The phrase came into popular usage to describe federal agents after firearms-related raids at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992, and Waco, Texas, in 1993. Some right wingers celebrated Randy Weaver and David Koresh as victims of intrusive government officials run amok.
I never thought of myself having much in common with Randy Weaver or David Koresh. But I'm starting to know what it feels like to be a target of "jack-booted thugs." And in my case, the thugs are part of the right-wing establishment that has come to rule in Bob Riley's Alabama.
In other words, right wingers used to condemn jack-booted thugs. Now, they are the jack-booted thugs.
The term "jack-booted thugs" came to mind recently when I read about the case of Alabama legislator Sue Schmitz, a 63-year-old retired social studies teacher who was dragged out of her bathroom while trying to take a shower and arrested on federal corruption charges that seem flimsy at best. Like most anybody with a conscience, I was horrified that Ms. Schmitz would be treated this way. That's especially the case since her lawyer, anticipating that his client might be a target, had told authorities that Ms. Schmitz was willing to turn herself in.
Well, my own Legal Schnauzer tale is starting to turn into a civil version of the Sue Schmitz case. And I strongly suspect that the same bad actors who are driving the Sue Schmitz case are behind my recent experiences.
My wife and I returned home on a recent evening to find a piece of paper taped to our garage door. When we pulled it off and got it in the light, we saw that it was titled "Sheriff's Notice of Levy." It was executed by one William Moore on Feb. 8, 2008, at the direction of Chris Curry, sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama.The notice was addressed to me and referenced Mike McGarity v. Roger Shuler (CV 2000-1248), the fraudulent lawsuit my neighbor filed against me, with the help of his attorney, William E. Swatek.
Here's how the notice reads:
"You will take notice that I have levied upon all your rights, interest and title, if any, in and to the following described property to satisfy a Fieri Facias in my hands in the above stated cause, and that said property will be advertised and sold according to law, to-Wit . . . "
The notice then describes our lot and house.
You might have a question: What in the heck is a Fieri Facias? That's just a fancy term for a writ of execution, which I've written about several times in recent posts.
In those earlier posts, I noted that a couple of Shelby County deputies, Eddie Moore and Bubba Caldwell, had repeatedly harrassed my wife and me over a writ of execution that is invalid under the law. In fact, the judgment against me, upon which the writ of execution is based, came as the result of a legal proceeding in which my 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection were butchered. But as we have shown repeatedly on this blog, the actual law means nothing to the corrupt Republicans who run Shelby County like a banana republic.
I will explain in detail why the judgment is unconstitutional and the writ is invalid. But for now, suffice to say that Deputies Eddie and Bubba didn't care about legalities. They were threatening to come and take one of our cars.
Evidently that didn't sufficiently scare us, so now the Sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama--Chris Curry himself--is claiming that he is going to advertise our house and sell it.
And why is this being done. To satisfy an unconstitutional writ of execution, based on a void court judgment in the amount of $1,525.
You heard that right: State officials in Alabama are going to essentially steal our house because of a $1,525 "judgment" that, under the law, I do not owe. And never mind that my wife, who was not a party to the lawsuit against me, is joint owner of the house. State officials clearly don't care about my rights, so why should they care about my wife's rights?
I wonder what women's-rights groups would think of this--a woman having her house stolen because of a lawsuit that she had nothing to do with? Sounds like it could make an episode of Oprah. The "Big O" would need to schedule an extra long episode if she were to get my wife talking.
But back to matters at hand. We've seen how a Democratic state official is treated by right-wing thugs in Bob Riley's Alabama. Now we see how a regular citizen is treated, particularly one who has the audacity to stand up and fight back against corrupt Republican judges in Alabama.And what is my really big sin in Bob Riley's Alabama? Having the utter gall to write a blog about my experiences with corrupt Republicans in Alabama.
In upcoming posts, we are going to examine this "Notice of Levy" and show you just how absurd it really is. But first, let's make three critical points:
* The harrassment my wife and I are experiencing isn't just about a little case in Shelby County, Alabama. It is about Bob Riley, our GOP governor who is hell bent on placing the Alabama Legislature in Republican control. I suspect it's also about Republicans in Mississippi who I imagine are none too pleased about my reporting on the Paul Minor case.
