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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Charlton Heston is onboard

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

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

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

Jeff Sessions for governor in 2006?

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

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

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

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

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

Move over Jill Simpson, here comes another GOP whistleblower

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

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

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do we learn here:

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

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

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

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

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

Let's establish a couple of key facts here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(To be continued)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just when it seemed we were through with criminal neighbor Mike McGarity, his niece, Kristen Milling, pipes up with a stream of nonsensical comments

Kristen and Chris Milling
(From facebook.com)
Carol and I were not happy campers when we were forced, via a wrongful foreclosure, to leave our home of 25 years in Birmingham and head for Missouri. At the time, our thought was, "If there is anything positive about this, at least we will be away from Mike McGarity, our criminally inclined neighbor, for a while."

Well, that hasn't turned out to be true. One of McGarity's relatives recently sent me three harassing e-mails. I thought, "My God, I'm roughly 550 miles away -- in another region of the country -- and members of this creepy family won't leave me alone. Are they the most intrusive clod heads in the history of the planet?"

The intruder, in this instance, was Kristen Lawrence Milling, who is Mike McGarity's niece. Specifically, she is the daughter of Nancy McGarity Lawrence, who lives in Homewood and is McGarity's sister. Kristen Milling, who appears to be in her late 20s, apparently came upon a post, "Here's the Story of Family Dysfunction Behind My Neighbor From Hell," which provided details about the criminal histories of Mike McGarity and his three brothers (two of whom are deceased -- Marshall McGarity via suicide and William McGarity via AIDS; Charles Alan McGarity, who has the longest and most serious rap sheet of all of them, still is upright and breathing.)

The post included references to Nancy McGarity Lawrence (Kristen Milling's mother) and the late Edmund C. McGarity (Kristen's grandfather and Mike McGarity's father). Kristen apparently took exception to that and decided to express her displeasure to me by firing off two comments to Legal Schnauzer in the middle of the night on July 17. (It actually was three comments, but one was just a repeat of another -- I assume sent by mistake.)

I obviously don't have a problem with comments. I've enabled the comment function on this blog from the moment it started 10 years ago. I also don't have a problem with comments that take me to task on some issue; I've run hundreds, probably thousands, of such comments over the years. If a comment is reasonably coherent, tasteful, and informed -- if it has any kind of relevant point -- it likely will get past the moderation process and appear on the blog.

Kristen Milling's missives, however, were a bit peculiar, even unsettling, although they appear at the post with a link above. She was unhappy with my work, but she also was way off base about certain relevant facts, so I thought the best thing was to provide my phone number and e-mail address and invite her to contact me to discuss things if she wanted to. I left it totally in her hands -- if she contacted me, fine; if not, fine.

When I posted the comments and my response that morning, her comments quickly disappeared. I guess she deleted them, which I didn't know a reader could do. She might have done it via Google+ -- and perhaps that is possible because my blog is Google based. I followed with a query about why she had taken the time to write the comments and then deleted them when they appeared. I also noted that her name still appeared as the sender, minus the comments, so I wasn't sure what the point was of deleting them.

Mike McGarity:
A criminal in the making
As the proprietor of this blog, it's my role to approve or delete comments, and I didn't much appreciate someone taking it upon themselves to delete comments on their own from my blog. My view is that a reader should not send a comment if she's not certain about her comfort level with it running. On the other hand, if someone has second thoughts about a comment and asks me to delete it, I almost certainly would agree to do that. But to have a reader circumvent my control of this blog -- something I've never experienced before -- well, I wasn't too happy with that.

I saved copies of Millings' comments from my e-mail and published them under my own name, so they would be on the post in perpetuity. Why did I do that? Her comments reflect a mindset that seems to be pervasive in the family of the man who started all of our legal woes and has caused us untold misery.

To be sure, Kristen Lawrence Milling is smarter and classier than her dumb-ass uncle, but that's not saying much. According to her LinkedIn page, she has a bachelor's degree (2011) and a master's degree (2012) from Auburn University, both in accounting. She is a certified public accountant and worked at RSM US LLC as a senior tax associate and currently works at Spire Energy (formerly Laclede Group) as senior asset management specialist.

Spire Energy is the parent company of Alabama Gas (Alagasco). Laclede Group purchased Alabama Gas in 2014.

According to her Facebook page, Kristen is married to Chris Milling, who is a risk analyst at Regions Bank.

Kristen Milling appears to have the trappings of a blessed life. But her words, via the comments sent to Legal Schnauzer, sound an awful lot like words I've heard from Mike McGarity's mouth. They also reflect a mindset that I've seen over and over in Mike McGarity's actions.

