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

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    Patty Poe
    Trying to quantify the outrageous nature of lies Missouri public defender Patty Poe told Carol and me over the past four or five months is a difficult task. But on a scale of 1-10, the following lie about a key element in the "assault of a law enforcement officer" case against Carol probably ranks at 9.98.

    Poe's nutty response grew from emails No. 4 and 5, in which Carol showed that both the Misdemeanor Information (MI) and Probable Cause (PC) Statement in her case were wildly defective, meaning the charges must be dismissed. (All of Carol's emails, plus Poe's responses, are embedded at the end of this post.)

    Poe responded with the following drivel to email No. 4 regarding the defective MI:

    The information is sufficient as to count I, it states: caused physical contact with Jeremy Lynn, a law enforcement officer without the consent of Jeremy Lynn by pushing him" and those allegations are contained in the probable cause statement. Often probable cause statements contain information that is not relevant or that is uncharged, such as the "barreling head first" is not charged. At trial, I would argue it is irrelevant and therefore should be excluded.

    Here is how Poe responds to email No. 5 regarding the off-the-charts defective PC Statement:

    Again, the probable cause statement and the information is sufficient to support count I.

    In both of these responses, you will note that Poe resorts to one of her standard "literary techniques." She makes zero citations to law that might support her point. Even in the rare instances when she does throw in a citation, it's almost always wildly off target.

    Why do the issues here matter? Taken together, the MI and the PC Statement are the charging documents against Carol. Under Missouri law, the MI shall "“[s]tate plainly, concisely, and definitely the essential facts constituting the elements of the offense charged." If done properly, this should fulfill the defendant's Sixth Amendment right "“to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation."

    The PC Statement is supposed to provide evidence that supports the MI. Missouri law requires a PC Statement to set forth sufficient facts to "support a finding of probable cause to believe a crime was committed and the accused committed it." In short, a PC Statement is a document of facts, which is supposed to support the MI, which is a document of law.

    In Carol's case, both fail miserably. As we have shown, the PC Statement includes numerous false statements, plus multiple omission of facts that point toward Carol being not guilty. Either shortcoming, under Missouri law, is grounds for the charges to be dismissed. But we have not even touched on perhaps the most grave shortcoming of all.

    That goes back to Poe's claim that the MI and PC Statement are sufficient. Well, no they aren't -- not even close. That's probably why Poe included no citations to law to support her claim. Carol and I most certainly can cite law to show that both charging documents are deficient.

    Our law comes from a case styled State v. Kirby (MO Ct. of App., 2004), which involved a detective named Kirk Rose, who swore in an affidavit about evidence pointing to alleged possession of a controlled substance. The affidavit stated that a "cooperative individual" had informed Rose that the defendant possessed marijuana at his residence.

    This is almost identical to what happened in Carol's case. Debi Wade, author of the PC Statement, claims Carol made physical contact with Officer Jeremy Lynn by pushing him after he burst into our duplex apartment for an unlawful eviction on Sept. 9, 2015. Wade admits that she did not witness the alleged pushing incident but was "advised" of it by . . . well, we have no idea. Like the "cooperative individual" in Kirby, this person has no name or identifying characteristics. It could have been another cop, it could have been landlord Trent Cowherd or one of his associates, it could have been one of the thieves that serve on Cowherd's eviction crew (which helped steal almost all of our personal belongings), it could have been a ground squirrel out in the front yard. (The PC Statement and MI are embedded at the end of this post.)

    The court in Kirby made it clear that the use of such an unidentified source, with no effort to corroborate the source's account, will not support a finding of probable cause. From the Kirby opinion:

    In the present case, although the affidavit included facts which indicated the personal knowledge of the “cooperative individual,” there was no reference to any corroboration of this information by Detective Rose in the affidavit. Detective Rose did testify at the suppression hearing that he took steps to corroborate the information given to him; however, this testimony was not presented to the issuing court in support of the application for the search warrant.

    Here, there was no discussion in the application or affidavits of Detective Rose's verification or corroboration of the information provided to him by the “cooperative individual.” Thus, there was no substantial basis for the issuing court's conclusion that probable cause existed to issue the warrant, and the trial court did not err in granting the motion to suppress.

    Are there any signs of verification or corroboration in Debi Wade's PC Statement? Nope, not even close. That means Patty Poe, when claiming the charging documents were sufficient, was full of horse feces.

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    Jeff Sessions and Robert Mueller
    Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal might be marching down 20th Street in Birmingham, according to a Web site that is playing an increasingly prominent role on stories that involve the intersection of Russia, Alabama, and corruption -- an intersection that seems to be getting pretty crowded.

    According the banbalch.com, Mueller's interview with Sessions almost certainly involved the softening of sanctions against Black Hall Aerospace, a Huntsville-based defense contractor.that has connections to Russia. The Birmingham firm Balch Bingham, Sessions's No. 2 financial supporter, did the sanctions work, and apparently wanted to keep that under wraps.

    Sessions' announcement and rally in support of Trump reportedly was set for Black Hall Aerospace. But the location was changed to Mobile when word got out of banbalch.com's reporting on the Black Hall sanctions. The Balch law firm's Web site then scrubbed all references from its Web site about work it had done on Black Hall's behalf. Banbalch.com made sure the Mueller team knew about Balch Bingham skulduggery related to Black Hall:

    As we told Mueller’s team:

    On or about March 2, 2017, after we had exposed them in our public education campaign, Balch scrubbed their website of all references to their successful lobbying in D.C. of changing Russian sanctions for Black Hall Aerospace. The website scrub not only created a cover-up, it magnified to what lengths Balch would go to sugar-coat the past. In addition, their [now former] top lobbyist in Washington changed his resume, removing all references to his success in changing Russian sanctions. What in the world is Balch hiding?”

    From a post last week about the latest on the Mueller investigation, and its apparent ties to Alabama:

    So did Sessions talk to Mueller about the Russians in his backyard and his cozy relationship with Balch Bingham?
    Balch Bingham’s relationship with and lobbying efforts on behalf of Russian-linked, Huntsville-based aerospace company Black Hall Aerospace, Inc. a/k/a AAL USA, Inc. may be under a growing microscope.
    In November of 2015, Balch successfully had Russian sanctions changed on behalf of Black Hall. As published, the sanctions “shall not apply to subcontracts at any tier with ROE and any successor, sub-unit, or subsidiary thereof made on behalf of the United States Government for goods, technology, and services for the maintenance, repair, overhaul, or sustainment of Mi-17 helicopters….”
    ROE is the state-owned Russian defense conglomerate. 
    According to our conversation with Thomas M. Countryman, the former U.S. Department of State official who drafted that exemption, the decision to make those changes to Russian sanctions came from either the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, State, or Defense.

    How does this point to Jeff Sessions -- and likely make it of interest to Robert Mueller? Banbalch.com explains:

    As U.S. Senator, Jeff Sessions was a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and had a close relationship with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Balch was Sessions' #2 lifetime contributor when he was U.S. Senator, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Did he or his staff lobby to have Russian sanctions changed directly with DOD after meeting with Balch lobbyists? Did Jeff Sessions or his staff ever meet with Soviet-born immigrant Oleg Sirbu, the owner of Black Hall, or his management team? Did Sessions or his staff open doors at DOD for Black Hall Aerospace or their lobbyists?

    Exactly three months and three days after the publication of those changed sanctions, Sessions endorsed President Trump. Originally the backdrop was going to be at Black Hall, but was changed due to crowd size.

    How was that original venue chosen? Who made the decision? What favors were they seeking?

    As we mentioned before, Balch scrubbed their website of their success in changing the sanctions. Worse, Balch appears to have lied about their relationship with Black Hall Aerospace to Politico.com.

    Black Hall Aerospace, Inc. a/k/a AAL USA, Inc. was allegedly once a subsidiary of AAL Group, Ltd. which is certified by Mil Helicopters. 
    Talk about tangled affairs: Mil Helicopters was merged into Russian Helicopters, which is owned by the Oboronprom holding company, which is a subsidiary of Rostec, the state-owned not-for-profit with numerous holding companies and hundreds of entities under its belt, including ROE.

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    U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)
    Two of the nation's most prominent newspapers are working on investigative reports about sexual-misconduct in Congress, sources tell Legal Schnauzer. The stories are expected to name names -- both of senators, representatives, and staffers involved and employees who were their victims -- and to have a strong Alabama angle. If the stories come to fruition, they could form the most explosive journalism to come out of D.C. in decades.

    The brewing scandal was a major topic of discussion at a meeting of Alabama lobbyists and legislators in early January at Mobile, sources tell LS. In fact, it sounds like little substantive work got done because of the swirling scandal. For now, U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer  (6th Dist, AL) appears to be the most likely Alabamian in Congress to face scrutiny. He won a 2014 election to fill Spencer Bachus' old seat.  From our source:

    Two weeks ago there was a lobbyist meeting in Mobile held to discuss the Alabama Legislative Agenda and what Candidates for State Offices and Federal Offices would be supported or Defeated. 
    During this meeting 2 Major Alabama Lobbyists (that represent the 2 Largest money making businesses in Alabama) . . . made the comments that the NY Times and Washington Post were working on stories that would expose a large number of US Representatives and Senators as a part of the Sexual Assault and Cover Up Payments Scandal.

    That's enough to get your attention, but then there is more:

    This story will list names of Congressmen and show the amounts paid to each woman/man and the actual crime. One of those names was said to be Gary Palmer.

    Gary Palmer may also be overseeing the fund. Gary Palmer has been accused by two women but the NYT and Washington Post have not released the story.

    This will go much deeper.

    This needs to go much deeper, and it needs to expose all the Alabama creeps in D.C., not just Gary Palmer. Stories of alleged sexual misconduct have been swirling around Palmer, going back to his days  as director of Alabama Policy Institute (API). This time it sounds like the stories might come with significant traction.

    How ugly could all of it get? Just last December, we learned the following from The Hill:

    In the backdrop of the Al Franken scandal is the recent revelation that Congress has its own special “shush” fund through the Office of Compliance to pay off victims of abuse and harassment. Those payoff amounts are no trivial matter. According to a recent Washington Post article, 264 complainants received a total of $17.2 million between 1997 and 2017. Before American taxpayers were even able to process the underlying scandal that our tax dollars have been misused to silence sexual harassment victims, we learned two new facts that further cast a dark shadow over Capitol Hill.

    What are those facts, and how bad could they get for members of both parties?

    The first revelation is that Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) allegedly sexually harassed women, including his own staff members. But this scandal comes with a different twist. Rather than use the designated “shush” fund, Conyers used his own office budget (again, all taxpayer-funded money) to pay off at least one woman, a former staffer who alleges the congressman repeatedly asked for sexual favors. To disburse the hush money, Conyers added her to his books as a “temporary staffer,” paid her the sum of $27,111.15, and then removed her from the payrolls.

    A second, and closely related, scandal is the news that Rep. Raul Grijalva (R-Ariz.) used taxpayer funds to silence a staffer who claimed the congressman’s drunkenness contributed to a hostile work environment. Relying on the House Employment Counsel, the House’s legal counsel, Grijalva provided a “severance package” of $48,395. The severance package in question was developed and disbursed outside of the House Ethics Committee’s rules governing severance packages.

    So in the span of a month, Americans have learned about three distinct “shushing” methods that members of Congress use to funnel taxpayer dollars to silence and pay off their accusers -- the Office of Compliance with its designated “shush” fund, the individual members own allocations for office funds, and the off-the-books severance packages orchestrated by Congress’s lawyers. And at the center of all of it are the laughably weak Ethics Committees in both the House and the Senate.

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    Angie Ingram
    (From styleblueprint.com)
    An Alabama lawyer recently claimed during a Facebook dust-up that I had threatened to kill her. No joke. The absurd claim arose from what I call "The Great Unexplainable Birmingham Dog Wars" (TGUBDW). As the title of this blog suggests, I happen to be pretty fond of dogs myself. And I've never committed, or threatened to commit, an act of violence against anyone. So, how did I get dragged into the dog wars? Have some of its participants become a bit unhinged?

