Thursday, May 24, 2018

Tennessee developer Franklin Haney, with boost from Alabama's Congressional GOPers, asks Trump admin to help speed up deal on Bellefonte nuclear facility


Bellefonte Nuclear Plant
 A Tennessee developer, with the help of Alabama Congressional Republicans, is asking the Trump administration to expedite the purchase of an unfinished nuclear plant near Scottsboro -- based on foreign investment from the Middle East. A prominent Alabama whistle blower and researcher says the deal, if completed, could be a disaster of Biblical proportions.

Franklin Haney, of Chattanooga, has a history of dumping cash on Alabama governors and receiving favorable treatment on the back end. He joined Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen at a meeting last month in Miami with an official from Qatar. Haney bought the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 2016. Construction on the facility started in 1975, and it has been sitting idle and uncompleted for 30 years.

Bellefonte likely has been a drain on Haney's substantial resources, and he wants Trump and the federal government to help him out -- all while possibly placing nuclear technology into the hands of financial elites in the Middle East and putting the environment and public health at risk in northeast  Alabama. From a report at al.com:

A company led by Chattanooga businessman Franklin Haney is seeking the help of President Trump to move along its purchase of Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Jackson County.

Nuclear Development LLC has also applied for federal loans of about $5 billion to help pay for completion of the mothballed facility so it can produce its first watt of electricity, according to U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, the Huntsville Republican whose district includes the plant site outside Scottsboro.

That's the same Mo Brooks who recently suggested sea levels are rising, not because of global climate change, but because of rocks falling into the oceans. We really want this guy involved with issues of nuclear power? Here's more from al.com:

Brooks said officials from Nuclear Development approached him and asked if he could send the letter to Trump. Dated May 14, the letter was also signed by Republican Alabama Congress members Robert Aderholt of Haleyville, Bradley Byrne of Mobile and Martha Roby of Montgomery as well as Tennessee Republican Congressman Chuck Fleischman, whose district includes Chattanooga - about 60 miles northeast of Bellefonte.

"I said, 'What can I do to help?'" Brooks said. "(Nuclear Development) said a letter to President Trump signed by you and other congressmen would be beneficial. So I've added my name, along with the names of other congressmen, to resume of a project I hope will bear fruit and generate thousands of short-term and long-term jobs for Tennessee Valley residents."

Jill Simpson, a retired lawyer who testified before Congress about corruption related to the Don Siegelman prosecution, says (in so many words) that Brooks and his colleagues are a bunch of dangerous loons. She says several Alabama GOP con artists -- Jeff Sessions, Bob Riley, Robert Bentley -- have been seeking to benefit from the Bellefonte deal. From a post at Simpson's Facebook page:

We found out that Mr. Sessions, the Riley folks, Bentley folks, Alabama Gang folks and Mr Franklin Haney were in cahoots trying to get control of a nuclear facility . . . I must admit I was pretty clueless as to why, but now it appears the picture is getting clearer. They are trying to take in foreign Arab investors and let them see the whole uranium-making process at a facility in northeast Alabama. . . .  
Who knows what this crowd will do next, as their ability to exploit our country's industries and resources are endless and beyond the imagination of most folks. These are evil dark forces, selling out our country's technology. I have a feeling this time they are caught in a deal to make nuclear equipment for foreigners and nuclear material for Trump's foreign buddies -- or at the very least to show them how it is done here, when they invest and get the plans to complete the facility. 
I might add it is dangerous to let foreign investors in on our nuclear facilities, even if the plants are eventually torn down or completely modernized after being studied by foreigners. Haney and his associates are caught in a trap of their own making about nuclear technology, of how to enrich uranium, and are just now starting to be exposed to the world.

Simpson grew up not far from the Bellefonte site and says her neighbors need to think hard about what this deal could mean to the area. From another Simpson Facebook post:

Everyone in northeast Alabama needs to be thinking about whether we want to put our beautiful environment at risk for some Trump and Alabama Republican Gang members to bring up a nuclear power plant that TVA says we don't need.
I don't want an Arab country's nuclear plant in my back yard, dumping into our beautiful Tennessee River when a tornado goes through. Every Jackson County citizen with good sense knows Bellefonte is right in the middle of the tornado alley that runs through our area. Can you believe this is where the Alabama Gang wants to teach countries in the Middle East how to build nuclear reactors capable of enriching uranium for weapons? 
Wonder what Sessions, Riley, and the Alabama Gang are going to make off being traitors on that deal? First, we deal, literally, with New York shit being driven into Alabama on trains. Now, we are to teach Middle Eastern investors how to make weapons-grade uranium, U.S. style. I certainly don't see how the Alabama Creeps can do much worse, and their asses are busted on this deal.

Because of Michael Cohen's involvement in the Haney/Qatar meeting, this all could land in the middle of the Robert Mueller investigation, Simpson writes, and it points toward treason:

Now you all know how Cohen got his office raided. The jackass was plotting to help foreign investors get in our uranium-enrichment reactors and get the plans for them. What dumb asses these Alabama Gang thugs are. Wonder how big a campaign donation these thugs got, promoting this deal in recent weeks. Mo Brooks has been all for this deal, as have many others. Selling uranium reactor plans to Middle East folks I hear can be very profitable. 
This is the kind of crap the Alabama Resistance has been outing on this bunch ever since I first came forward, and we outed them for training Saudi pilots to create wars all over the Middle East -- and selling out our refueling-tanker deal. The Alabama Gang is a bunch of dirt bags who would sell their dead grandmother's bones out of her grave for a few pieces of silver from a foreign investor. 
The way I see it, the Alabama thugs are traitors and should be treated as such. Selling nuclear-reactor info to the wrong folks in the Middle East can cause the end of planet. I generally am not an advocate of the death penalty, but when folks sell out the planet and all the people on the planet, I am for the death penalty for those kinds of traitors -- and that is what we dealing with. 
We must protest with all of our might before these end-of-time, far-right extremists own a nuclear reactor in northeast Alabama -- in cahoots with investors from the Middle East.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Evidence, some of it new, shows my lawyer-brother, David Shuler, took acts regarding our eviction and bogus 911 call that almost got Carol and me killed


David Shuler
The person who arranged our unlawful eviction and a bogus 911 call almost got Carol and me killed; the individual largely did cause Carol's arm to be broken. Evidence increasingly shows the person behind both events is my lawyer-brother, David Shuler.

