Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What Lies Ahead

Just wanted to take a moment to outline what we have coming up on Legal Schnauzer.

Of course, we will continue to follow the Don Siegelman case and other stories connected to the politicization of the U.S. Justice Department. And we will follow justice-related stories connected to Alabama and the Deep South, focusing particularly on Alabama state courts.

But we are developing three primary storylines connected to my personal experience with injustice:

1. Recent threats by authorities in Shelby County, Alabama, to unlawfully seize the house that belongs to my wife and me. We call this our "Jack-Booted Thugs" story.

2. My efforts to inform Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, about federal crimes that I have witnessed. These crimes--honest services mail fraud, conspiracy--have been committed by multiple state judges and at least one attorney, all with ties to the Alabama Republican Party. We will show how Ms. Martin intentionally covers up allegations of wrongdoing by members of the GOP "home team," sending them to the improper investigative agency so they can die without even being examined. We will call this our "Malice of Alice" story.

3. A pending legal malpractice case against my second attorney, a gentleman named Richard Poff, and the curious rulings by Jefferson County Judge Allwin Horn, who is (surprise, surprise) a Republican. We will call this our "Bad Judges and Cockroaches" story.

A few points to keep in mind as we move forward with these storylines:

* Evidence strongly suggests that the threat to seize our house goes well beyond Shelby County, Alabama. I will present information that indicates this example of "state-sponsored terrorism" is not just a local matter.

* A number of the characters who are central to the Siegelman case also have connections to my case. And the primary criminal charge in the Siegelman case, honest-services mail fraud, is central to my experience.

* My experience is a classic example of selective prosecution by the Bush Justice Department, a subject that has drawn the attention of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. While attention so far has focused primarily on individuals (such as Siegelman) who apparently have been prosecuted for political reasons, my case presents the flip side of that equation--where individuals are not prosecuted for crimes they clearly have committed, for political reasons.

* The legal establishment closes ranks to protect its own--even those it finds unsavory. Richard Poff, my second attorney, was involved in a whistleblower case in the 1990s that made him a pariah in the Birmingham legal community. The case received national attention, and the whole reason I contacted Poff was that, based on what I had read about the whistleblower case, I thought he was a man of integrity and courage. As you can probably guess from the fact that I've filed a legal-malpractice case against Poff, I was not pleased with my experience. But here is something interesting: You can mention the words "Richard Poff" to a Birmingham lawyer, and you are almost always going to receive one of three reactions--rolled eyeballs, clenched fists, foul language (or all of the above). But we will show that even a lawyer as unpopular as Poff draws protection from the judges who sit atop the legal pecking order.

Is there a unifying theme to all of this? I would suggest--to borrow a phrase from a popular blog--it's about Crooks and Liars.

Crooks and liars, of course, have always been a part of American life. But this seems to be a particularly fertile time for scoundrels to take root. This blog focuses primarily on scoundrels of the right, but you don't have to look too hard to find evidence that wrongdoers cross political boundaries. (See Spitzer, E.)

The three storylines that are coming up will give you details about my personal experience with crooks and liars. And I hope these stories hit home because, chances are, I'm not a whole lot different from you. I'm just a regular guy--Caucasian, 50ish, one wife, no children, two cats, one mortgage, aging parents, three siblings, gobs of nieces and nephews, the usual stuff.

While you might feel a bit removed from stories about the political prosecutions of public officials, I hope my story will draw you in and show you that crooks and liars are like those warnings you see on rearview mirrors: They can be closer than they appear.

First, let's turn to the latest in our "Bad Judges and Cockroaches" story.

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