    We're talking about Angie Ingram, the Birmingham debt-collection lawyer whose firm violated federal law in a multitude of ways in their interactions with Carol and me a few years back. (See video at the end of this post.) Ingram got away with it because our own lawyers, Darrell Cartwright and Allan Armstrong, stabbed us in the back -- and federal judge Abdul Kallon, a horrific Obama appointee, is corrupt, incompetent or both.

    Court-related news has been out there for about five years, suggesting Ingram has become a bit unstable herself. I had heard about a 2013 case styled Ingram v. Allred, where a Walker County judge found Ingram to be in contempt of court and ordered her jailed for 60 days -- that finding was overturned on appeal -- but I thought Angie Ingram no longer was an issue in my life. A reader, however, alerted me a few weeks back to a nasty exchange on Ingram's Facebook page among participants in TGUBDW

    What are the dog wars? Well, I've never been able to figure it out, but it seems certain dog breeders and rescue types disagree about how to conduct such business -- and Angie Ingram is on one side, with a lot of people who disagree with her (hate her?) on the other. I've heard from a number of Ingram's opponents over the years -- and I would love to help anyone who is an enemy of Angie Ingram -- but I haven't posted on the subject because I just can't figure out the convoluted nature of the conflict.

    Someone alerted me to a spirited debate that had broken out on Ingram's Facebook page, and my name got in the middle of it. A reader who did not take kindly to Ingram's position on dog-related matters fired back by posting a Legal Schnauzer report about our experiences with Ingram's law firm. That apparently got Ingram riled up, so she decided to take a few shots at me. From an Ingram comment:

    As to my "legal" history, do your research and do it properly. I don't post anything but facts and those that have come to a conclusion and I can document. Since you're not a lawyer, you probably wouldn't understand that since you and your friends seem to know and believe everything you can "google". I don't use google for my fact finding.

    You idiots posting things about the Legal Schnauzer and me and my being a debt collector make yourself look like fools. Look at this man's blog. He is a conspiracy theorist. Oh yeah, birds of a feather ... I think one of your friends said that.

    Then take a look at the the $3.5 million judgment awarded against Roger Shuler aka the Legal Schnauzer. That's what happens to people like him that post defamatory crap. So you think you know it all ... that man sued me twice. Guess what - he lost TWICE. He even threatened to kill me, all the defense attorneys, and the federal judge Abdul Kallon. So go ahead and promote what that man has to say about me. Do a little more research on him ... he has sued probably 10 or more people or companies and LOST EVERY SINGLE CASE. He worked at UAB and was fired for blogging that crap on their time. Oh, he sued them too ... and lost.

    Wow, this woman seems to have lost her mind. First, nothing I've written at Legal Schnauzer ever has been proven in court, as a matter of law, to be false or defamatory. Second, it's a matter of public record that I was fired at UAB for writing a blog, on my own time and resources, about the Don Siegelman case. The evidence is tape recorded, just like the violations of the Federal Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) against Ingram's law firm.

    Not content with those lies, Ingram really becomes unhinged -- claiming I threatened to kill her, certain defense attorneys, and a federal judge? Where on earth does she get this stuff? In fact, it's like she's begging me to sue her for defamation -- and she might get her wish.

    Perhaps this is the kind of behavior that got her in trouble with a Walker County judge. From the opinion in the Allred case:

    Ingram's office is in Jefferson County, but she represents creditors in collection actions throughout the state. During the last several years, she has represented creditors in a number of collection actions in the district court. In May 2011, the district-court judge who had been presiding in those actions ("the trial judge") ordered Ingram to appear at a show-cause hearing on May 20, 2011. That show-cause hearing related to actions she was handling in general rather than the underlying action in particular. At that show-cause hearing, the trial judge stated, in pertinent part:

    "THE COURT: Over the last two-and-a-half years there's a lot of times that ya'll either haven't had anybody here, or you have local attorneys, for whatever reason, and they don't know what cases they are here on, they don't know what's going on with the cases. And then what I do—well, what I started out doing is continuing those because I figured, well, mistakes happen and somebody got mixed up somewhere. As it continued to happen, I dismissed those cases. If there was a good reason why you missed, I would consider reinstating those cases. Now what I'm seeing is, nobody shows up. I have people that take off work, people that hire lawyers, they're here, and nobody is here on your side. I dismiss them and then I get a slew of motions to reinstate, which is further a waste of my time. You know, I'm ruling on everything two or three times because ya'll can't be bothered to come up here, and I'm very unhappy about that, Ms. Ingram." 
    Ingram explained that she had arranged for a local attorney to appear on several occasions in the district court but that he had proved unreliable and that she would not be relying on him in the future. Ingram also apologized to the trial judge.

    The following colloquy then occurred:

    "THE COURT: Well, I'm not necessarily—

    "MS. INGRAM: And it's not—

    "THE COURT:—casting stones at anybody. And I didn't bring you over here to throw you in jail or anything like that. I don't think that's appropriate. I just want you and I to be on the same page on this.

    "MS. INGRAM: I understand.

    "THE COURT: If this continues to happen, here's where I am at. I want you to know so there's no misunderstanding.

    "Particularly, in cases where I have other attorneys that are here and there's nobody here from your office, I'm going to entertain motions for attorney's fees on those cases. I'm going to start fining you if I feel like somebody has come here. A lot of these people can ill-afford to miss a day of work anyway. And if they take off work and come up here and there's nobody up here to prosecute that case, there's going to be some punitive damages—"

    Ingram then failed to appear at another hearing, and she did not give the judge advanced notice. The judge found her in contempt:

    Also on March 6, 2012, the trial judge had the Walker County Sheriff's Office send a deputy sheriff to Jefferson County to arrest Ingram. At the March 21, 2012, show-cause hearing, the Walker County deputy sheriff testified as follows. He met a Jefferson County deputy sheriff on the afternoon of March 6, 2012, and the two deputies went to Ingram's office. When the deputies arrived at Ingram's office on the second floor of a building, the receptionist told the deputies that Ingram was in the yogurt shop downstairs. When the deputies went to the yogurt shop, Ingram was not there, and the deputies asked an employee of the yogurt shop where Ingram was. The yogurt-shop employee telephoned an unidentified person. Upon concluding his telephone call, the yogurt-shop employee told the deputies that Ingram would come down to the yogurt shop in a few minutes. The deputies waited, but Ingram did not appear. The deputies asked the yogurt-shop employee if Ingram was coming down, and the yogurt-shop employee made a telephone call to an unidentified person but told the deputies he did not get an answer. The yogurt-shop employee later made another call to an unidentified person and reported to the deputies that Ingram would not be able to meet with them because she was meeting with a client. The deputies then went back upstairs to Ingram's office and told the receptionist that the yogurt-shop employee had told them that Ingram was in her office. The receptionist told the deputies that Ingram had left the office for a meeting. The deputies asked to search Ingram's office to verify that she was not there, and the receptionist allowed them to do so. The deputies did not find Ingram in her office. The deputies then left the building but stopped in the parking lot to have a conversation before getting into their automobiles. While the deputies were conversing in the parking lot, a man who identified himself as Ingram's husband approached them and asked the deputies if they were looking for Ingram. When they responded in the affirmative, the man either said that Ingram knew the deputies were coming or that she knew the deputies were looking for her, that she was not at her office, and that the deputies would not be able to contact her. The Walker County deputy then called the trial judge, who told the deputy to tell the man who had identified himself as Ingram's husband that, if Ingram would come with the deputy, she could get out of jail but, if she did not come with the deputy, the trial judge was going to be gone for a few days and the trial judge did not know when Ingram would get out of jail. The deputy relayed to the man who had identified himself as Ingram's husband what the trial judge had said. The man who had identified himself as Ingram's husband then walked off, and the deputies left.

    The opinion indicates the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals let Ingram off the hook on a technicality. But the record indicates she ran into a judge who refused to let her run a debt-collection outfit in a shoddy fashion. That might be why Ingram's current Web site suggests she now is focusing mostly on tenant-landlord law and animal law, not so much on debt collection.

    By the way, I'm not the only one to incur Ingram's wrath recently. In a Jan. 3 Facebook post, she attacked Lisa Sharlach, director of women and gender studies at UAB. It appears to have something to do with TGUBDW, but I can't figure out exactly what.

    Angie Ingram seems to be engaging in erratic behavior that could lead to the two of us crossing swords in court again. When someone wrongfully accuses you of threatening to kill people, it's serious business.

    It appears I might not be the only one who has grounds for doing battle with Ingram.

    Below is a video that captures Ingram's debt-collection thugs committing multiple violations of the FDCPA. Having this or a related video thrown in her face probably is what got her pissed off enough to make all kinds of false statements about me.

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    Nicholas Jain
    (From facebook.com)
    Let's consider the irony of this: My wife, Carol, has had a criminal prosecution hanging over her head for more than 12 months, on charges that she committed an "assault on a law enforcement officer, third degree." The charge has lingered all this time, even though the "victim" -- Greene County Sheriff's deputy Jeremy Lynn -- admits he "caused physical contact" with Carol by grabbing her as he burst into our rented duplex apartment for an eviction that was unlawful on at least 10 grounds.

    The central element in the offense under RSMo 565.083 is whether the defendant "knowingly caused physical contact" with an officer, without his consent. Lynn's words show that he, not Carol, caused physical contact -- and her only action was to pull away from him, as most any individual would do when a stranger breaks into her home, with no apparent grounds for being there, and starts grabbing her.

    Now, for the ironic part: This case, which was bogus from the outset for anyone who bothered to read Jeremy Lynn's written narrative, has become an exercise in "kicking the can down the road," largely because Nicholas Dave Jain, the assistant prosecuting attorney, has refused to ditch it for the piece of excrement that it is. In essence, Jain has exercised his "moral authority" to keep Carol's life in legal limbo, even though there is zero basis for the charge against her -- and before this outrage came along, she didn't have as much as a parking ticket on her record. She has been the very definition of a law-abiding citizen.

    What about Nicholas Jain? Well, he now exercises authority over those charged with crimes, but his own past hardly is pristine. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to DUI charges in Boone County, Missouri. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with the sentence suspended in lieu of two years' probation.

    We've already noted that Jain was on probation for drunk driving when he was accepted to the University of Missouri Law School, and we raised this question: Is MU having such a hard time finding qualified law students that it has to admit a convicted drunk driver?

    The school's statistics indicate the answer is no. For 2017 Mizzou Law has 556 applications, with 301 admitted and 92 enrolled. In most years, the school accepts about 58 percent of its applicants, and it has a bar-passage rate of 90 percent. U.S. Newsranked MU No. 59 among American law schools in 2016, and its incoming class that year had a median GPA of 3.48.

    Numbers show that Mizzou does not struggle to attract top-notch law students. So why the need to admit Nicholas Jain, with his drunk-driving conviction and probationary status? That's just one of many questions the Jain criminal history raises. Here are a few others:

    * Jain's professional bio shows that, beginning in May 2013, he worked four months as an extern at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. He was on probation for drunk driving at the time he was hired. Does the Department of Natural Resources simply not care if an applicant's history includes a conviction for such a serious offense? Did Jain disclose his criminal history on his application?

    * Beginning in August 2013, Jain worked for 10 months as a law clerk at the Missouri Department of Economic Development. He was on probation for drunk driving at the time he was hired. Does the Department of Economic Development bother to conduct background checks on applicants? Did Jain disclose his criminal history? Did he get away with hiding it?

    * Beginning in May 2014, Jain worked for one year as a law clerk at Carson and Coil PC. Like the other two jobs, this one was in Jefferson City, MO. Does anyone in Missouri's capital city know how to conduct a background check?

