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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ronnie Gilley's Attorney Has a Drug-Trafficking Conviction In His Past

Ronnie Gilley

The attorney representing Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley in the Alabama bingo trial has a federal drug-trafficking conviction on his record.

David J. Harrison, of Geneva, was convicted in March 1997 of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Veteran investigative journalist John Caylor, editor of insider-magazine.com, has provided documents and other evidence to Legal Schnauzer, showing that a federal jury in Dothan found Harrison guilty and his appeal was unsuccessful. (See court documents at the end of this post.)

Harrison entered an appearance as one of Gilley's attorneys in the bingo case on April 21, 2011. Gilley entered a guilty plea the next day, and he has been testifying this week--although he did not take the stand yesterday because of an illness.

Before Harrison made an appearance, Gilley's lawyers were G. Douglas Jones, Thomas J. Butler, Anil A. Mujumdar, and Jeremy S. Walker, of the Birmingham firm Haskell Slaughter. The Haskell Slaughter lawyers withdrew from the case on May 17, leaving Harrison as Gilley's attorney.

Doug Jones refused to comment about Harrison's background when contacted this morning.

How was a lawyer with a federal drug-trafficking conviction on his record reinstated to the Alabama State Bar? How did said lawyer come to represent Ronnie Gilley in a high-profile federal prosecution? Did Harrison's criminal record put him and his client in a compromised position? Is Gilley's guilty plea legitimate or was he somehow coerced because of his lawyer's history? What role did Doug Jones and the other Haskell Slaughter lawyers play in Harrison's appearance as Gilley's lawyer? How much did lead prosecutor Louis Franklin know about Harrison's background and did he use such knowledge to help ensure that at least some convictions were obtained in the bingo case?

The answers to all of those questions are not clear. But Harrison's presence raises serious concerns about the validity of the bingo prosecution. It perhaps raises even more serious concerns about disciplinary procedures employed by the Alabama State Bar.

According to evidence from John Caylor, multiple law-enforcement officials in Geneva County have acknowledged knowing about Harrison's past. When asked how Harrison managed to be reinstated by the Alabama State Bar, one official said he understood that several lawyers in the Geneva area had written letters of support for Harrison.

We have "officers of the court" take a stand for an individual who has been convicted of helping to distribute methamphetamine? And the Alabama State Bar goes along with it? Has our justice system come to that? Is the public supposed to trust anything that takes place in an Alabama courtroom, at either the federal or state level?

Court documents indicate that the Harrison drug conviction hardly is a secret in the legal community. The prosecutor in the case was Artur Davis, who went on to become a U.S. Congressman before losing in a 2010 run for governor. Joseph Van Heest and Stephen Glassroth, two well-known Montgomery lawyers, provided Harrison's defense. Van Heest's name was floated as a possible Obama appointee to be U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama before that nomination went to George Beck.

Will news about Harrison's past have an impact on the bingo trial? It is too early to say, but let's consider this issue: Gilley's lawyers had a duty to defend him zealously, to represent his best interests. Given that Gilley wound up represented by a convicted drug trafficker, did the Haskell Slaughter lawyers fulfill their duty? Were the Haskell Slaughter lawyers concerned with Ronnie Gilley's best interests or the best interests of the prosecution team, led by Louis Franklin?

Doug Jones is a former prosecutor himself and worked on a federal HealthSouth lawsuit with Rob Riley, the son of former Governor Bob Riley. It was Bob Riley, of course, whose effort to stamp out gaming in Alabama led to the bingo prosecution in the first place. Exactly where did Jones' loyalties lie while he was supposed to be representing Ronnie Gilley?

We attempted to put those questions to Doug Jones this morning, and he refused to answer. We are seeking coment from the Alabama State Bar.


David J. Harrison Docket

22 comments:

jeffrey spruill said...

It sounds as if the Alabama State Bar is just as stuck at sea as the attorney that sits on the Judicial Selection Committee of the Virginia State Bar- David Bouchard.

One defendant in the Nicholas attack did not appear in court Wednesday because his attorney, David Bouchard, alerted the court that he is stuck at sea trying to cross the Atlantic in a sailboat.

Anonymous said...

Thyis guy and his law partner have an office in Geneva. They have been taking cases in Andalusia that nobody here would take. They recently set up a branch office in the rear of a building here in town. His story is that after his conviction he somehow got it all straigtened out and had his record ezpunged and got his law license restored. I don't know how that works. Local courthouse watchers refer to him as the sleeze lawyer.

Robby Scott Hill said...

What I can tell you from my experience with them is that the "full-time" Staff of the Alabama State Bar has little or no actual authority to make these decisions on their own. They are merely a front organization which rubber stamps the directives of a secretive body of lawyers who really call the shots. I call this secretive body the "Politburo." They are also very much like the Court of the Star Chamber of which my ancestor John Baker was a prominent member.

The relationship between Keith Norman's Staff at the State Bar & the "Politburo" is akin to the relationship between the Supreme Soviet (the Soviet Legislature) & the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party or Politburo. The "Politburo" makes all the real decisions while the Supreme Soviet & Alabama State Bar only get to rubber stamp the directives which are placed on their desks. Legislators & Bar Staffers come & go, but the members of the "Politburo" are hand picked at an early age from established law firms & they remain on the Politburo for life to protect the wealth of the established firms that are owned by their families. They give & take membership in the bar to suit their needs.

legalschnauzer said...

Rob:

Can't help but note the irony that you have not been allowed to sit for the bar exam while a convicted drug trafficker has a bar card. I assume Harrison was disbarred, but I don't know that for sure. Will do some research. Left a voice mail with noted GOPer Rob Lusk, seeking comment, and I haven't heard back.

Redeye said...

I can't help but note the irony in the Kenya Marshall case.

"Marshall told county party officials Monday she was forced to accept the suspension under a threat she would permanently lose her law license."

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/08/alabama_new_south_coalition_ba.html

legalschnauzer said...

Redeye:

Thanks for bringing up an excellent point. The comparison to the Kenya Marshall case needs to be explored, and it raises very troubling questions about race-based disparity in the way lawyers are treated. I have sought comment from Robert Lusk of the state bar, and so far, he has refused to return my calls. Do you think the MSM will pick up on this story?

Anonymous said...

There is a reason your calls are going unanswered. Being a lawyer requires facts...speculation is an objection that is almost always sustained in favor of the side that objects. Find some hard facts and drop the speculation. Just another hack looking for 15 seconds of fame...get a real job...

legalschnauzer said...

Anon:

I have no idea who you are, but are you suggesting that Mr. Harrison was not convicted of drug trafficking?

If you are sure about that, then please contact me at rshuler3156@gmail.com. I would be happy to look at any evidence you have suggesting my reporting is inaccurate.

jeffrey spruill said...

Parasitic lifestyle

Being a lawyer requires facts...

jeffrey spruill said...

and hiding in the bushes.

Panamaed said...

I hope the Defense delves into The Facility Group regarding Barry Mask being their "front man" in Montgomery.

Also, Benjamin Lewis' stint as Ass. State Attorney for Glenn Hess in Florida's 14th Judicial Circuit.

Talk about a closet full of demons....

Anonymous said...

Panamaed, are you talking about this group? http://www2.osa.ms.gov/forum/archive/index.php/t-269.html

Panamaed said...

I think they are one and the same:
http://www.facilitygroup.com/

Anonymous said...

Obviously your reporting on his trafficking charge and conviction are founded, seeing as how they are public records. I have a feeling Mr. Harrison would not have any problem talking to you about this issue if he wasn't busy with a real job. On the other hand, tying this story to anything having to do with the Gilley case is completely unfounded. Do some real investigative work before you jump to mere speculation.

Anonymous said...

"Being a lawyer requires facts" Is that a joke?
Being an investigative reporter requires one to develop facts through court records such as the one contained in the original post.
Anon @ 8:57 p.m. on July 1, 2011: Obviously this blog is interesting enough for you to read and comment. Please note that this blog is dedicated to those who make a mockery of our justice system.

Robby Scott Hill said...

The mission of the US Air Force is much broader than flying aircraft. Maxwell Air Force Base, the location where the Don Siegelman investigation was housed, is awarding contracts worth millions of dollars to conduct surveillance on the Internet & protect matters of "national security." So many of the lawyers on both sides & the judges in the bingo trial depend on "The Enterprise" to put food on their table. It's no joke. Justice in Alabama has been hijacked by Air Intelligence.

http://satellite.tmcnet.com/news/2011/05/22/5526948.htm

Robby Scott Hill said...

Anonymous 2 is right, to some extent. Being a lawyer does require facts & when one engages in the defense of a guilty party, it requires him to selectively choose which facts he will present, while obscuring other facts. You want to prevent the whole truth from being told and lead the judge or jury to a conclusion that is favorable to your client. That's one reason why criminal defendants usually don't take the stand in their own defense. They must swear to tell the WHOLE truth. While the defense attorney cannot allow his client to present false testimony, he can be very careful about which facts are presented & which facts are not. He can spin the evidence in the light most favorable to his client. It's not his fault if the judge or jury reaches a "wrong" conclusion. That's the defense attorney's job. What I want to know is who is Anonymous 2 defending and why?

legalschnauzer said...

Rob:

Excellent points. My impression is that Anon2 is defending Mr. Harrison, the Alabama State Bar, or both.

jeffrey spruill said...

Mr.Schnauzer,

See what attributes hiding in the bushes provides?

One can only speculate.

Being a lawyer requires acting cowardly.

Robby Scott Hill said...

The court system is just one topic in which I have an interest. I'm also interested in in this other topic called UFOs. As you already know, the senior leadership of the United States Air Force shares both of my interests in the Alabama Courts & UFOs. Here's four points my friend Stanton Friedman has noticed about our Air Force colleagues who he terms "debunkers."

Debunkers (USAF Officers) seem to employ four major rules:

What the public doesn’t know, we certainly won’t tell them. The largest official USAF UFO study isn’t even mentioned in twelve anti-UFO books, though every one of those books’ authors was aware of it.

Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is made up.

If one can’t attack the data, attack the people. It is easier.

Do one’s research by proclamation rather than investigation. It is much easier, and nobody will know the difference anyway.

http://www.stantonfriedman.com/index.php?ptp=ufo_challenge

Anonymous said...

Be sure and connect the former Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives with Jarrell "Jay" Walker, who is also in the hot seat in Alabama. He's had interests in politicians and politics in two states. Former Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson resigned after he attempted suicide, and also, several of his friends were killed in an airplane crash 2/2008. Walker was somehow involved with the management of Richardson's campaign or assets.

personal injury attorney in lake wales florida said...

When an individual is caught in possession of illegal drugs, the arresting officer will make a judgment on what that individual's intent with those illegal drugs are. This usually depends on the amount of the illegal substance that the individual has at the time he or she is caught.