Monday, June 2, 2008

Alice and Me: The Road to Political Prosecution

My communication with Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, started in January 2007. It began with three pieces of snail mail, followed by an e-mail exchange that clearly shows the way Martin practices political prosecution.

My intent in contacting Martin was to let her know of the public corruption I had witnessed firsthand by Republican judges in Alabama state courts. This corruption also involved William E. Swatek, a Pelham, Alabama, attorney who has family ties that run right up to the doorstep of the Bush White House. Bill Swatek also has an almost 30-year history of corrupt activities in the legal profession.

Bill Swatek's son, Dax Swatek, is an Alabama Republican "consultant" who has worked closely with Bill Canary, who has strong ties to Karl Rove. And I didn't know this at the time I wrote the letter you are about to read, but guess who Dax Swatek served as campaign manager in a 2000 race for a seat on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals?

Why, none other than Queen Alice Martin Her Ownself.

So I was a naive soul when I wrote the following letter. I thought there was at least a chance Alice Martin was an honest public servant. And I had no idea she had connections to the family that was at the very heart of the corruption I had witnessed.

If I had known that from the outset, I probably would have never written the letter. But I'm glad I did write it because now I can show Legal Schnauzer readers what a corrupt dirtbag Alice Martin really is.

A few notes about this initial letter to Queen Alice:

* A person who'd had interactions with Martin told me she has a colossal ego. This person said my best chance of success was to play to that ego. That's why the first paragraph reads the way it does. I know that paragraph makes me sound like a suck-up, and I want to vomit when I read it. But like I said, I was a naive soul at the time.

* One of Martin's assistants, Matt Hart, had blown me off in a phone conversation, claiming a regular citizen like me couldn't possibly know the law involving a federal crime like honest-services mail fraud. I wanted to let Martin know I had done my homework, so in this first letter, I focused on the law rather than the facts of my particular case.

* My original letter included some references to wrongdoing outside Shelby County. But I have not covered those subjects in any detail yet in my blog, so I have deleted them from this letter. For now, I want to focus on events in Shelby County, events I have written about extensively on Legal Schnauzer.


Roger Shuler
5204 Logan Drive
Birmingham, AL

Jan. 14, 2007

Alice H. Martin
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama
1801 4th Ave. North
Birmingham, AL 35203-2101

Ms. Martin:

I have been impressed that you and your office have been willing to take on a number of public corruption cases (Richard Scrushy, Don Siegelman, Chris McNair, Jeff Germany, etc.). I would like to let you know about public corruption I have experienced at the hands of judges and lawyers in Shelby and Jefferson counties.

I am a citizen, not a lawyer, but I have spent considerable time studying statutory and case law related to 18 U.S. Code 1341-1346. I have become well acquainted with the resources available at the Jefferson County Law Library, and I am convinced that federal mail and wire fraud statutes have been violated in my case.

As you know, the U.S. Justice Department has made public corruption a top priority, so I trust that your office will want to pursue this aggressively. Who are the wrongdoers in my case? They include J. Michael Joiner and G. Dan Reeves (Shelby County), all of the judges on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, and Birmingham-area attorney William Swatek.

These people have repeatedly committed or conspired in the commission of mail and/or wire fraud. How do I know this? Let me count the ways:

• These judges have: (A) Perpetuated a scheme to defraud that includes a material deception; (B) with the intent to defraud; (C) while using the mails in furtherance of the scheme. These are the fundamental elements of mail fraud. (Neder v. U.S., 527 U.S. 1, 1999). I have clear and convincing evidence related to all elements.

• What is a scheme to defraud? Courts have defined it as "a departure from community standards of 'fair play and candid dealings.'" (U.S. v. Autori 212 F. 3d 105, 2000.) I have clear and convincing evidence of this.

• What is intent to defraud? Courts have defined it as "a willful act by defendant with specific intent to deceive or cheat." (U.S. v. Stephens, 421 F.3d 503, 2005.) I have clear and convincing evidence of this.

• When does a person cause the mails to be used? Courts have said this occurs when he or she "acts with knowledge that the use of the mails will follow in the ordinary course of business." (Pereira v. U.S., 347 U.S. 1, 1954.) I have clear and convincing evidence of this.

• What about the "in furtherance" element? This requirement is satisfied by showing that the mailing was "incident to an essential part of the scheme." (Schmuck v. U.S. 489 U.S. 705, 1989.) I have clear and convincing evidence of this.

• Did the scheme succeed? The judges' scheme, perpetuated with the help of the attorneys noted above, succeeded to an extent, causing me significant financial harm. But success of the scheme is irrelevant. The prosecution simply must show that "the defendants' scheme, if successful, would have deprived an individual of interests protected under the statute." (U.S. v. Brown, 79 F. 3d, 1550, 1996.) I have clear and convincing evidence of this.

