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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I Lost My Job Six Years Ago For Reporting That Judge Mark Fuller Is Corrupt; Now, the Whole Country Knows It's True--And I'm Still Out Of A Job

Mark Fuller
I was "fired" as an editor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2008 for reporting on this blog that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller was repeatedly ruling unlawfully and corruptly in the criminal trial of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. In other words, I wrote that Fuller lacked integrity--and I got "fired" for it.

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)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Weren't you in fact fired for doing research for your blog on work time? Don't you gloss over this fact by saying that you WROTE your blog on your own time?

legalschnauzer said...

No, I wasn't fired for researching my blog on work time. I sat through the entire grievance hearing, and you didn't. I know the issues that were raised and the evidence presented.

Part of our job description was to keep up with Alabama news--and the Siegelman/Scrushy case certainly qualified. It also qualified as potentially big UAB news, given Scrushy is the school's most famous alum.

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. If you are interested in the facts, send me an e-mail (with your real name) to rshuler3156@gmail.com, and I would be glad to discuss.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Alabama Constitution of 1901, Section 12

Prosecutions for libel or for publication of papers investigating official conduct of public officers.

That in all prosecutions for libel or for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and that in all indictments for libel, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts under the direction of the court.

e.a.f. said...

I would have to say your employment was "terminated, without just cause".

They simply wanted to "shut you up" and they tried. didn't work and it hasn't worked since. I doubt if it will ever work. If not for you and other like you, things would not change in society. We see this type of "establishment" behaviour in all sorts of types of governments and societies. Its just we like to think it only happens in places like Russia, China, middle eastern countries, but the truth is, it happens in all western countries, to one degree or another. Its just that in the U.S.A., it having a constitution, which gives you the right to freedom of speech, you'd think someone would ensure people's rights were protected. Like they always say, money talks...

Thank you for all your work. Work such as yours has an impact everywhere. It inspires others to fight injustice and it reminds others, you may not be "caught" now, but eventually..........As they say, what goes around, comes around and perhaps this time Fuller, will get what is coming to him.

Anonymous said...

Roger, you were right and I (we) knew it. You gave the people your best and you got kicked in the teeth.

In the history of mankind, how many times have people just stood by and let others be scapegoated by the people in power? Roger, I am thankful that you charged up the hill for us but ashamed that I stood by and let them do it. I envy you because no matter what they threw at you, your wife stood by you. Roger, I am sending a contribution to you and your wife and know that in your hearts beats two warm souls.

Thanks for fighting for the underdogs!

Robby Scott Hill said...

Omission - That's Article One, Section 12 of the Alabama Constitution of 1901. In a nutshell, it's expressly giving the jury the power to nullify the law in a prosecution for libel. Normally, the judge decides the law and instructs the jury as to the law in Alabama courtrooms & the jury is merely a finder of fact. However, the colonial & federal case law has long held that jury nullification is proper when the jury disagrees with the public policy behind the law. State judges are not required to inform juries of their power to nullify the law, but the right is guaranteed through case law and implied through the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure where petit juries are expressly given the power to render General Verdicts where they consider both the facts (their sole duty) & the law, but only after the judge has instructed them on the law. The jury that found Don Siegelman guilty engaged in a special kind of jury nullification, called reverse nullification, where there was no law against what Siegelman did, but the jury made their own law; a sort of common law from the jury instead of the bench. They did this because they agreed with Judge Fuller that Don was a bad person and needed to be punished, but I ask you was Don Siegelman a bad person? I think not.

Anonymous said...

LS, have you heard from Mr. 12:21, who seems to know so much about your employment case?

legalschnauzer said...

No, I have not. And I don't expect to.

Robby Scott Hill said...

When reverse jury nullification takes place & law is made from the jury box (especially when a judge exercises undue influence over the jurors) it should be the duty of the justices on the appeals court to step in and reverse the conviction, thereby upholding the law as written. Jury nullification can be a good thing when a defendant is let go for minor crimes like perceived libel of a public official or using marijuana for medicinal purposes, but it can be a bad thing when a racist defendant is allowed to go free for murdering a minority or when reverse nullification is encouraged by a sitting judge, solely to convict his enemy for political purposes, like Judge Fuller did in the case of our rightful Governor Don Siegelman who remains in federal prison for no lawful reason.

Anonymous said...