    * For one month in 2015, Jain served as a faculty member at the Missouri Scholars Academy in Columbia. He taught a course titled "Ask What Your Country Can Do for You." One thing the U.S. has done for Nicholas Jain is allow him to move forward, despite his drunk-driving conviction, probably ahead of others who have clean records.

    * In August 2015, Jain was hired in the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, where he now oversees Carol's case, among others. Does PA Dan Patterson make it a practice to hire lawyers with criminal records? Is it possible -- even likely -- that Nicholas Jain has prosecuted individuals who have way less serious offenses on their records than he has on his own?

    * Public records show Nicholas Jain is a licensed pilot. Here is information regarding his license:

    Medical Class 3 (Expires: Nov 2018)
    Address: 1033 E KINGSBURY ST, Springfield city, MO 65807
    Pilot License: Private - Airplane Single Engine Land

    Was Jain's drunk-driving conviction revealed to the board that issues pilot licenses? Is it routine for convicted drunk drivers to be granted the right to fly airplanes? Is that supposed to make the public feel good about safety issues?

    We sought comment from Nicholas Jain, and posed some of these questions to him. He responded and provided some answers, while avoiding other questions.

    (To be continued)

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    Randall Margraves (left) tries to attack Dr. Larry Nasser (in red, lower center)
     in a Michigan courtroom. (From skynews.com.)

    A Michigan man was facing up to $7,500 in fines and more than three months in jail after his attempted courtroom attack last week on Dr. Larry Nassar, the physician at the center of the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse scandal. (See video at the end of this post.)

    Randall Margraves should thank his lucky stars that Judge Janice K. Cunningham chose not to hold him accountable for a contempt of court that happened right under her nose. The incident raises at least three issues that hit close to home here at Legal Schnauzer: (1) Finding -- or not finding -- individuals in contempt of court; (2) The dubious actions of courts in cases involving female victims, especially those targeted by male authority figures: (3) Gross inequity in application of laws across jurisdictions -- in some instances, the laws themselves vary wildly across state lines; in others, judges and juries apply the law with such inconsistency that it pitches any notion of "equal protection of the law" on its head.

    Some Web sites have treated Margraves as a hero, and he clearly benefited from having a judge who was determined to ignore her state's statutory provisions regarding a contempt that could not be more clear.

    When I read last Friday about the attempted attack on Nassar, I figured Margraves would be subject to relatively straightforward and mild contempt law, such as what you find in Alabama. Boy, was I wrong about that?

    Here is the gist of contempt law in Alabama: The state recognizes two kinds of contempt: (1) Criminal contempt, which generally applies to an unruly act that takes place in view of the court and disrupts its operations; (2) Civil contempt, which is designed to coerce enforcement of the court's orders and is mostly used in cases of child support. A subject can be held for civil contempt until he complies with the court's order. Punishment for criminal contempt is limited to a $100 fine and imprisonment not to exceed five days. (See Code of Alabama 12-11-30.)

    A reasonable person might think a criminal contempt would be treated more severely than a civil contempt. But that's not how it works in Alabama. If you are going to be held in contempt, you definitely want it to be criminal because the court is greatly limited in what it can do to you.

    In fact, I was stunned at the differences between Alabama law and Michigan law on the subject of contempt. For example, Michigan law makes it clear that criminal contempt is considered a crime. I believe that's also the case in Alabama, but state law seems to dance around that subject.

    Michigan's language on criminal v. civil contempt gets pretty convoluted, and it also uses the terms "direct contempt" (happening within the court's view) v. "indirect contempt" (happening outside the court's view. Michigan does its best to complicate what should be a fairly simple subject, but still, it seems clear Margraves engaged in a direct criminal contempt.

    The punishment for that can sting big time in Michigan. From the Michigan Judicial Institute's Benchbook for Contempt of Court, which is 189 pages long:

    Permissible Punishments for Criminal Contempt Sentencing discretion for criminal contempt is limited by statute to a fine of not more than $7,500, imprisonment not to exceed 93 days, or both. MCL 600.1715(1). The court may also place a contemnor on probation in the manner provided for persons guilty of a misdemeanor.

    So, Musgraves was looking at a possible $7,500 in fines, 93 days of imprisonment, and probation -- or all three. Ouch! Alabama's $100 fine and five days in jail sounds downright puny -- even unmanly -- compared to what they do in Michigan. Heck, Alabama could become known as a bastion of LIBERALISM when it comes to contempt of court. What if word gets out to our legislators? What if it becomes known that Nick Saban operates in a limp-wristed state that coddles contemnors? Could that torpedo Saint Nick's recruiting efforts? 

    What does all of this say about "equal protection of the law" and female victims of male authority figures? We've seen these issues play out in an up-close-and-personal way, and it's not a pretty sight to behold. Our examination continues in an upcoming post.

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    Dr. Larry Nassar
    (From cbssports.com)
    A casual observer of recent activity in the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse case in Michigan could have the impression that American courts actually are striving to achieve equal protection of the law -- especially in matters that involve alleged contempt of court and abuse of girls and women by men in positions of authority.

    My wife, Carol, and I have up-close-and-personal experience with such matters in two states -- Alabama and Missouri -- and we know U.S. courts are a long way from acting with anything approaching consistency and enlightenment. No matter how many life sentences are imposed against Dr. Larry Nassar -- the physician and sexual predator at the heart of the Michigan case -- the public should not fall for any notion that our courts truly dispense justice. The sideshow created when Randall Margraves -- the father of three Nassar victims -- tried to attack the doctor in court only adds to evidence that our courts are not to be trusted, even in a case that has attracted national media attention.

    The criminal cases against Nassar likely ended yesterday, with a judge imposing another 40- to 125-year sentence. That could be interpreted as a form of justice for the victims. But criminal cases are about punishment for wrongdoers, and they do little or nothing to address the victims' damages. That can only come from civil cases, and lawsuits already are mounting against USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, and other entities connected to Nassar.

    Are the victims guaranteed anything close to justice in civil matters? Absolutely not. Michigan State is one of the most powerful entities in the state, and we know from first-hand experience with the University of Alabama, that you should never underestimate the ability of a state university to cheat its victims. When I was screwed out of my job of 20 years at UAB, the university was more than happy to take advantage of U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr.'s corrupt rulings, granting summary judgment when no discovery had been conducted.

    That simply cannot be done, per Snook v. Trust Company of Georgia, 859 F. 2d 865 (11th Cir., 1988), and University of Alabama lawyers surely knew this was a monstrous cheat job. But they stayed quiet because it benefited them. Would Michigan State's lawyers do the same thing to Larry Nassar's victims? Well, they've already shown signs that the answer is yes. MSU has moved a federal judge to dismiss complaints against it in the Nassar matter on the grounds of "state immunity." From an article at the Lansing State Journal:

    MSU has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuits against it by some 140 women and girls who say former university doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused them because as a state institution it "retains absolute immunity from liability" for his actions. . . .

    Attorneys for the university furthered their argument that Michigan State University and its current and former employees should be dismissed from the nine lawsuits by saying the statute of limitations had expired, the plaintiffs lacked standing for protection under the federal Title IX law or because MSU employees are also immune from liability.

    "In the fall of 2016, Nassar was unmasked and exposed for what he is: a fraud, a pedophile, and a criminal," attorneys wrote. "He has now publicly admitted that he abused his position of trust to surreptitiously sexually assault his patients under the guise of medical care. He will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars — and deservedly so."

    Michigan State has signaled clearly that it intends to do everything in its power to make sure Nassar's victims walk away empty handed. If that doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth just a little . . . well, I've seen the University of Alabama pull the same stunt -- and get away with it.

    I suspect the public perceives that the Nassar criminal sentencing signals his victims will achieve justice in the civil arena. But we warn against jumping to such conclusions.  We've seen here in Missouri that powerful institutions, who have abused women once, are likely to try it again.

    Members of the Greene County Sheriff's Office -- acting at the behest of corrupt landlord Trent Cowherd and his corrupt lawyer, Craig Lowther -- broke into our rented apartment, with no authority from a court, and wound up breaking Carol's arm in more than two places (a comminuted fracture).

    X-ray of Carol Shuler's broken arm
    Did the thugs take accountability for their actions? Are you kidding? They concocted a bogus "assault of a law enforcement officer" criminal case against Carol, which she has been fighting for more than a year --and it clearly is a "cover charge" designed to impede her chances of achieving civil justice.

    How weak is the cover charge? The Probable Cause Statement shows there is no accuser -- no one with a name makes any claim that Carol assaulted anyone. That can't be done under the Sixth Amendment to he U.S. Constitution, but it's being done right here in the Missouri Ozarks. Even worse, the supposed "victim," Officer Jeremy Lynn, admits in his incident report that he initiated contact with Carol -- and that means, as a matter of law, she could not have assaulted him.

    All of this raises a discomfiting question: What if Larry Nassar had been a cop, or a doctor who worked for law enforcement? What if he had routinely sexually abused female inmates in the Michigan corrections system? Would the justice apparatus be doing everything in its power to protect him?

    The answer, in my view, likely is yes. Also, we encourage the public not to buy into the notion that the justice system, and those who are powerful enough to manipulate it, care one iota about justice for Larry Nassar's victim.

    We've already seen signs that Michigan State is working against the victims, and you can only expect that to intensify.

    As for contempt of court, our justice system has proven beyond a doubt that it routinely butchers that concept. More on that issue is coming.

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    Nicholas Jain
    Missouri prosecutor Nicholas Jain has a drunk-driving conviction in his background, but that does not seem to have impeded his pursuit of a law degree, big time law-related jobs, even a pilot's license. That raises a number of unsettling questions, especially since Jain is in a position of judging the actions of others.

    We sought to pose some of these questions to Jain, and it started with the following email:

    Mr. Jain:

    I publish Legal Schnauzer, a blog about justice issues in Missouri, Alabama, the South, and beyond. I am preparing a post re: the above-styled DUI case in which you were involved. I wanted to give you an opportunity to comment prior to publication. A few questions that you might want to address:

    (1) It appears you were accepted to the MU School of Law while on two years' probation for the DUI case. Did you disclose your criminal record and probationary status on your law school application?

    (2) To your knowledge, is it normal practice for the MU School of Law to admit a student who is on probation due to a criminal offense?

    (3) My research indicates you worked as a law clerk for at least two state agencies, plus a Jefferson City law firm, either while you were on probation or shortly after your probationary period ended. Did you disclose your criminal record and probationary status on your applications for these positions?

    (4) I understand you soon intend to run for prosecuting attorney, probably in your home area of Dunklin County, MO. Do you plan to disclose your criminal history to voters and the local press? What does this mark on your record say about your qualifications to serve in a position of such high public trust?

    If you wish to comment on this matter for my articles, you are welcome to do so. Also, I would be glad to arrange a time for an interview (in person or by phone) if that would work better for you.

    I ask that you make any response by 5 p.m. Thurs. (12/7/17).

    Legal Schnauzer has been ranked among the top 50 law blogs in North America. Again, we welcome any comments you care to make prior to publication.


    Roger Shuler (publisher and editor)

    Carol Shuler (asst. publisher and editor)


    (205) 381-5673.

    Here is Jain's response:

    Dear Mr. Shuler:

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond.

    1. Yes, I disclosed the case to the University of Missouri School of Law as well as to the Missouri Board of Law Examiners.

    2. I do not have sufficient knowledge to answer questions about the law school’s admission policies. I am only aware of my personal experience, and I was admitted without further question. The Director of Admissions or Admissions Committee may be able to provide more information about their policies and practices.

    3. I disclosed the case to those employers. In addition, the record was also publicly available on Case.net then, as it is now.

    4. I take full responsibility for driving while intoxicated in 2011, and I deeply regret that incident. Prosecutors must exercise sound judgment as it relates to each case they handle. As a prosecutor, I hope to have the wisdom and perspective to do what is in the best interests of the people of the county both individually and as a whole.