David's role in our eviction has been apparent since I received the following email from him on 6/2/15 -- three months and one week before our eviction in Springfield, Missouri:

Hi Roger: 
I hope you and Carol are doing well. Mom asked me to contact you regarding the lease on your duplex. She said she tried to talk to you about it when she recently stopped by to visit, but was unable to do so. She talked to the people at Cowherd Construction and they are willing to extend your lease without a co-signor in that the rent has always been paid in full and on time. The lady suggested that you meet Mom at their office on 6/29 and they would allow you to execute a new lease. This lease would be in your name and would be your responsibility. I do not know if they would require Carol to be on the lease. I would think that they would also want her to sign since she would be living there. I also do not know how they would handle the deposit and pet deposit since those were paid by Mom.

Mom will make the last rent payment on 6/29 which will cover the month of July. You have the option to renew and stay there or of course, you could vacate and pick some place else to live.

Again, I hope you guys are doing well. Mom just wanted me to e-mail this information to you to avoid any confusion.

David, it turns out, was the one in a state of confusion. Our lease required no provision that we execute a new lease in the event the co-signer wanted off the lease. And there was no reason to have such a provision because my mother's responsibility ended when the lease was up at 13 months -- with Carol and I set to take over payments on a month-to-month basis, per the lease. (Lease is embedded at the end of this post.)

The landlord, Cowherd Construction, never contacted us and said we had to sign a new lease. That all came from David, as if he concocted the whole charade, and Cowherd went along with it, in silence. The landlord also never made a demand for rent because our rent always had been timely paid -- and it would have been timely paid on a month-to-month basis by Carol and me. If we had been unable to pay, we would have moved out on our own, without the need for an eviction.

Again, that is in line with the lease and Missouri law. (Notice to vacate, with no mention of late rent, is embedded at the end of this post.) Failure to demand rent, in a rent-and-possession case, is one of about 12 grounds that made our eviction unlawful.

How ugly were David's motives? It's hard to say for sure, but an ex parte letter he wrote to the judge in our rent-and-possession case was flagrantly improper, prejudicial, and well . . . evil probably is not too strong a word. (Letter is embedded at the end of this post.) Consider these words from the letter:

Dear Judge Halford:

I am writing regarding the above referenced case. Roger Shuler is my brother who has been estranged from my family for approximately 25 years. Recently, a family friend helped him relocate to the Missouri area. Unfortunately, my 85 year old mother made the mistake of agreeing to co-sign a lease for Roger with Trent Cowherd Construction. She agreed to pay his moving expenses and his rent for thirteen months to help him get back on his feet. She never dreamed that Roger Shuler would then refuse to pay his rent and/or vacate the property.

My purpose in writing this letter is to let you know that I intend to appear on behalf of my mother. Gondolyn Shuler intends to cooperate with the Petitioner (Trent Cowherd) in the matter and assist in any way to help them regain possession of the rental property currently occupied by Mr. Shuler.

It's hard to get much lower than this. And as has become David's custom, he reveals that he and the truth have a distant, dysfunctional relationship, as I pointed out in a March 2017 post:

You will notice that this is the unvarnished David Shuler, with all the phony sweetness and light removed. He says our mother made a mistake by trying to help Carol and me, as if that's a decision for him to make. Has our mother (and our father, when he was living) provided financial assistance to David and his family when they encountered rocky waters? I strongly suspect the answer is yes. But to help Carol and me? What a dreadful thought.

David then falsely claims I had refused to pay the rent or vacate the property. David's letter was dated August 21, 2015, meaning Cowherd still was at least 10 days short of being able to initiate eviction proceedings, much less have a court date. David Shuler conveniently ignores this little matter of law.

The second paragraph is so crooked that is makes the mind swim. From one side of his mouth, David claims to be representing our mother. From the other side, he admits that he (and our mother) are working on behalf of Trent Cowherd, trying to make sure Cowherd regained property that he was not entitled to regain because he untimely filed his rent-and-possession case.

"Fraud on the court" is a legal term that is more complex than most lay folks realize. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but this probably comes pretty close to a "fraud on the court." David Shuler admits he was representing one person when his real interest was in assisting another -- and he even roped our elderly mother in on such a crooked act.

We recently discovered evidence that shows David Shuler can take dishonesty, deceit, and fraud to dizzying heights. The evidence involves the 911 call that David tried to lay at my feet, but actually was placed by an administrator at Burrell Behavioral Health, our health-care provider at the time.

Guess who encouraged Burrell to make the call and told some Whopper-sized lies in the process.

We will reveal that in an upcoming post, but here is a key point to remember: The 911 call is the excuse Greene County Sheriff's Office officials used for bringing 6-8 officers to an eviction, many of them heavily armed. It's apparently the reason Officer Scott Harrison -- upon bursting into our home with no court-approved eviction order -- pointed an assault rifle at my head. It's likely the reason the officer we call "Mr. Blue Shirt" brutalized Carol and broke her arm. Without the 911 call, he probably would not have even been on the scene.

So yes, David Shuler put our lives at risk, which raises this question: Was he intentionally trying to get us killed? Given what I've learned about his depraved sense of right and wrong, I would not put anything past him.


(To be continued)











Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tennessee mogul Franklin Haney, who dumped cash on Alabama governors Bob Riley and Robert Bentley, has sketchy ties to Trump fixer Michael Cohen


Franklin Haney
A Tennessee businessman with a history of dumping cash on Alabama governors Bob Riley and Robert Bentley joined Donald Trump fixer Michael Cohen in a meeting last month with a Qatari official, according to a new report at Mother Jones (MJ).

The meeting came days before federal agents raided Cohen's office and could be of interest to investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Franklin Haney, of Chattanooga, TN, reportedly was seeking an investment in an inoperative nuclear plant he owns in Alabama. Cohen likely was seeking a lucrative finder's fee. Reports MJ:

At a meeting in Miami on April 5, Franklin Haney, the owner of an inoperative nuclear power plant in Hollywood, Alabama, sought a major investment for his facility, according to two sources familiar with the gathering. His target, the sources say, was Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce and deputy chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, the $300 billion sovereign wealth fund of the natural gas-rich Persian Gulf state. Also at the meeting, according to the sources, was Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer. (Several days later, Cohen’s office and home would be raided by federal agents.) Now, as the Trump scandal expands to include Cohen’s business deals and possible interactions between Trump associates and officials of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, any relationship between Cohen and Qatar would likely be of interest to federal investigators.

No one should be surprised that the meeting was about money -- big, big money. And once again, it offers an Alabama connection to possible national and international criminality:

The two sources familiar with the discussions between Cohen and Al Thani tell Mother Jones that the two men met with Haney to discuss possible Qatari investment in his nuclear power plant. Marinetraffic.com, a website that tracks the location of large ships, shows that Haney’s $50 million, 167-foot yacht, the Emelina, was docked in Miami’s Miamarina from April 2 through April 7. (Haney’s yacht is usually based in Washington, DC.)

