Since we began this blog almost seven months ago, it would be fair to say that we've been all over the map. More than one reader has suggested, using gentle language, that the blog is, shall we say, disjointed.
One reader, in a comment at another blog, said the Schnauzer is useful but "confused." (I tried pondering that thought, but wound up being confused.)
Actually, I can't disagree with that assessment, and I find it ironic. A real-life schnauzer is one of the least confused creatures on the planet. One of the many reasons my wife and I loved our miniature schnauzer, Murphy, so much is that she seemed to wake up every day with this wonderful sense of purpose. She didn't go off on tangents or get her mind mixed up by going off in all directions. There were certain things she was put on this earth to do, and by God, she was going to do them. At least that's how it seemed to us.
As for this blog, I'm going to keep pondering ways to make it easier to follow. Blogs, by their nature, tend to be choppy, and that might be part of the problem. Not sure a blog is the best way to tell my personal tale of legal intrigue, and I plan someday in the not-too-distant future to tell it all in one place. Just trying to figure out the best locale and format.
But from the outset, I've wanted this endeavor to be about more than just my story. The goal is to help educate regular folks about the dangers that lurk in our courtrooms. And to shine a light on the corruption that has gripped our justice system at both the state and federal level.
We've tried to do that by focusing primarily on three cases--the Don Siegelman case in Alabama, the Paul Minor case in Mississippi, and my own saga (which has come to be known as the Legal Schnauzer case).
Now that we've passed the six-month mark in blog years, we will be getting into heavy details about my case. The Siegelman and Minor cases are critically important to the overall story of the corrupt Bush Justice Department. But they involve folks of substantial power and/or wealth, so it might be hard for many people to relate to them. Most of us, after all, are never likely to be charged with giving or taking a bribe or committing honest-services mail fraud.
The Schnauzer case, on the other hand, involves regular folks--my wife and me. And it's the kind of legal problem that could happen to anybody. If you have anything worthwhile in your life--a marriage, a home, real or personal property, a job, children--it can be the source of a legal problem. And you can wind up in court, the victim of a lawsuit, whether you did anything wrong or not.
Here's one of the major lessons I hope to get across here: In our country, you can be sued for anything, by anybody. If you pass someone by without saying hello, they can sue you for causing them emotional distress. Doesn't mean they will win. But there is no bar that a plaintiff must reach in order to be able to file a lawsuit. It's an open market.
If you can write out some alleged wrong and sign your name on a piece of paper, and pay the filing fee, you can sue someone. Our system has "safeguards" that are supposed to punish someone for filing a bogus lawsuit. But from what I see, they are hardly ever enforced and they have zero deterrent effect.
I'm sure I will go off on tangents in the future. Posting occasionally about Birmingham's American Idol Taylor Hicks, and hearing from the Soul Patrol, is proving to be a great kick. And since my wife and I enjoy his music, I hope to continue posting about our guy Taylor--and perhaps other musicians I have found inspiring over the years.
But I will do my best to keep things flowing. And the plan is to have the Legal Schnauzer story all in one place someday.
As my wife and I rang in the new year, we decided that 2007, in many ways, was the Year of the Blog, for us. This time a year ago I never would have dreamed that I would be writing a blog. It just didn't seem like something I would do. In fact, if I didn't have three coworkers who have blogs and/or Web sites, I don't think I ever would have thought of it.
If someone had told me a year ago that someone of Scott Horton's stature--a Columbia University law professor, for crying out loud--would be citing my justice-related reporting in a national publication, I would have thought that impossible. If someone had said that my justice-related reporting would be cited in documents filed with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, I would have thought that absurd.
But those things have happened. And it goes to show the power of this relatively young communications instrument we call the blog. I once thought blogging seemed like a waste of time. I now know differently.
Also, I've made a number of e-friends, people whose thoughts and feelings I value greatly. I hope to meet them in person someday. Some, like me, have suffered under our corrupt system of justice. A few have suffered injustices that are so deep as to almost be beyond understanding.
I pray that they will find strength in the coming days, and that they will eventually be vindicated. I also pray that those who have corrupted our justice system will be held accountable.
Blogging has not been an entirely sweet experience. I've received numerous angry and uncomplimentary comments. One or two have bordered on being threatening.
I know my work is being read in the legal community, in multiple states. I also know it is being read in the halls of power. I imagine some people are pleased to read it. I'm certain a number of people are not.
I would not be surprised if some folks are threatened by it. And they should be. Because deep down, they know this blog is grounded in fact. They know it is based in truth. And truth is the first step on the road to justice.
Thanks for joining us on the ride.