What were those words? We will take a look at them in an upcoming post.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

If Carol "assaulted" a cop at the start of our Missouri eviction, why did officers wait until the end to make arrest, when "victim" admits he caused contact?

Jeremy Lynn, his wife, and a hay bale
Of the many perplexing questions surrounding our unlawful eviction in Missouri, one near the top of the list is this: If my wife, Carol, "assaulted" deputy Jeremy Lynn as he burst through the door of our rented apartment at the beginning of the eviction -- as officers and prosecutors claim -- why did they wait roughly 30 minutes to arrest her, near the end of the eviction?

We now know the answer to that question: Carol did not "assault" Jeremy Lynn by pushing him as he entered our apartment. In his own incident report, Lynn makes no mention of Carol pushing him. In fact, Lynn admits that he caused contact with Carol, not the other way around. And under Missouri law, the central question in an alleged case of "assault of a law enforcement officer" is: Who caused contact with whom, without that person's consent? In this case, Jeremy Lynn admits he was the one who caused contact, and that means Carol is innocent of the assault charge against her -- according to the alleged "victim's" own words.

That leads to a related perplexing question: Why did officers wait until near the end of the eviction to arrest Carol and claim she had committed a crime? Well, we now know the answer to that question, too. It wasn't until the end of the eviction, as Carol was trying to gather some of our personal belongings (which cops had given her permission to do), that they brutalized her -- slamming her butt-first to the ground and yanking on her arms in an upward and backward motion. She had not threatened them, she had not violated any directives -- but three cops surrounded her and participated in a group beat-down, with an unknown cop coming from behind (we call him "Mr. Blue Shirt" because that's what he wore, while others generally wore black) and doing most of the damage.

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott saw all this from a few feet away and immediately pointed a finger at Carol and said, "She assaulted a law enforcement officer." Arnott likely knew this was a blatant case of police brutality, so he on-the-spot concocted a "cover charge," in a brazen attempt to place blame on Carol and deflect it from his officers. That's how the mind of a corrupt sheriff operates.

But it creates a problem for Arnott. Greene County Prosecuting Attorney (PA) Dan Patterson did not bring any charges against Carol from the end of the eviction. She is charged only with the alleged push of Jeremy Lynn -- and incident reports from four officers claim that took place near the beginning of the eviction. Never mind that Jeremy Lynn himself makes no mention of it, admitting that he "caused contact" with Carol. (Incident reports are embedded at the end of this post.)

Officer Debi Wade, in her Probable Cause (PC) Statement, claims Carol "barreled into [her] head first." But PA Patterson must not have thought too much of that claim, which purely is a product of Wade's vivid imagination, because he did not charge Carol with it in his Misdemeanor Information (MI). (The PC Statement and MI are embedded at the end of this post.)

What are the MI and PC Statement, and how do they work together under Missouri law? The MI is the charging document in misdemeanor cases, providing the defendant with notice of what he allegedly did. The PC Statement is evidentiary in nature. It, in theory, is to provide evidence to support the charges in the MI.

An attorney connected to Carol's case recently advised us, in so many words, that charges involving the alleged Debi Wade incident did not have to be in the MI because Wade wrote the PC Statement -- and that means her allegations are automatically incorporated into the MI.

This, like much of what attorneys say, is horse manure -- and it raises serious questions about this attorney's integrity, competence or both. We will explain why that contention is horse manure in an upcoming post.

But first, let's revisit Jeremy Lynn's own words about what happened as he entered our apartment, owned by landlord Trent Cowherd. Lynn describes using a key to open the door and seeing me sitting calmly in a chair. He then states the following:

There was a female, however, that had been trying to force the door closed and she was standing just behind the door and trying again to force it closed. She was very aggressive and fighting against the door. She was grabbed by her arms and restrained to stop her from harming one of us or herself. During this process she was pulling her arms away from me and tried to push me back with her arms and body. She was told to calm down repeatedly and ignored those commands. She was eventually handcuffed and taken outside.

The female in question was Carol, and we learn two key points here:

(1) Lynn admits he "caused contact" with Carol by grabbing her arms and restraining her;

(2) Lynn admits that Carol reacted by "pulling away" from him. How could Carol push him as she was trying to pull way. As a matter of common sense, she couldn't.

So, what is the reality here? Carol knew, because we had timely filed a Notice of Appeal (with appropriate fees) the day before, that the eviction was stayed, by law. In fact, we recently published a post that included multiple documents -- our Notice of Appeal, a document showing the Notice had been filed electronically filed and was available for attorneys via secure case.net, plus a letter that the Missouri Court of Appeals had received our notice.

