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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Missouri Sheriff Jim Arnott caused my wife to be falsely arrested, and now he's turning away inmates because he claims the Greene Co. Jail is overcrowded

Sheriff Jim Arnott
(From KSPR)
The Missouri sheriff who caused my wife, Carol, to be falsely arrested--and to have a deputy shatter her arm, requiring trauma surgery--now is claiming the Greene County Jail he operates is overcrowded.

Sheriff Jim Arnott was standing about five feet from Carol on September 9 when three deputies surrounded her, brutally slammed her to the ground, and yanked so violently on her arm that it snapped the humerus and pulverized portions of the bone to the point that they were useless in the repair effort.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Arnott pointed at Carol and said, "She assaulted a police officer."

How is that for law-enforcement hypocrisy? On one hand, Arnott falsely causes a citizen to be arrested--and a deputy told Carol the sheriff planned to hit her with a felony charge and $100,000 bond--leading to her being handcuffed, placed in the back of a squad car, and driven to the Greene County Jail. On the other hand, Arnott claims the jail is overcrowded, and he has adopted a policy of turning away municipal inmates that traditionally have been housed in the county jail.

In fact, the City of Springfield has filed a lawsuit against Arnott over his change in policy. The following is from a news report about the impact of Arnott's decision on public safety:

The report says local police agencies, between April 3 — when Arnott changed the policy — and Oct. 21, "came face-to-face with 2,812 people wanted on 2,763 warrants" and were forced to release them.

It says those nearly 3,000 crimes have gone "essentially unpunished" and have included 701 stealing warrants, 56 assault warrants and 53 DWI warrants.

The report includes excerpts from police reports in which alleged offenders taunted police using "the jail situation as evidence that there was nothing that could be done."

Does Sheriff Jim Arnott care if public safety is compromised because of the policies at his supposedly overcrowded jail? Doesn't look like it. Can Arnott concoct a bogus arrest of my wife in order to provide cover for the deputies who brutalized her and broke her arm? Sure does look like it? Is Jim Arnott willing to ignore jail crowding when it suits his unethical (and likely unlawful) purposes? Yep.

Cowherd Construction
Arnott apparently wasn't just trying to protect rogue deputies. He also was trying to protect Trent Cowherd, landlord and owner of Cowherd Construction, which seemingly was hell-bent on conducting an unlawful eviction against us. Cowherd had given us a notice to vacate that violated the terms of the lease. (See lease at the end of this post.) Specifically, Cowherd sought to have us re-qualify because the cosignor (my mother) wanted off our lease, even though there is no language in the lease that required us to re-qualify. Cowherd's own representative at trial admitted there was no such language in the lease.

We challenged the eviction as wrongful in trial court and had timely filed a Notice of Appeal, which put an automatic stay on the eviction. Cowherd, his law firm, the sheriff's department, and my own brother (attorney David Shuler, representing our mother) all chose to ignore the stay. On top of that, Cowherd and its law firm (Lowther Johnson) scheduled the eviction inside the 10-day window, where no such action can take place under Missouri law.

Does Jim Arnott take directions from Trent Cowherd and his law firm, regardless of what the law says? Does David Shuler do the same thing? Sure looks that way from here.

As for Carol, once X-rays at the nearby Cox North Medical Center showed the large bone in her upper arm had been shattered, jail personnel allowed paramedics to transfer her to Cox South, where she eventually underwent seven hours of trauma surgery, performed by Dr. Brian Buck. Carol now is facing at least eight weeks of physical therapy, with the "best case" outcome probably being a return of 75 percent usage in her arm.

The sheriff's department--with evidence showing that Carol was assaulted and not the other way around--apparently has decided that filing a bogus "assaulting an officer" charge would not be a good idea. But if Carol's arm had not been broken, it's likely she would have been facing a bogus charge and would still be in jail. With $100,000 bond, I would have had to pay $10,000 to get her released, and I'm not sure I would have been able to do that. Thanks to Jim Arnott, Carol would have been in jail for more than nine weeks, with no end in sight. All for a "crime" she did not commit--in fact, for a crime where she was the victim, not the perpetrator.