If a deal were struck, Cohen could have expected to receive a finder’s fee, according to the sources. “Michael doesn’t do anything without getting paid,” said one of the sources, who knows Cohen. It’s unclear whether any agreement was reached.

Who is Franklin Haney? His name cropped up just as the Mike Hubbard trial was getting started in Alabama. From MJ:

Haney, 77, a Chattanooga, Tennessee, native who made a fortune largely through leasing office space to federal agencies, bought the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant from the federal Tennessee Valley Authority for $111 million in 2016. Work on the plant started in 1975 but was halted in 1988 and never completed. Haney still needs to line up financing—an estimated $13 billion—to complete work on two nuclear reactors at the plant. Haney also needs Trump administration help. He is seeking an extension of an Energy Department loan guarantee, nuclear power tax credits, and various Nuclear Regulatory Commission approvals. And if the plant is eventually completed, Haney will need business from the TVA, the only viable customer for the plant’s electricity.

Haney has aggressively courted the Trump administration. After giving heavily to Democrats for years, he donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee through one of his companies. He has also contributed at least $125,000 to the Republican National Committee this year, according to Federal Election Commission records. Bloomberg reported last year that Haney had bragged to associates that he has dined with Trump at least a dozen times since the election. Haney is also a member of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida club, according to the report.

Haney also has aggressively courted Alabama governors and walked away with sweetheart deals. From a May 2016 post at Legal Schnauzer, quoting an al.com report:

Let's start with former Gov. Bob Riley.

Haney, a big Democratic donor over the years who in the last election gave $2 million to the Obama re-election campaign, put a load of cash into Alabama Republican politics in 2006, and Riley got a bunch of it.

Haney, according to the Alabama Secretary of State's office, passed at least $130,000 to Riley through PACs run by noted PACman Clark Richardson, much like he did last year with the Birmingham City Council. . . .

Riley, later, would become a big advocate for Haney and the Birmingham building.

One of his last acts as governor was to sign a lease that would consolidate Jefferson County's Department of Human Resources and move that agency into 290,000 square feet of Haney's building. Annual rent on that building began at $1.2 million a year, according to the lease, but rises this year to $5 million for the remainder of the term, plus possible extra costs for operational expenses.

That's higher than any of the 63 state tenants in any of David Bronner's newer and shinier RSA buildings, according to state records. It appears to be the highest rental rate for any state agency.

Riley not only signed the lease as he left office, he lobbied for Haney in Birmingham.

What about Gov. Bentley? According to published reports, Mr. Haney, from Tennessee, might have helped pay for the "Luv Guv's" mistress, Rebekah Caldwell Mason:

Haney has resurfaced under the Bentley regime. This time, Haney dumped cash on Bentley--possibly even helping support a slush fund to pay Bentley's mistress, Rebekah Caldwell Mason--and wound up getting support for a project involving a partially built nuclear reactor in northeast Alabama. Haney also got more support for his office building. Write Whitmire and Archibald, in an article dated May 13, 2016:

Michael Cohen
Just the traceable donations from Haney's businesses to Bentley's last campaigns total about $300,000, much of which moved into Bentley's campaign account after the last election was over. . . . That campaign account subsequently paid the salary of Rebekah Caldwell Mason, the governor's senior political advisor with whom he is accused of having an affair.

Meanwhile, the governor has helped Haney, too, finalizing a state lease in Haney's Birmingham office building which costs the state $5 million a year.

And more recently, the governor threw his support publicly behind the sale of a partially built nuclear power plant currently owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority north of Scottsboro.


Haney's name reportedly is familiar to investigators examining money funneled into a non-profit organization that helped pay Mason. Haney, however, does not seem anxious to discuss the situation. Reports al.com:


In the most recent election cycle, Bentley's re-election campaign received at least $200,000 through such transactions — $75,000 of which moved to Bentley after the election, when the governor was raising the money he'd later use to pay Mason's salary during his second term.

Haney's name has popped up repeatedly in recent months as investigators and lawmakers have sought to learn more about the money paid into ACEgov, a shadowy 501(c)4 that also was used to supplement the pay of Mason.

Asked this week if he contributed to ACEgov, Haney referred questions to his lawyer.

Note the highlighted sections above about Bentley's support of a nuclear-plant project near Scottsboro -- after receiving donations from Haney that helped pay Rebekah Caldwell Mason. That's the same plant for which Haney, with help from Trump fixer Michael Cohen, sought investment from a Qatari official.

If Mueller investigators really want to follow the money trail involving Franklin Haney and his Alabama properties, they might want to start with former governors Bob Riley and Robert Bentley -- not to mention "Home Wrecky Becky" Mason.

What did it mean when my lawyer-brother David Shuler, after we had expressed a desire to achieve justice, nonchalantly said, "It's not gonna happen"?


David Shuler
We've established that my elderly mother has made several curious statements indicating she has at least a general idea of who is behind the abuse directed at Carol and me in recent years -- and why we've been targeted. But my mother hardly is the only family member to make such statements. My lawyer-brother, David Shuler, has done the same thing. And given his status as a member of the legal tribe, it likely will surprise no one that he has engaged in flagrant falsehoods. In fact, we recently discovered evidence that shows David concocted stories that almost got Carol and me killed during an unlawful 2015 eviction that directly led to Carol's broken arm.

What about David's most peculiar statement? It came in summer 2014, shortly after Carol and I had arrived in Missouri, and I made a statement to the effect that, "Our No. 1 goal, in light of all that has been done to us, is to achieve justice."

David's response? "It's not gonna happen."

In addition to being rude and thoughtless, David's words could cause the following response in any rational human: "How in the hell do you know?"

As noted in the post about my mother's peculiar statements, these words from David perhaps can be interpreted in different ways, by different people. But I can conjure only one interpretation: David knows who is behind the abusive actions taken against Carol and me, he likely knows some of it is criminal, he has communicated with someone in Alabama (or elsewhere) who is closely aligned with the perpetrators, and he is determined to align himself with our adversaries -- probably because he knows some (or all) of them are fellow members of the legal tribe. Also, David has decided to stay silent about actions that likely are felonies, which can be a federal crime in itself.

As for David and falsehoods, it's going to take more than one post to deal with that subject. But here is one of the most alarming instances: A woman named Kathryn Mays, who was my social worker at Burrell Behavioral Health, said she had talked to David via phone after he called and said I had asked him to talk to her.

Just a slight problem with David's story: I never asked him to call Kathryn Mays, or anyone else. After Kathryn shared that story with us, Carol and I withdrew the releases we had signed allowing family members to communicate with personnel from Burrell. Once the releases had been canceled -- and Burrell knew exactly why they had been canceled -- the organization was strictly forbidden from speaking to David, my mother, or any other family members. We also withdrew the release for Don Schlueter, the so-called friend from my college days who convinced us to give up the fight for our house in Birmingham and move to Missouri.

