Leaderboard 728 X 90

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jessica Medeiros Garrison displays limited legal knowledge and zero respect for the rule of law


Luther Strange and Jessica Medeiros Garrison
You might expect a lawyer to display a reasonable command of fundamental legal concepts--and maybe an appreciation for the rule of law. But you aren't likely, it appears, to get either from Jessica Medeiros Garrison, who holds the title "of counsel" at the Birmingham law firm Balch and Bingham.

The "of counsel" designation, by the way, usually is reserved for senior attorneys, those who have enjoyed distinguished careers and shown high-level knowledge in certain areas of the law. How did Garrison, with her thin legal resume, manage to obtain such a title at Balch and Bingham? I've asked that question of several lawyers, and they tend to shake their heads or shrug their shoulders as if to say, "Beats me."

In launching a public-relations attack on our reporting about her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, Garrison reveals that her legal bona fides are shaky, at best.

In her as-told-to rant at marieclaire.com, for example, Garrison says there was a trial in her defamation case against me. Anyone with a computer and willingness to pay a small fee can check alacourt.gov and see there was no trial in the case--no jury, no discovery, no adversarial proceeding of any kind. There was a default-judgment hearing, for which the record shows I was not sent notification, but there was never anything remotely close to a trial. Jessica Garrison, with a law degree and a license to practice, doesn't know the difference between a trial and a hearing? Hmmm.

Then, we have these words from Garrison:

When Shuler was served with the papers from my attorney, he was already in jail for another defamation case. (Robert Riley, a lobbyist, sued Shuler for alleging he'd had an affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke.) When we met in court for a preliminary hearing, Shuler came in wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Garrison makes it sound like it's routine for a journalist--or a blogger or anyone--to be jailed in a defamation case. In fact, my incarceration--based on alleged contempt of court regarding an unlawful temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction--violated more than 200 years of First Amendment law.  Specifically, it violated Near v. Minnesota, a 1931 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that is widely considered the "foundational" case for 20th-century defamation law in the United States.

Judge Claud Neilson's ruling in the Rob Riley/Liberty Duke case was so off-the-charts illegal that I can find no other case in American history where a journalist has been imprisoned under such circumstances. Even conservative/libertarian legal analysts, such as Ken White at Popehat blog, proclaimed that Neilson was acting way outside the law. In fact, White said that Riley lawyer Jay Murrill was "blindingly ignorant" or "cynically dishonest."

Does Jessica Garrison seem to know the first thing about First Amendment law and related constitutional issues? Nope. Does she seem to care that Alabama courts routinely are the place where the rule of law goes to die? Nope.

But she doesn't stop with just one ignorant statement. There's more, from marieclaire.com:


When the trial came, Shuler didn't show up. (After five months, he'd gotten out of jail—his wife unpublished the posts about Riley.) Both Luther and I were called to the stand. Seeing Luther responding to questions about the rumors was mortifying. My job had been to help him present a strong front—the exact ​opposite​ of making him vulnerable to such scandalous lies. I knew it wasn't my fault, but I couldn't help feeling like I failed him somehow.

Yes, I didn't show up for the hearing (there was no trial) because notice was neither sent nor received. All of that was complicated by the fact that my wife, Carol, and I had been forced to exit our home of 25 years because of a foreclosure that almost certainly was unlawful. But aside from that, consider the stunning material that is highlighted above.

Google headquarters
Garrison almost casually mentions that I had been in jail for five months, as if that happens all the time in defamation cases. But our research indicates it's never happened like this in American history. Then, Garrison gives the impression that it's routine for a journalist's spouse to be force to "unpublished" blog posts as a sort of ransom for her husband's freedom. Has this ever happened in U.S. history, especially regarding articles that have never been determined at trial to be false or defamatory? My research indicates it's an absolute first--that Claud Neilson, Rob Riley, Liberty Duke and associated lawyers acted in a corrupt fashion that never before has been pondered in the U.S. court system.

Finally, we have this from an article by Rob Holbert, of Lagniappe Mobile, about Garrison's Marie Claire piece:

Garrison said she is fighting to have Google remove searches that would take people to Shuler’s stories about her. With the defamation judgment against him, she hopes that will soon happen.

Garrison is too dishonest to say it, and Holbert apparently is too lazy or ignorant to ask, but here is what Garrison is trying to do: She's trying to get Google to hide articles that never have been found to be false or defamatory at trial, by a jury, as required under First Amendment law.

In other words, Garrison is pushing for censorship, and she's trying to get Google to go along with her little con game.

If Garrison is successful in this gambit, she and Google might find themselves the target of a First Amendment and civil-rights lawsuit.

We've presented substantial evidence that suggests Jessica Garrison is dishonest, shallow, poorly informed, and not terribly bright. On top of that, we see evidence that she is one crappy lawyer.

Is Google going to jump in bed with her? The company would be wise not to make that mistake.

Jessica Garrison wants to remove articles from the Web that never have been found at trial (or in any adversarial proceeding) to be false and defamatory? Again, that is censorship, and Garrison is trying to enlist one of America's most powerful companies to help in her effort to trample the U.S. Constitution.