How do we know that is the case? There are two forms of felony assault in Missouri. Here is the description of Assault of a Law Enforcement Officer in the first degree under Section 565.008.2 of the Revised Missouri Statutes.

565.081. 1. A person commits the crime of assault of a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, emergency personnel, highway worker in a construction zone or work zone, utility worker, cable worker, or probation and parole officer in the first degree if such person attempts to kill or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, emergency personnel, highway worker in a construction zone or work zone, utility worker, cable worker, or probation and parole officer.

I doubt even Jim Arnott could claim with a straight face that Carol tried to kill an officer or cause serious physical injury, especially since it seems clear no deputy on site that day left with a scratch on him/her.

Here is the definition of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer in the second degree:

A person is guilty of the crime of assault in the second degree against a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, emergency personnel (such as a firefighter, emergency room personnel or emergency medical technician), highway worker, or probation and parole officer if he:

* knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical injury to the victim by means of a deadly weapon or other dangerous instrument

* recklessly causes serious physical injury to the victim
X-ray of Carol Shuler's broken arm,
before repair via trauma surgery
* while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, operates a motor vehicle with criminal negligence and causes physical injury to the victim

* acts with criminal negligence and causes physical injury to the victim by means of a deadly weapon purposely threatens the victim with immediate serious physical injury, or

* acting with criminal negligence, creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to the victim.

Carol had no deadly weapon or dangerous instrument in her possession, she didn't cause serious physical injury to anyone, she doesn't drink or use illegal drugs and she was not driving, she didn't have a deadly weapon with which to threaten anyone, and she created no risk of death of serious physical injury to anyone.

The only one who was seriously injured was her. And the whole incident, when taken in context with the overcrowded Greene County Jail, shows that Sheriff Jim Arnott is both a liar and a monumental hypocrite.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure Arnott will be hitting up the general assembly for more money--so he can falsely imprison more people, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the citations to Missouri law on assault of a law enforcement officer. Very enlightening.

Anonymous said...

You attempted to unilaterally change the terms of the lease. The lease ended because the cosigner ended her obligation. That ended the term of your lease, unless they failed to give you notice. They also had a right to give notice and terminate. That's what month to month means. They are not obligated to rent to you indefinately. You were not guaranteed a month if they terminated the main lease at its expiration. If they failed in some way to give you notice (as they did no later than Jul 2 by your own admission) you were on notice to vacate by Sep. Yet you remained, despite not paying rent. You should have been out no later than Sept. 3.

Why don't you understand that you did not have a unilateral right to extend the lease? They had a right to give you notice, and ask you to vacate. They chose that because you no longer had anyone to vouch for you or pay your bill if you failed to. There was never any time where they had to renew; all they were required to request you to vacate was notice.

legalschnauzer said...

Where does it say in the lease that the agreement ends because the cosignor ended her obligation? Where does it mention a cosigner at all?

In you're next to last sentence, you admit you were violating the terms of the lease. (I say "you" because I assume this is Trent Cowherd or someone writing on his behalf. You obviously have a self-interest.) You admit that you were trying to throw us out because we didn't have "anyone to vouch" for us. Can you point to any such language in the lease? Of course you can't because it isn't there.

The lease could have included language like this: "For any tenant who has a cosigner, if said cosigner seeks to end his obligation, the tenant will be required to qualify on his own. If tenant fails to qualify, he will be given 30 days notice to vacate."

There is a copy of the lease on this post. Please point out such language anywhere in the lease.

Are you aware that a lease is a contract? Have you ever heard of breach of contract? Or are you and your company just a bunch of bullies--and thieves.

Since you appear to be affiliated with Cowherd, please provide me and my readers with the names, addresses, and contact information of all crew members who cleaned out our apartment, and according to an eye witness, were seen placing our personal belongings in their vehicles and driving off. Please identify the thieves who work for you and let us know what you intend to do about it.

