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Monday, September 28, 2015

California journalist Peter B. Collins provides in-depth report on the violent, unlawful eviction that led Missouri sheriff deputies to break my wife's arm

San Francisco-based journalist and radio host Peter B. Collins has provided the most detailed report so far on the unlawful eviction that started as threatening and turned to violent, ending with Missouri deputies breaking my wife's left arm and bruising her badly.

In a post at his Web site, titled "Journalist Roger Shuler Gives Detailed Account of Recent Eviction That Brutalized His Wife," Collins becomes the first third-party journalist to examine the events that led to Carol and me being handcuffed, having an assault rifle and various handguns trained on us, having many of our personal belongings apparently stolen by the landlord's "eviction crew," and having Carol's humerus (the large bone in the upper arm) "snapped in two" near the elbow, according to a doctor who examined her.

Carol's injuries were so severe that they required treatment from a trauma surgeon, rather than an orthopedic specialist who might handle most broken-bone cases.

This all happened when neither law enforcement nor the crew from landlord Cowherd Construction had lawful grounds to enter our apartment. That's because I had filed a notice of appeal that puts an automatic stay on eviction proceedings under Missouri law.

Collins interviewed me at length about the brutal encounter with Missouri "officers of the law" and the full podcast (along with a preview clip) can be heard at his Web site. From the Collins post:

Roger Shuler, the journalist who has exposed deep corruption in Alabama, shares the painful story of the unlawful eviction by heavily-armed deputies that left his wife with a shattered arm and other injuries. Regular listeners know Shuler as the investigative reporter who has exposed corrupt politicians and courts in Alabama, and that he spent 5 months in jail on bogus defamation and contempt charges starting in October, 2013. Shortly after his release, the Shulers' home in Birmingham was foreclosed, and they moved to Springfield, Missouri, in the summer of 2014.

On September 9, 5 or 6 deputies under the personal direction of Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott burst into the Shuler's apartment with assault weapons drawn, and first handcuffed Roger and Carol. Later, the handcuffs were removed, and Carol was told she could enter the apartment to retrieve personal items. Two or more deputies jumped her, slammed her to the ground, and twisted both arms behind her back.

Shuler reports that Sheriff Arnott exclaimed that Carol had assaulted a deputy, while Roger observed no contact or provocation. Carol was taken away in a squad car, and after repeated complaints about her broken left arm, they finally took her to a hospital, where she spent several days and required major surgery to patch her shattered arm. She suffered other injuries, including serious bruising on her other arm.

How far outside the law was this whole series of events? Collins provides insight:

Shuler tells us that they were current with the rent when the landlord unilaterally moved to terminate their lease. The eviction occurred before a ten-day grace period had elapsed, and despite a legal appeal that had put a hold on any eviction proceedings.

And he says flatly, "There's absolutely no question in my mind" that the eviction is retribution for his ongoing reporting about Alabama corruption--most recently breaking the story about the sexual affair of current Alabama governor Robert Bentley that led his wife of 50 years to file for divorce.

The Shulers lost most of their property in the eviction, some items were stolen by employees of the landlord. They are living in a fleabag motel with just the clothes on their backs. If you can make a donation of any size, please visit the Legal Schnauzer blog.

Collins correctly notes that we are in need of financial assistance, especially in light of recent events. Does our reporting here matter? Our blog played a major role in bringing down wife-beating federal judge Mark Fuller, whose corrupt actions from the bench led to the unlawful convictions of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. In fact, I think it's safe to say that no other blog or news site has provided as much in-depth coverage of the Siegelman case as Legal Schnauzer--and Siegelman remains a federal prison in what likely is the most notorious political prosecution in American history.

Jim Arnott, sheriff of
 Greene County, Missouri
We broke the story of Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who touts his family values at one moment while having engaged in extramarital activities at others. That was a story that the mainstream media, especially al.com, intentionally sat on and covered up.

Most recently, we broke the story of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, another so-called Christian and Republican who wears his faith on his sleeve, but has engaged in an extramarital affair with married adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason, leading Bentley's wife to file for divorce after 50 years of marriage. That's another story the mainstream press almost certainly would have sat on if we had not broken it here at Legal Schnauzer.

Our goal is to continue such ground-breaking coverage--showing that our courts are hopelessly compromised and many "conservative" political and legal figures are not what they appear. We also are focusing heavily on perhaps the most important domestic story of the past year--the militarization, corruption, brutality, and disrespect for civil rights that seemingly have taken over numerous law-enforcement agencies around the country. We've even seen signs that deputies in Madison County, Alabama, have resorted to a "revenge beatdown" (felony assault) and possible murder.

Carol and I now have firsthand experience with Missouri deputies who committed a felony assault that left her with a shattered arm. We also know what it's like to have deputies burst through the door, with roughly a half dozen weapons drawn, including at least one assault rifle. With five more heavily armed deputies bursting into our apartment at the same time, what if one had bumped into another who just happened to have his finger on the trigger of an assault weapon, while it was pointed at Carol or me? One or both of us would be dead.