In terms of First Amendment law, it doesn't get much more outrageous than that.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jessica's a conservative. Surely, you wouldn't expect her to have any legal knowledge or care about the rule of law?

legalschnauzer said...

You make a good point, @11:55. Don't know what I was thinking. (BTW, don't call me Shirley.)

Legal Insider said...

I love that part about "he was already in jail for another defamation case." That proves JMG is a dim bulb. The only dimmer bulb might be the Marie Claire writer who failed to ask any serious questions about all the BS she was getting.

Anonymous said...

You had already responded to the suit; you are obligated to report to the court any change of address, or designate a party to accept related paperwork, despite it being a chaotic and stressful time. The obligation was there even if you did not realize the onus was on you. The court did not excuse you for your lapse.

Anonymous said...

Who was the judge who issued the default judgment against you?

legalschnauzer said...

Don Blankenship, Jefferson County

Anonymous said...

Sorry to inform you of this, but a lot of decisions nowadays are determined by judicial proceedings that aren't full jury trials. And default judgments are rendered when the defendant doesn't show up for the proceeding, if you hadn't received notice of the proceeding there is no way they could have rendered a default judgment against you. For notice is a basic element of case procedure. If it is true that you didn't have notice, then you can easily turn over the judgment against you, for that is basic Constitutional law.

legalschnauzer said...

Sorry to inform you of this, @12:37, but there was no trial at all in this matter--jury or otherwise. Do your research--defamation cases require a trial before a jury.

I agree with your point about the default judgment, but constitutional principles are trampled in American courts every day. This blog is filled with examples.

legalschnauzer said...

Speaking of obligations, @12:22, the court and the plaintiff have an obligation to send me notice about the default-judgment hearing, and the record shows they did not. Without notice, that means the default judgment is void. It's real simple stuff.

Anonymous said...

If it is your own fault, it doesn't void anything. You best chance is reduction in damages, or proving you were incompetent at the time.

Anonymous said...

They don't always have to http://judicial.alabama.gov/library/rules/cv55.pdf

Robby Scott Hill said...

The U.S. Constitution & the Federalist Papers were written at about a 5th grade level for farmers who didn't have a formal education. Even the functionally illiterate Blacks & Poor Whites of the time knew the Alabama Constitution of 1901 was just one big "Screw you! You will not vote or use the courts unless we say you can." As racist & bigoted as the Constitution of 1901 was, it guaranteed the right to a trial by jury in defamation cases. Men who didn't graduate high school can understand the federal & state constitutions, but it takes four years of college, another three years of law school, successful completion of the bar exam & the approval of the Alabama State Bar to become educated enough to understand that the Constitutions & the laws don't really mean what they say whenever those laws don't serve the interests of the State & it's minions & reinforce the Capitalist system. That's why Vladimir Lenin in His wisdom wrote a book called "The State & Revolution" & surmised - "the State is a special organisation of force: it is an organisation of violence for the suppression of some class." Hence his denigration even of parliamentary democracy, which was influenced by what Lenin saw as the recent increase of bureaucratic and military influences: "To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament."
A Socialist Society is necessary to give you the trial you want & the justice we need. Stop playing their game & join the Socialist Equality Party which is the American affiliate of the Fourth International & visit the World Socialist Website at http://wsws.org to learn how you can become a part of the Struggle for Socialism.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Take comfort in knowing their perfect little Lilly White world is at its end. Comrade Obama is in the process of releasing tens of thousands of incarcerated Black & Hispanic Men who will sire their half breed grandchildren. He is legalizing millions more & by the 2020 Census, we will have replaced their White, Silent Majority with the new, Moorish America.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Here's what they're saying Roger - "Why don't you just give up, Roger Alan Shuler? You are not one of the Body of Roy Moore's Christ. You must become one of the Body. All citizens must become "of the Body." You are clearly not a Christian, Values Voter, you Commie Pinko. You are too liberal for Alabama.

legalschnauzer said...

What part of this do you not understand, @5:41?

From Rule 55:

If the party against whom judgment by default is sought has appeared in
the action, the party (or, if appearing by representative, the party’s
representative) shall be served with written notice of the application for judgment
at least three (3) days prior to the hearing on such application . . .

legalschnauzer said...

Hey, @1:33, are you and @5:41 trying to have an ignorance contest? If so, it's a close race, congrats.


From Rule 55 ARCP:

If the party against whom judgment by default is sought has appeared in
the action, the party (or, if appearing by representative, the party’s
representative) shall be served with written notice of the application for judgment
at least three (3) days prior to the hearing on such application

Anonymous said...

Alabama politics are interesting. The governor and the attorney general are cheating on their wives. The federal judge is a closet gay with a fetish for exposing himself and the speaker of the house is heading for jail. I'm sure each will be re-elected because they are black hating republicans. What does this foretell for Alabama's future?

legalschnauzer said...

In my view, it doesn't speak well for Alabama's future, and Jessica Medeiros Garrison is connected to much of it. She's also tied to U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, and there have been a number of Web reports that he has some interesting items in his closet.