We're not sure, but our best guess is that your employees stole at least $20,000 to $50,000 of our property. Are you going to take some accountability for that, or are you too busy blaming someone else for the problems you and your company caused?

Oh, wait, I guess it's easier to lecture me on law (which you should know as a landlord, but you apparently do not know it at all) instead of checking on the actual criminals who work for you.

Anonymous said...

So tenants aren't supposed to challenge anything a landlord says or does, @1:09? Tenants have a right to challenge you in court, and that is what the Shulers did. Are you saying they had no right to do that, especially since you admit the landlord screwed up on several key points?

You sound like a bully. And if you represent Trent Cowherd, I wouldn't live in one of your apartments if my life depended on it. I hope your screw up with the Shulers causes you go out of business.

Rod N said...

Hey, Trent Cowherd (or his representative) above: You seem to be trying awfully hard to change the subject. From my study of the public record, it appears the Shulers challenged your attempted eviction, as they had every right to do. During that process, they filed a notice of appeal, which put an automatic stay on the eviction. Plus, you somehow had the eviction scheduled during a 10-day window when you cannot lawfully conduct an eviction.

* Why did you not obey the law regarding a stay?

* Why did you not obey the law regarding the 10-day window?

* Why did you allow cops to terrorize the Shulers when cops had no lawful right to be on the property?

* How are you not largely responsible for the severe injuries that Carol Shuler suffered?

Why don't you address those issues instead of trying to change the subject? Maybe you are too big a wuss?

Chuckles said...

I find it amusing that Mr. Cowherd (or his ghostwriter) is big on conducting background checks on tenants--even those who have consistently paid their rent on time and never caused a problem. But he doesn't seem to do background checks on his own employees who turn out to be thieves.

Identify the members of your eviction crew, Mr. Cowherd. You were using publicly funded services to help carry this out, so the public has a right to know who among your employees qualifies as a thief.

Rhonda said...

Hey, @1:09--You claim Mr. and Mrs. Schnauzer were supposed to vacate by Sept. 3. But I found a copy of your notice to vacate on the Web, and it says you wanted them out by July 31:


How do you explain this discrepancy? Were you lying then, or are you lying now?

Did you give the Shulers any written notice that they had until Sept. 3 to stay in the apartment? If so, would you provide a copy of it, so those of us who care about what happened can see it.

Sounds to me like Trent Cowherd (or some of his merry band of thieves) are the ones unilaterally changing things.

Anonymous said...

Can you provide documents to support anything you say, @1:09. You say the Shulers were "on notice" to be out by September? Can you provide a copy of that notice?

You seem to admit that you did not provide 30 days notice by the first of the month, as required by the lease. Doesn't that make the notice to vacate void? Doesn't that prove that you did, in fact, violate the lease?

Is a contract supposed to be followed by both parties or just one? If your answer is "both," why didn't you follow the contract that you had with the Shulers?

Can you cite anything improper about the Shulers' challenge in court to your eviction efforts?

If the Shulers' rent always was timely paid (as you seem to admit), and they took care of the apartment (as you seem to admit), and they never caused problems with neighbors or staff (as you seem to admit), why did you want to get rid of them as tenants? They sound like dream tenants to me, the kind any landlord would want to keep? So why did you want to get rid of them?

Anonymous said...

According to this lease agreement, you are the only tenant listed. Your wife, Carol, is not listed, at all. It would seem that would diminish Carol's "rights" to re-enter the apartment after the eviction. As under Use it specifically says "The tenants agree to use the premises only as a residence for themselves, named: Roger Shuler".

Anonymous said...

Very interesting to read the Missouri definition of assault on a police officer. Sheriff Arnott, you are one big-ass liar.