If you would like to contribute to our ongoing efforts to expose legal and political corruption, we invite you to click on the donate button in the upper right-hand corner of the blog's front page for contributions via PayPal. We are working on establishing a GoFundMe site, and hope to have an announcement about that soon.


Anonymous said...

Excellent reporting, as usual, by Peter B. This story needs to go viral or close to it.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any idea how much of your property was stolen?

legalschnauzer said...

No, we don't, but it apparently was a lot. Our former neighbor said he watched "eviction crew" members putting our stuff in their trucks and driving off. I think the neighbor talked to one of the crew members about it, and the crew guy said, "This stuff is ours once it's put out on the street."

That, of course, is not the law. The people from Cowherd Construction are nothing more than common thieves.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said (paraphrase) that the law is the statutes & court rulings which can be enforced. It's also the will of the powers that be which can be imposed on you when you can't obtain redress in a court of law. Doesn't matter how many written laws you have on your side if your arguments are falling on deaf ears & nobody wants to listen. You've been doing this since 2007 & while the blog has had a positive effect on the legal community, it's gotten you & Carol personally in some very hot water. Neither one of us has secured gainful employment because of the blog. If anything, it's worked against us in respect to employment opportunities. We can't change the world by ourselves & we won't live forever. After eight years, it's time for me to comment less and for you to blog less & let others who are in a better position to do more of the work. I wish you and Carol the best in securing employment until you can retire. The younger generation along with those of the older generation who have the resources to fund them must pick up this fight. Unless we have the numbers, the powers that be will just keep beating us down & the courts will not want to hear our side of the story. That's the way I see it. We should spend more time behind the scenes inspiring others to take up the struggle & less time on the blogging & commenting. When they have hundreds of Legal Schnauzers blogging about them, instead of just one, all of a sudden life becomes much more difficult for them & you kick back with an alcoholic beverage or a big fat Jamaica Joint & say, "I inspired all of that." with a big smile on your face. In fact, it's already working. Jeb Bush doesn't have the support to bring the Iran-Contra gang back to power & no Judge Fullers will be getting appointed to the federal bench under a Donald Trump or Democratic Administration. No Alabama Governor in state history has been under as much scrutiny as Robert Bentley is now & the Alabama State Bar has undergone much positive change because of this blog. It's time to take care of Roger & Carol now. The Working People of Alabama appreciate your public service and we want you to enjoy your personal life as well. It's OK if you only post once a week or even twice a month.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that the apartment complex had a right not to renew the lease and a month to month agreement can be terminated by either party with notice. Had they done this during the lease period you might have a case, but since the lease was up, you didn't have a case. Had your mother attempted to remove her name while the lease was still in effect, they would have had grounds to evict you. It sounds like you and Carol need to get jobs and learn to pay bills on your own. You have been unemployed too long, you need to become productive members of society again. You can keep your blog as a hobby and, since it doesn't make enough money to support you, it is just a hobby.

Anonymous said...


e.a.f. said...

At the rate things are going you might qualify as a political refugee in another country. My god it just doesn't stop. What is the matter with Americans? It has deteriorated to such an extent it is not recognizable or perhaps it was always this way, it just now attacks anyone, including those in the middle class. Perhaps this is the experience of people of colour over the centuries in America. Now everybody gets to "join the club" if you aren't very rich and in political favour.

I wish Carole a speedy recovery.

Anonymous said...


legalschnauzer said...

You're knowledge of landlord-tenant law is not so hot, @8:18. Yes, either party can terminate a month-to-month lease with notice. But a lease cannot be terminated for reasons that violate the contract between the parties. That's what happened here. The landlord was trying to violate the lease, which it wrote, and that amounts to breach of contract. It's already been admitted by landlord's representative in court that they were trying to enforce a provision that does not exist in the lease.

You also are off target about the scenario (which didn't happen) of my mother attempting to remove her name from the lease while it was still in effect. That would have been a breach of contract on her part, and the landlord would have had grounds to sue her.

As for your life advice, it means zero from someone who isn't willing to ID himself. Tell me, and my readers, who you are, and perhaps your advice will resonate a bit. Otherwise, you are just an empty vessel, whose hollow words mean nothing. I suspect you've been that way most of your life, never standing for anything, never accomplishing anything, never willing to take a risk. That's why you resent people who do try to make a difference.

Anonymous said...

How is your wife doing? Did she have surgery for her arm? Where are you staying presently?

Anonymous said...

lol at 8:18. Do you really expect this guy to get a job? I bet he hasn't had one in years. Sounds like he managed to get his poor mother sued, just guessing, what is she probably in her 80's? That's got be good for her, can't imagine the stress he has put on her.

He never has the guts to honestly answer any questions. He'll just claim he doesn't have to from anonymous posters. This guy has no credibility at all.

Let's try this. Roger, how many years has it been since you have had a paying job? No chance in hell he'll answer that. Because I'm posting as anonymous.

