|Kenneth Earl Dukes|
A black minister in Alabama has filed a federal lawsuit after a warrant mistakenly was issued for his arrest on drug charges.
Kenneth Earl Dukes lives in Montevallo, which is in Shelby County. That's the county where I live--and the jurisdiction where Mrs. Schnauzer and I have had our lives turned upside down by court-related corruption. I long have suspected that the rampant corruption in Shelby County is driven by deep-seated prejudice in official circles--based on race, religion, and political affiliation.
If you are non-white, non-evangelical, or non-Republican, you can be the target of grotesque discrimination. The Kenneth Earl Dukes case helps drive that point home--and I won't even pretend to be objective in my reporting on this story. I hope Rev. Dukes takes Shelby County's conservative hierarchy to the legal cleaners, perhaps with some pickings left over for me, Mrs. Schnauzer, and quite a few others I know who have been victimized in the "justice" system at Columbiana.
Dukes first sought a public apology after the Shelby County Sheriff's Office wrongly posted his photograph on the "Most Wanted" section of its Web site, saying he was charged with a drug crime. How could this happen to Rev. Dukes? I'm pretty sure I know the answer to that one: He's black, and in the minds of the Shelby County power structure, he fit the profile of a criminal.
That's much the same reason my wife and I were targeted for a massive cheat job in Shelby County Court. We don't have children, we aren't Republicans, we don't wear our religion on our sleeves, and we don't belong to an approved suburban mega-church. In Shelby County, Alabama, that can mean you have no dignity, no worth, and no rights.
Rev. Dukes apparently found that out, and when a sufficient apology was not forthcoming, he decided to sue. From a report at al.com:
A Montevallo minister who had a warrant mistakenly issued for his arrest on a drug charge and his picture posted on the sheriff's office most-wanted list has filed a federal lawsuit against the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Kenneth Earl Dukes, through his attorney, contends his constitutional rights were violated in 2010 when a member of the task force relied upon a confidential informant who picked Dukes' photo out of a lineup, which led to a warrant being issued for his arrest.
The suit contends that no investigation was conducted to confirm information given by the informant.
Why did Shelby County officials feel no need to conduct an investigation to determine whether Rev. Dukes was facing a legitimate criminal charge? Answer: In their white, conservative minds, they already were certain about it. "Hey, the guy's black, how much more proof do you need?"
How close does this hit to home? I addressed that in an earlier post about Kenneth Earl Dukes:
This is just the latest example of the dangers of being black or a Democrat in heavily Republican Shelby County, where I live and where the legal travails described on this blog began. Mrs. Schnauzer and I have a pretty good sense of how Pastor Dukes feels. After all, we had full ownership rights to our house stolen by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and we still are trying to get them back through the federal courts.
Would Kenneth Earl Dukes have had a bogus arrest warrant issued against him, with his picture plastered on the Shelby County Sheriff's Web site, if he had been a white Republican? Not on your life.
Regular readers know that Mrs. Schnauzer and I had the full ownership rights to our house stolen by Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry. This is the same Sheriff Curry who's had multiple race-based federal lawsuits filed against him and his sleazy department. (More on those lawsuits coming up in future posts.)
We captured the bogus sheriff's sale of our house on video, and we still are fighting to get our property rights back in federal court. I explained in detail on this blog how the sale could not lawfully take place--but it took place anyway. (You can check out videos related to the sale below.)
Why did that happen? Because we stood up to William E. Swatek, a corrupt Shelby County attorney who has a 30-year history of ethical violations with the Alabama State Bar. Swatek also has strong ties to the Alabama Republican Party and former Governor Bob Riley, through his son Dax Swatek, a GOP political consultant and former Riley campaign manager.
That's why our rights meant nothing in Shelby County, much the way Rev. Dukes' rights evaporated because of the color of his skin.
People often refer to places like Shelby County as an "old boys' club." But it does not involve only "boys." White, conservative women of a certain kind can join the club. Lindsey Allison, a local attorney and long-time member of the Shelby County Commission, seems to be a card-carrying member of the boys' club. My guess is that Lindsey Allison is aware of massive amounts of court-related corruption in her domain, and as a lawyer, she has an ethical duty to report it.
Specifically, I wanted to know if Allison would take information I had about corruption involving various Shelby County judges and lawyers and report it to the proper tribunal, as she is required to do by the ethics rules of the Alabama State Bar.
That prompted one of the most smug, condescending responses I've ever heard from a public official. Lindsey Allison informed me, in so many words, that she didn't care one iota about corruption that takes place right under her up-turned nose. She claimed she had no duty to report misconduct because she had no first-hand knowledge of any.
That's not what the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct say. Ms. Allison might want to acquaint herself with Rule 8.3, which states:
A lawyer possessing unprivileged knowledge of a violation of Rule 8.4 ["Misconduct"] shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation.
The knowledge does not have to be first-hand; it has to be unprivileged. That clearly is what the rule says.
I told Ms. Allison that I could provide her with reams of information about misconduct by Shelby County judges, specifically G. Dan Reeves and former presiding judge J. Michael Joiner (now on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals; he got promoted for being a corrupt, cross-eyed pig.) I told Ms. Allison that this information was contained in public documents and was indisputable.
Her reply? It wasn't her duty, and she wasn't interested. When I asked Ms. Allison if she was familiar with Bill Swatek and his reputation, she pretty much hung up on me.
That kind of attitude says a lot about why Rev. Dukes, in essence, was unlawfully "profiled" in Shelby County. You might call his crime "living while black."
Meanwhile, people like Lindsey Allison make a cozy living, largely from ensuring that Shelby County's massive loads of dirty laundry never get aired.
Kenneth Earl Dukes and his attorney, Martin Weinberg, seem intent on shining some much needed light on this corrupt little world. The cockroaches undoubtedly will be scurrying for cover.
Want an up-close look at how corruption is practiced in Shelby County, the kind that Lindsey Allison likes to ignore? Check out these videos of our house being stolen, in broad daylight. The first addresses the facts and law of the case. The second shows the actual sheriff's sale.
This is the environment in which Rev. Kenneth Earl Dukes had his reputation trashed, simply because he has black skin.