Speaking of Burrell, it is involved in the evidence that suggests my brother's capacity for lying has grown to Goliathan proportions.


(To be continued)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Missouri prosecutor Dan Patterson is busy talking tough about drunk driving -- except when he's hiring a convicted drunk driver, like Nicholas Jain, to his staff


Dan Patterson
Greene County (MO) prosecuting attorney Dan Patterson hired a drunk driver for his staff, so you might expect that he would be squishy soft on issues related to DUIs. But based on Patterson's tough-guy Republican rhetoric, you would be wrong -- and we suspect his talking points become particularly rugged around election time.

So, it appears that Dan Patterson talks like Charles Bronson about drunk drivers, especially if it helps him get elected -- but then he hires a convicted drunk driver, Nicholas Jain, to be one of  his assistant prosecutors. I think, somewhere in the dictionary, that's called hypocrisy.

To make matters worse, Patterson assigns Jain to prosecute DUI cases, such as the recent one involving Charles Hollis Roux, of Springfield. Together, Patterson and Jain have a habit of bringing criminal charges without probable cause -- as they did in the Roux case and in the "assault of a law enforcement officer" case involving my wife, Carol.

Our previous articles in this series about the Roux case can be read here, here, and here. Documents related to the Roux case are embedded at the end of this post.

How gross is the hypocrisy in all of this? Jain has left his position in Greene County and is running for prosecuting attorney of Dunklin County, in southeast Missouri. Jain apparently is so arrogant that he thinks he can hide his DUI from voters -- or he thinks they simply do not care about his criminal record.

What is Patterson's rhetoric on drunk drivers -- when he isn't busy hiring a drunk driver for his staff? Let's look at some examples.

This is from a 2017 county press release, published last July at fox5krbk.com:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – (7/31/17) Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson announces that Joshua Xavier Oswald, 23, of Springfield, MO was sentenced last Friday by The Honorable Thomas Mountjoy to a five year prison sentence on each of four counts of Assault in the Second Degree relating to a drunk driving crash that occurred on December 5, 2015. Probation was denied by the Court.Oswald’s charges stemmed from a motor vehicle crash that took place at the intersection of South Campbell and West Sunset in Springfield, Missouri.

So, if you drive drunk and crash into somebody, Patterson will throw you in prison for five years. If you don't crash, he might offer you a job. Here is a 2016 Springfield News-Leader article (by columnist Steve Pokin) where Patterson gripes that a drunk driver was placed on five years' probation for a crash that caused a fatality. Nicholas Jain, a member of Patterson's own staff, received two years' probation:

On Feb. 19, [Circuit Judge David] Jones sentenced [Dylan] Meyer to five years' probation. He could have sent Meyer to prison for 5 to 15 years. The prosecutor has asked for 10. Meyer had been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The sentence was a "slap on the wrist," says Dan Patterson, Greene County prosecuting attorney.

Meyer, a 2012 graduate of Kickapoo High School, took the life of Kelly Williams in the early morning of Feb. 10, 2015. He slammed his pickup into her car at Campbell Avenue and Battlefield Road. He was driving 95 mph, according to police, when he ran a stoplight.

His blood alcohol level was .266 percent, three times the legal limit — a level where many can no longer walk.

The sentence was a "slap on the wrist"? What is it when Patterson offers a convicted drunk driver a job? A kiss on the butt? From a 2011 county press release. (Notice that Patterson touts the convictions he gets in DUI cases. I haven't received a press release about the hiring of a convicted drunk driver to his staff.):

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Dan Patterson, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney announced that Jeremy William Arata, 23, of Springfield, Missouri, was convicted today by a Greene County Jury of the class B felony of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree. The jury found that Arata was intoxicated on November 15, 2007, when the vehicle he was driving struck a vehicle driven by Mr. Paul Fain. Arata’s vehicle was going at speeds near 60 miles an hour in a residential area when it collided with Mr. Fain who had just pulled out from a stop sign. Mr. Fain died as a result of the injuries he suffered in the collision. Arata’s blood alcohol level was measured at .146%. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before returning its verdict.

The jury trial was presided over by The Honorable Calvin Holden. The defendant is subject to a sentence of a minimum 5 years to a maximum 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Finally, we have a 2014 press release about a plan to obtain blood samples from drunk drivers who refuse to take breath tests:

Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson announces that his office will assist local law enforcement agencies by seeking search warrants to obtain blood samples from drunk drivers that refuse to consent to a breath test after their arrest. This pilot project resulted from a collaboration of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield Police Department and the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

To combat the often deadly problem of impaired driving, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Springfield Police Department will kick off the “no refusal” policy with a joint DWI check point in November and will be out in force cracking down on impaired drivers. Following the kick-off event, the “no refusal” strategy will be applied to all DWI arrests by those agencies when a driver refuses consent.

It is called a “no refusal” policy because all impaired drivers arrested who refuse breath testing will be subject to blood testing for alcohol if a judge approves a warrant. The ability of law enforcement officers to submit their search warrant applications to judges electronically make this process both easy and relatively quick.

“Impaired driving remains a major public safety threat that still claims thousands of innocent lives on our roadways every year. A ‘no refusal’ policy represents one more tool in our battle against this public safety threat,” said Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson.

So, drunk drivers are a public safety threat, except when they apply for a job at the Greene County Prosecutor's Office -- and then, Patterson is likely to hire them.











Thursday, May 17, 2018

Will Jerry Harmison Jr., new Missouri judge in Carol's "assault" case, correctly suppress evidence and force the prosecution to stop stonewalling on discovery?


Jerry Harmison Jr.
The incorrect rulings Margaret Palmietto made before stepping down as judge in my wife Carol's "assault" case, by Missouri law, have no impact moving forward. In fact, new judge Jerry Harmison has an obligation to rehear issues raised in Carol's Motion to Suppress and other dispositive motions. Harmison also has an obligation to make sure the state does not get away with wildly bad-faith efforts to stonewall on discovery?

Does Harmison know any of this? Does he have enough integrity to rule correctly and ensure a case that cannot go to trial is dismissed, as the law requires? Does he have the cojones to issue subpoenas and force the state and Greene County Sheriff's Office to turn over documents that are essential to Carol's defense? We've seen no signs of it. (Of course, if Harmison acts lawfully and dismisses the case, there will be no need for discovery.)

Harmison has put nothing on the docket that suggests he intends to rehear the motions Palmietto butchered on the first go-around. Given that Harmison is an appointee of scandal-plagued Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, we have little confidence the judge has any integrity at all.