• What about the "honest services" component included under Sec. 1346? Courts have stated that a public official has a duty to disclose information regarding a personal interest that may affect his judgment and therefore "undisclosed, biased decision making . . . regardless of tangible loss to the public . . . constitutes a deprivation of honest services." (U.S. v. Lopez-Lukis, 102 F.3d 1164, 1997.) I have clear and convincing evidence of such biased decision making.

• Did these judges receive personal gain from their scheme? I don't know. But that is irrelevant under the law. Courts have held: "The prosecution need not prove that the scheme was successful or that the intended victim suffered a loss, or that the defendant secured a gain. The gist of the offense is a scheme to defraud and the use of interstate communications to further that scheme." (U.S. vs. Louderman, 576 F. 2d 1383, 1978.)

• In the end, courts have made it simple: "The loss of good faith services alone establishes the breach." (U.S. v. Silvana, 812 F. 2d 754, 1987.)

• I should make special mention of Attorney William Swatek’s role in all of this. Mr. Swatek is based in Pelham and has practiced law in Alabama for more than 30 years. He filed the fraudulent lawsuit against me that started all of this. Public records show that he has a lengthy history of ethical problems with the Alabama State Bar, including a suspension of his license. In all, he has been disciplined three times and has been tried for perjury in criminal court. In the course of this case, he filed a motion that was fraudulent and designed to intimidate me into coming to a some sort of bad settlement. I have clear and convincing evidence that this motion is fraudulent, and Mr. Swatek used the U.S. mails to perpetuate the fraud. Aside from actions by the judges, it is absolutely clear that Mr. Swatek violated 18 U.S. Code 1341 in this matter.

What was the judges' and lawyers' motivations in this scheme? Some investigation probably would reveal several motivations. I suspect the bogus lawsuit was initiated to protect one of their favored constituents. But what about all of the activity that took place after the suit was filed? It appears that was clearly done to protect Swatek from the consequences of filing a bogus lawsuit. Under Alabama law, a party or an attorney filing a claim without any grounds to support it can face at least two serious consequences: (1) A lawsuit for malicious prosecution once the initial suit is dismissed; and (2) A party or lawyer can be held accountable for attorney's fees under the Alabama Litigation Accountability Act. By repeatedly ruling unlawfully in favor of Swatek's client, judges protected Swatek from the consequences of his actions.

As you can see, Alabama civil procedure and case law are at the heart of this case. Through my research at the law library, I have become well grounded in the relevant civil law related to my case. I can clearly lay out a pattern of wrongdoing that, because of the use of the U.S. mails, amounts to a federal crime.

Finally, I should note that I have closely followed a case in Mississippi involving attorney Paul Minor and former judges Oliver Diaz, Wes Teel, and John Whitfield. Diaz has been cleared on all charges, while the jury cleared the others of some charges and hung on others. I understand that Minor, Teel, and Whitfield will be retried on those outstanding charges this month.

My research on this case reveals several interesting facts. One, Minor gave money and loans to all three judges, but that is not illegal (although it probably should be). What is illegal? For any of the judges to make unlawful, biased rulings in favor of Minor and his clients. I've studied the relevant cases and seen no evidence yet that such unlawful rulings were made. Evidently no jury has seen it either—at least not yet. And still the case was brought in Mississippi, and it has received extensive coverage in The New York Times, Atlanta Constitution, American Lawyer, and other news outlets.

Meanwhile, in Alabama, I can show clear evidence of unlawful and biased rulings. Did money change hands? I have little doubt that it did, but it's irrelevant under the law. I can show you a far stronger case for mail fraud than the one in Mississippi, one where Alabama citizens clearly were deprived of their intangible right to honest services.

Polls after the recent November election indicated that the No. 1 concern on voters' minds, ranking even higher than the Iraq war, was corruption. What I have experienced is corruption of the worst kind, by people who are “officers of the court,” some who wear robes and go by the title "your honor." I urge you to treat this case with the utmost seriousness.

I request that someone from your staff meet with me so I can show them the details of my case. Thank you for your assistance.


Roger Shuler

P.S.—At the risk of sounding paranoid, I should mention that my wife and I strongly suspect someone connected to this lawsuit has been illegally tracking our telephone communication. I do not have the means to provide absolute proof of this. But I believe an investigation by the proper authorities would reveal criminal activity of some kind, perhaps wiretapping or placement of a pen register on our phone lines. My wife, who has a spotless personal and professional history, has had an extraordinarily difficult time getting a job over the past three years. Without going into too much detail here, I can tell you that she has lost out on several positions under very strange circumstances. As you can imagine, if this is happening, it has caused us serious financial and psychological harm and amounts to a federal crime. I sent an e-mail several weeks ago to the FBI’s corruption tips Web site, but I have heard nothing. I placed a call to the local FBI office, and while someone took a report over the phone, I’ve heard nothing further.

cc: Carmen Adams, special agent in charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
1000 18th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203

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