box--when three officers surrounded her just off the front porch, slammed her to the ground and yanked violently on her arms, badly bruising both of them and shattering the humerus (just above the elbow) in the left one.

    Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott was present for the eviction--why, we have no idea--and his immediate instinct was to lie. Standing roughly five feet away as Carol was being brutalized, Arnott pointed at her and said, "She assaulted a police officer."

    I saw the same scene from about 15 feet away and almost guffawed when I heard Arnott's words; Carol did not initiate contact with anyone. But she was handcuffed behind her back--with one arm broken--placed into the back of a police cruiser, taken to the county jail and told she was going to be hit with a felony charge and likely $100,000 bond. Never mind that Carol had a bone that was fractured in four to five places and bruises all over, while there was no sign of injury on any officer.

    X-ray of Carol Shuler's broken arm before
    repair by trauma surgery

    We've already shown that Arnott's actions were wildly contrary to Missouri law, and we will address that issue further in upcoming posts: Did the Missouri sheriff and perhaps other members of his staff commit federal crimes in causing Carol's false arrest and imprisonment? She was only released from custody after X-rays at Cox North Medical Center revealed the severe break in her arm. Maybe that gave Arnott some clue that Carol was the assaultee, not the assaulter.

    Carol and I have seen police dishonesty in an up-close-and-personal way, but we are far from alone. Consider the Laquan McDonald case. The video that shows Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times never would have come to light if a free-lance journalist named Brandon Smith had not filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking its release. Ironically, the McDonald family did not support Smith's efforts to bring the video to light.

    As those who have followed the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman know, the government (sometimes with the help of corrupt judges) can stonewall FOIA requests for years. Somehow, the Smith case must have landed before an ethical judge in Chicago, and roughly a year after the McDonald shooting, we now have a sense of what actually happened on that night in October 2014. We certainly were not going to get that from Chicago police sources.

    The day after Laquan McDonald died, a police-union official said Laquan had lunged at police. Here is an account from The Chicago Tribune, quoting Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden:

    Officers remained in their car and followed McDonald as he walked south on Pulaski Road. More officers arrived and police tried to box the teen in with two squad cars, Camden said. McDonald punctured one of the squad car's front passenger-side tires and damaged the front windshield, police and Camden said.

    Officers got out of their car and began approaching McDonald, again telling him to drop the knife, Camden said. The boy allegedly lunged at police, and one of the officers opened fire.

    The video released last week shows that McDonald did not lunge at officers. (See video at the end of this post.) Meanwhile, the manager of a Burger King near the shooting site said police tampered with surveillance video from the restaurant. From a report at aol.com:

    The restaurant's manager has insisted for months that his surveillance system was tampered with by the very police officers he was trying to help. He says 86 minutes of video from around the time of the shooting was erased. His statements Friday support what lawyers for the McDonald family first told WGN news back on Nov. 18.

    "A police detective and a technician went into the Burger King...and the Burger King employees, including the manager, looked at the video, and found about 83 minutes of video that were missing, which included the time the shooting occurred, " attorney Michael Robbins said.

    State prosecutors and police officials adamantly deny that anyone tampered with video. But what kind of credibility do law-enforcement officials have these days? Not much, would be our reply.

    Is the police dishonesty Carol and I have witnessed--along with that apparently surrounding the Laquan McDonald case--isolated? It doesn't look that way. A recent report at usuncut.com examines four instances where officers lied about being shot.

    I might have had a hard time believing that at one time. But not anymore.

    Elie Mystal, who has a J.D. degree from Harvard and writes at Above the Law, provides a disturbing perspective on police dishonesty in the aftermath of the Laquan McDonald shooting. The title of Mystal's article is "When Cops Do Their Jobs Black People Die."

    I don’t think most cops think their job is to shoot unarmed black people to death. But I do think most cops think their job is to protect other cops — including the ones who shoot unarmed black people to death. Black people die not just because there are a few racist cops, but because there are many, many more cops who refuse to do anything about the violent racists in their ranks.