    Thank you,

    Nicholas Jain

    Interestingly, Jain avoided the question about his political plans in Dunklin County, Missouri. He did, however, raise the issue of prosecutors showing sound judgment. That prompted more questions from us.

    (To be continued)

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    Nicholas Jain
    A Missouri prosecutor who has a drunk-driving conviction on his record is handling a DUI case that is set for trial in late March after the state court of appeals overturned a trial-court finding that suppressed evidence due to lack of probable cause.

    All of this has strong connections to the bogus "assault of a law enforcement officer (LEO)" charges against my wife, Carol. The drunk-driving prosecutor, Nicholas Jain, has pressed the case against Carol, even though it clearly has lacked probable cause from the get-go. The trial judge in the Greene County DUI case is Margaret Holden Palmietto, who also is presiding over Carol's case.

    Most important, however, is this: The DUI case, taken in light with Carol's case, reveals Nicholas Jain to be a monstrous hypocrite and a glaringly corrupt prosecutor. What's next in Missouri? Will the state start hiring rapists to prosecute rape cases? Maybe it can hire child molesters to prosecute child molestation cases? Given that Nicholas Jain is a drunk driver prosecuting drunk-driving case . . . well, it seems reasonable to expect the state to hire criminals to prosecute the crimes they have committed themselves.

    The pending DUI case is styled State of Missouri v. Charles Hollis Roux. The Web site for Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson shows Jain as handling "general crimes." You might think Patterson would have enough sense not to have a drunk driver handling DUI cases. But you would be wrong. "General crimes" apparently includes DUI cases, and God only know how many Jain has handled.

    This all hits close to home here at Legal Schnauzer because of the probable-cause issue. Anyone can read the Probable Cause Statement and Misdemeanor Information -- the two charging documents in Carol's case -- and see Carol has been arrested twice without anything even close to probable cause. (Both documents are embedded at the end of this post.)

    Carol has been forced to fight baseless charges for more than a year, even though the PC Statement includes no information from a named accuser. The only allegation against Carol -- that she supposedly pushed an officer who was engaging in an unlawful eviction at our apartment -- comes from an unnamed "adviser."That is sub-hearsay and is wildly inadmissible, under both Missouri and federal law..

    The so-called "victim" of the push, Officer Jeremy Lynn, makes no statement in the PC Statement -- he provides zero evidence. He does admit in his incident report that he grabbed Carol -- initiating contact with her, not the other way around -- meaning Carol, as a matter of law in Missouri, is innocent. But Nicholas Jain doesn't seem to let the facts and law get in the way of pursuing dubious cases. (Lynn's incident report, which is not part of the PC Statement, is embedded at the end of this post.)

    For now, the main issue in Carol's case is probable cause -- and anyone can read the PC Statement and see that Jeremy Lynn presents zero evidence of any misconduct on Carol's part.

    State of Missouri v. Charles Hollis Roux also indicates Jain is pushing a DUI -- the very offense for which Jain served two years on probation -- which involves shaky probable cause. In fact, Judge Palmietto found at the trial level that all evidence was due to be dismissed for lack of probable cause. Did Patterson and Jain have the decency to take their lumps and move on to something else -- especially given their raging hypocrisy on the DUI issue?

    Hell, no. They may be softies when it comes to drunk drivers in the Greene County prosecutor's office, but they play hard ass with everyday folks facing DUI charges. Here is the Missouri Court of Appeals' summary of its reversal of Judge Palmietto in the Roux case:

    Charles Hollis Roux (“Defendant”) was charged with driving while intoxicated and thereafter filed a motion to suppress all the evidence in the case. The trial court granted that motion, and the State appeals pursuant to § 547.200.1(3) 1 raising two points of alleged error. In its first point, the State argues the trial court's decision was not supported by substantial evidence, and, in its second point, the State argues the trial court erred in refusing to admit the result of the portable breath test. The State's second point has merit, so we are compelled to reverse and remand the case. Moreover, as the admission of the test result will add additional relevant evidence for the trial court to consider on remand, we need not address the State's first point.

    So, the trial-court judge -- the one who handled the Roux case from the outset -- found results of the portable breath test should not have been admitted. According to case.net, the case has been reset for a bench trial in Greene County on March 26, 2018.

    Did the appellate court get it right? Well, we still are conducting research on that. But the trial court clearly found lack of probable cause -- and Patterson and Jain decided to play the hard ass when a regular citizen faces DUI charges.

    That, of course, likely serves the political ambitions of the prosecutor and his flunky. But they probably don't want the public to know about their hypocrisy -- that they get all soft and gooey when it comes to a drunk driver working as a prosecutor.

    (To be continued)

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    A Michigan man's attempt to launch a courtroom assault on Dr. Larry Nassar, the physician at the heart of the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse case, has wound up teaching an important lesson about the gross misapplication of contempt-of-court laws in the United States. Randall Margraves almost certainly did not intend to teach such a lesson -- but he did, and it's one that hits close to home here at Legal Schnauzer.

    Margraves' actions amounted to about as blatant a case of contempt of court as one can imagine. It happened right under the nose of Judge Janice K. Cunningham, and based on Michigan law, Margraves was looking at up to $7,500 in fines and three months in jail. So, why did Cunningham ignore her oath to uphold the law and let Margraves off the hook? Given that judges in Michigan are subject to election, political considerations probably played a major factor.

    Does that frost us, just a bit? It sure as heck does, given that I spent five months in an Alabama jail because of a preliminary injunction in a defamation case, the kind of injunction that has been prohibited by only 230 years or so of First Amendment law?

    Why are preliminary injunctions forbidden in defamation cases? By definition, a preliminary injunction is a prior restraint on free speech and a free press. It involves a judge acting as a one-man censor, essentially saying, "You can't publish this, even though there has been no lawful finding that it is defamatory -- no discovery, no trial, no jury."

    Also, a preliminary injunction leads to the possibility of a contempt finding, which inherently means fines and jail time. If that notion sounds un-American to you, that's because it is. So, how did I spend five months in jail on a contempt finding that has zero basis in law? Well, that's because Alabama is hideously corrupt -- a place where a political hack and legal neanderthal like Rob Riley can seek remedies not allowed by law, and a specially appointed corrupt judge like Claud Neilson will let him get away with it.

    In a broader sense, my experience in Alabama -- viewed in a light with the Nassar case in Michigan -- shows that U.S. courts often make no serious effort to ensure law is equitably applied across jurisdictions. In other words, the notion of "equal protection of the law" is a joke in the U.S. justice system -- and judges tend to treat it with thinly disguised disdain.

    How gross were Riley and Neilson's abuse of contempt powers in my case? About as bad as it can get, and we've spelled that out in several posts. (See here, here, and here.) Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (Sup. Ct., 1931), one of the seminal First Amendment cases of the 20th century, involved a Minnesota statute that provided for the "abatement" as a public nuisance of any newspaper that was found to produce "malicious, scandalous, and defamatory" content. The nation's highest court quickly found that the Minnesota statute collided with fundamental constitutional protections -- and one reason involved issues connected to contempt. From the Near opinion:

    When a newspaper or periodical is found to be "malicious, scandalous and defamatory," and is suppressed as such, resumption of publication is punishable as a contempt of court by fine or imprisonment. Thus, where a newspaper or periodical has been suppressed because of the circulation of charges against public officers of official misconduct, it would seem to be clear that the renewal of the publication of such charges would constitute a contempt and that the judgment would lay a permanent restraint upon the publisher, to escape which he must satisfy the court as to the character of a new publication. Whether he would be permitted again to publish matter deemed to be derogatory to the same or other public officers would depend upon the court's ruling.

    How dangerous is this to a society built largely on the foundation of a free press?

    If we cut through mere details of procedure, the operation and effect of the statute in substance is that public authorities may bring the owner or publisher of a newspaper or periodical before a judge upon a charge of conducting a business of publishing scandalous and defamatory matter — in particular that the matter consists of charges against public officers of official dereliction — and unless the owner or publisher is able and disposed to bring competent evidence to satisfy the judge that the charges are true and are published with good motives and for justifiable ends, his newspaper or periodical is suppressed and further publication is made punishable as a contempt. This is of the essence of censorship.

    There is that ugly word again -- censorship. I spent five months in an Alabama jail because Rob Riley and associated corrupt lawyers asked Judge Claud Neilson to act as a one-man censor in my case, contrary to centuries of First Amendment. And Neilson, showing absolute disdain for our constitution, agreed to act as a one-man censor -- using contempt powers he did not have as the weapon of choice.

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    Joseph and Don Siegelman
    Last week's announcement that Joseph Siegelman had qualified to run as Alabama attorney general has the makings of perhaps the most intriguing political news in . . . well, ever, at least in the 40 years I've had connections to the state.

    As the son of former governor Don Siegelman, Joseph has a perspective on the "justice system" that probably is unique in post-modern America. His father was the target of likely the most flagrant political prosecution in U.S. history, and that surely has had a profound impact on Joseph Siegelman. What's it like to watch your dad shipped off to federal prison for six-plus years, for what we've called "a crime that doesn't exist" -- in a case that prosecutors brought almost one full year after the statute of limitations had expired?

    It's hard for us to answer that question with certainty, but we suspect Joseph Siegelman would take his role as AG with the utmost seriousness. We suspect he would have plenty of motivation to investigate his father's case -- to ensure that justice delayed is not justice denied. And we suspect he would have a strong interest in deterrence, to make sure that future political thugs think twice before concocting a scheme like the one that sent two innocent men -- Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy -- to prison.

    Joseph Siegelman surely will make a public statement to this effect: "I'm not seeking this office in order to gain justice for my dad or my family. My goal is to represent the interests of all Alabamians, to help provide us with a justice system that we can trust and respect." But the truth is this: The Don Siegelman case helped turn Alabama into a judicial and legal sewer, and it's unlikely the state ever can move forward unless the rule of law is restored. And Joseph Siegelman might be the only person who is willing, and capable, of turning over the rocks necessary to expose the bad actors in his father's case and hold them accountable.

    We suspect the mere thought of Joseph Siegelman in the AG's office is enough to make some prominent sphincters pretty tight in Alabama right now. And we think that is a good thing -- an extremely good thing.

    As a journalist, not a lawyer, I don't claim to be an expert on the duties of the attorney general in Alabama -- and I certainly am not an expert on the criminal and civil remedies that might be at Joseph Siegelman's disposal, if he were to be elected. I do know that the Don Siegelman case goes back to at least March 1999, roughly two months after he took office as governor. That means some elements of the case -- if a serious AG were to investigate -- likely would run afoul of various statutes of limitations (SOL). But my research indicates some elements of the case likely would fall inside the statute of limitations -- and that sound you hear is certain sphincters tightening as you read this.

    For example, an investigation probably would produce heaping helpings of evidence pointing to civil cases of false arrest and false imprisonment. The SOL for each, in Alabama, is six years. The shackling of Don Siegelman in a Montgomery courtroom, plus his rough treatment in federal prison,  likely would support a civil claim for assault and battery, which also carries a six-year SOL. Keep in mind that Siegelman only recently passed the one-year anniversary of his release from prison.

    Could the Alabama AG bring a case involving Don Siegelman in federal court? Given the apparent involvement of national GOP figures -- Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Bill Pryor, Jeff Sessions, Bill Canary, and more -- the answer almost certainly is yes.

    Did key figures act behind the scenes to ensure the U.S. Supreme Court did not overturn the Siegelman convictions and to make sure the Obama administration did not issue a pardon? If so, that means certain individuals in both parties might be experiencing tightness in their whities.