Carol has filed motions on both issues -- to have the suppression and other motions reheard and to have subpoenas issued on discovery after the state repeatedly has failed to make disclosures. (Motions are embedded at the end of this post, and discovery clearly will require a continuance.) Harmison has not ruled on either motion.

What is the law on these issues. It's very clear. On the rehearing issue, controlling Missouri law is found at State v. Pippenger, 741 S.W.2d 710 (Mo. App. W.D. 1987). From Pippenger:

The Supreme Court in State v. Howell, 524 S.W.2d 11, 19 (Mo. banc 1975), held that the trial court ruling on "a motion to suppress evidence prior to trial is, in a sense, interloctory in nature." The court continued, "[t]he real damage is not done until the evidence is introduced in the trial of a case for consideration by a jury. Thus, a trial court can receive additional evidence and change its ruling prior to admitting the objected-to items in evidence before a jury." Id. This court has stated that the trial court's decision on interlocutory motions is not conclusive or binding on future proceedings. Noll v. Noll, 286 S.W.2d 58, 60-61 (Mo.App.1956); State v. Beaver, 697 S.W.2d 573, 574 (Mo.App.1985); see also Cook v. State, 281 Md. 665, 381 A.2d 671, 674 (1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 839, 99 S.Ct. 126, 58 L.Ed.2d 136 (1978). It is, therefore, incumbent for the trial court in the instant case to hear the evidence and rule thereon and not rely upon what some other trial court may have done before in another cause.

Language does not get more clear than that. Palmietto's faulty rulings mean nothing at this point; they are not binding and they are not conclusive. For Harmison, it is "incumbent" on him to rehear the evidence -- whether he knows it or not.

As for the law on discovery, Carol spells that out in her reply to the state's effort to continue stonewalling. Much has been written across the country recently about dishonest and deceitful prosecutors, and Carol has been subjected to two of them -- drunk-driving Nicholas Jain and smarmy hack Nicholas Bergeon -- not to mention their ethically challenged boss, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson. From Carol's motion:

Missouri Supreme Court Rule 25.04 C says, “if the state’s efforts [to disclose] are unsuccessful . . . said court, upon request, shall issue suitable subpoenas or orders to cause such material to be made available to the state for disclosure to the defense.” Shuler has made such a request.

Throughout his response to Shuler’s Motion for Disclosure Via Court Order or Subpoena, the state’s APA Nicholas Bergeon repeatedly says he is “unaware” that relevant and material disclosures exist for Shuler’s defense. The state essentially admits it has been unsuccessful at obtaining disclosures. Also, Bergeon conveniently omits the fact that Shuler filed a Motion to Compel almost a year ago, dated 5/30/17, and Judge Palmietto never ruled on it. In fact, Shuler filed multiple dispositive motions, and Palmietto let them sit for more than a year – yet, Bergeon claims he is weary of delays, laying them at Shuler’s feet. Bergeon wasn’t even involved in this case when the delays started.

You read that correctly: Bergeon claims he is weary of this case. (His motions re: discovery and a continuance to allow for discovery are embedded at the end of this post.) Yet, he and his colleagues repeatedly have ignored Carol's discovery requests altogether or claimed they are not "relevant" or "material." Almost all of Carol's requests go to these two issues: (1) Why was she arrested for an offense even the "victim" admits she did not commit? (2) What evidence will discovery yield about the utter lack of credibility among the officers who brutalized Carol and then made up a "crime" to hinder her chances at civil justice?

This is not a normal criminal case; it's one where cops committed a crime, and they are trying to cover it up -- with assistance from Nicholas Bergeon. From Carol's motion:

All of Shuler’s requests are relevant and material under the extraordinary nature of this case. Consider: (a) From the outset there has been no accuser in this case, no one with a name who claims in the Probable Cause Statement that Shuler “pushed” Officer Jeremy Lynn. This is sub-hearsay, and there is no corroboration or verification, as required in a hearsay case under State v. Kirby (Mo. Ct. of App., 2004). With no accuser and no corroboration, there never has been probable cause in this case – to arrest Shuler, much less prosecute her; (b) In in his incident report, “victim” Jeremy Lynn admits he grabbed Shuler first, not the other way around, meaning Lynn “knowingly caused physical contact” (the central element of the offense under statute). That means Shuler is not guilty, even in the words of the “victim”; (c) Two witnesses at the earlier suppression hearing – Jeremy Lynn and Officer Scott Harrison – admitted they either did not have or had never seen a court-authorized (with judge’s signature) writ of execution for the Shulers’ eviction. That means they had no grounds to be on the property, the search and seizure violated the Fourth Amendment, and all evidence derived from an unlawful/unreasonable search must be suppressed. Judge Palmietto found Lynn and Harrison acted “reasonably”; Lynn and Harrison admitted they did not act reasonably – they burst into a home, while knowing they had no lawful grounds for doing so; (d) The PC statement failed to mention that deputies broke Shuler’s left arm, so severely that it required trauma surgery. Incident reports indicate Officer Christian Conrad, wearing a blue shirt, broke Shuler’s arm. Multiple officers state in incident reports that they knew Shuler’s arm had been broken, but they claim to have acted “reasonably.” Criminal charges were brought against Shuler as a classic “cover charge” to hinder her efforts at civil justice and cover up police brutality. Such a gross omission means the PC Statement is defective and due to be stricken; (e) APA Bergeron claims with a straight face the state has not stonewalled on discovery. Over more than a year, Shuler has requested 30-40 disclosures – all relevant and material under the facts of this case – and she has received exactly two responses. If that’s not stonewalling, what is? If that kind of bad faith does not require the issuance of subpoenas, what does?

How desperate is Bergeon to avoid disclosing anything of substance via discovery? First, note how many times he claims something doesn't exist -- or he isn't "aware" that it exists -- and Carol is supposed to just take his word for it? Second, Bergeon claims (item 5) that Carol received a CD including CAD (computer-assisted dispatch) logs regarding our eviction, but the only CAD logs Carol has received are of a 911 call that Burrell Behavioral Health personnel made -- regarding a threat I never made, and a gun I never had. Third, consider just a few of the items Bergeon objects to disclosing because they are not "relevant"or "material":

Carol Shuler's broken arm, which Missouri cops
conveniently failed to mention in their
probable cause statement.
* All communications, in any format between the Greene County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) and the Prosecutor's Office related to our eviction;

* All communications, in any format, between Public Defender Patty Poe and her office and the GCSO, the prosecutor's office, and any judges;

* All reports about other citizens that GCSO personnel have left with broken limbs or serious injuries;

* The name of the GCSO attorney who gave the go-ahead for our unlawful eviction, per Officer Debi Wade, author of the Probable Cause Statement;

* Copies of all citizen complaints against officers involved in our eviction, going back three years. (Bergeon says the GCSO claims there aren't any. Do you believe that? Would anybody believe that?)