There was a mountain of evidence in the docket, showing the eviction had been stayed. And yet, Carol has a strange man -- with no lawful grounds for being there -- entering her home and grabbing her. Did she push him? The strange man admits she did not. Did she instinctively try to pull away. Yes, she did, but that's not a crime under Missouri law.

So why did PA Dan Patterson bring the charges? Why has a clearly baseless case been hanging over our heads for roughly eight months? Why does Carol face another court appearance, on September 20, when she has filed multiple pro se documents that show there is no probable cause to support the one remaining charge against her -- that she pushed Jeremy Lynn, even though his own words show it didn't happen? Why has Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto apparently refused to read or consider Carol's filings, which should have brought this sham case to a close months ago?

We will examine those questions, and more, in upcoming posts.

(To be continued)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Evidence from pending FOIA case could give Don Siegelman ammunition to file civil RICO case against Rove, Abramoff, Pryor, Riley, and other GOP thugs

Mike Papantonio and Don Siegelman
(From trofire.com)
A pending federal lawsuit involving Don Siegelman could yield information for a civil racketeering case against major government figures who allegedly conspired to prosecute the former Alabama governor for political reasons. Siegelman raised the issue during an interview last week with Mike Papantonio, a prominent, Florida-based attorney and host of America's Lawyer on RT America.

To our knowledge, this was the first time Siegelman has discussed possible legal remedies to hold accountable those who caused him to be incarcerated for six-plus years, in what generally is considered the most notorious political prosecution in American history. (Video of the interview is embedded at the end of this post.)

Siegelman raised the possibility of a lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Congress passed the RICO Act in 1970 as a way to fight Mafia groups. The law has evolved to include actions against a variety of organizations, from corrupt police departments to motorcycle gangs. RICO allows for both criminal prosecutions and civil remedies for victims.

The general five-year federal statute of limitations likely would preclude criminal prosecutions in the Siegelman matter. But there might not be a limitations bar on a civil complaint because the government has stonewalled for more than 10 years on the former governor's efforts to obtain evidence about prosecutorial misconduct in his case, via the Freedom of Information Act. (FOIA).

Joseph Siegelman, the former governor's son, is leading the latest FOIA effort, and that case is pending in the Northern District of Alabama before U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala. Public records indicate the government has turned over at least some of the documents Siegelman has sought for more than a decade, especially those involving the alleged failure of former U.S. Attorney Leura Canary to recuse from the case.

According to the court docket, the Department of Justice (DOJ) turned over requested documents for Haikala's in camera review on April 10, 2017. It's now more than five months later, and we see no sign that anything new has happened in the case. What's the hold up? The Siegelmans surely are asking that question, and the delay suggests to us that the documents contain information that could prove deeply problematic for certain right-leaning political figures.

Don Siegelman, despite the delay, is confident Haikala will handle the case properly. "She is very fastidious and has a good legal mind," Siegelman said. "We want her to rule in her own time and way. We trust her to be fair."

The importance of Haikala's ruling in the FOIA case cannot be overstated. If she turns the documents over to the Siegelman team, and they become public, that could spell bad news for some national, regional, and statewide political figures -- including Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, Leura and Bill Canary, Bob and Rob Riley, Mark Fuller, Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, leaders of the Mississippi Choctaw Indians, and more. Two former Alabama attorneys general -- current federal judge Bill Pryor and current Trump AG Jeff Sessions -- also could find themselves in deep doo-doo.

From Don Siegelman's interview with Mike Papantonio:

We have a FOIA case pending in the Northern District to hopefully shed some light on what has been going on. If [the government] had given me this exculpatory information when they had it, we could have filed a motion for a new trial. But they have sealed it and concealed it, and they are still hiding it from me and the public.

The case pending in the Northern District might reveal enough new evidence to move forward -- either with discovery or a civil RICO case against all this cast of characters and deep-funded people in Mississippi with the Choctaw Indians, who provided the money for Karl Rove's bag man, Jack Abramoff, to do me in.
There is a possible civil RICO case, but we have to wait and see what evidence is produced.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Missouri deputy Jeremy Lynn admits he caused physical contact with my wife, Carol -- not the other way around -- meaning she is innocent of assault

Deputy Jeremy Lynn
The Missouri deputy my wife, Carol, allegedly assaulted during an eviction in September 2015 admits in his incident report that he initiated contact with Carol, not the other way around. Officer Jeremy Lynn, in his own words, reveals that Carol did not commit "Assault of a Law Enforcement Officer, Third Degree." as described by Missouri law.

This is significant for several reasons:

(1) The charge involving Jeremy Lynn is the only one remaining against Carol, but since Lynn admits Carol did not cause physical contact with him, the charge must be dropped and the case closed.

