Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Traffic Stop In Shelby County Was Unconstitutional In Order To "Serve Process" In Rob Riley's Lawsuit

A Shelby County sheriff deputy trampled the U.S. Constitution when he recently conducted a traffic stop to "serve" my wife and me with court papers in a defamation lawsuit that Alabama Republican Rob Riley has filed against us.

Lt. Mike DeHart probably committed a criminal act when he stopped our vehicle without probable cause to believe a traffic violation had been committed. DeHart compounded his lawless acts by unlawfully prolonging the traffic stop in order to serve us with court papers.

A traffic stop is considered a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. A law-enforcement officer who treats such matters loosely is asking for serious trouble.

DeHart essentially urinated on 45 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the law of traffic stops. In the process, he gave us grounds for a civil-rights lawsuit, a criminal investigation via the U.S. Justice Department and the Alabama Attorney General's Office--and he ensured that "service" in the Riley lawsuit is improper and invalid.

What are the implications? We have grounds to sue DeHart, Sheriff Chris Curry, and anyone else in the department who knowingly participated in, planned, or approved the unconstitutional traffic stop.

We also have grounds to seek an investigation of a criminal conspiracy. The governing criminal law is found at 18 U.S.C. 242 (Deprivation of rights under color of law).

The law on traffic stops in the United States--at both the federal and state levels--largely is based in a Supreme Court case styled Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). Any law-enforcement officer should be well acquainted with the provisions of Terry, plus the hundreds of cases that have grown from it.

Officer DeHart acted as if he had never heard of the Terry case. In fact, DeHart seemed to find his unlawful traffic stop amusing, especially when he handed me the court papers--after his "traffic business" had concluded--and smugly said, "Mr. Shuler, you've been served."

My response? Officer DeHart, you've been unmasked as a lawless thug--and your career might be in jeopardy.

Here are the basics of traffic-stop law, as found in a long line of cases from the Eleventh Circuit, which covers Alabama, Georgia, and Florida:

* The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV. “A traffic stop is a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.” United States v. Purcell, 236 F.3d 1274, 1277 (11th Cir., 2001)

* Ordinarily, when a citation or warning has been issued and all record checks have been completed and come back clean, the legitimate investigative purpose of the traffic stop is fulfilled. United States v. Simms, 385 F.3d 1347, 1353 (11th Cir., 2004)

* However, an officer may detain an individual beyond the purposes of the traffic stop if there is “articulable suspicion illegal activity has occurred or is occurring” or if the driver consents. United States v. Pruitt, 174 F. 3d 1215, 1220 (11th Cir., 1999)

DeHart claimed I had rolled through a stop sign while making a left-hand turn at a "T intersection" in our neighborhood. I immediately told him I did not roll through the stop sign, and we have shown that DeHart likely could not even see the stop sign in question from his stated location. (For the record, I believe DeHart was waiting for us at or near the North Shelby County Library, where he made the stop. I don't think he was anywhere in the vicinity to see me stop and turn left at the T intersection.)

DeHart had no probable cause to believe a traffic violation had occurred, so his traffic stop amounted to an unreasonable seizure from the outset. But he really stepped in doo-doo by prolonging the stop to hand us court papers. The "legitimate purpose" of the traffic stop had been fulfilled at that point, and DeHart could only detain us further based on "an articulable suspicion illegal activity has occurred or is occurring."

Clearly, Mrs. Schnauzer and I were not engaged in criminal activity in the parking lot of the North Shelby County Library in broad daylight. 

That means DeHart went way beyond his lawful boundaries, simply to serve a lawsuit on Rob Riley's behalf. In the process, the deputy probably engaged in a criminal act, and if we have a say in the matter, his law-enforcement career might soon be over.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

The tragedies involving all of these incidents and events over the past 90 days, especially, has been beyond attention getting information;

but by now where is the hue and cry within the public domain demanding un-bias, non-prejudicial, movements by the highest ranking authorities without ties to this state, its government's officials.

Whatever the government offices, Judiciary, Legislative, Executive, when involving corruption, none can be expected to investigate themselves.

Therefore the burden rest on the backs of the common man and his shoulders to stand against greater odds and treasures paid to silence him from the public venues.