Women's groups should be all over this guy. Would love to see Gloria Allred get on Carol's case. A liar like Arnott needs to find himself in the unemployment line. His conduct is inexcusable, and it sounds damn criminal to me.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, here we go again, Roger Shuler claiming he didn't receive notice . . . . he didn't win with those tactics before in Alabama, but by golly, he's going to try the same tactics, again.

Anonymous said...

You are missing the big picture, they could decide to not continue the lease for any reason, including political ones. The landlord does not have to continue to rent from someone. Their reason makes sense to most people, bad credit risk and the cosigner wants off the lease. The cosigner made sure the rent was paid, so there is no reason to believe that Roger would have paid. They didn't breach the contract since they were not required to continue it. They gave notice and that is what the judge will agree with in the end, not because they are corrupt, but because that is the right decision. If you don't like it, buy a place to live, even if it's just a camper.

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't Carol's name listed in section 7 of the lease? It appears that could be perceived as a violation of section 11.

legalschnauzer said...

Carol's name wasn't listed because she was in Alabama gathering our stuff. Cowherd was told that I was married, have been for 26 years, and my wife would be living with me at the apartment, and they Ok'd that. Why they didn't write her name into the lease is beyond me. It's their lease, not mine--I just signed where I was told to sign. To my knowledge, they've never disputed that Carol was approved as a tenant. They knew about her living there from day one, before we had even moved in.

@3:55, of course, can cite no law that says Carol had "diminished" rights to enter the apartment because there is no such law. She had been approved as a tenant, and Cowherd's own actions indicate that. Aside from that, the assault and broken arm took place outside the apartment. Cops specifically gave her permission to enter, so even they recognized her as a lawful tenant.

The truth, which I know is hard for your to accept: The cops had "diminished" rights (no rights, actually) to be on the property Sept. 9, and Cowherd and it's law firm had no rights to conduct an eviction that had been stayed and was unlawfully scheduled.

Where is the information, by the way, about the names/addresses etc. of Cowherd employees who apparently proved to be thieves?

legalschnauzer said...

Your ignorance of the law is showing, 5:23. Landlords cannot discontinue a lease for any reason. For one, they cannot unlawfully discriminate (race, gender, etc.), and politics likely would be included in that, although I have not researched that issue. Second, they cannot breach the contract, as they admitted to doing here in open court.

Can you point to anything in the lease with the language I noted in a comment above? Give it a shot; I'm waiting.

Also, why don't you try answering some of Rod N's questions above. I'll be waiting for those answers, too, plus ID of the Cowherd eviction crew that stole many of our personal items.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for a "brilliant" comment, @4:00. Can you point to anywhere in the post where I claim not to have received notice about something? I know of at least one spot where I acknowledge having received notice about something.

Am I missing something, or are you just a smart-ass with little wattage in your cranium?

Anonymous said...

@5:23--If you are Trent Coward, or someone affiliated with him, I would suggest you go into another line of work. You have no business being anyone's landlord. Tenants do have rights, and you can't evict anyone without a court order, and a tenant has a right to challenge such a court order.

I've been following this story from the beginning, and that's exactly what Mr. and Mrs. Schnauzer did. They challenged your notice to vacate and order of eviction, and you seem to think they had no right to do that.

If you don't know tenant-landlord law any better than that, you need to open up a bait shop or something.

Anonymous said...

Trent Coward--sounds like the right name for this guy. Sounds like a spoiled brat to me, one who expects the local judges and lawyers to cater to his every whim. Crybaby!

Anonymous said...

I am in no way related to the apartments Roger was rightly evicted from, but you can believe what you want to. The lease had expired, you were on a month to month agreement. The lease was not violated, it says that they can elect to not continue renting to you. There is no law that they couldn't discontinue the agreement. You are going to lose because that is the right verdict. I know you don't believe that, but you never believe you are in the wrong. There is no requirement to continue past the lease period, it's pretty easy stuff here.

James Greek said...

That's smart Jim. (He doesn't deserve to be called Sherifff) you turned away real criminals and arrest fake ones like Carol Shuler.

legalschnauzer said...

