Six years later, in the wake of reports that Fuller has entered rehab because of charges that he recently assaulted his wife in an Atlanta hotel room, the whole world knows Fuller lacks the ethical standards to be a federal judge. Even the staunchly conservative al.com (formerly The Birmingham News) has stated that Fuller "compromised his integrity" and should resign.
Recent events have proven that my reporting from 2007 and 2008 was right on target, that I was right all along. The events also have proven that other journalism "early responders" on the Fuller story, including Scott Horton of Harper's and Glynn Wilson of Locust Fork News, also were right.
But I've yet to see an article about the exemplary job the digital press did in exposing a corrupt federal judge, while mainstream outlets either ignored the story or were slow to examine it. As for me, I'm still out of a job, and my wife and I have suffered financial devastation--all because I reported accurately about a judge that even his one-time staunch supporters now admit has no business serving on the federal bench.
That's why the flood of Fuller stories over the past two weeks hit so close to home here at Legal Schnauzer. When I first started reporting on the Siegelman case, I had worked at UAB for almost 20 years; I had worked as a professional journalist for almost 30 years. I knew what I was talking about--and history now proves that, without question. But I still got cheated out of my job, and that job never has been replaced, leading to untold misery for my family.
Why do I say "cheated" out of my job? Well, it's undisputed that I wrote my blog on my own time, away from work. It's also undisputed that, as a government employee, I had First Amendment protection to comment on matters of public concern--and that's exactly what I did with my posts about Mark Fuller's actions in the Siegelman/Scrushy case.
Under the facts and the law--and I sat through a four-hour grievance hearing where all of the relevant facts were laid out--I could not have been fired, or even disciplined, at UAB. But I was ousted anyway. How does that happen?
In my view, it happened because certain political/legal forces wanted to protect Fuller's reputation so that the Siegelman/Scrushy convictions would look legitimate. These forces are part of the Alabama oligarchy that prominent attorney Donald Watkins says protects "conservative" judges like Fuller, who in turn protects their financial interests. My reporting, which showed exactly how Fuller was acting outside the law, threatened the plan to legitimize the Siegelman/Scrushy convictions. And as a state employee, I was an easy target. I lost my job, and UAB butchered the First Amendment and all kinds of federal anti-discrimination laws in the process.
We now know that Fuller's reputation wasn't worth protecting. Even his one-time supporters at al.com admit that. A Republican appointee who is corrupt enough to sicken even the al.com editorial board is has to be pretty bad.
Now that it's been proven I was right about Fuller from the outset, how does that make me feel? Vindicated? Satisfied? Justified? I'm not sure any of those is the right word. My wife and I now have to worry about our ability to keep a roof over our heads, putting meals on the table, and paying bills in the future.
My reporting on Judge Mark Fuller, which was both accurate and well ahead of its time, has led to horrible real-world consequences for my wife, our kitty kats, and me. Worries about those consequences are so overwhelming in my mind that I can't even decide what words best describe my feelings about recent events involving Judge Fuller--although I know for sure that I feel sorry for any woman who might come into his orbit. Based on what we know about recent events in Atlanta, plus Fuller's divorce from his first wife, the man clearly is dangerous, with alcohol and substance-abuse issues to fuel his rages.
This post is likely to raise a number of questions for readers, so let's touch on some of them before closing.
How do I know it was my reporting on Fuller's actions in the Siegelman/Scrushy case that caused me to be "fired?" A UAB human-resources official, in so many words, told me just that--and I caught the conversation on audiotape.
Why do I have the word "fired" in quotation marks in the opening paragraph and elsewhere in this post? I've come to realize that the record is unclear whether I actually was terminated or not. A friend of long standing, who has 30 years of experience in state government and higher education, recently heard a chronology of events leading to my ouster--and he says it's doubtful that what happened could accurately be called a firing. After all, the term "firing" indicates I did something wrong, which violated policy in such a way as to justify immediate termination. My grievance hearing showed I did no such thing. In fact, as I've reported previously, the UAB grievance committee that heard my case found that I should not have been fired--but the director of human resources ousted me from my job anyway--and then university president Carol Garrison supported that decision. Is that a firing? What do you call it?
In such a case of obvious wrongdoing by a state university, why did I not win my First Amendment/discrimination lawsuit? If anyone thinks Mark Fuller is the only rogue among federal judges on the bench in Alabama, he or she is sadly mistaken. U.S. District Judge William Acker, who is getting close to 90 years old, handled my case and made unlawful rulings that defy clearly established law, not to mention common sense. Acker granted summary judgment to the UA System without allowing any discovery. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the law and civil procedure knows that can't be done--but Acker did it anyway. In fact, Acker might have even less integrity than Mark Fuller--if that is possible.
We will address these questions in future posts. But for now, I think I've thought of a word that might best describe how I feel in light of recent proof that I was on target about Mark Fuller, long before it was cool to say he has integrity issues. The word is "hungry"--as in hungry for justice.
Why that word? Well, I recently read an article about "traumatic psychiatric injury." It's different from standard depression or anxiety, and I suspect many victims of courtroom abuse suffer from it. I'm talking about victims I've written about on this blog--Sherry Rollins, Paul Minor, Linda Upton, Mark Hayden, Bonnie Cahalane, Wes Teel, and many more.
The most common cause of traumatic psychiatric injury is bullying. My wife and I have been bullied for 14 years, ever since a bogus lawsuit filed by a criminally inclined neighbor started our legal nightmare. The people mentioned above all have been bullied by the court system--and loads of public documents, many of which we've posted here, prove it.
As for traumatic psychiatric injury, the article states that victims tend to never stop searching for justice. They usually never stop holding out hope that the proper people will be held accountable in some lawful way. Specifically, the article states, the victim "looks forward to each new day as an opportunity to fight for justice."
So call me hungry for justice. And I doubt that will ever change.
(To be continued)