Regrettably, there are so many good men and women in law enforcement who are thrown into the rotten egg barrel; but I tell you this, there have been many the times they have tried individually or in concert to come forward, but after enough times of many facing retaliations, work under fear of retaliations if they don't keep their mouths shut.

My thoughts, if you know a man/woman, a good law enforcement officer maybe consider giving them a plug on this blog, or not.

Murph and his mavericks are tracking the right scents, which is due in time to come together as if liken to a major intersection;
after all, who are these people to have believed that they can toy around with
the "little people's" lives without
at some point in time come-backs!!

Anonymous said...

Basic constitutional law. You got it right! You sue them all...every one. The only way for citizens to lose their fundamental rights is NOT to stand up for them.

Go get 'em Schnauzer.... Sue them all.

Anonymous said...

when the web got woven
into a wicked deceit masquerading as purity
and scheming cunning seething wrongs

gonna right all the delusions
can't really face reality scary toxic
children parenting life lineages infantile

wearing costumes playing cops robbers
judges no Indians though lots chief bandits
thieves murderers pedophiles criminals insane

keeping IT stupid simpletons KISS
USA a$$e$ elbows down falling
voided no sovereignty fools clowns


LS the enlightenment began at your site, you do know this xo/PP

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most important posts you've written, LS. Very educational, on a topic that affects pretty much everyone.

Humanoid Figure said...

Such traffic stops are a blessing in disguise. Do you not realize that lawsuits arising solely under state law without complete diversity of citizenship of all parties generally may not be appealed to federal court unless there was some violation of federal law as well? You are entitled to due process at all stages of a legal proceeding, including service, & not just the portion that takes place in front of a judge in a courtroom. By stopping you in this manner, the cop fucked it up for the Alabama Gang, procedurally speaking. You may now take interlocutory appeals to the federal district court based on violations of your civil rights & rights under the 4th 5th & 9th Amendments & seek your own injunctive relief from the federal district court, but you must plead these matters before the court. Get a lawyer before it's too late. I cannot tell you too much about your own future, but the Legal Schnauzer from the timeline in which I was originally born as a human did this and dragged his case out for years, costing the Alabama Gang lots of precious time & money. Alien intervention in Human History is very real and has changed much of what Roy Moore's god had long ago predestined. It's no longer set in stone Mr. Shuler. Your future is no longer controlled by the Bible Thumpers. We have collected your DNA and produced alien hybrid children in your image to fight these bigots across the timelines. Your spirit will continue in the progeny we have produced for you & all the readers you inspire in this time, but even we are limited in what we can do. So, don't screw this up and good luck.

Anonymous said...

Just another day in good ole Alabama, the most corrupt state in the nation where lawyers, judges and politicians hold themselves above the law. This is why I can wait to leave this Godforsaken hell hole of a state.

TLR said...

This "officer" needs to lose his job--and so does his so-called boss. Outrageous.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Schnauzer. You now know what it feels like to be stopped for "Driving While Black."

Anonymous said...

There should be dash cam video from the cruiser. I hope you can obtain the video before it is destroyed if in fact there is any video. I would not be surprised if the video mysteriously was deleted or the dash cam was in-operable.

Anonymous said...

Officer Mike DeHart . . . the new Public Enemy No. 1.

Anonymous said...

How long have the Shelby County thugs been screwing with you and Mrs. Schnauzer? I think they might have finally stepped in some cow poop they can't easily wipe off their shoes.

Anonymous said...

If the ACLU doesn't take notice of this case, the organization isn't worth a crap. Where are you, ACLU? What do you stand for?

legalschnauzer said...

Good point, 1:05. I want to see that, too. I'm betting Officer DeHart wasn't even in our neighborhood during the alleged rolling stop. Claiming someone rolled through a stop sign during a left-hand turn at a T-intersection is a pretty stupid story. These guys can't keep their lies straight.