* Copies of CAD logs and recordings to all patrol units and officers involved in our eviction. (Bergeon claims he has provided this. But he's lying. He's provided only CAD logs of a 911 I never made.)

* The ID numbers, with assigned deputies, for each vehicle present at our eviction;

* All video or audio that was recorded from each vehicle on 9/9/15, the date of our eviction;

* Copies of all communications, in any format, between or among GCSO officers re: our eviction. (The state agreed at a motion to compel hearing last September to produce this information, but it never has done so.)

Bergeon likes to claim that Carol has not made a showing of "good cause" on her discovery requests. First, he cites no law that shows that is the standard for a defendant. But more importantly, Carol is charged with a crime she did not commit -- and the "victim" admits she didn't commit it -- so that (in my view) provides plenty of "good cause" on all of her discovery requests. You can double or triple that point when you consider that cops broke her arm and are trying to cover it up -- with ample assistance from Nicholas Bergeon and his crooked office.











Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Jerry Harmison, the new Missouri judge in "assault" case against my wife, Carol, has connections to Eric Greitens, who might be the nation's sleaziest governor


Jerry Harmison Jr.
The new judge in the bogus "assault on a law enforcement officer" case against my wife, Carol, has ties to a politician who seems to be earning the title of "the nation's sleaziest governor."

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, in September 2017, appointed Jerry Harmison Jr. as an associate circuit judge in Greene County. Harmison was assigned Carol's case last Friday after original judge Margaret Palmietto granted a motion for change of judge and Becky Borthwick recused without explanation. Palmietto stepped down, at Carol's request, after a string of unlawful rulings on pre-trial motions.

Will Harmison be an improvement over Palmietto? If his "integrity" is anything like that of the governor who appointed him, the answer is no. And Harmison already made some highly questionable decisions on the case. (More on that in an upcoming post.)

An invasion-of-privacy criminal charge against Greitens was dropped on Monday -- after an "unprecedented" ruling, allowing the prosecutor to be called as a witness, by a judge with close ties to Greitens' defense lawyers -- but it still might be refiled and handled by a special prosecutor or member of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's staff. That charge stems from an extramarital affair Greitens had with his hair stylist.

Greitens remains charged with a second felony in St. Louis for allegedly misusing a donor list from a St. Louis-based veterans' charity for campaign purposes. No trial date has been set for that case.

As sewage stacks up around Greitens, a Missouri House committee announced yesterday that it is investigating Greitens' possible use of shell companies to conceal the identity of donors to his 2016 campaign. From a report at stltoday.com:

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens is probing whether Greitens’ 2016 campaign used so-called “shell companies” to conceal the identity of donors.

The revelation came Tuesday morning as Rep. Jay Barnes, who chairs the panel, announced that the committee was releasing two email strings it had obtained from Michael Hafner, a former Greitens campaign adviser who later worked for businessman John Brunner during the 2016 GOP primary.

In one email dated July 2016, Will Scharf, who at the time was working for GOP gubernatorial contender Catherine Hanaway, wrote to Hafner about research he had done suggesting the Greitens campaign worked to conceal donors.

Scharf now works for Greitens as his policy director.

The new allegations are reminiscent of Sean Hannity's forays into real estate:

At issue were two companies — White Impala LLC and ELX83 LLC — that were formed in December 2015 and subsequently donated a combined $30,000 to Greitens for Missouri at the time of the email string on July 9, 2016.

“By all appearances, these two entities were created to channel contributions to the Greitens campaign from an anonymous donor or donors,” reads a memorandum attached to an email Scharf sent to Hafner. “Missouri law explicitly prohibits campaign contributions made ‘in such a manner as to conceal the identity of the actual source of the contribution.’

“The use of this arrangement to hide donors certainly runs counter to Greitens’s repeated attacks on ‘corruption’ and ‘insider political games’ in Missouri,” the memo states.

Barnes said Tuesday that the committee would seek Scharf’s testimony.

As for Harmison, his task with Carol's case should be simple -- if he has the slightest bit of integrity (always a big "if" with a judge). Here are four straightforward reasons the case cannot go to trial and must be dismissed. These all are issues that Palmietto got wrong:

(1) The "victim" admits there was no crime -- Officer Jeremy Lynn is the "victim," the guy Carol supposedly pushed as he burst into our duplex apartment. But Lynn admits in his own incident report that he grabbed Carol first, not the other way around, and he never says she pushed him or even touched him. In fact, Lynn says Carol tried to pull away from him, which last time I checked, is the opposite of a push. The central element in the statute is "knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical contact." Missouri appellate courts have determined the key question is "Who initiated physical contact?" (See State v. Armstrong, 968 SW 2d 154 [Mo. Court of Appeals, 1998]) Lynn admits that he initiated physical contact. I don't call the case bogus because the defendant is my wife. I call it bogus because the words of the "victim" prove it's bogus.

(2) Accuser? What accuser -- Officer Debi Wade, author of the Probable Cause Statement, admits she did not see Carol push Jeremy Lynn. But she states that an unnamed person "advised" her of such. This is sub-hearsay, and the PC Statement includes none of the corroboration or verification required in such a case. (See State v. Kirby [MO Ct. of App., 2004]) Carol has been fighting this charge for almost 16 months, based on the word of . . . well, nobody. The lack of an accuser makes the PC Statement defective, meaning there never was probable cause to arrest Carol, much less prosecute her.

Trent and Sharon Cowherd
(3) An eviction without a court order -- The state's two witnesses in the original suppression hearing -- Officers Scott Harrison and Jeremy Lynn -- could not point to a judge-signed writ of execution that gave them authority to evict. A prosecutor gave Harrison a copy of the writ, and Harrison admitted under oath and cross-examination that it did not have a judge's signature or any other form of authorization. Lynn stated he had never even seen a court order in our case -- but that didn't stop him from being the first to break into our home. An eviction without a court order is unlawful, and means all evidence illegally obtained under the Fourth Amendment must be suppressed.

(4) Why bother getting a final judgment? -- The docket in our rent-and-possession case shows in at least two places that the ruling was interlocutory, meaning it was non-final, with issues still to be determined at a hearing set one month from entry of the judgment. Under Missouri law, there cannot be execution on a judgment that is not final. (See State ex rel Turner v. Sloan [MO, 1980]) That means we were the victims of an illegal "self eviction," perpetrated by landlord Trent Cowherd and his lawyer, Craig Lowther, and any evidence gathered must be suppressed.