For @12:21--

I used to work at UAB, so I know about the issues involved in Mr. Shuler's termination. Anything involving use of university computers is governed by the UAB Acceptable Use Policy. Many businesses and institutions have such a document. The UAB policy states that, if an employee is suspected of using computers in an unacceptable manner, it is to be handled by progressive discipline. In other words, the employee receives an oral warning, followed (if necessary) by a written warning, and then (possible) termination. I"ve read Mr. Shuler's blog for quite some time, and I don't recall him mentioning that he ever received an oral warning or written warning under the Acceptable Use Policy. If I am correct about that, then UAB's own actions show that he was not doing anything improper on his computer, either researching or writing his blog.

legalschnauzer said...

You are correct, @3:20, I never received any warning under UAB's Acceptable Use Policy. You also are correct that UAB's own actions reflect that I was not using my computer in an unacceptable manner. Neither my supervisor, nor anyone in my chain of command, even mentioned the Acceptable Use Policy to me. I find it interesting that the commenter @12:21 never mentioned the main point of the post--that my reporting on Mark Fuller was accurate, long before the general public saw signs of the judge's inclinations to act corruptly. Seems clear that @12:21 doesn't want to go there because it doesn't suit his purposes. Also seems clear that @12:21 wants no part of revealing his identity or discussing the matter with me via e-mail.

Anonymous said...

America is "militarized". The system was intentional, and began when public schools did.

The industry, USA, is a global militarization of a style that failed to be a total system of control. The controllers that are always about controlling the planet earth and all the minerals, resources, as well as every life form, have failed again.

That is, there is to be no uni-polar world, Russian President has repeatedly said this and China, India, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and so many names. The new banking system challenging the International Monetary Fund. The IMF Chair is being investigated, this is a very new experience for the SuperPower's one world dictatorship. Don Siegleman was the Republican Party's insurance that the Republican White Supremacists maintain their power in the South.

Not accepted, however, the type of power which the USA has forced into the schools. That is the real audience.

Schools should be communicated with at all times, there is a real open-ended possibility in the schools to reach and spark the higher thinkers.

None of the style of what America was selling is being accepted, President of America is what Mark Fuller protects.

This whole corrupted United States has fallen and can't get up.

The last stand that was taken by the Bush CIA Dynasty is going to try and recapture America.

Republicans are going to get the power to the purse to fix what they broke, and gave to the democrats to make even worse.

Maybe make peace with the least of the worst, that is, is there really least of the worst USA?

Write to those that are considered the dove right, Rand Paul.

What does Rand Paul think of Karl Rove and what has happened in Alabama, with not only Siegelman. Alabama is notorious as is USA, globally, barbaric-subterranean.

Anonymous said...

Hungry for Justice

Would you think, Roger, perhaps what we need is to get into understanding what the words actually say. U.S. Constitution's Preamble recites words and here is a short version:

Justice, Domestic Tranquility, Common Defence, General Welfare, Blessings of Liberty.

The words work here today. The hunger is clear, towards an enlightenment. We have already been promised in contract.

But here we are. Backwards is an understatement. You lost your job for being the best journalist that you were-are to be.

Hunger and thirst after righteousness. Jesus said those words and you did what was said as a promise for life everlasting.

However, the veil of opaque is thinner about a group of Americans that decided to take the words and charge the majority of people for the power in the truth.

Since when were the predatory not ravenous lawless.

Insatiably the most powerful in the world of corporate fascism, prey upon the most dignified humans' choosing life's dignity.

Those that are paid by the secret powers, the secret and not so secret police, are able in this time frame to do whatever the most powerful in USA choose to have as the treasures of empire builders and fanatic religious crusaders.

Anonymous said...

You don't sell the stuff that pays, Legal Schnauzer. You sell morality and then you want to sell due process and the rule of law too. What is wrong with the concepts, ideas and certainly truth? Doesn't sell. Look at what sells and look at the retirement portfolios of the agents that prefer the terror wars without end porn of death and destruction, and of course no due process or rule of law.

How boring, your enlightened imagination.

When the people who own the programming are not in complete, total, control, then the pornographic depopulation brand global war on terror, should pale in comparison to the Legal Schnauzer journal.

News owns our minds. Brains are really not thinking with all the whatever can be consumed.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Ah, the power of public relations!
Anonymous 8-31 @ 7:34 AM is correct. If you're ever going to establish a positive cash flow, you must learn to put aside your overdeveloped sense of honor & serve the real masters who made your elected officials. After all, George W. Bush, Bob Riley & Luther Strange never really were the source of your problems. They are merely agents who answer to some very wealthy men who have the power to resolve your issues if you are willing to sell out to the Dark Side.