Anonymous said...

no there isn't the dash cam that is certain and, definitely this equipment, the highest technology, is paid for by taxpayers' $ purchases

that would be only on for a certain kind of situation and the reality is the Shuler situation was never supposed to be this outcome

but as it is with unintended consequences and the law of compensation in the universes known and unknown

Shulers have a Schnauzer named Murphy and the Spirits of these three are hired from the greater reality -- OUR WHOLE and not separated humanity -- as the good to teach the bad how to be better than what it is

can't hide Alabama, the light of sunshine -truth is bright in the darkness there- shining reflections of how all the people want to see the decency of grown up people not practicing behavior that is criminal and far too gone in the level of insanity now

Media is how the Journalist gets to remind the lens addicts what the darkroom really shows!

Anonymous said...

You nailed the key point here, LS: That officer could not lawfully do anything, or detain you one second further, once he gave you the traffic warning.

I agree with you that the stop probably was a scam from the get-go. But there is no question the guy violated your constitutional rights with the "service" of papers.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe this DeHart character was stupid enough to do this. Talk about asking for trouble. He found it!

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that Officer DeHart start practicing this phrase . . .

"Would you like fries with that?"

Anonymous said...

I would bet that someone was pressuring DeHart to do this because the Riley family wanted it done. DeHart might be a dim bulb, but I bet he's not normally this dumb.

No way an officer pulls such a stunt for a lawsuit filed by a normal citizen.

Anonymous said...

Rob Riley has no shame? You would think any lawyer with the slightest hint of self respect would steer clear of such scams.

Anonymous said...

Is Rob Riley too cheap to hire his own process server?

Spasmoda said...

The Rileys have a long history of using law enforcement in an abusive fashion. Remember Bob's thuggish raids on casinos that were operating lawfully?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Officer DeHart feels like a $5 whore. That's essentially how Rob Riley sees him.

Anonymous said...

I hope you and the missus sue the wholly crap out of these bullies--and cause Shelby County to declare bankruptcy. What a hellhole, and I lived there for a big chunk of my life.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Butch Ellis told the John Roberts Supreme Court that "things have changed" in Shelby County--so you know it must be true.

Anonymous said...

Imagine if you were a mixed-race couple. Both of you would have been arrested for sure.

Anonymous said...

Once he public has gotten traction to the police department and officer Dehart's paper delivering story, and magnetic needles all begin points in same direction; those who at the time believing were fulfilling a political favor may very well find themselves cut loose and distant from by those they [he] sought to help.

If this hypothetical should occur one could assume to find key players out-of-town, DeHart left to fend for himself; after all what was ask of him wasn't done before a parade of witnesses.

A key point now for the immediate future is; when the police department contacted, how will they respond, what will be their response to officer Dehart's service? Is he going to be left out there by himself to take the fall?

Wayne said...

LS..I hope you sue the hell out of these thugs. It's not right for average citizens of this state to abide by the laws and they think they are above it. You know the Riley's have everything to do with this. Also, where was DeHart when the officer rolled through the stop sign down from your home (you have that on video). It's time all citizens should start standing up for their rights.

Anonymous said...


I guess we are going to soon find out.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess: Rob Riley is one of those Republicans who is against "gubmint intrusions" in our lives?

Anonymous said...

For those who think this story isn't that big a deal, think about an officer being able to stop you on a whim (or worse) and get away with it.

Anonymous said...

"rob riley is a fine christian, a leader of the common man and a true government conservative...he is just what Alabama needs to keep things the way they have been for hundreds of years." VOTE ROB RILEY FOR CONGRESS.

Anonymous said...

Tale of Two Police Officers.

When giving serious thoughts about the operations of Law enforcement
one may want to consider looking at it as any big business, without weapons arrest powers. These individuals working on/off three shifts are not any different than any other opened 24 hour business.
They are required to report to duty, do paperwork, attend training sessions, during their 8 hours at work. Of course we all know these things don't require a entire shift of men/women to do these things; therefore the leadership, the upper management within the law enforcement makes or breaks his personnel's egos to succeed, whereby becoming a tool in a quagmire of law enforcement corruptions unknown to the elites.