Also Robby, why don't you invite this guy to come live with you? Let us know how that goes. Guaranteed you will get sued once you kick him out lol. Seems to be a running theme.

Anonymous said...

Roger, your words truly wound me. It hurts me that you think so little of me, of course the fact that you don't know me and I made that unforgivable sin of disagreeing with the mighty Roger Shuler might have influenced that. Of course I don't care what you think of me and my anonymity is my choice.
I, unlike you, live in a paid for house and I own rental property, so I am not completely unfamiliar with leases. You have no right to stay in an apartment once the lease has expired. The landlord was completely in their right to not allow you to stay if you mom wanted her name removed from the apartment. You are a bad risk, you have a history of foreclosure and bad credit, therefore need a cosigner. You feel they breached the agreement, but the lease period was over and they had no obligation to allow you to stay, even if you were a model tenant and your cosigner did not want off the agreement. The proper thing to do would have been to attempt to locate another rental unit and move.
My advise was sound and if you don't take it, that's your problem not mine. Any logical and sane individual would realize that I gave good advice to you. Knowing my name doesn't change the advice. If you continue to do the same things, you will continue to get the same results. I don't resent you Roger, but I do feel sorry for people that that think they are victims and it comes down to poor life choices.

legalschnauzer said...

Just because you own rental property, doesn't mean you know the law regarding the tenant-landlord relationship. You also don't know the facts of this case. The attempted breach of the lease happened well before the lease was up. A lease is a contract, and both parties have to abide by it. We did; the landlord did not.

Aside from that, we had filed a notice of appeal, which puts a stay on eviction--and the public record (and MO law that easily can be found on the Internet) shows that.

So you are off target on every major issue that's involved. BTW, I don't think little of you because I don't know you. I don't take your "advice" seriously because I have no idea who you are, and you've proven you are not particularly well versed in the subject matter.

If you want to have a serious discussion of these issues, one built on mutual respect, ID yourself, and I would be glad to schedule a time to talk. Otherwise, to quote a great Kansas song, you're just "dust in the wind."

legalschnauzer said...

Here's a suggestion, @5:21, if you think I have no credibility, go read something else. No one is making you stay here. Before you go, why don't you point out one issue of fact or law, anywhere on this blog, that I've gotten wrong. I'm not saying I can't make mistakes, but I'd like to know if you can find one. As for the answer to your question, it's right here on the blog, look it up.

legalschnauzer said...

Carol is coming along pretty well, @3:51. Thanks for asking. She has a followup appointment with her surgeon in about a week, so we will know more then.

Anonymous said...

@5:21 - Roger's mother is 85 according to Roger in the interview.

@Roger - How did they violate the lease well before it was up? Your lease expired at the end of July. The landlord gave you notice that they expected you to be out. You stayed in the apartment through Sept. 9th without paying anything past July's rent. You got two free months of rent and your plan appears to be that you would file appeal after appeal to stay rent free. A decent person stays through the end of their lease and moves. You have not been wronged in this situation that you created.

legalschnauzer said...

I know you have an aversion to facts, @4:58, but here is a suggestion. I posted the rental agreement both to my Facebook page and to Scribd. Feel free to check it out and see if you can find a provision that says a tenant must be qualified himself when a cosigner decides she wants off the lease. That's the stunt the landlord was trying to pull, and if you can find a provision in the lease that allows for that, please let me know. If you can find one, then I assume you will agree with me the landlord was breaching the contract.

BTW, I doubt you have the foggiest idea what a decent person is or what a decent person would do.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if @4:58 and some of the other wise asses on this post and 1-2 others is the same person--but they sound like the same guy. Whether it's one person or several people, here is something I find interesting: I've yet to see any of them express concern about your wife's well being, any regret or sorrow that she was brutalized to the point of having her arm "snapped in two," any concern that many of your personal belongings were stolen, or any alarm that the cops and landlord had no grounds to conduct an eviction once an appeal had been filed.

What must it be like going through life being such an ass-kisser for thug cops and law-free landlords? Is it that pleasurable to kiss their a---s and suck their d---s?

Sorry for being crude, but this guy--or these guys--apparently stand for nothing--not the law, not justice, zip. How pathetic must it be to live life that way? And why bother reading a blog that, whether you agree with Mr. Schnauzer or not, clearly tries to stand for something? I'm guessing these guys only read the blog because they have some personal agenda that is threatened by your reporting. Or maybe they are just jealous because you stand for something, and they don't.

They've wasted their lives, and they are bitter that you aren't wasting yours. What a horrible waste of carbon.

legalschnauzer said...

Appreciate the supportive words, @11:01. For the record, I should note that the eviction was unlawful, even if I had not filed a notice of appeal. It was scheduled for Sept. 9, inside the 10-day window when execution cannot be levied. It could not lawfully be scheduled for that date, regardless of any attempt on my part to appeal. I address that issue further in today's post: