|Murphy Abigail Shuler:|
A Watchdog at Work
As I've noted in a number of posts, Murphy Abigail Shuler (1993-2004) is the real-life schnauzer who inspired this blog. You can see her in action, as watchdog over our home, in the photo at right. And in a higher-power sense, her presence will always be with us.
But in many earthly ways, Legal Schnauzer has come to be driven by our readers. In fact, it was a reader who suggested a few days ago that we should do an end-of-the year "best of" list. And we turned that into a reality, with yesterday's post about Numbers 10-6 on our countdown.
As we follow up today with the top five stories on our list, I realize just how appropriate it is that this idea came from a reader. This blog, after all, largely has become a community project.
Four of the five stories in our 10-6 post yesterday were reported with major input from readers. Only our No. 7 story, about the resignation of UAB president Carol Garrison, did not involve a tip, a document, or some other helpful hint from a reader. Since the mystery of Garrison's departure remains unsolved, we still might get reader input that breaks that story.
Of our top five stories, which we announce today, all of them were driven in one way or another by information from readers. If you are keeping score, nine of our top 10 posts for 2012 had major input from readers.
Does the public matter in an effort to help restore the rule of law to America's courts? It sure as heck does. Our top five posts from 2012 serve as prime examples.
On with the countdown . . .
5. Karl Rove's Bisexual Affair Might Have Sparked His Bizarre Rant on Fox News (June 27)
Summary: A letter from Alabama lawyer Jill Simpson to former White House counsel Robert Bauer reveals that Republican strategist Karl Rove is having a gay affair with Ali Akbar, president of a right-leaning bloggers' association. Simpson's letter comes to light after Rove attacks her and Bauer during an off-the-wall interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News.
Why it Matters: Rove helped George W. Bush get "elected" president twice, and powerful evidence suggests both elections were stolen. Rove clearly was behind the politicization of the U.S. Justice Department under Bush and almost certainly orchestrated a bogus prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Evidence still is building that Rove tried to buy or rig the 2012 presidential election. Karl Rove has made himself a hugely influential figure in national affairs, so how does he conduct his personal affairs? The mainstream press has ignored this story, but it might be our most important national piece of the year. It apparently led to Rove's quickie, "arranged" marriage to Texas political operative Karen Johnson. And it still might help shrink Rove's power base within the GOP.
Number of Comments: 21
A Comment to Remember: "KKKarl Rove is queer too? It figures, we know about Hitler and his inner circle of SS being queer and the rumors about Stalin, Marx, Pol Pot and Obama have been out there for all to see, but KKKarl? It makes all the sense in the world and explains sooo much.
"How fabulous is that!"
4. CEO Ted Rollins' Ex Wife Is Living in Fear Over Reports About Child Sexual Abuse (September 14)
Summary: Birmingham resident Sherry Carroll Rollins fears for her safety in the wake of reports that her ex husband, Campus Crest Communities CEO Ted Rollins, was investigated in North Carolina for the sexual abuse of her son.
Why it Matters: We repeatedly have called the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case, which was decided in a Shelby County court that did not have jurisdiction to hear it, the worst courtroom cheat job we've encountered in the civil arena. With the apparent help of the powerful Birmingham law firm Bradley Arant, Ted Rollins managed to abuse the justice system and cheat his ex wife and two daughters. But Rollins' abusive actions actually started long before that. Public records show that he was convicted for assault in the 1995 beating of his stepson. And the investigation for child sexual abuse of the same stepson came two years before that. What kind of person runs a company that has received more than $400 million in support from investors on Wall Street?
Number of Comments: 46
A Comment to Remember: "The wealthy long have held a tendency to abuse children. Max Keiser, the other day, did a fascinating interview with author Leah McGrath Goodman about horrific child abuse on the island of Jersey (between England and France), which is the world's largest tax haven."
3. Siegelman Resentencing Serves as a Grim Reminder That His Prosecution Was Bogus from the Outset (August 3)
Summary: Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is resentenced to more than six years in federal prison after the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear his appeal on the most notorious political prosecution in American history.
Why it Matters: Appellate courts have a duty, under the law, to ensure that the law is applied consistently. That's largely why we have appellate courts, and it's a major reason we have the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process and equal protection. But the U.S. Eleventh Circuit of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court, failed Don Siegelman. In the process, they failed all of us. This is a case that could not even be heard at trial because the primary charge of bribery was brought well past the statute of limitations. But Siegelman unlawfully sits in prison, and codefendant Richard Scrushy already has served his sentence. If you live in America, and this story does not bother you . . . well, you aren't much of an American.
Number of Comments: 36
A Comment to Remember: "Judge Fuller claims the appeal by Siegelman misrepresented what was a simple case of bribery. Yet, Fuller raked in millions from Doss Aviation's contract with the Bush Administration while he presided over the facts of a case that had already been thrown out by another Federal Judge, U.W. Clemon, in the Northern District of Alabama."
2. Wall Street Analyst Paula Poskon Switches Gears To Claim A CEO's Ties To Child Abuse Are No Big Deal (December 4)
Summary: A prominent Wall Street analysts tries to back track on her earlier comments, voicing concern about how investors might react to news about Campus Crest Communities CEO Ted Rollins' connections to child abuse. Now, Paula Poskon changes her tune, saying in so many words that child abuse is no big deal to the investment community. And we caught her on tape, in a telephone interview.
Why it Matters? From JPMorgan Chase's "really bad bet" to LIBOR to HSBC's money-laundering scandal, 2012 was the year for terrible behavior in the world of high finance. What kind of ethics reign on Wall Street? Paula Poskon shows us that, when big money is at stake, Wall Street pretty much has no ethics at all--going so far as to provide cover for a chief executive with a documented history as a child abuser.
Number of Comments: 69
A Comment to Remember: "Wonder if Ms. Poskon has children? Wonder if she has ever been raped or abused? Wonder if she knows anyone who has?"
1. Bonnie Wyatt Is Released This Afternoon From Jail (December 18)
Summary: Clanton resident Bonnie Wyatt is released from the Chilton County Jail after being unlawfully incarcerated for almost five months because of a property-related debt connected to her divorce.
Why it Matters: Does the Web press make a difference? Does our reporting at Legal Schnauzer have an impact? This event strongly suggests that the answer is yes. We do not know for sure, yet, why Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds decided to free Ms. Wyatt. But there is little doubt that our reporting, plus the work of Brad Patterson at examiner.com, played a part. The mainstream press ignored the story, but the Schnauzer and friends grabbed it by the pants leg and wouldn't let go. It seems someone decided the fire was getting a little too close for comfort, so maybe it was a good idea to let Bonnie Wyatt go.
Number of Comments: 53
A Comment to Remember: "Great news LS! If she's stood 5 months in jail (because) of that prick, then she should tell him to shove his gag order! She should stick it to Reynolds the same way he did her. It can be done! Maybe Bonnie will let you be a part of it LS since you no doubt played a big role in her release. Kudos to you, man, and thank you for what you do!!!!"
It's nice, of course, to receive comments like that last one. But readers deserve much of the credit. I would not have known about Bonnie Wyatt's situation, for example, without a tip from a reader. I would not have been able to report it fully without information from readers.
I'm already working on several posts for 2013 that originated with fascinating tips from readers. We encourage you to stay tuned.