* The harrassment my wife and I are experiencing is all about this blog. If I hadn't started this blog in June 2007, the Alabama GOP hierarchy would not care less about the bogus $1,525 judgment I supposedly owe. But since I've decided to shine a light on the judicial corruption I've witnessed in Alabama--and also spotlight the Don Siegelman and Paul Minor fiascos orchestrated by the Bush Justice Department--the GOP has decided I must be silenced. Their latest effort to silence me involves a threat to steal my house.
Why would the GOP hooligans threaten such drastic action? I can think of three major reasons:
A. Every word I've written on this blog is true--and the GOPers know it. They also know that I have credibility in the areas of journalism and law. If I were railing about some general injustice that I could not articulate--regarding some law and facts that I did not understand--the GOPers would not care. But Legal Schnauzer is about specifics; it's about real law, a real case, and real corruption. That's why I'm a threat to the GOPers. They know that I know what I'm talking about. And they know I've only scratched the surface of what happened in my case. They know about the details that are coming, and they don't want you to know about them.
B. Alabama Republicans already control the executive and judicial branches of state government. They are determined to take over the legislative branch. Bob Riley has started a major fundraising effort designed to accomplish that goal. And U.S. Attorney Alice Martin reportedly has 10 indictments planned--with the one of Sue Schmitz being the first--designed to target Democrats in the Legislature and help Republicans take control.
Why does Legal Schnauzer matter? Because it could throw a major wrench into those plans. My case is probably the clearest current example of Republican abuse of the justice system, and it goes all the way to the Alabama Supreme Court.
Here's what I mean by the "clearest current example:" The best known cases of Republican abuse of the justice system are the Don Siegelman case in Alabama and the Paul Minor case in Mississippi. Both have received substantial national attention, deservedly so. But both are complicated criminal cases, involving lengthy trials, mounds of evidence, numerous witnesses, and (eventually) massive transcripts. I've studied the Minor transcript, and after a lot of reading, you can clearly see the corruption of Judge Henry Wingate. If a transcript of the Siegelman case ever becomes available, I suspect similar wrongdoing by Judge Mark Fuller will become apparent. But it's hard to find the sleaze in big cases like that. It's easy to see the sleaze in the Legal Schnauzer case. The crux of it is contained in a few pages, which are public record. To unearth all of the sleaze in my case is a little more complicated than that. But the main stuff is easy to see.
And what does it prove? That Republican trial judges in Shelby County acted corruptly in my case. That our appellate courts--all Republican (on the civil side) at the time--corruptly allowed the unlawful trial-court judgment to stand. And remember this critical point: Bill Swatek, the attorney who filed the lawsuit against me and benefitted from numerous unlawful rulings, has direct family ties to Governor Bob Riley and U.S. Attorney Alice Martin. Swatek's son, Dax Swatek, was campaign manager for both Riley and Martin.
What does all of this this mean? It means that my little Legal Schnauzer case can prove that our Republican-controlled judicial branch is corrupt? And it can prove that the executive branch is complicit in that corruption, with people having ties to the Riley administration receiving unlawfully favorable treatment. So if the public came to know about and understand my case, it would see that Alabama's judicial and executive branches are corrupt under Republican control. Do you think that would hurt the GOP's chances of taking over the legislative branch? I think it would, and I think that's a major reason they want this blog shut down.
C. Legal Schnauzer goes way beyond Alabama, reflecting directly on the Bush Justice Department. We will show how Alice Martin has intentionally covered up federal crimes committed by Republican judges in Alabama state courts while viciously going after Democratic legislators such as Sue Schmitz. That is classic selective prosecution. More specifically, my case illustrates the flip side of the Siegelman case, where a public official was prosecuted for political reasons. In my case, multiple public officials are not being prosecuted for political reasons--because they are Republicans, members of the "home team."
We will show in searing detail how Alice Martin goes about suppressing cases that she doesn't want to come to light. In fact, I will present an e-mail exchange I had with Ms. Martin--when she did not know I was a blogger; she clearly thought I was a troublesome citizen presenting evidence of criminal wrongdoing that she didn't want to hear about--someone she could easily brush off. Well, Ms. Martin was not able to brush me off so easily. And in the process of trying to get rid of me, she reveals exactly how she goes about conducting her official business in a partisan manner. That's coming up on this blog.
But first, we will examine the political connections between Alice Martin, Bob Riley, and the people behind the fraudulent lawsuit I've been fighting.
Is it any wonder Martin, Riley, and their GOP sycophants want to shut down Legal Schnauzer?