    A federal civil-rights claim in Alabama generally is subject to the state's two-year SOL for personal-injury cases. But accrual of the claim is a matter of federal law (see Kelly v. Serna, 11th Cir., 1996), and a false-imprisonment claim does not accrue until the imprisonment ends. That already has been spelled out in a Northern District of Alabama case styled Antonio James v. City of Birmingham (2012). From the James ruling:

    As to Count Two, alleging false imprisonment, the “running of the statute of limitations on false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule --dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned: ‘Limitations begin to run against an action for false imprisonment when the alleged false imprisonment ends.’”Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. at 389 (quoting 2 H. Wood, Limitation of Actions § 187d(4), p. 878 (rev. 4th ed. 1916). Construing the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiff, this court presumes that he remained in the city jail until July 29, 2008. As such, the statute of limitations did not begin to run until July 29, 2008, and plaintiff’s false imprisonment claim is not time-barred.

    Don Siegelman was released from federal prison on Feb. 8, 2017, so he has almost one full year to pursue a false-imprisonment claim -- with or without the assistance of the attorney general.

    Our research indicates a false-imprisonment claim could provide a serious AG (such as Joseph Siegelman) with grounds to conduct a sweeping civil (or criminal, or both) investigation of the ugliness behind the Siegelman and Scrushy incarcerations.

    How is this for possible irony? Siegelman's lawyers have been seeking information since 2006 about the alleged recusal of former U.S. Attorney Leura Canary -- via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) -- only to be stonewalled for 12 years. In fact, Joseph Siegelman has a FOIA lawsuit pending before U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala, and she has been sitting on it since last April.

    The government's stonewalling could blow up in its face, like a stick of dynamite with Wile E. Coyote. A general principle of law is that the SOL is tolled when a party has been denied information to which it clearly is entitled. Also, Haikala's handling of the FOIA case suggests someone is unlawfully pulling her strings, which might give a serious AG (Joseph Siegelman?) grounds to investigate for obstruction of justice or its state equivalent.

    Yes, a lot of time has passed since then-AG Bill Pryor launched an investigation of Don Siegelman. And yes, some avenues of investigation might be cut off by SOLs. But we suspect Joseph Siegelman, if he is elected AG, will have plenty of available avenues that are not time barred. On top of that, Don Siegelman mentioned last fall the possibility of pursing a federal RICO case against those responsible for his unlawful arrest and incarceration -- and that likely was long before anyone suspected Joseph Siegelman might be running for state AG.

    All of that, we suspect, has some powerful and corrupt people connected to the Siegelman case sleeping a bit uneasy these days. We can't help but suppress a smile just at the thought of it.

    By the way, Don Siegelman reportedly is recovering well from heart-bypass surgery late last week. Below is an interview he conducted with Cenk Uygur, of The Young Turks:

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    Nicholas Jain
    In answering our questions about his drunk-driving record, Missouri prosecutor Nicholas Jain raised the issue of individuals in his position showing good judgment. Jain is overseeing the case where bogus criminal charges have been brought in Greene County against my wife, Carol. Jain's statement about the integrity of prosecutors immediately raised more questions in my mind, so I posed them to Jain in an email.

    I did not expect Jain to respond to these issues, but as a citizen who has been put through hell because of the corrupt acts of individuals in Jain's office, I thought it was important to raise them.

    Mr. Jain:

    Thanks for your response.

    You mention the need for prosecutors to exercise sound judgment as it relates to each case you handle. As the husband of Carol Shuler, against whom you have been bringing a case for roughly 12-16 months, I have to ask this question: What does your handling of that case say about your judgment?

    As a basis for that question, I point out this: Jeremy Lynn, the alleged "victim" in the "assault of a law enforcement officer" case, admits in his written statement that he grabbed Carol (inside her own home). In other words, Officer Lynn admits he "knowingly caused physical contact," that Carol Shuler did not. I'm sure you are aware that under RSMo 565.083 and case law, the issue of who knowingly caused/initiated physical contact is the central element to the offense. You've had information for months that shows Jeremy Lynn caused physical contact, and you don't even have probable cause against Carol Shuler, much less solid evidence of any offense. And yet, you have persisted in bringing a case that has no basis in fact or law. What does that say about your judgment? Has it really improved since 2011? (Statements of Jeremy Lynn and other officers are embedded at the end of this post.)

    On top of that, Carol has been seeking discovery for months, and you have produced almost nothing -- you haven't even produced information you agreed in open court to produce, or information that you've been ordered by a court to produce. What does that say about your judgment?

    Finally, you were present in open court when information about Carol's broken arm -- thanks to Missouri deputies beating her up -- was addressed, so it should be pretty apparent to you that the criminal case against Carol is nothing but a "cover charge," designed to protect rogue cops from being held accountable civilly. But you've gone along with it, so what does that say about your judgment?

    In case you haven't seen it -- and on the off chance that you care -- I've attached copies of X-rays of Carol's arm, both pre- and post- trauma surgery. Perhaps you realize that you are helping to cover for the brutal cops who did this? Again, what about your judgment? [Items that were attached to the email are embedded at the end of this post.]

    You are welcome to make any further response. But as a citizen and a journalist, I am appalled by the actions of you, Dan Patterson, and Jim Arnott in this case -- plus the officers on the scene, whom you have refused to identify. Do you really care about justice, or is your job about doing the corrupt bidding of those to whom you answer. As a fellow graduate of the University of Missouri (B.J., 1978), I'm sickened that you could go along with the scheme that has been heaped on Carol.

    Roger Shuler

    As expected, Nicholas Jain did not respond to these questions. After all, that would mean having to confront the notion that the same bad judgment that contributed to his drunk-driving convictions still is present in his taxpayer-funded public position. It also would have meant admitting that he was part of a process that brought a sham case against a citizen -- one where even the "victim's" own words prove no crime was committed.

    That, however, did not end our discourse with Mr. Jain. We had other issues to address with him.

    (To be continued)

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    Eric and Sheena Greitens
    Investigators visited Missouri's capital yesterday, posing questions to several lawmakers about Gov. Eric Greitens and his admitted extramarital affair. One lawmaker in Jefferson City said he was asked about issues that go beyond Greitens' affair with his former hair stylist.

    Greitens, a one-time Navy SEAL who was seen as presidential timber before the affair went public, might be under increasing pressure as he tries to save his current job. From a report at stltoday.com:

    Investigators working for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office were in Jefferson City on Wednesday, three state lawmakers said.

    St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, a Democrat, announced last month that her office would conduct a criminal investigation into claims Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, took a compromising photograph of his lover and threatened to release it if she spoke about the affair.

    Greitens lived in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis at the time of his 2015 extramarital affair. He has acknowledged the affair but has denied allegations of possible blackmail.

    The reason for the investigators’ visit was unclear.

    Greitens has been acting in typical right-wing fashion, proposing a budget that would slash higher-education funding, while enhancing spending on road projects. But the visit from criminal investigators might bring the affair back into the public eye:

    Rep. Nate Walker, R-Kirksville, told the Post-Dispatch he had spoken with investigators Jack Foley and William Tisaby mid-afternoon Wednesday. Walker was an early backer of Greitens during the 2016 campaign but was among a handful of House Republicans who called for Greitens’ resignation last month.

    “Yes, I did meet with them,” he said of the investigators.

    Walker would not say what types of questions the investigators asked, but signaled the issues they were interested in went beyond revelations surrounding the extramarital affair.

    “They’re looking into some things in the governor’s office,” he said. “They asked a lot of questions. … Good investigators investigate everything.”

    Walker was not the only lawmaker facing queries about the governor:

    Sens. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, and Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, also said investigators from the prosecutor’s office were in the Capitol on Wednesday.

    “Two came to my office,” Chappelle-Nadal said from the Senate floor, adding that Foley was one of them.

    “There are two that are in the building,” Schaaf added.

    Schaaf, a frequent critic of Greitens, said he wanted to shed light on the ongoing investigation.

    “If they are in the building talking to people … I thought I should get that into the public sphere,” Schaaf said.

    How ugly could this get for the governor with the almost super-human bio? The answer is "very." How far and fast could he fall? The answer, again, could be "very":

    Greitens has rejected the calls for his resignation that followed his public acknowledgment of the affair. The allegations of blackmail were made public by the ex-husband of the woman who had a relationship with Greitens.

    The ex-husband released audio last month that he described as a secret recording he made of his then-wife telling him about the non-consensual photo and the threat.

    Greitens has denied any criminal wrongdoing. But he has declined multiple times to say whether he took a photograph. At a news conference last week, Greitens said he wanted to move past the controversy.

    “We’re ready to move forward,” he said.

    Greitens might want to "move forward." But it appears the circuit attorney has other ideas.

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    Chevene Hill
    (From facebook.com)
    A civil-rights attorney in Birmingham, AL, appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, according to publicly available records.

    Chevene Hill has been a licensed attorney for about 10 years, earning his law degree at Miles College. Before going into the law, Hill worked as a photographer for 14 years at NBC 13 in Birmingham.

    What type of cases does Hill handle? He represented the plaintiff in a 2011 case styled Hatcher v. Precoat Metals, 812 F. Supp. 2d 1287 (ND Alabama, 2011). Here are the facts, drawn from a memorandum opinion by a magistrate judge (internal citations omitted):

    On or about December 10, 2007, plaintiff and Slitter Supervisor Grady Smith ("Smith") were standing with Allen. Smith asked, "Do anybody know any jokes about cars[?]"  Allen replied that a Ford was known as a "[f]ucking old rebuilt Dodge." Plaintiff and Smith laughed. Smith then asked plaintiff if he knew a joke. Plaintiff said that Ford stood for "[f]ound on the road dead." Plaintiff and Smith laughed again. Then Smith said, "I got one," and said that Pontiac stands for "Poor old nigger think it's a Cadillac." No one laughed at this joke, and the conversation ended. Plaintiff reported the "Pontiac Joke" to group leader Mike Walker, Rob Nemeth ("Nemeth") and Reverend Reginald Mann. A few days after the Pontiac Joke incident, management held an hour and a half meeting to discuss the racial slur. During the meeting, Smith began crying, looked at plaintiff, and apologized for telling the joke; Smith further said that he would never use the racial slur again. Plaintiff did not accept the apology, but never heard another racial slur at defendant's facility. Although plaintiff believed Smith received no disciplinary action as a result of his inappropriate joke, in fact Smith was required to attend sensitivity training in February 2008. Plaintiff was returned to work under Smith's supervision. Plaintiff further states that this Pontiac Joke incident was the worst thing to happen to him at Precoat Metals.

    About a year later, Hatcher had a change in job status:

    As a result of a business slow down, Precoat Metals, on November 14, 2008, and again on November 21, 2008, reduced its workforce from a three shift operation to a two shift operation that resulted in the layoff of eighteen employees. As a consequence of these lay-offs, several employees in plaintiff's Slitter Group had to be occasionally assigned different weekly duties in order to compensate for the smaller workforce. The two junior employees who previously held the Packer position were laid off, and plaintiff was assigned to fill the position of Packer. Nemeth stated that he assigned plaintiff the Packer responsibilities because his plan was to utilize plaintiff in doing setups and operating when needed and to cross-train plaintiff in learning the computer system. Plaintiff claims that he was made to do this job without assistance, although it had been common practice to have at least two people working in the area. Neither plaintiff nor any other employee received a change in pay or a formal job title change due to this realignment. Plaintiff states that he felt as though this was a demotion, although he concedes that no one ever told him he had been demoted.

    Hatcher's situation at work then turned ugly -- and physical:

    According to Mr. Hatcher on or about November 20, 2008, after taking a fifteen-minute break. Donald Gordon ("Gordon"), the shift supervisor, approached him and accused him of being away from his work for over an hour. Plaintiff told Gordon that he was on a fifteen-minute break and was returning from the bathroom. Gordon responded by grabbing plaintiff by the arm. Plaintiff told Gordon not to touch him; Gordon responded by grabbing him again. The next day, Tim Zell ("Zell") called a meeting with plaintiff, Gordon, and Anthony Fleischmann ("Fleischmann"). Zell told plaintiff that, "I want this shit with you and Gordon over and done with." When plaintiff tried to explain what happened, Zell told him, "Look at it this way; I can make it where you were laid off."In his deposition, however, plaintiff stated that no one ever told him that complaining about something would cost him his job. Plaintiff claims that he informed James Haas ("Haas"), a plant foreman, about the incident. Haas reportedly told Nemeth what happened, and plaintiff was moved back to the packer position.

