|Jessica Medeiros Garrison|
On the legal side, Baxley might best be remembered for his reply, while Alabama attorney general, to a threatening letter he received in 1976 from a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Baxley's three-word response: "Kiss my ass."
I don't want to make a habit of copying anything from Bill Baxley's sordid playbook. But Baxley recently sent me a threatening letter on behalf of Jessica Medeiros Garrison, who has been the subject of several posts here at Legal Schnauzer about her long-running extramarital affair with current Attorney General Luther Strange. (Baxley's letter can be viewed at the end of this post.)
The August 19 letter is brief, but it includes such outrageous misstatements of fact and law that I thought it would be appropriate to borrow a page from Baxley's playbook for my response. I politely invited him to "kiss my ass."
I've already noted that a Baxley letter dated August 16 included a number of assertions that are off the charts. For example, he claimed that contacting his client to request an interview or invite comment on matters of public interest would constitute the crime of harassing communications.
Baxley's second letter might have been even more absurd. First, he claims that I am not a journalist under Alabama law and do not qualify for privileges enjoyed by journalists. Baxley cites no law to support that claim, and he apparently didn't bother to check my background before spouting off.
I have a journalism degree from the University of Missouri, which has the first journalism school that was established anywhere on the planet, and 35 years of professional experience. I was on staff as a reporter/editor for 11 years at the Birmingham Post-Herald and for 19 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). I've lost track of how many newspapers and magazines have published my work.
Stalking has a very specific legal meaning. Under Alabama law, stalking is a crime, a felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The description of stalking can be found at Code of Alabama 13A-6-90, and here is the gist of it:
A person who intentionally and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat, either expressed or implied, with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm is guilty of the crime of stalking.
If Jessica Garrison has falsely stated to others that I have been stalking her, and Bill Baxley has repeated that information to others . . . well both client and lawyer are going to have some serious legal issues on their hands.
Here is my full reply to Bill Baxley's latest communique:
To borrow a phrase you once used so eloquently . . . kiss my ass.
I have a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri (B.J., '78) and have more than 30 years of professional experience in the field, working for daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, a university publications office, and more. I've been a guest on radio and TV broadcasts, both locally and nationally. My blog has been named one of the top 50 law blogs in North America, and I've been interviewed on justice issues by media outlets from coast to coast. My work on Legal Schnauzer was cited before Congress in fall 2007 when the House Judiciary Committee investigated political prosecutions under the Bush Justice Department.
If I'm not a journalist under Alabama law, then I would like to know who is. I would suggest that you do a little research into my background before making yourself look like a fool again.
In the interest of brevity, I didn't address Baxley's stalking allegations in that reply. But you can rest assured that issue will be addressed shortly.
Bill Baxley Letter2 by Roger Shuler