What a hoot, @8:28. No matter who you are affiliated with, I admire your consistency. You are wrong about every single point you make.

The lease had not expired, it had not gone yet to month to month, the lease was violated (and Cowherd's own representative admitted that in court), there is a law that says they can't discontinue the agreement (it's called breach of contract). No one has claimed the landlord was required to continue past the lease period, but they cannot discontinue it for reasons that violate the lease.

I agree that it's easy stuff here--you are wrong on every point. And I'm sure my many intelligent readers can see that. Feel free, however, to keep making a fool of yourself.

Anonymous said...

ALl they had to do was give you notice. They were not bound to do anything but give you notice to vacate. They did not have to extend the lease. Neither did you.

If you had wanted to leave at the end of the year lease, all you had to do was notify the lessor so that the lease did not automatically move month to month. If you had given 30 days notice on Jul 1 your own obligation would have ended.

The same is true for the landlord. The landlord agreed to rent to you for a year because you had a co-signor. That person did in fact actually pay the rent. That person unilaterally decided to end the obligation, and the landlord was not bound to continue to rent to you, anymore than you were bound to stay or the consigner obligated to continue backing a month to month lease or a 12/13 month renewal of the lease.

Even if you believe they gave notice a day late (your lease runs from the 3rd of the month) because it was dated Jul 2 and not Jul 1, you 1. had 30 days notice. 2. were well aware that you did not pay your rent for August,2 had more than 30 days notice the least would not be extended through the following month of September (for which your rent was also delinquent). Do you not understand what "month-to-month" means?

It would have been wiser to negotiate to stay, pay the August rent, and look for a new dwelling all the month of August. The landlords notice to vacate could have been given on August 1, and you would still have been obligated to leave in the start of September.

Month to month leases end with 30 days notice by either party. That's how they work.

legalschnauzer said...

I don't know how many uninformed comments you intend to write, @8:57, but maybe you can got for a world record.

Since you apparently can't grasp my explanations about breach of contract, maybe you can get the idea from the following link, with the key paragraph cited below:


"You also have a right to take legal action against your landlord for breach of contract if he or she breaches the lease, fails to return your deposit, takes unwarranted deductions from your deposit, or fails to make repairs. Before proceeding, you will want to discuss your options with a lawyer."

Anonymous said...

So, I guess, @8:57, Trent Cowherd, the landlord, had nothing to do with Carol Shuler's broken arm? I notice that you never seem to mention her injury or indicate that you even care.

I also notice that you never seem to mention that Cowherd unlawfully scheduled the eviction and unlawfully violated a stay. Why do you avoid those subjects?

Anonymous said...

Roger, I agree that you can bring a legal action against a landlord for breaching the lease, but they don't seem to have breached the lease. You say their agent admitted to it, but I have seen you try to turn peoples words around before and believe that is what you are doing now. Even if they did breach the contract, so did you by not paying rent, and that is no reason they have to keep renting to you. The judge separated the lease issues and the detainer issue because they don't really have that much in common. Your opinion is once they rent to you, only you can decide to leave is incorrect.

legalschnauzer said...

Can you give examples of where I have tried to turn peoples' words around, @8:11? I'd like to see what you come up with.

In court, I gave the landlord's rep. a copy of the lease (or she might have already had one; I don't remember) and asked her to point out language that said a tenant was required to qualify on his own when a cosigner allegedly wants out. She couldn't point to any such language because no such language exists. I also played a tape recording of a phone conversation I had with another Cowherd rep. and she cited the need for me to qualify on my own as the reason for the notice to vacate and then admitted there was no such language in the lease. At that point, she changed her tune to, "Well, we don't have to renew your lease, and we are choosing not to." I said, "No, you are violating the lease, that's what you are doing," and she had no answer for that.

All of that was in the record, and you are welcome to get a transcript if you want to confirm.