    Hatcher filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC and wound up being laid off in 2009 amidst another work slowdown. Hatcher filed a lawsuit, with the primary claim that he faced retaliation for filing an EEOC complaint.

    The magistrate found against Hatcher, dismissing the case at summary judgment because Hatcher failed to produce evidence that pointed to a specific manager who knew about his EEOC complaint and discriminated against him because of it.

    As for Chevene Hill, his Facebook page says that he is married, but we can find no public records with details about his wife. We sought comment from Mr. Hill, and the two of us wound up having a back and forth via email.

    Here is our email exchange:

    Chevene Hill (CH):"Mr. Shuler, I just read your email about your Ashley Madison story. I have no desire to be a part of your story, I have never spent money on an Ashley Madison account, nor do I recall having ever tried to contact or respond to any person that may be on this site. I request that you remove any information about me, my law practice and clients, including images about me from your story.

    Roger Shuler (RS):"You're included as a paying customer on the Alabama list at Ashley Madison, so that is the genesis of the story."

    CH:"I request not to be a part of your story."

    RS:"I'm sorry, but your name is on the list, and that makes you part of the story."

    CH:"Look, I don't want to have to file for cease and desist orders. So LEAVE ME OUT OF IT."

    RS:"If you want me to use that as your response/comment, I will be glad to do that."

    CH:"Call me."

    I did call him, and we had a rather unpleasant exchange on the phone, with Mr. Hill using some colorful and "unlawyerly" language. It proved to be one of the most curious episodes in my coverage of Ashley Madison.

    (To be continued)


    Article with links to 1-40 in Ashley Madison series

    (41) David Armistead, director of enterprise sales, TekLinks, Birmingham (10/19/17)

    (42) William House, VP and controller, HealthSouth, Birmingham (10/26/17)

    (43) Olin B. Barnes III, VP, One Resource Group, Birmingham (11/1/17)

    (44) T.J. Bunn Jr., ST Bunn Construction, Tuscaloosa (11/2/17)

    (45) Todd Deffenbaugh, VP and controller, Express Oil Change, Birmingham (11/6/17)

    (46) Richard D. Crites, lawyer and reserve deputy, Springfield, MO (11/13/17)

    (47) Mark C. Trudeau, CEO, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, St. Louis, MO (11/15/17)

    (48) Peter Blasi, lawyer, Evans Blasi, St. Louis, MO (11/16/17)

    (49) Todd Wiesehan, director of resource management, Christian Co., MO (11/22/17)

    (50) Spencer Desai, lawyer, Carmody MacDonald, St. Louis, MO (11/27/17)

    (51) Johnny Aycock, assistant to the president, University of West Alabama (12/19/17)

    (52) Chris McIntyre, district judge, County County, AL (1/3/18)

    (53) William W. Smith, lawyer, Smith and Alspaugh, Birmingham (1/10/18)

    (54) Jake Reinbold, lawyer, Turner Reid Law Firm, Springfield, MO (1/11/18)

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    Micky Hammon
    A former Alabama lawmaker yesterday was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay more than $50,600 in restitution for converting campaign funds to his personal use. The downfall of former House Majority Leader Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) represents another sad chapter in Alabama's culture of corruption. But it also provides more evidence of gross inequities in our justice system -- whether it crosses jurisdictional boundaries from Alabama to Michigan, or whether it's contained in The Heart of Dixie.

    How soft was the court's treatment of Hammon, who became majority leader when Republicans took over the Alabama House in 2010 and maintained that position until 2017? (He was a close ally of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who has been convicted on corruption charges.) Prosecutors actually asked U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to order no prison time for Hammon. When is the last time you've heard of federal prosecutors going that easy on a defendant? Heck, even Thompson could not believe it -- and he could not abide by the request. Reports al.com:

    Thompson said he found the recommendation for no prison time unusual. The judge indicated he thought that would send the wrong message to other public officials. He said Hammon violated the trust of those who gave to his campaign.

    "I don't see how I cannot give him some time in prison," Thompson said.

    Thompson ordered Hammon to serve three years of supervised probation after release.

    [Stephen] Shaw, Hammon's attorney, asked Thompson to reconsider the sentence or allow Hammon to serve it on weekends. Shaw said that would allow Hammon to continue to work.

    Thompson said the sentence was reasonable, fell within guidelines and was "sufficient but not greater than necessary."

    The guidelines allowed the judge to impose a fine of up to $20,000, but he imposed no fine, citing Hammon's inability to pay.

    Hammon wound up pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud. From the al.com report:

    Former Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon of Decatur was sentenced to three months in prison today and ordered to pay $50,657 in restitution for converting campaign contributions to personal use.

    U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson sentenced Hammon this morning in Montgomery. Hammon will report to a federal facility to begin his sentence on March 29."

    "Converting campaign contributions to personal use"? That's a polite way of saying Hammon stole funds intended for campaign purposes and used them for personal reasons. So did Hammon get off unbelievably easy? The answer is yes, and we can compare his case to three others -- showing the justice system makes little or no effort to produce even the appearance of fairness or "equal protection under the law."

    (1) Don Siegelman -- The former governor was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison, even though no evidence pointed to him benefiting by one penny from a contribution that went to a campaign fund for an education lottery. No evidence pointed to an unlawful "explicit quid pro quo" -- the standard required for a bribery conviction involving a campaign-contribution -- and no such jury instruction was given. On top of that, it's undisputed that the government brought its case almost one full year after the five-year statute of limitations had expired, meaning the Siegelman case never should have gone to trial, much less ending with a conviction.

    Bottom line? Siegelman spends six-plus years in federal prison, while not pocketing any money. Hammon steals more than $50,000 and is sentenced to three months -- and prosecutors don't want him to serve any time. Fair? Don't make us laugh.

    (2) Charles Todd Henderson -- The duly elected district attorney of Jefferson County, Henderson is set for sentencing on March 8 after his conviction last October on perjury charges. Evidence at trial, however, showed Henderson did not come close to committing perjury -- suggesting either the case was fixed, or jurors were smoking a powerful form of meth during deliberations. Here is how al.com described the Henderson trial:

    Henderson's perjury case was based on information he was in a relationship with Yareima Carmen Valecillos Akl during her divorce with then-husband Charbel Akl. Henderson was appointed in January 2016 as the guardian ad litem of the Akls' young child, but was later removed from the position.

    After his removal, Henderson testified during the Akls' September divorce trial and twice denied staying with Mrs. Akl at her apartment, but surveillance evidence showed Henderson had stayed at the apartment on several occasions.

    Just a slight problem with al.com's version of events: It's not true.  As we've shown in several posts (see here, here, and here), the key question in the Henderson case came when he was asked if he had ever spent the night at Ms. Akl's home. Did a surveillance report prove Henderson spent the night at Akl's home? Not even close, as we reported multiple times. In fact the private-investigator report showed huge gaps in the surveillance -- four hours, five hours, 15 hours, 19 hours -- when Henderson clearly could have left, with PIs having no idea where he was.

    The conviction in the Henderson case is a joke, and it must be overturned on appeal if the Alabama court system cares about maintaining any signs of competence or fairness. For sure, Henderson should not spend one moment in prison, and he should be returned to the position he won fair and square -- as a Democrat, over Republican incumbent Brandon Falls.

    (3) Legal Schnauzer -- I spent five months in the Shelby County Jail (from 10/13 to 3/14) as fallout from a defamation lawsuit filed by GOP operative Rob Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke. In essence, I was incarcerated for reporting on this blog about a personal relationship involving Riley and Duke -- and my reporting, by the way, has never been proven false or defamatory as a matter of law.

    My case involved nothing remotely criminal. My arrest was based on a preliminary injunction and contempt order, both of which have been prohibited by more than 230 years of First Amendment law. I spent five months in jail for practicing journalism, becoming the first U.S. reporter to be incarcerated since 2006. I was the only journalist in the western hemisphere to be incarcerated in 2013.

    But get this: I spent two more months in jail -- for lawfully practicing journalism, in a totally civil matter -- than Micky Hammon will spend for essentially stealing more than $50,000. Don Siegelman spent almost six more years behind bars than Hammon will spend -- and the record is clear that Siegelman committed no crime and was the target of the most grotesque political prosecution in American history. The Charles Todd Henderson perjury case is a travesty -- clearly driven by the Riley political machine, upset that Henderson beat their boy (and protector) Brandon Falls -- but there is no telling what kind of sentence Henderson will receive from wildly corrupt Judge Sibley Reynolds.

    The American "justice system"? Ain't it grand?

    It is, for some reason, if you're Mickey Hammon.

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    Chris Christie and Doug Jones
    (From facebook.com)

    Joseph Siegelman's opponent in the Democratic primary for attorney general of Alabama is drawing support from a Birmingham attorney who defended a former federal judge on wife-beating charges that eventually forced him off the bench.

    How bad are the optics on this for AG candidate Chris Christie? According to prominent whistle blower and opposition researcher Jill Simpson, they hardly could be worse.

    In a post at her Facebook page, Simpson reports that Barry Ragsdale, of the Birmingham firm Sirote Permutt, hosted a campaign kick-off party last week for Christie at B&A Warehouse. That's the same Barry Ragsdale who defended former U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller as he faced wife-beating charges that eventually led to his exit from the bench. And that's the same Mark Fuller whose corrupt handling of a federal bribery case caused former governor Don Siegelman (Joseph's father) and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to be wrongfully convicted and spend about a combined 12 years in prison.

    Chris Christie, an attorney with the wildly corrupt Birmingham firm of Bradley Arant, actually wants a boost from supporters of a wife-beating federal judge -- right here in the midst of the #MeToo movement, ushered in by male abusers such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Wynn, Matt Lauer, Dr. Larry Nassar, and more? How thick must Christie's tin ear be?

    Mark Fuller
    Christie apparently isn't the only "Democrat" with a tin ear. Simpson reports that U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, who once was Don Siegelman's defense attorney, supports Christie -- who is the preferred candidate of those who support notorious wife-beater Mark Fuller. Billy Beasley, the brother of prominent Montgomery tort lawyer Jere Beasley, also supports Christie, Simpson reports. Jere Beasley has made it a practice to work with GOP lawyer/thug Rob Riley on a number of personal-injury and nursing-home cases. And Jones jumped in bed with Riley to help snag a nice chuck of $51 million in attorney fees generated by a federal lawsuit against HealthSouth and related firms.

    Rob Riley, of course, is noted for proclaiming, well in advance, that Mark Fuller would prove to be a "hanging judge" in the Don Siegelman case.

    What is Jill Simpson's take on the support Joseph Siegelman's opponent is receiving from the unholy trinity of Barry Ragsdale, Doug Jones, and Billy Beasley? Here is part of it (with editing for clarity):

    I heard from some old Republican and Democrat friends . . . that Doug Jones' buddy,  Chris Christie who is running for AG in Alabama against Joseph Siegelman, had a campaign kick-off party at B& Warehouse. Guess who the host and MC was for that event? Judge Mark Fuller's lawyer, Barry Ragsdale, Dougie and Christie's buddy.

    Yep, "beat your wife "Judge Fuller's lawyer Barry Ragsdale is helping Democrat Chris Christie, along with Doug Jones. I never would have been able to prove that Fuller's bunch of lawyers are helping Doug the DINO with AG Candidate Christie but for Religious Republicans explaining, "Hey, this is what happened the other night." I'm certainly glad for the tips I got on this.

    It also was explained to me how Doug ran interference for the GOP Alabama Gang against putting Fuller in jail with the Democrats in D.C. I knew Doug had helped Fuller, but never knew all the details -- but now I do. I am hearing if that y'all watch this election, it is all going to come out all the connections involving Jones -- as the Republicans are mad about the last election and are going to be putting out how Christie is being helped by a wife beater's attorney.

