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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Your donations allow Legal Schnauzer to continue digging on stories that have helped oust a federal judge and house speaker -- and might soon net a governor

Murphy Abigail Shuler (1993-2004):
The real schnauzer who inspired a blog.
Within the past year, three major political figures in Alabama -- U.S. Judge Mark Fuller, gubernatorial advisor/mistress Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and House Speaker Mike Hubbard -- have been forced to step down from their positions. And Governor Robert Bentley teeters on the precipice of impeachment and indictment, with knowledgeable insiders saying it is unlikely the "luv guv" will be able to hang onto his position of power.

Legal Schnauzer has been front and center in the reporting of all four stories -- and with news today that a special state grand jury has been impaneled in Montgomery County, we plan to be on the front line if more major figures fall.

But we need your help. Loyal readers have helped sustain this blog -- even when I was unlawfully thrown in jail for daring to report accurately and aggressively on subjects that ruling elites did not want uncovered -- and we invite your support to help continue the battle. My wife, Carol, and I have paid an enormous emotional and financial price for engaging in journalism that portrays modern-day "Big Mules" in a not-so-favorable light. In essence, conservative forces have stolen almost everything we owned, forcing us to live like refugees -- in a flea-bag motel, in a state (Missouri) where we do not want to be.

We believe our kind of fearless reporting is essential in helping Alabama become the kind of state where constitutional rights are protected for everyone -- rather than having favors dished out to a select few. If you are able to help us along that journey, please click on the donation button to the right, under the "Support the Schnauzer" headline. If the payment options there do not work for you, please contact us at rshuler3156@gmail.com, and we would be glad to make other arrangements.

To our knowledge, Legal Schnauzer is the oldest and most established investigative-journalism blog in Alabama. We started in June 2007 -- writing mostly about our legal travails in Shelby County, plus the political prosecutions of former Gov. Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney Paul Minor during the George W. Bush administration. We are proud to have helped pave the way for additional "Web journalism" sites, such as Bill Britt's Alabama Political Reporter (APR) and the Facebook page of attorney Donald Watkins.

In 2013, the Chicago-based digital marketing and research firm Cision named us among the top 50 law blogs in North America (No. 37). We were the only blog on the list not associated with a law firm, law school, or foundation/association. We were one of only two blogs on the list not written by a lawyer.

At the time we started, I was not aware of another blog like Legal Schnauzer, focusing on court-based and political corruption. In fact, I'm still not aware of another blog quite like it -- where someone who is both a professional journalist (with a B.J. degree from the University of Missouri and more than 30 years of professional experience) and a victim of judicial corruption has spelled out how anyone can be victimized in court.

Has Legal Schnauzer made a difference? Consider the following.

* U.S. Judge Mark Fuller, who butchered the Siegelman case and sent two innocent men (Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy) to federal prison, resigned last August after a wife-beating incident came to light. A number of news outlets reported on the wife-beating story, but we had earlier broken a story about court records that showed Fuller's divorce from his first wife involved allegations of physical and emotional abuse. That helped establish a pattern of abusive behavior and probably played a key role in Fuller's forced resignation.

* We broke the story of the Robert Bentley/Rebekah Caldwell Mason affair last August -- and along with Donald Watkins, we were the first to report on the possible legal and financial implications of the scandal. Watkins and I provided critical reporting roughly seven months before al.com started taking the story seriously.

* Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard has been convicted on ethics-law violations and sentenced to four years in prison. Bill Britt and APR played a lead role in breaking and reporting that story, but we played an important supporting role by providing analysis (along with Watkins) that readers were not likely to find in the mainstream press

We believe a new day is dawning in Alabama -- one where public officials can no longer casually betray the public trust without any fear of being caught and punished. Legal Schnauzer has been on the leading edge of that revolution for almost nine years now, and we hope you will consider providing financial support that will allow us to continue making a difference.

This endeavor started as a little blog devoted to the memory of our real schnauzer, Murphy Abigail Shuler (1993-2004), who helped us survive some of the worst times in our own legal trainwreck. It has grown into a news outlet that helped bring down multiple corrupt politicos in Alabama -- with more possibly on the way.

While Murphy inspired us, dedicated readers have sustained us. Dozens of stories here have grown from tips or inside information that our readers provided. Without readers who care about advancing the cause of justice, the blog would be a shell of what you see now. To them, we are eternally grateful.

Readers have played a key role in the digging that unearths stories the mainstream press does not want to touch. We stand ready to keep those schnauzer claws digging. For those who are able to provide financial support, your help is greatly appreciated. It comes at a critical time in the effort to make "due process" and "equal protection" realities in Alabama.

We don't have them now. But together, we can have them in the future.


Anonymous said...

This is Hollywood material. Absolutely amazing!

legalschnauzer said...

This might be beyond Hollywood, @1:11. I don't recall a movie that has portrayed judicial corruption anywhere close to the reality that we've painted on this blog. The most recent movie I can think of that depicted judicial corruption was "Law Abiding Citizen." You might recall the famous "cell phone scene" in that where a judge had just acted corruptly, picked up a cell phone to answer a call, and it fired a bullet into her cranium. One of the most shocking scenes in movie history. Some of the John Grisham books/movies have portrayed general legal corruption in a realistic way, and for that, Grisham has served a real public service -- in addition to writing some insanely entertaining books. But I can't think of any two regular folks -- real or imagined -- who've been abused by courts the way Carol and I have been. Certainly Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy were innocent men sent to prison by a broken system. But they were high-profile political and business figures who ran afoul of some demonically corrupt SOBs. Ironically, Carol and I lost our jobs, our home, just about everything we owned, because I dared to report on the Siegelman/Scrushy case, among others.

Anonymous said...

This blog has made a huge difference and can make even more in the future. God Bless, Legal Schnauzer.

Phil Fleming said...

Where's the PayPal button on The Schnauzer?

Anonymous said...

Murphy was an impossibly cute puppy. No wonder you fell in love with her. That picture should be on a dog calendar.

Anonymous said...

You have reaped what you have sown.

Anonymous said...

@6:09 am: Is that you again, Jessica? Don't you have better things to do with your life than trolling the Net?

@LS: All of your readers should check out this piece on Derrick Hamilton from The New Yorker and written by Jennifer Gonnerman. It's a masterpiece, as is Mr. Hamilton himself.


legalschnauzer said...

Would you care to elaborate, @6:09? It's pretty clear what I've reaped, but what have I sown, in your view?