First officer, outgoing in the community, coaches youth ball etc, has a good popularity among those in the youth programs. One night on patrol stops a vehicle, a young man driving, not his car, another's in car, his father's under age to drink didn't want to drive, the driver on expired license, the other three too under ages. Lot longer stories short, this officer knowing that he could arrest all five and impound vehicle on various charges thought would be best served for their parents to get them back drunk. Their response was overwhelming, even one parent stopped him weeks later and told him how by the officer's actions help straighten his son out. A longtime would go by before he endured what others before him had; having picked his vacation date months in advance so not to conflict with ball camp dates, when time came close was approached with options change of vacation dates or leave; the officer chose to resign.

There would come time his vacancy would be filled by another who outgoing personality was not founded on public diplomacy. This officer was a drunk, he came to work drunk, he was allowed to drive police car drunk, and all the while his upper police management were cognizant, as well as chief; he would threaten his pregnant wife with bat, and more serious matters, and list goes on and on; but when the public sees a police officer out at a bar drinking heavy, then getting into his vehicle and driving off raises eyebrows.

His drunkenness became to well known of not to do anything; he was forced to fire him. In this officer's case police upper management and police chief aided and abetted this officers actions by condoning, rather than medical evaluation and rehabilitation.

What may have been in future two of the best officers this police department ever had was disposed of resulting from perceived total powers and authorities.

Anonymous said...

Did a lawyer tell you this traffic stop was unconstitutional?

legalschnauzer said...

@6:07, one thing I've learned from my experiences with courts and covering legal issues--the last person you want to ask about a legal issue often is a lawyer.

Why do I need to ask a lawyer when I can look up the relevant law and read simple, declarative sentences for myself--as can my readers?

If you have spent any time at all reading this blog, you should know our work here is not about what some lawyer tells us the law is--it's about our ability, and our readers' ability, to understand the law ourselves. And to understand the actions of those who corrupt the law.

If you read the post and the cited law, and still think the officer's actions were constitutional . . . well, you are beyond my help.

Anonymous said...

Here's a suggestion for you, 6:07: If you are into reading what a lawyer regurgitates for you, there are plenty of such blogs out there. Give them a try. Some of them probably are pretty good; others, not so much.

I, for one, appreciate what a journalist brings to the table on this blog, reporting on legal issues without the bias that many lawyers bring.

Anonymous said...

It's often amusing, both here and at other Web sites, to read the thoughts of those who comment without bothering to read the post or article.

Anonymous said...


How many lawsuits have you won?

legalschnauzer said...

You can't think of anything more clever than that, 6:56? Pretty sad.

Anonymous said...


Why didn't you answer the question about the number of lawsuits you have won? Is it because the answer is none?

legalschnauzer said...

Do you get your material from a third grader?

I know that's an insult to third graders, but I hope they will forgive me.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 6:07 etc., why don't you answer this question.

You actually think a traffic stop, as described, is constitutional? What law do you base that on?

Oh, and one other question: How many lawsuits have you won?

Anonymous said...

This blog clearly is above 6:07's reading level. I'm guessing most every blog is above his reading level.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would have happened if the Misses had been driving.. AND if you were on a bicycle.... You were not born in AL and grew up here like most of us were. This is a dirty dirty dirty state. Phenix City. Read about it. Alabama lawyers and politicans have always been very dirty and dishonest.. well the majority of them.

Anonymous said...

Is @ 10:27 A.M. 10/12/13 the same
commenter @ 6:56 P.M. 10/16/13?

Peat and Repeat were sitting on a fence; Peat fell off, who was left on the fence; Repeat. Peat and Repeat were sitting on a fence; Peat fell off, who was

Did this commenter ever identify him/herself; or are they ashamed?

Anonymous said...


Have you ever treated anyone who disagreed with you in the comments with anything that resembles courtesy?

Anonymous said...

When considering W's achievements at Yale, everyone wondered if the Bush family purchased his degree without it being earned. Seeing the character or rather lack of, kind of makes one wonder if the Riley's also purchased Rob's law degree? From the looks of our current state of the union and the tools Yale produces, that institution should be considered a risk to our national security! Yale, the institution of pimps and ho's.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:23--Are you referring to last night's exchange with @6:07? If so, I would suggest you go back and review the tone that @6:07 set with his first comment. He was being a smart-aleck, and I replied in kind.