    I use to tell folks Doug was constantly working against us in D.C., and folks in the Siegelman camp would say, "No, he loves Siegelman," and I would say, "No he does not."Every step of the way he was back stabbing us, and folks in D.C. were telling on him and his folks -- and y''all watch this race closely; you will see Doug is helping the guy against Joseph, and Christie is part of the Alabama Gang and is tied to them through his firm (Bradley Arant).

    Also, as it turns out Christie is tied to Mark Fuller, who shackled and chained Don Siegelman. Barry Ragsdale was Christie's MC and host of activities at the campaign kick-off, and it was noticed by Republicans and Democrats all over the state -- and they do not approve of of Ragsdale representing and trying to keep known wife beater Mark on the federal bench -- after he dragged his wife at the time all over a room in the fancy Ritz Carlton in Buckhead.

    I might add Barry Ragsdale is well known for protecting creepy now removed federal judge Mark Fuller all over the state -- and this stage performance at Christie's campaign is really being talked about as clearly it was a FU message to Joseph and Don Siegelman. . . .

    I also want folks to know I am very proud to have been the one who wrote the first article in the nation demanding President Obama and Biden remove Fuller to show zero tolerance for judges who beat up on women -- and I want each and every one of my friends and fellow progressives to know I had Barry Ragsdale and Doug Jones working against me. 
    They were Fuller's protectors, along with the Riley folks and Alabama Gang of Republicans, which in my opinion is ran by Sessions, Rove, and Canary. Make no mistake, Alabama Progressives, a vote for Chris Christie is a vote for Fuller's protectors. I might add it has always been a sick, sad joke to me how folks act like Jones and Ragsdale are good Democrats, when these are the folks who fought against me so hard when I was trying to hold wife- beating Judge Mark Fuller accountable. I have a lot of battle scars from that fight, but by golly I removed Fuller -- and Alabama Democratic women would be foolish to support anyone Ragsdale supports. My God, he tried to keep a wife-beating judge on the bench, and now, he supports Chris Christie, as does Doug Jones.

    Why is Joseph Siegelman's run for the AG's office generating blow back from establishment Democrats and Republican? The answer, to me, is obvious. Many of those establishment types -- Rob Riley, Bob Riley, Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones, Bill Canary, Mark Fuller, Leura Canary and many more -- were deeply involved in the crooked prosecution that caused Don Siegelman to land in prison.

    Barry Ragsdale
    The establishment knows that a real attorney general, such as Joseph Siegelman, still could pursue any number of civil or criminal claims that are not barred by the statute of limitations. And that means a Joseph Siegelman tenure as AG could help put some of them -- and their brethren -- behind bars, where they belong. No wonder they support Chris Christie, who likely is to serve as their protector.

    Andrew Kreig, of the Justice-Integrity Project, already is following what promises to be a fascinating AG race in Alabama:

    Joseph Siegelman, son of a former Alabama governor convicted in one of the nation's most notorious political prosecutions in recent American history, [has] announced his candidacy to become their state's next attorney general.

    The young Democratic attorney faces many obstacles in the deep Red state before emulating his father — former Gov. Don Siegelman, now 71 and recovering from emergency open heart surgery Feb. 9 — in winning their state's top elective law enforcement post. The elder Siegelman . . .  was Alabama attorney general for a term in the late 1980s before election as lieutenant governor for two terms. . . .

    His son, managing partner of a Cochran Law Firm office in Birminghan, faces a long shot but highly dramatic and nationally important race to overcome a Democratic opponent in a June primary and, in November, the winner of a four-person Republican primary.

    Although Joseph Siegelman will doubtless continue to frame his race in terms of justice for all Alabamians his father's conviction is known to virtually every voter. It is not just an implicit part of the current candidacy but will surely weigh on the minds of voters.

    Commentators will note, as here, that political figures from the long-running prosecution are still part of Alabama's landscape on both Republican and Democratic sides of the attorney general race. . . .

    But there's more, much more, to the upcoming race, including divisions among Democrats and Alabama's ongoing massive problems with public corruption.

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    Ana Franklin
    An Alabama sheriff, with an apparent tendency to violate the public trust, has announced she is not running for re-election. The public can thank a small-town blog for that, and it's another example of the Web press' power in the Heart of Dixie, whether the site is located in Birmingham or a north Alabama burg of fewer than 15,000 people.

    Legal Schnauzer has helped bring down or neuter a number of prominent political figures, including "Luv Guv" Robert Bentley,  Bentley aide Rebecca Caldwell Mason, U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, and federal judges Mark Fuller and Bill Pryor. But we can't take any credit for the exit of Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin, the only female sheriff in the state. All of the credit for that goes to morgancountywhistleblower.com, a blog published by Glenda Lockhart, of Hartselle.

    Ana Franklin was elected sheriff of Morgan County in 2010 and soon developed a reputation for playing fast and loose with public funds and playing rough with critics of her office. One of those critics was Glenda Lockhart, and her persistent reporting on Franklin's dubious actions led to a recent announcement that Franklin would not stand for re-election when her term expires in 2019. From an al.com report on Franklin's decision to step down:

    Ana Franklin, the only woman in Alabama currently serving as a county's top cop, is not running for re-election.

    Franklin was first elected Morgan County Sheriff in 2010, taking office the following January. She plans to serve the remainder of her second term, which ends in January 2019.

    "Today is a difficult day for me and comes only after endless hours of painful, deliberate thought and constant prayer over this decision," Franklin said in a video message posted to her Facebook page today. I have decided that I will not be seeking a third term as your sheriff.

    "I am truly honored and blessed to have been given this opportunity to serve the people of my county," Franklin continued. "I love Morgan County and the people I work with. I love the office of sheriff and what that office means to the people."

    How nasty has the environment become in Morgan County? As al.com notes, even The New York Times has taken notice, with a piece last December about a federal investigation that revolves around Franklin:

    Franklin's seven years in office haven't come without controversy. Most notably, Franklin was found in contempt of court last year because she loaned $150,000 of the jail's inmate feeding funds to a crooked used car lot. She's the subject of a federal investigation, as reported recently in The New York Times. The sheriff and her office have been blasted by the local Morgan County Whistleblower blog.

    How did Franklin draw Lockhart's attention and become the primary focus at one of the state's best-known investigative blogs? The New York Times explains:

    Ms. Lockhart first took an interest in the sheriff after deputies came to her rural home in July 2011 to investigate a supposed disturbance. What happened next is in dispute, but she and her husband, Harold Lockhart, say the officers found nothing but refused to leave when asked.

    Deputies arrested the couple after Mr. Lockhart, a retired military police officer, said he had had enough and was calling his lawyer. The Lockharts successfully sued the sheriff for false arrest. And while the sheriff was not present for the arrest and later said she knew nothing about it, Ms. Lockhart did not forget.

    Franklin's questionable handling of public funds soon surfaced, and Lockhart and her blog were there to make sure the public knew about it:

    There was, however, more than enough evidence to link the sheriff to Priceville Partners L.L.C., a get-rich-quick scheme that spread a toxic cloud over the business community.

    A used-car dealership offering title loans, Priceville Partners had begun opening branches around the county, and investors were welcome. Ordinarily, law officers might investigate rather than invest in a business co-owned by the likes of Greg Steenson, who had done prison time for a multimillion-dollar check-kiting scheme. But several officers from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, along with Morgan County deputies, became financially involved, records show. One agent texted another asking if he wanted a one-month $7,000 profit on a $10,000 investment. Sheriff Franklin’s father worked there; her daughter did the bookkeeping.

    The sheriff invested $150,000. She would later say that she had not known Mr. Steenson was a co-owner, even though her daughter said that was clear from her first day on the job.

    Sheriff Franklin eventually admitted the money had been withdrawn from an account earmarked for feeding inmates.

    In 2016, Franklin chose to launch an under-handed attack on the Lockharts -- and it might have proven to be the sheriff's undoing:

    In October last year [2016], armed with a warrant, the sheriff’s drug task force seized Ms. Lockhart’s computers and electronic devices, court records show. In preparing for the raid, the sheriff hired an unusual spy — Ms. Lockhart’s 19-year-old grandson, Daniel Lockhart, who aspired to work in law enforcement.

    Glenda Lockhart
    Mr. Lockhart said the sheriff’s technology expert had instructed him on how to plant spyware. The raid took place about a week after he said he installed the software.
    Mr. Lockhart had been living with his grandparents and working in their business. He gained access to the office after hours, he said, by telling Ms. Lockhart that his girlfriend needed an office computer for homework. Ms. Lockhart said she later discovered the spyware on her home computer as well and took it to the F.B.I., which has retained it.

    Sheriff Franklin admits to hiring the grandson, but denies that she or anyone in her office asked him to install spyware. “We have absolute proof, ” Mr. Lovelace, the sheriff’s lawyer, wrote to The Times. He produced an analysis of Ms. Lockhart’s business computers by a firm he hired that, he said, found no spyware. Several parts of that report were omitted, he said, because of a continuing criminal investigation that he was not at liberty to describe.

    The sheriff’s denial is undercut by four people who told The Times separately that they had knowledge that the sheriff’s office taught Mr. Lockhart how to install the spyware. Among them was Ricky Brewer, the sheriff’s former technology officer, who said he told the F.B.I. that his replacement acknowledged giving the grandson the software.

    The sheriff's problems, even if she steps down as announced, might just be getting started. From The New York Times:

    Here in Morgan County, Ms. Lockhart has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Sheriff Franklin of violating her right to free speech, invading her privacy and slandering her, charges the sheriff denies. Ms. Lockhart’s computers, containing vital company records, were returned only after a court hearing.

    Glenda Lockhart's small-town blog keeps marching along. Meanwhile, Sheriff Franklin is headed out the door, with a federal lawsuit, an FBI investigation, and all sorts of unpleasantness on her tail.

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    Nicholas Jain
    Missouri prosecutor Nicholas Jain had shown a tendency to appear transparent about the drunk-driving conviction in his background, while carefully avoiding certain questions related to it. That trend continued as we posed a few follow-up questions.

    Public records at case.net (11BA-CR00648 - ST V NICHOLAS DAVE JAIN) leave quite a few questions unanswered. So we sought answers to those questions via an email to Jain. (Links to previous posts in our serious are here, here, here, and here.)

    Mr. Jain:

    Court records indicate that you were required to pay into a victim's fund. Was a person injured, or his property damaged, as part of your DUI? Records also suggest a charge was dropped, with you pleading guilty to DUI. What was the dropped charge? If you took a breathalyzer test, what was the score on that?

    Thank you,

    Roger Shuler

    Here is Jain's response:

    No one was injured and there was no property damage. Most criminal cases require a civil judgment to be paid to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund. In this case it was $10.

    You will notice that Jain's response did not address all the questions posed. So we responded with this:

    What was the dropped charge, and what was your breath score?

    How did Jain respond? With silence.

    We still had a few questions, so we sent one more email:

    Mr. Jain:

    I have a few follow-up questions:

    (1) Public records show you were ordered "not to enter a private motor vehicle after consuming intoxicants and to submit to a chemical test at the request of any law enforcement officer." You were to "reimburse any law-enforcement agency for laboratory charges related to drug testing." Were drugs involved in your DUI?

    (2) You appear to be using an MU student e-mail address? Why?

    (3) You appear to have a pilot's license. Was your drunk-driving record disclosed to authorities who oversee such licenses? Is it routine for a convicted drunk driver to be given the license to fly an airplane? Here is public information about your pilot license:


    Medical Class 3 (Expires: Nov 2018)

    Address: 1033 E KINGSBURY ST, Springfield city, MO 65807

    Pilot License: Private - Airplane Single Engine Land

    Since you've proven you have problems with the responsibility of driving a motor vehicle, how is the public suppose to feel about the fact you've been given authority to fly airplanes?