    Police culture creates a world where a black teenager can be shot 16 times for jaywalking, and his killer can walk around free for a year while his superiors try to hide the evidence of the crime. This happens all the time. This has been happening all the time.

    This isn’t news to me. Cops lie all the time, I’ve known that because I’ve had to know that as I try to get through this world without being shot to death. I didn’t need the damn snuff film to “prove” that racist cops in Chicago kill black people and the police department covers it up.






    0 0


    (From techworld.com)
    Are some people too stupid to use an extramarital-affair Web site like Ashley Madison? By "some people," I mean Charles J. "Chuck" Dean, a reporter with al.com, and Rob Campbell, an attorney with Birmingham-based Bradley Arant.

    Here perhaps is a better question: How stupid do you have to be to fall for a scam like Ashley Madison? More on that question in a moment--and in a series of upcoming posts.

    But first, more about Chuck Dean and Rob Campbell. We outed Dean as an Ashley Madison (AM) user in early September and even showed how he quoted Mark Twain in an effort to pick up women other than his wife. Campbell, the husband of Birmingham lawyer/politico Minda Riley Campbell and the son-in-law of former governor Bob Riley, got outed in late August--and we learned that Rob Campbell likes to provide oral sex, but apparently not to his wife.

    What makes Dean and Campbell's extracurricular activities so stupid? Well, both of them claim in their Ashley Madison profiles that they are single. (See the profiles at the end of this post.) Now, the whole purpose of Ashley Madison is to perpetuate affairs--among people who are married or otherwise attached. If you are single and looking for someone to date, the Web is filled with sites for folks like you. (Here's an article about the 15 most popular dating sites, as of this month.)

    Charles J. Dean
    (From al.com)
    But Ashley Madison? It's for people who are married and want to cheat on their spouses--that's the site's reason for being. It's the desire to cheat, not necessarily the desire to have sex, that seems to have driven AM's membership numbers into the stratosphere. So why are Dean and Campbell claiming on the site that they aren't married? Are they ashamed to admit that they are attempting to cheat? Do they each think that will somehow preserve what's left of his conscience? Can it only be attributed to clinical stupidity?

    Heck, even Artur Davis, who has seen his political career go from "promising" to something that approximates "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," was not that stupid. Artur had the sense in his Ashley Madison profile to admit that he is "attached." Another word for attached is married. (Artur also describes himself as "shapely toned." Has another man in human history used those two words to describe his appearance?)

    Here is the good news for Dean, Campbell, and Davis: They hardly are the only clodheads who were dense enough to use Ashley Madison--they have plenty of high-level, executive types as company.

    Our Legal Schnauzer Computer Forensics and Accuracy Research Team (C-FART) has been pouring over Ashley Madison data from the infamous Team Impact hack, and the results are astounding. In fact, our research is nowhere near complete--and it's already astounding.

    Our focus so far has been on Alabama and Missouri--the two states where I've lived in recent years--and the number of corporate, legal, political, executive types who fell for the AM scam is . . . well, if you think people who make lots of money by running businesses are smart, this might cause you to think twice about that.

    According to one knowledgeable researcher, AM appears to have about 1,500 active female users, compared to 20 million men. In other words, millions of mostly married men were out there scrambling for affairs with women who, for the most part, did not exist. And these guys didn't see this coming?

    Rob Campbell
    (From babc.com)
    You might think that men from big-time, established companies and institutions would be too smart (and maybe too busy) to get involved in such a charade. But our research indicates you would be wrong. And our upcoming posts will provide plenty of specifics on just how wrong you would be.

    What are some of the Alabama entities we've seen with Ashley Madison users, and this is mostly from checking only the Birmingham metro area? What about similar entities in Missouri?

    We will address both questions in upcoming posts, and then we will get down to shining light on the prominent individuals involved. But first, here are summaries of Ashley Madison data for Chuck Dean, Rob Campbell, and Artur Davis.


    (To be continued)









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