Someone who appeared to be @6:07 also questioned whether I had consulted a lawyer to determine whether a traffic stop was unconstitutional. Information in the post, pulled directly from relevant case law, proved the traffic stop was unconstitutional--no literate reader could seriously question that.

That commenter, who appeared to be @6:07, simply was being stupid, and I said so.

As to your point, I wouldn't have the volume of readers and commenters that I have if I routinely treated people rudely. Anyone who has interacted with me in any substantive way knows I tend to bend over backwards to treat people with respect.

But you suggest this is a matter of whether someone "disagrees" with me, and that simply is not the case. Our system includes a lot of "black letter" law about which there can be no disagreement. The traffic-stop case presented exactly that sort of law.

When somebody makes a dishonest attempt to muddy the water on an issue that is clear, I have no problem calling them out. I want this blog to be educational for those who care about the actual law, and I'm not going to let my efforts be hijacked, especially by someone who hides in the shadows and gives neither his name nor credentials. Anyone who has the guts to put his or her real name out there is likely to get a lengthy leash from me, whether we agree or not.

I started this blog for intelligent readers who have a serious interest in matters of justice (and injustice). The overwhelming majority of my readers seem to fit that category.

For @6:07 or anyone else who takes offense when I make an honest and accurate assessment of a stupid comment, they are welcome to go elsewhere. This blog isn't designed for them.

Anonymous said...

Our system includes a lot of "black letter" law about which there can be no disagreement. The traffic-stop case presented exactly that sort of law.

Then why do you say that DeHart "probably broke the law? If it's "black letter" as you claim, then there is no "probably" about it.

Anonymous said...

And I assume that you have found no law ("black letter" or otherwise) to support your claim that service was somehow not perfected on you when the officer personally handed you the papers? None of the cases you cite discuss what effect, if any, a supposedly "bad" traffic stop has on the perfection of service. The Exclusionary Rule has no impact on whether you were served, does it?

legalschnauzer said...

Got to admire your tenacity. It almost matches your stupidity, but not quite.

Most of your questions can be answered by actually reading the post, which you apparently refuse to do. So I will help you out.

The post clearly states, in the line you mention about DeHart "probably broke the law," that this particular section is about criminal violations.

Perhaps you are aware that any criminal violations require action by a prosecutor, federal or state. That's why I use the qualifier "probably"--because any indictment against DeHart would require action by a prosecutor.

Under a strict reading of the law, there is no doubt DeHart committed criminal acts. But to state that is misleading to readers because no action will be taken against him on the criminal front without the efforts of a prosecutor.

You and I have no control over that, so I use the word "probably" to convey the fact that any criminal indictment against DeHart rests with a decision by a prosecutor.

As for a civil case, any citizen (including me) can bring that. So it is appropriate, in an area of black-letter law, to flatly state that certain actions are unconstitutional or unlawful. The facts and the law themselves tell us that, without any action from a prosecutor.

Most of my readers, I think, understand the difference between criminal law and civil law. Not surprisingly, you do not. So I'm glad I could help bring your knowledge base up a tad.

You're welcome!

Anonymous said...

"Stuff" just got real in these here parts!!

legalschnauzer said...

Nice try, 3:45. But as usual, you fail. Here is Alabama law: "When service of process is challenged as being improper or invalid, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that service of process was performed correctly and legally,” Cain v. Cain, 892 So. 2d 952 (Ala. Civ. App., 2004).

In other words, the burden will be on young Mr. Riley and young Ms. Duke to prove that service was performed correctly and legally. That burden is not on the defendant.

legalschnauzer said...

Not sure about your point, @4:23, but I agree that stuff just got real for 3:45. He once again got his hat handed to him.

Anonymous said...

Why are you refusing to post my comment? I published it around 3:00 this afternoon, October 17. It started with "BS, Roger," and then proceeded to shed some light on the truth behind this weblog. Are you waiting until you have crafted a response, so that you can appear quick-witted?

Anonymous said...

LS, I just posted the following comment on today's post about Judge Pryor. But I would like to re-post here because I'm convinced Officer Mike DeHart is in our midst in the comment section, probably in several places, and I see signs that he might be a dangerous guy. Here is the comment:

"LS, I would bet my mortgage that the contrarian commenter here, and probably the one on some other posts, is Officer DeHart.