    (4) You seem to be granted courtesies that others in your position would not receive? Do you have special political connections, maybe because your father is a doctor? Do you have supporters among politicians from your home area around Kennett? Has your father made donations to any politicians in the Kennett area? If so, who are they and would you please identify them? Who were your references on applications you've filed for various educational and professional pursuits?

    Nicholas Jain did not answer our questions about the dropped charge and his breath-test score. He did not address any of the issues raised in questions 1-4.

    How to sum this up? Jain was quick to say that no one was injured and there was no property damage as a result of DUI. But other questions -- whether he disclosed his DUI to authorities who oversee pilot's license, whether drugs were involved in his DUI -- went untouched.

    Certain issues connected to the drunk-driving offense seem to be sensitive for Mr. Jain. A reasonable person might say, "I wonder why that is?"

    We intend to find out.

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    KeAndre Wilkerson

    Much remains unknown about the late December police beating of Troy, Alabama, teen KeAndre Wilkerson. But our experience, plus findings in several 2017 civil-rights criminal cases that grew out of similar events, suggest you can almost count on one thing: Cops engaged in dishonest behavior while trying to cover up their dirty deeds.

    We recently reported on five excessive-force cases that resulted in convictions or guilty pleas for law-enforcement officers (LEOs) across the country -- and three of them involved falsifying of police records. Our experience here in Missouri -- where cops brutalized my wife Carol so severely during an unlawful eviction in September 2015 that they broke her left arm into more than three pieces -- follows that path.

    Investigative reports, obtained for Carol's defense in the bogus "assault of an LEO" charges against her, are filled with lies or intentional efforts to withhold evidence -- the kind that should send several cops to state or federal prison. But we will narrow it to just two examples that show how desperate cops can get when they know they are in big trouble for excessive force:

    (1) The 911 call I never made

    Deputies from the Greene County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) brought roughly six to eight officers and multiple assault rifles and other weaponry to our eviction. Their explanation was that I had placed a 911 call, threatening to take physical action against anyone who tried to evict us.

    That story apparently originated with Deputy Scott Harrison, via a communication with my lawyer-brother David Shuler. This is from a September 2016 post on the subject:

    But let's examine the more important issue: Numerous readers and friends have asked me, "Why did the Missouri cops enter your apartment like a SWAT team, and with an attitude that led to Carol's arm being broken?" David's e-mail, I think, helps explain that. Here it is:

    Roger: Per your request and your threat to sue me, I am doing my best to stay out of your business. As a good faith effort to stay out of your business, I would appreciate it if you would not respond to this e-mail. A deputy called me today and asked me to have you contact him. He said he posted the notice to vacate on the Cowherd property. He also said he was concerned because his dispatch contacted him and said you had called 911 and threatened to shoot anyone coming on the premises to get you out. I certainly hope that you did not really do that, but he asked me to make you aware that they take such threats seriously and that you are setting up a potentially dangerous situation. He stressed to me that he would like to help you find housing and that he did not want you or anyone else to get hurt. His name is deputy Harrison and his phone number is 501-6092. He is very concerned and stressed to me that he did not wish for you or anyone else to get hurt.

    So that established the myth that I had made a threatening call to 911. Except that the cops' own investigative reports show I never made any such call. The call came from an administrator at Burrell Behavioral Health, and his information came from . . . both of my brothers, Paul and David Shuler, From a post on the subject:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So, did I place a threatening call to 911, as a Missouri cop claimed? Nope. The call came from a Burrell Health case manager and was based on fourth- or fifth-hand hearsay that had nothing to do with me. How riddled with inaccuracy is this report? It said I owned a gun. Is that true? Nope.

    Don't be surprised if a similarly outrageous lie surfaces in the KeAndre Wilkerson story.

    (2) A female cop claims Carol "barreled, head first" into her

    Here is what Officer Debi Wade claims happened in the moment before her colleagues body slammed Carol to the ground and yanked viciously on her limbs in a motion that broke her left arm:

    Just as she appeared to be getting into the passenger side door to the car, [Carol] started screaming that she needed her cat's litter box. I was trying to tell her that I would go back into the residence for it, when she suddenly took off on a dead run toward the front door of the residence. Knowing that Deputy Harrison would be exiting that door at any moment, I feared that she would catch him off guard, so I jogged up behind Carol and attempted to tell her I would get the litter box for her. Just as I caught up to her, she suddenly pivoted and barreled into me head first. I was caught off guard, and as my left arm automatically came up to block my face in a reactive manner, I automatically turned my body to my right in an attempt to blade my gun side away from her while I regained my footing. At this time both Lt. [Christian] Conrad and Deputy Harrison came in from either side to secure Carol's arms and place her in handcuffs.

    By "secur[ing] Carol's arms," Wade means "breaking Carol's arm" -- and we think it's likely that an officer other than Conrad and Harrison, an officer who remains identified only as "Mr. Blue Shirt" to us, was involved.

    Did such a "barreling head first" incident actually happen? Of course not, as anyone who has ever known Carol could attest. Here's how I explained it in an earlier post:

    A Missouri deputy claims in a Probable Cause (PC) Statement that my wife, Carol, "barreled into [her] head first" in the moments before another officer broke Carol's arm during an unlawful eviction in September 2015. The claim, from deputy Debi Wade, is preposterous -- and it apparently was designed to buttress a bogus "assault on a law enforcement officer" charge against Carol, which led to her arrest in January.

    I use the term "preposterous" to describe Wade's claim for two reasons: (1) She places the "barreling" event near the front door of our duplex apartment, and I saw everything that happened in that area, from the front seat of our car, parked about 15 feet away in the driveway. Carol never initiated contact with Wade, and I never saw Wade make contact with Carol, unless it was to help her off the ground after another officer had body slammed Carol and broken her left arm by yanking on both arms in an upward and back motion; (2) Greene County Prosecuting Attorney (PA) Dan Patterson apparently does not believe Wade's account because, in his Misdemeanor Information (MI) filed with the court, he charged Carol with only one count of assault on an officer -- and that allegedly was against a male officer named Jeremy Lynn, and it was inside our apartment, just as officers had thrust open the door.

    Carol is not charged with assaulting Wade, so one has to wonder why Wade included false information that even the PA does not believe -- or at least, he does not believe it amounted to a criminal offense. It also raises questions about Wade's credibility, especially when you consider all the other hokum in her PC Statement.

    Yes, Wade's story was so wild that even a prosecutor apparently did not believe it, so Carol is not charged with the "barreling" business. (Probable Cause Statement and Misdemeanor Information are embedded at the end of this post.) I know it didn't happen because I saw the whole thing from about 15 feet away. And with multiple cop cars on the scene, it's likely at least one dash cam caught the incident on video, which will prove Debi Wade is a liar of the most foul variety. And she could face criminal charges for that.

    When the lies start flying in the KeAndre Wilkerson case, don't be surprised if they get so wild that you are forced to suspend belief.

    0 0

    Chevene Hill
    When we left Birmingham civil-rights attorney Chevene Hill, he was denying having paid for an account at Ashley Madison, threatening me with a cease-and-desist order, and asking me to call him.

    I did call him, and Hill said little about his name appearing on the list of paying Ashley Madison customers for Alabama. He did try to rework the draft of an article I sent him, namely by asking me to remove his picture, remove any references that he went to Miles College School of Law, and remove any references that he used to work at NBC 13.

    All of that information is on the Web and is easily available to anyone who wants to look for it. I told Hill that his background information was relevant to the story, and I likely was not going to remove it. Hill was not too pleased with that response, and a circuitous conversation ensued, including some language you don't generally hear in church.

    Ultimately, Hill promised to send me a comment for my post via email, but I never received one.  Our back-and-forth was one of the more interesting experiences I've had in reporting on 45 to 50 posts about Ashley Madison customers. Here are the highlights:

    Chevene Hill (CH): "I know I can't stop you from running it, but there are some things I would like you to take out of it. Any reference to Miles College and any reference to NBC 13, that needs to come out of it.

    Roger Shuler (RS): "I've got your request, but journalistically, I can't think of any reason to take those out."

    CH: "Journalistically, they have no relevance to anything you're trying to talk about. If you're going to play the journalism card, let's be responsible. Don't start this shady bullshit; you just want to run it for the hell of it. . . . My resume has nothing to do with whatever it is you're trying to report on.

    RS: That's your take on things. I don't agree with it.

    CH: You tell me how . . .

    RS: I'm asking you for a comment. In any news story . . .

    CH: No, I'm not going to let you dance around it. I asked you a direct question. How does my background have anything to do with your story?

    RS: It gives people an idea of who you are. If I write an article about Donald Trump, his background is important.

    CH: I'm not Donald Trump, I'm not the president. My work history and law school has nothing to do with it. What kind of comment do you want? I'll work with you if you work with me.

    RS: It can be whatever comment you want to make.

    CH: This bullshit isn't journalism. You didn't call me before you ran this.

    RS: I haven't run it. I'm calling you pre-publication.

    CH: I will work with you and give you some type of statement. It has to be edited. I don't want my picture in it, and I don't want this stuff about law school and NBC 13 in there.

    RS: I understand your request, but I don't agree with it. The information is on the Internet and on your LinkedIn page, so it's public information.

    CH: If I have to file some kind of invasion of privacy . . . I don't want to spend the money on it. But if I got to, I got to.

    RS: I can't give you any advice there.

    CH: If you're going to run it, take the NBC 13 out. I wasn't a lawyer back then.

    RS: I hear you, but I can't promise that. I think it's relevant to the story.

    CH: As I said before, I don't recall being on this goddamned site, so what am I supposed to comment on.

    RS: I don't know. You don't have to comment at all.

    CH: You're the journalist, quote unquote, ask the question. What am I commenting on, that this is bullshit?

    RS: If that's what you want to say . . . . I can't put words in your mouth.

    CH: You're really terrible. This is bullshit, first of all. I'm trying to work with you, man. Ask me a question, maybe I can answer it. You're just trying to paint a picture of these lawyers being out there on Ashley Madison. I'm asking you to ask me a legitimate question. You're trying to slander me, for whatever reason, to get hits on your fucking blog. Basically, that's what you're trying to do.

    RS: That's your take, it's not accurate. The question is, "Were you on Ashley Mad . . .

    CH: Why am I involved in it?

    RS: Your name shows up on the list of Ashley Madison . . . that's just fact. If you think somebody put you on there by mistake, maybe you need look into that.

    CH: What is your story about?

    RS: Did you read the draft I sent you?

    CH: I see all my information on here, and what the hell does that have to do with anything. What's the point?

    RS: If you feel there's no point, feel free to make that comment.

    CH: I'll give you a comment.

    RS: You can see what the story says.

    CH: I'm going to say this as a professional courtesy: You suck as a journalist, Roger. I'll give you a comment.

    RS: I can't put words in your mouth.

    CH: Where do I send my comment.

    RS: Back to this email.

    CH: I'll send it, I sure will. 
    RS: Good, thanks.

    Did Hill send a written comment via email, as he promised? If he did, I didn't receive it -- and he had my email address. I have to give him credit for an interesting dialogue, although I still have no idea why he's so sensitive about Miles Law School and NBC 13? Furthermore, I can't figure what made him think it's a good idea to try to tell a journalist how to write a story.

    For those who might engage in public-relations careers, here are three big no-nos: (1) Never try to tell a journalist how to write a story; (2) Never insult a journalist; (3) Journalists tend to be foul-mouthed creatures, but it's best not to use foul language with them; (4) Don't threaten journalists with cease-and-desist orders and invasion of privacy lawsuits; most journalists have taken courses in communications law, and such threats are not likely to impress them -- or scare them.

    In short, Mr. Hill could use some help with his PR game. I have no idea if he is a good, bad, or indifferent lawyer -- but as a professional courtesy, I can say he kind of sucks as his own spokesperson.

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
    Your IP : - Country : - City:
    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!

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