Your third sentence is wildly off target. The agent told me via phone that they were not renewing (for reasons not in the lease), no matter what I did. I said they could not breach the contract in that way, but she said they would do it anyway, so I was essentially told not to pay the rent.

Your fourth sentence also is wrong. There was no lease issue and detainer issue. It was an eviction issue and a counterclaim for breach of contract (among other claims) issue. I can't speak for the judge, but it's pretty clear to me that she separated the two so that we could be wrongfully evicted before our counterclaim even was heard. I'm not just guessing at that; she said a number of things in open court that point in that direction. Again, you are welcome to get a transcript, and you should be able to see what I'm talking about.

Finally, your last sentence also is wrong. I've never remotely claimed what you state here. I know that either party can give 30 days notice to end the tenancy; the lease plainly states that. But Missouri law and common law also claim that neither party can end the lease by breaching the contract, and that's what Cowherd did.

You claim I twist peoples' words? Sheesh, look in the mirror, my friend.

legalschnauzer said...

This might be a good time to point out two other signs of Trent Cowherd's underhandedness.

(1) The rep I talked with on the phone--who said I was being forced to vacate because of the cosigner/needing approval on my own issue--was named Meghan (not sure about spelling on that.)

On the court date, Meghan was nowhere to be found. In her place was someone named Brittany (again, spelling?), who also works for Cowherd. But because Meghan wasn't there, much of my questioning of Brittany was blocked by the hearsay rule (or at least by the judge's interpretation of the hearsay rule). I feel certain this little switcheroo was done on purpose, to make it hard for me to prove breach of contract. We were going to get screwed in court that day anyway, but this was a little scam that probably was dreamed up by Cowherd's law firm, Lowther Johnson. It's also a sign that Cowherd knew it was violating the lease, but needed to pull a mini-scam to make that less evident.

(2) Both Meghan and Brittany said we were to vacate because we had not qualified on our own. But had Cowherd contacted us and told us that? Had they told us to come in and qualify on our own. Nope. We never received any communications from Cowherd to that effect. I guess we were supposed to know about this via osmosis or some other interplanetary process? Or maybe they knew they were violating the lease and didn't want to alert us to that fact.

Anonymous said...

What if coherd had told you he wasn't renewing your lease just because he didn't want to? Or because he didn't like the way you cut your hair? Would cowherd have violated the lease in either of those circumstances?

legalschnauzer said...

You are presenting hypotheticals, @10:24, that have nothing to do with the facts at hand and make no reflection on what actually happened.

But I will play your game, just for fun:

(1) Based on my understanding of the law, Cowherd probably would be OK with this explanation, although his best bet (in my view) would be to give no explanation at all on something like this. If I were in a protected class (race, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, religion, etc.) he might run into housing discrimination problems at the federal level.

(2) He might get away with this, but again, he would be better off to give no explanation. He might be tip toeing toward a problem with housing discrimination. What if I cut my hair in a way that reflects my race, religion, etc.?

These are a couple of illustrations of why it's stupid for a landlord to run off a tenant without a valid reason. Why run off a tenant whose rent has been timely paid, who has taken care of the property, and gotten along well with neighbors--and all of that applies to Carol and me? It makes no sense, no business or legal sense.

If Trent Cowherd had a concern about tenants who had cosigners and then wanted to stay once the cosigner's obligation was over, all he had to do was include language in the lease to address that issue. He didn't do it, so that indicates it's not a big concern of his. So why was it a concern with us.

Plus, it's bad business practice to alienate good tenants, good customers, etc. In world of Yelp and Angie's List, and blogs, etc., that kind of word travels fast, and a landlord can find himself with a bunch of empty duplexes.

My guess is that Trent Cowherd is not a stupid businessman, and I think it's possible he was influenced to handle us in a way that fit someone's agenda.

You and I might not agree on much, but I think we can agree it's bad business to run off people who have shown themselves to be good tenants. If a problem crops up down the road with rent payment or something else, why not deal with it then? Why create a problem when one does not exist?