Friday, December 7, 2007

The Assault/Trespassing Combo

Your humble blogger has been the victim of both criminal trespassing and assault in Shelby County, Alabama. And I've seen what a miserable job judges and DAs do in handling such matters.

Now we have both of those charges involved in a single case. And since it involves a local politician, it's in the news.

It seems that Calera Mayor George Roy was burning leaves when a woman who owns a nearby fitness center became unhappy about his smokey activities. Kimberly Waldrop poured water on the leaves, which sparked an argument.

Waldrop says the 79-year-old mayor grabbed her and injured her arm. She also claims he was trespassing on property she leases from KMG Real Estate.

Roy says he never touched Waldrop and that he had permission from both the Calera Police Department and the property owners to burn the leaves. (Why Roy was burning leaves on someone else's property is beyond me. But lots of things that happen in Shelby County are beyond me.)

Waldrop filed a complaint against Roy for assault and trespassing. Because the case involves a city official, the investigation is being handled by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

That should be interesting. Based on the newspaper account, Roy would face at most a misdemeanor assault charge. And criminal trespass is not even a misdemeanor; it's a violation under Alabama law.

(Remember: My charming neighbor claimed I maliciously prosecuted him for criminal trespass. That's a fancy way of saying I made up the trespassing charge in order to get back at him. Never mind that he inadvertently confessed to trespassing during the criminal trial and still was found not guilty. You might think that couldn't possibly happen in America--somebody confesses to a crime and still is found not guilty. But folks, anything can happen in Shelby County, Alabama. Here's my point: If you really want to "get" somebody, are you going to do it by filing a complaint for criminal trespass, the lowest level of crime there is? If I wanted to "get" somebody, I think I would come up with something more substantial than criminal trespass.)

Will be interesting to see if the sheriff's department actually investigates this matter. I've been the victim of criminal trespassing, assault, criminal mischief (vandalism), reckless endangerment, and behavior that comes real close to stalking. And Shelby County's finest never investigated a thing.

Here's something I've learned about most law-enforcement officers, at least the ones in my area: They are glorified stenographers. Most deputies come and take a report, and they don't investigate much of anything. And the report they take means pretty much nothing. During the criminal-trespass trial where I was the victim, the incident report never was entered as evidence. In fact, I'm not sure the assistant DA who handled the case even looked at it.

If Roy gets off on the criminal charge, he might have other problems. Both trespass and assault are torts, so he could be sued.

But the facts and the law won't matter in Shelby County. If Roy is buds with the judges in Columbiana, and I imagine he is, he doesn't have a thing to worry about.

Moral of the story? Mayor, try bagging your leaves next time. And Ms. Waldrop, try to find out how close the mayor is to the judges in Shelby County. If he's their bud, you are wasting your time pursuing this case, either criminally or civilly.

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