By law, Carol's case cannot go to trial, and she cannot be found guilty. But that requires a judge with integrity, and it would be a shocker if Harmison shows he has any.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Prosecutors drop charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens after "unprecedented" ruling by Judge Rex Burlison, who has ties to attorneys on the defense team


Eric Greitens
Prosecutors yesterday dropped an invasion-of-privacy charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens after an "unprecedented" ruling by a judge with close ties to the governor's defense lawyers.

Judge Rex Burlison ruled the defense could call St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner as a witness. The prosecution responded by dropping the charge, which stemmed from Greitens' admitted extramarital affair with his hair stylist, but members of the prosecution team said they intend to refile the charge -- with a special prosecutor or another member of Gardner's team handling the case.

From a report at stltoday.com:

A spokeswoman for Gardner said the case would be refiled. Gardner left the courtroom just before 5 p.m. She did not answer questions.

Circuit Judge Rex Burlison's "unprecedented" order "places the Circuit Attorney in the impossible position of being a witness, subject to cross-examination within the offer of proof by her own subordinates," Gardner spokeswoman Susan Ryan said in a statement.

But St. Louis University law Professor John Ammann said Gardner did not have to dismiss the charge. Because she could not be a prosecutor and witness in the same case, she could have simply let other prosecutors take over, he said.

The move by Judge Burlison caught many legal analysts off guard, and Greitens hardly is out of the legal woods. From a report at cbsnews.com:

Nationally, it's "super, super rare" for a judge to allow a prosecutor to be called as a witness, said Hadar Aviram, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law.

Some legal experts said prosecutors would have about a month to decide whether to file charges, because that's about how much time was left in the three-year statute of limitations when the original charge was filed. . . .

Greitens also remains charged with a second felony in St. Louis for allegedly disclosing a donor list from a St. Louis-based veterans' charity he founded for use in his political campaign. No trial date has been set for that case.

Judge Burlison's credibility might now be questioned in the court of public opinion. In late March, stltoday.com reported that Burlison had eased concerns about his impartiality by denying a defense motion for a bench trial. Those concerns likely will be raised anew after yesterday's unexpected ruling, forcing Greitens' prosecutor to testify. From the March report:

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison went far [recently] in dispelling any public doubts about his impartiality as he presides over Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ felony invasion of privacy case. Doubts have surfaced because of Burlison’s links to the law firm defending Greitens. Burlison dashed our concerns Monday by refusing a request by Greitens’ lawyers to allow a bench trial, which would have let Burlison judge the governor’s guilt or innocence without a jury trial. This high-profile case is being monitored across the state, if not the country, for its impact on the Republican Party in the November elections. . . .

Nevertheless, Burlison has troubling links with the influential Dowd Bennett law firm representing Greitens in the case, which stems from an extramarital affair in 2015. Burlison was a longtime aide to former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who appointed him to the bench. Nixon also appointed Burlison’s daughter to be a judge in St. Charles County, and Burlison’s wife to the judicial panel that recommends judges for the city of St. Louis.

Nixon now is a partner at Dowd Bennett. Three partners in the firm — Edward Dowd Jr., Jim Martin and James Bennett — are on Greitens’ six-member defense team. Burlison’s challenge moving forward will be to maintain strict impartiality regardless of the various political forces tugging at him.

Based on his ruling yesterday, Burlison appears to be playing favorites with the Dowd Bennett law firm -- and that benefits a governor who has scandals coming out of every orifice.

That does not speak well for justice in Missouri -- or anywhere else.

Margaret Palmietto steps down as judge in Carol's Missouri assault case after making a series of preposterously unlawful rulings on pre-trial motions


Margaret Palmietto
The Missouri judge in charge of the "assault on a law enforcement officer" case against my wife, Carol, has stepped down following a series of wildly unlawful rulings on pre-trial motions.

Carol filed an Application for Change of Judge, for Cause, under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 51.05(D) -- and Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto did step down, but not for the right reason. Palmietto could not even get recusal right, which was in keeping with her actions on pre-trial motions.

Palmietto denied Carol's motion for cause -- which called for her to step down due to comments and actions taken from the bench -- but did grant a change of judge under Rule 32.09(a). Due to timeliness factors, Carol was not entitled to a recusal under Rule 32.09(a). But she received one anyway, apparently because Palmietto did not want to call attention to the fact she had been cheating Carol and engaging in blatant impropriety from the bench.

After Palmietto stepped down on 5/7, the case was assigned to Judge Becky Borthwick, who recused two days later, without explanation. Carol's case then wound up with Judge Jerry Harmison Jr., an appointee of scandal-plagued Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

Will Harmison be an improvement over Palmietto? I've learned to have low expectations for judges, so I doubt it. But he can't be any worse.

Carol filed six dispositive motions -- meaning, by law, they should have settled the matter and forced dismissal of the state's case, short of a trial -- and they were scheduled for hearing on 3/26. Palmietto butchered every motion, not coming close to ruling correctly under the law on any of them.

On that many motions -- involving important and fairly complex matters of law and fact -- you would expect a judge to take matters under advisement before issuing rulings. But not Palmietto. The minute argument was over, she summarily denied all of Carol's motions -- providing zero indication she had read the motions or given her rulings any thought.

Carol's most important document was a Motion to Suppress Evidence, which is a common pre-trial filing in many criminal cases. In essence, the motion claimed any evidence against Carol was obtained via an unlawful search and seizure, violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Given that our eviction was unlawful on at least 10-12 grounds, this should have been a no-brainer. With all of its evidence suppressed, the state's case would have been kaput. But Palmietto refused to suppress evidence that clearly was unlawfully obtained.

There was no evidence to speak of anyway. Officer Jeremy Lynn, the "victim" of Carol's alleged push, has admitted in an incident report that he grabbed Carol, not the other way around, and he never says that she pushed (or even touched him). In fact, he says Carol tried to pull away, which is the opposite of a push. Even though the state obtained no legitimate evidence via its unlawful search and seizure of our rented duplex apartment, Palmietto's denial still was a massive clunker. Carol's motion describes the inanity of the judge's rulings, especially on a central issue. (The full motion is embedded at the end of this post.)

A big issue in this case: Was there a judge-signed, court-approved writ of execution that gave approval to proceed with the eviction? Under Missouri law, per State ex rel Turner v. Sloan (MO, 1980), “An enforcement of judgment by execution supposes a judgment not merely interlocutory but become final.” Was there a final judgment in the rent-and-possession case landlord Trent Cowherd brought against the Shulers? The docket shows in at least two places that the answer is no. The possession order twice is listed as interlocutory (non-final), with a hearing scheduled for roughly a month in the future to consider other issues, including the Shulers’ counterclaim for breach of contract. The Shulers never have been presented with a court-authorized eviction notice, and one does not exist in the record – and that’s because there could not be one, given that the judgment was only interlocutory and not final. At the suppression hearing in Carol Shuler’s criminal matter, the state called two witnesses – Officers Scott Harrison and Jeremy Lynn – in an apparent effort to show the eviction was lawful. That effort failed miserably. Harrison admitted under oath that the writ of execution in his hand, the one upon which the eviction was based, did not contain a judge’s signature or any form of court approval. Despite that, Harrison burst into the Shulers’ home and pointed an assault weapon at Roger Shuler’s head. Officer Lynn stated under oath that he never had even seen a writ of execution for the Shulers’ eviction.