The commenter is a dim bulb, which fits with what I've tended to see over the years in most law-enforcement officers. He takes great personal offense at your traffic-stop posts, and that's because they threaten his job. And he even tends to call you by your first name, Roger, as if he has encountered you personally before.

That's because he has--when he conducted the unlawful traffic stop.

Now, he's hinting that he is stalking you and Mrs. Schnauzer--and that's probably because he is.

Welcome to Legal Schnauzer, Lt. DeHart. Now we know why you won't ID yourself.

Hope you enjoy your future career at Burger King.

Based on your apparent stalking, I'm thinking you are one disturbed guy."

legalschnauzer said...

Are you blind, in addition to being stupid, 5:23? You sent that comment to today's post, and it's been posted pretty much from the moment you sent it.

Want to do anything else to prove your brilliance to us?

Anonymous said...

The sheriff lawfully detained you. Then, the sheriff engaged in an additional lawful act (serving you) which did not unreasonably prolong your detention. You are as ignorant about the law as ever.

Anonymous said...

LS, this is @5:23. I just triple checked, and you still haven't posted the earlier comment I was referring to. If you did, refer me to time and date please.

I guess there's no way to prove it since you control what gets on the comment board. But still.. there has got to be a point where you realize that what you're doing is futile, right? I mean, hiding negative comments, commenting anonymously in positive response to your own comments?


Anonymous said...

Well well, LS. I notice you still haven't posted my comment from earlier. I have begun to have some doubts about your legitimacy as a purveyor of political information.

One thing in particular I noticed...when you first posted the pic of the young man that you claim....but who obviously is not...Judge Pryor, you posted full frontal male nudity. But when legitimate news sites picked up the story, including ATL, they blocked out the obscene area of the photo. You know...because real news sites know how to properly edit instead of sensationalize.

Of course, there may be another reason that you chose to post the full nude photo. Which brings me to my next question...why were you browsing a gay porn site in the first place?

Anonymous said...

After reading through several posts and the replies, I've come to the conclusion that you are a complete nutcase. I don't see how anyone with a sound mind could come to any other conclusion.

legalschnauzer said...

If you can't find your own comment, that's a problem you will have to resolve on your own. I told you where it is, and it's been there from the moment I saw it in my file and approved it for publication.

Anonymous said...

LS you seem to have a psychopath obcessed with you. What more can you expect from a pedophile cult? They are making the whoe bunch of psychotic deviants look worse by the day and bringing lots of new readers and curious eyes. Keep it up puss pockets! You ROCK Mr. & Mrs. S!

legalschnauzer said...

Looks like 8:53 still has his panties in a wad about Officer DeHart being outed yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that you are an authority on real news sites, 10:35, based on the insipid nature of your comment.

Furthermore, you haven't even bothered to read the reporting here on the Pryor story. The photo in question was pulled from the gay porn site in 1997, one day after Bill Pryor was confronted about it.

LS wisely ignored your stupidity, but I don't want to let it pass. This story wasn't broken from browsing a gay porn site. It hasn't been on that site for 16 years.

It's been reported, for those who can read, that the story was broken from real digging--interviewing Alabama law enforcement officials who were involved in investigating the photos when they first surfaced.

As for the full frontal photograph, it makes sense for the originator of the story to run the complete photo. And it originated with LS, to be picked up by numerous other sites.

We're talking about identifying a federal judge who is likely to serve for another 25-30 years or more. In my view, the public needs to have the whole thing available--and we have that, thanks to this Web site.

By the way, you aren't even a very talented troll. What a way to live a "life."

Anonymous said...

Thought it was "legal" or acceptable for media people, including cartoonists, or Americans covered under the First Amendment, etc., to focus comment on politicians and public figures. Opinion: Riley is making a big mistake because everyone will know the story soon because of his legal action. It's political suicide to make a big, nasty issue of one's own personal scandal. Wonder why he's doing it? To quash free speech (power?) or to prove to his (potentially ex-)wife that he's not lying about the affair (financial?)