(2) Lynn's statement suggests Officer Debi Wade provided false information in her Probable Cause (PC) Statement when she claimed an unknown individual "advised" her that Carol pushed Lynn repeatedly. Lynn himself does not say Carol pushed him, repeatedly or at all, so one or more officers on the scene appear to be lying.

(3) As often happens when fabrications are in play, the liars can't keep their stories straight. Debi Wade claims Carol pushed Jeremy Lynn; Lynn says that did not happen. Oops!

It's undisputed there was contact between Carol and Jeremy Lynn. Carol says she was thrown face-first against a wall (possibly hard enough to cause a concussion) when Lynn burst through the front door of our rented duplex apartment. Lynn grabbed her arms from behind and someone (probably Lynn) slammed her head against the wall several more times while she was being placed in handcuffs.

Here is the key question under Missouri law: Did Carol "knowingly cause physical contact" with Jeremy Lynn?

Specifics can be found under Count 1 of the Misdemeanor Information (MI) filed against Carol by Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson. (The MI and related documents are embedded at the end of this post.) Count 1 reads, in relevant part:

The Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Greene, State of Missouri, charges that the defendant, in violation of Section 565.083, RSMo, committed the class A misdemeanor of assault of a law enforcement officer in the third degree . . . in that on September 9, 2015, in the County of Greene, State of Missouri, the defendant knowingly caused physical contact with Jeremy Lynn, a law enforcement officer, without the consent of Jeremy Lynn, by pushing him.

Did that really happen? Let's consider a key section of Officer Lynn's statement from the incident report. (The report and related documents are embedded at the end of this post.) Lynn describes using a key to open the door and seeing me sitting calmly in a chair. He then states the following:

There was a female, however, that had been trying to force the door closed and she was standing just behind the door and trying again to force it closed. She was very aggressive and fighting against the door. She was grabbed by her arms and restrained to stop her from harming one of us or herself. During this process she was pulling her arms away from me and tried to push me back with her arms and body. She was told to calm down repeatedly and ignored those commands. She was eventually handcuffed and taken outside.

What do we learn here?

(1) Lynn says he grabbed Carol by the arms -- he caused physical contact with her.

(2) Lynn says Carol was trying to pull away from him; she didn't "get physical" with him or "push him repeatedly," as Debi Wade claims. Lynn grabbed Carol, and she tried to pull away.

(3) Lynn then claims Carol "tried to push [him] back with arms and body." This is pure nonsense. Lynn already has stated Carol pulled away, and now he's claiming she "tried" to push him. How can one pull and push at the same time? Those are contradictory terms, and indicate Lynn's whole statement is rubbish.

For the record, Lynn claims Carol "tried" to push him, but he never says that she did push him. Under the law, the "push" issue is irrelevant. Missouri law clearly frames the question: Who caused contact with whom, against whose will?

Jeremy Lynn admits that he grabbed Carol, that he caused physical contact, not the other way around.

It could not be more clear that this is a baseless charge. Jeremy Lynn, the supposed "victim," essentially admits that. So, why does Carol still have this joke of a criminal case hanging over her head? Why does she still have a court appearance on Sept. 20? Why did PA Dan Patterson bring these charges in the first place?

We will address those and other questions in upcoming posts. But for now, we know this for sure: Carol Tovich Shuler did not "assault" a law enforcement officer. The officer in question, Jeremy Lynn, admits she didn't/

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Missouri lawyer David Shuler refuses to answer questions about my nephew's DUI case, suggesting David did a lousy job of defending a family member

Blake Shuler
Missouri lawyer David Shuler (my brother) has refused to answer questions about his handling of a case in Clever, MO, that left my nephew with a criminal record he does not deserve, under the law.

Perhaps David's reticence is understandable because the record indicates he did a piss-poor job of representing a member of his own family.

Cops pulled over Blake Shuler after allegedly observing his vehicle cross the center line a couple of times. An incident report shows that Blake failed three field-sobriety tests and was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired. Blake agreed to take a breathalyzer test at Clever City Hall, and that came back negative for alcohol. At that point, Blake had proven to be innocent of the charge against him, and he and his passenger should have been allowed to depart, by law. But a second officer -- while Blake was at City Hall -- conducted a search of the vehicle, apparently without consent. That turned up marijuana and paraphernalia, and Blake wound up facing drug-related charges.