The state's two witnesses essentially claimed ignorance as an excuse for their actions. They undoubtedly are ignorant, but that excuse does not cut it under the law:

At the suppression hearing, the state’s witnesses – Officers Harrison and Lynn – sought to excuse their actions by essentially claiming ignorance of the law. The U.S. Supreme Court has held on multiple occasions that ignorance of the law does not excuse constitutional violations: “In sum, a Fourth Amendment violation occurs when police engage in a warrantless search and no exception to the warrant requirement applies, or when police search pursuant to a warrant not based on probable cause. That the police officer acted in an objectively reasonable (i.e., non-negligent) manner is irrelevant to the existence of a constitutional violation. See, e.g., Anderson v. Creighton, ___ U.S. ___, 107 S.Ct. 3034, 97 L.Ed.2d 523 (1987); Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 106 S.Ct. 1092, 89 L.Ed.2d 271 (1986); United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 104 S.Ct. 3405, 82 L.Ed.2d 677 (1984)

Palmietto showed no sign that she knew who carries the burden of proof in a suppression hearing, even though Carol's motion spelled it out:

Trent Cowherd and wife, Sharon

Under Missouri law, per State v. Hernandez, 954 S.W.2d 639, 642 (Mo.App. W.D.1997), the burden in a suppression hearing is on the state to prove that evidence is admissible. Here, the state failed in spectacular fashion. Neither of its witnesses could point to a court-authorized writ of execution that would have made the Shulers’ eviction lawful. Thus, it was unlawful, and all evidence resulting from it, by law, must be excluded. Palmietto’s failure to rule correctly on this central issue might be the most glaring example of her impropriety in the instant case.

How wrong was Palmietto's finding on this one key motion?

Palmietto ruled at the suppression hearing that officers’ actions were reasonable under the circumstances, citing the “good faith exception” articulated in U.S. v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984). Leon, however, applies only to searches with a warrant. Missouri case law holds: “"Subject to only a few specific and well-delineated exceptions, warrantless searches and seizures are deemed per se unreasonable." State v. Johnson, 316 S.W.3d 390, 395 (Mo. App. W.D.2010). There was no warrant in the Shuler case because there were no allegations of criminal activity. This was an eviction, a civil matter, and it did not involve even a lawful, court-approved eviction order. Thus, the officers’ actions, by law, were per se unreasonable – and Palmietto butchered this issue and displayed glaring and actual impropriety.

Bottom line: The state had the burden of proof, and its two witnesses admitted they broke into our home without seeing a court-authorized, judge-signed eviction order. In other words, this was a classic "self eviction," which landlord Trent Cowherd perpetrated with his lawyer (Craig Lowther), but Palmietto found it constituted "reasonable" police work -- even though she cited no law that the "reasonableness" standard even applied in a warrantless search.

Palmietto's prejudicial statements from the bench also played a role in the whole circus:

On multiple occasions during recent hearings, Palmietto has said, in terms of possible punishment that Shuler faces, “It’s just a fine.” That suggests Palmietto has a predetermined outcome in mind, a guilty verdict, so that she easily can dispose of a case that has been dragging on for more than 15 months. It suggests Palmietto does not care if Shuler is found guilty of a crime she did not commit – and for which there was not even probable cause for issuance of a warrant.


(To be continued)







Monday, May 14, 2018

Paul Littlejohn III, sex offender who resigned from position with Sue Bell Cobb's campaign for governor, also worked on Doug Jones' campaign for U.S. Senate


Paul Littlejohn III
A sex offender who resigned from Sue Bell Cobb's gubernatorial campaign on Friday also worked on the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, according to published reports.

Paul Littlejohn III resigned from his paid position with the Cobb campaign one day after his arrest for allegedly violating the state's sex offender registration and notification act. Cobb angrily called Littlejohn's arrest "politically motivated." From a report at al.com:

"It's as politically motivated of a charge as I've seen," Cobb said, noting that the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is headed up by a Republican Sheriff Mike Hale. "Why? The Republicans don't want to run against Sue Bell Cobb. Governor Ivey doesn't want to run against Sue Bell Cobb. They found that as an opportunity to take advantage of information that had been sent out into the public forum."

She said an arrest warrant was issued after she held a news conference defending Littlejohn's character after news reports surfaced about his background.

Republican operative Rob Riley, son of former Gov. Bob Riley, serves as an attorney for Hale and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Littlejohn served a 30-year sentence for three crimes: rape by forcible compulsion, sodomy and robbery. His political activities have not been limited to Cobb. Reports al.com:

Since Littlejohn's release in 2014, he has worked for two Democratic campaigns: Randall Woodfin's victory in last year's Birmingham mayoral election, and for the Doug Jones campaign ahead of his win in last year's special Alabama Senate election.

A representative for the Jones campaign said late Saturday that they do not have any records of Littlejohn working for the campaign, and that he was not paid for campaign-related work.

Littlejohn said his 30 years behind bars came after he naively entered a guilty plea to the charges against him:

It was a plea deal Littlejohn took, he says, because his attorney insisted that if it went to trial, he could get life without the possibility of parole.

"I didn't know any better," he says. "When he said 'life', I thought it meant life. Thirty years sounded better. [My attorney] thought he made a good deal."

Doug Jones
"I can't put into words," Littlejohn says now, "how much it hurts me that I hurt somebody. I regret what happened, regret I was in position to stop what happened and didn't.... I have a daughter, a mother, a sister. I regret not standing up for another person's rights; that's counter to the way I was raised."
Littlejohn says he employs 12 people full-time for canvassing neighborhoods up to six days each week and three others for phone-banking. He pays $10 per hour, higher than the minimum wage.

"I have 12-to-14 people," Littlejohn says, "who depend on me to eat."

Not surprisingly, he is passionately loyal to Cobb, the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. They met initially, he says, after he had done canvassing work for the Doug Jones and Randall Woodfin campaigns.

Littlejohn doesn't think of himself as an ex-con, doesn't dwell on the three decades spent behind walls topped with barbed wire, or the years after his release when he could not secure a job. "It got so bad, I got turned down by Burger King," he says.