Let's start with Shelby County circuit judge J. Michael Joiner, who appears to be the ringleader of the judicial cesspool that is based in Columbiana, Alabama. Joiner evidently professes to be a devout Christian. He attends The Church at Brook Hills, a megachurch in the Birmingham suburbs, and has taught Sunday school there. Joiner and his wife, Cathy, have a daughter named Christy Joiner. According to my research, Christy Joiner has attended Briarwood Christian School, and my guess is that she still attends Briarwood, probably in the 11th or 12th grade.
In earlier posts, I noted that Briarwood Presbyterian Church is a deeply conservative, wealthy, and politically active congregation in the Birmingham suburbs, and its members include former Birmingham News publisher Victor Hanson II. I noted that Briarwood Christian School, a ministry of Briarwood Presbyterian Church, seems to have some peculiar connections to the judicial wrongdoing I've encountered. Joiner, who repeatedly made unlawful rulings in the lawsuit against me (and committed honest services mail fraud in the process), has clear connections to Briarwood. His daughter, Christy, did go to Briarwood and probably still does. Also, Bill Swatek (the corrupt attorney who was the beneficiary of Joiner's unlawful rulings) has a son named Chace who is a Briarwood graduate. You will recall that another of Swatek's sons, Dax, is a Republican operative in Alabama with ties to the disgraced Jack Abramoff.
After Joiner had repeatedly cheated me, I discovered that he and Bill Swatek used to be longtime neighbors and were frequent golf partners. I moved for Joiner's recusal, and Joiner admitted his cozy relationship with Swatek in open court. (Why would such a fine Christian be buds with a lawyer of Swatek's sleazy pedigree?) I asked Joiner in open court why he had denied two motions for summary judgment (MSJ) that, by law, had to be granted because the opposing party did not respond. His answer? "I thought it was the right thing to do." (I'm not making this up! A judge in Alabama says he violated his oath to uphold the law because he thought it was the right things to do! Don't you just love it? What do they teach in law school?)
Joiner also said, "Mr. Shuler, if you don't like the way you're being treated here, you can get on I-65 and go to Montgomery (home of Alabama's appellate courts). Of course, Alabama's appellate courts are dominated by Republicans, and they proved just as corrupt as the Shelby County courts did. (And doesn't Joiner's snarky comment just radiate Christian warmth and charity?)
Joiner did recuse himself, but his unlawful rulings stood (contrary to clear written law), thanks to the new judge, one G. Dan Reeves. Talk about a judicial hack. This guy used to be the court clerk in Shelby County. Somehow he got a law degree and became a judge. I don't know if he's ever tried a case in his life. So much for high standards on the Alabama bench.
Like Joiner, Reeves made multiple unlawful rulings (and used the U.S. mails to send them; that's mail fraud, Danny Boy! Look it up!) One day while standing in front of Reeves' throne to argue a motion (talk about an exercise in futility), I noticed some type of Christian keepsake that Reeves keeps in front of him. It appeared to be made of stone and contained a number of sayings about Jesus and justice, etc. Then he proceeded to cheat me, denying a third motion for summary judgment that again, by law, had to be granted because the opposing party failed to respond.
For good measure, Reeves even lied in court documents while offering a lame excuse for his unlawful ruling. He stated that summary judgment was denied because I had offered no fact or law that had not already been cited in my two previous MSJs.
Now I like to think I'm relatively well educated; after all, an upstanding midwestern institution of higher learning conferred upon me a degree almost 30 years ago. When my wife sometimes questions my knowledge of a particular subject, I like to quote the immortal Jethro Bodine: "Uncah Jed, I dun gradjeeated sixth grade." To which she responds, "Eeee doggie, that boy sure nuff got the brains in the famlee."
Anyway, my sixth-grade education gives me the ability to read simple declarative sentences and compare information printed on one page to that printed on another page. I was certain that my third MSJ contained law and facts not present in my first two MSJs. It wasn't hard to write it that way, given that the case had to be dismissed on probably 10 to 12 different grounds.
But just to make sure, I consulted a buddy of mine. His name is Chucky, and he's a ground squirrel who lives in a hole (several holes actually) in our backyard. I see him just about every morning when I go out to the get the newspaper. "How's it going, Chucky," I say. "When you going to mow the grass again?" he says. "A guy could get lost out here."
One morning, I got down on all fours and showed Chucky my three MSJs, plus Reeves' ruling saying the third MSJ cited no law or fact different from the first two MSJs. Chucky put on his reading glasses and glanced back and forth from one document to the next. It didn't take him long to make a pronouncement. "You're getting screwed, dude," he said.
So there, you have it. Chucky the ground squirrel is smarter than a Shelby County judge.
For good measure, I took the motions and the Reeves ruling to the Birmingham Zoo and showed them to Babec, a lowland gorilla who lives there. "I agree with Counselor Chucky," she said. So a lowland gorilla is smarter than a Shelby County judge, too. And Babec even has a heart condition, bless her soul.
Back to people. My favorite Republican hypocrite has to be Drayton Nabers, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Nabers, an appointee of Republican governor Bob Riley, was chief justice and administrator of the entire court system while my case was ongoing. Nabers has written a book about the importance of character. It's called The Case for Character: Looking at Character from a Biblical Perspective. What a high-minded title! What a wonderful man Drayton Nabers must be!Apparently, Justice Nabers left his character at home while presiding over the Alabama Supreme Court. The Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure state that the Supreme Court must grant certiorari review when a lower-court ruling contradicts a previous finding of the Alabama Supreme Court or the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. My petition for a writ of certiorari pointed out multiple lower-court rulings that contradicted established Alabama law. Did the Nabers court grant certiorari review and overturn the unlawful rulings as it was required to do by law? Nope.
I guess politics trumps character every time. At least in the tangled web of humanity.
Chucky and Babec show us that character counts in the animal kingdom. And that's one of the reasons we call this blog Legal Schnauzer. It's in honor of our animal friends who have so much to teach us about honesty and trust.