Probably wanting to keep the whole incident from his parents, Blake decided to plead guilty without legal representation. Somehow, David Shuler (my lawyer/brother) got involved and managed to get the guilty plea withdrawn, but Blake still wound up with a guilty plea of "peace disturbance," even though the record shows he did not disturb the peace in any way. (Blake's parents are Paul and Gaye Ann Shuler, my brother and sister-in-law, of Willard, MO; Paul is a radiology tech at Mercy Hospital Springfield, while Gaye Ann works at O'Reilly Auto Parts.)

It's undisputed that Blake proved he was innocent of driving under the influence of alcohol. As for the possibility that Blake was "driving while high," well, the cops apparently did not test for that. Perhaps their small-town department did not have ready access to the necessary tests, but it seems likely they could have arranged such testing via the Christian County Sheriff's Office. But they didn't, so alcohol was the only issue, and Blake's breath test came back negative for that.

The obvious question, then: What in the hell were the Clever cops doing searching the vehicle? The answer is: "They shouldn't have been." Here's the relevant law, from a previous post:

The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) found in Rodriguez v. U.S. (2015) that "a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures. A seizure justified only by a police-observed traffic violation, therefore, “become[s] unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete th[e] mission” of issuing a ticket for the violation."

The Rodriguez court goes on to hold that extension of the stop beyond its traffic-violation purpose is lawful only if officers have a "reasonable suspicion" that additional criminal activity is associated with the vehicle. From the opinion: 
"We granted certiorari to resolve a division among lower courts on the question whether police routinely may extend an otherwise-completed traffic stop, absent reasonable suspicion, in order to conduct a dog sniff. . . . [W]ithout additional reasonable suspicion, the officer must allow the seized person to depart once the purpose of the stop has concluded.”

The dog sniff in Rodriguez produced more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, and the driver was charged with intent to distribute. But SCOTUS found the purpose of the stop involved an officer's observation that Rodriguez had driven on the shoulder of the road. Did the officers have reasonable suspicion of any other criminal activity, beyond the traffic violation? In other words, was there any reason to suspect there were drugs in the vehicle, justifying extension of the stop and a search of the vehicle via a dog sniff?

SCOTUS noted that the district court found "the dog sniff in this case was not independently supported by individualized suspicion" and vacated the Eight Circuit's judgment, sending the case back to lower courts for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. In essence, SCOTUS found that Rodriguez and his passenger should have been allowed to depart once the traffic warning was written.

The incident report in Blake's case shows there was no "individualized suspicion" of anything improper beyond the traffic incident. Officers apparently did not see or smell anything that made them suspect drugs might be present. In other words, they had no grounds to search the vehicle -- and that means the search was unlawful under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Incident report is embedded at the end of this post.)

David Shuler
Why didn't Blake's lawyer challenge the search, to help ensure his client didn't walk away with a criminal record he should not have? To put it simply, why didn't David Shuler fight for his client, a member of his own family? We put that question, and others, to David and received this response:

I am sorry, but I am not able to give you any information.

Here are the questions I posed to David, via an e-mail sent on August 8:


I have a few questions about the Blake Shuler case in Clever, MO:

(1) Did you challenge the search of Blake's vehicle? I haven't yet found case law directly on point, but it seems questionable that cops would take him to city hall and administer a breath test that proved he was innocent of driving while impaired -- but they proceeded to search his vehicle anyway, while he was gone and apparently didn't give consent. (Note: This question was posed before I found information about the Rodriguez case.) Police reports indicate Blake was proving his innocence on the "suspicion" of DUI charge, while they searched his vehicle and came up with drug material to charge him with something anyway. Smells funny from here. Seems to me the second cop jumped the gun by searching the vehicle. If he had waited a few minutes for the test results, he would have learned Blake was innocent of the charge and there was no probable cause to search. Why weren't Blake and his girlfriend sent on their way, with no charges?

(2) Did you challenge the field-sobriety tests? My understanding is these often are conducted improperly and get false results. The police report says Blake failed three tests, but it doesn't say what they were or what pointed to him failing them. It's sort of "trust me" police work, but police aren't the most trustworthy people around, as perhaps you are aware.

(3) The record indicates Blake pleaded guilty to "peace disturbance." Why? I see nothing in the reports that indicate he was loud, disrespectful, or disturbed the peace in any way.

I've read the record thoroughly, and it appears Blake was proven innocent of DUI, was the victim of a dubious search, and pled guilty to something he didn't do? Is that an accurate assessment of what happened?

Yes, that is an accurate assessment of what happened, and it shows David Shuler did a lousy job of representing his client. Blake Shuler proved his innoence on the alcohol charge, and the cops' own incident report shows he did not disturb the peace. But Blake wound up with a criminal record because his lawyer failed to challenge a clearly unconstitutional vehicle search.

If I were in David's shoes, I wouldn't want to answer questions about this case either.