Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The nontraditional press did all of the heavy lifting on the story of wife-beating federal judge Mark Fuller

Mark Fuller
Alabama's largest news organization is asking a state court to unseal a divorce file involving federal judge Mark Fuller, who is charged with beating his second wife in an Atlanta hotel room.

The file of Fuller's divorce from his first wife includes questions about domestic violence and drug abuse, al.com writes in an editorial, and that information should be available to Congress if it initiates impeachment proceedings against Fuller.

That's fine as far as it goes, but al.com leaves out a critical piece of information--it and other mainstream news outlets have done a miserable job of covering the Fuller story. In fact, nontraditional news sites, including our Legal Schnauzer blog, have done almost all of the heavy lifting.

Al.com, with its major operations in Birmingham, Mobile, and Huntsville, now is taking the moral high road on the Fuller story. But when news of Fuller's divorce broke in 2012, al.com was nowhere to be found. We did a search at al.com on "Mark Fuller divorce 2012" and found nothing on the case. We did a search for Fuller's first wife, "Lisa Boyd Fuller," and found nothing other than a brief reference to her in the new editorial.

How late is al.com to the party? It isn't even the first news organization to ask for the divorce file to be unsealed. Andrew Kreig, director of the D.C.-based Justice Integrity Project, led an effort to do that in May 2012. Bob Martin, publisher of the Montgomery Independent, and I lent our support to Kreig's effort, and you can read the petition here. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Anita Kelly, to whom al.com now addresses its request, did not unseal the file then.

Consider these ironic words from al.com's editorial:

Court documents available before the record was sealed give us insight into what the record contains.

We know that Fuller's wife asked him to confirm or deny whether he had physically abused her.

We know that she subpoenaed records from at least six pharmacies, asking each of them to list what prescriptions they had filled for Fuller.

How does al.com know that? It's because of reporting from more than two years ago in the nontraditional press. Does al.com make any mention of that? Nope.

Bob Martin, of the Montgomery Independent, broke the divorce story in his weekly print publication on May 16, 2012. We picked up on the story at Legal Schnauzer the next day and wound up writing four posts on the subject. We also published five documents from the case file to the Scribd online document-sharing site, including documents that strongly hinted at domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse. (See the Request for Admissions at the end of this post.)

Three days after our first post, Fuller's lawyer moved for the file to be sealed, and the motion was granted--even though court files in Alabama generally are considered public records.

Al.com is correct to state that Fuller's 2012 divorce case shines important light on the charges the judge now faces. It also is correct to state that the divorce file should be made available to Congress in the event of impeachment proceedings. But al.com should be honest enough to admit that it did nothing to inform the public about ugliness in Mark Fuller's personal life when it had the chance in 2012.

Does the nontraditional press matter in the United States of 2014. The Mark Fuller story provides evidence that the answer is a resounding yes.


Anonymous said...

Fuller will have a hard time lying his way out of the current mess because of the allegations in the divorce case. He has a history of this stuff, and that might make Congress take it seriously.

e.a.f. said...

The msm is most likely now "requesting" information because there might just be a bit of criticism going around. We have seen the NFL deal with alleged family abusers, but nothing about judges who are family abusers or extremely wealthy persons. If the court of public opinion is forcing the NFL leadership to "deal" with child and wife abusers, than can society do less than looking into the behaviour of judges.

We don't see or hear much about police family abusers. Does society think that people who abuse citizens, while on duty, stop abusing once they are off duty?

We like to think of spousal abusers as big tough and non white football players, gangsters, the usual hard drinking white working class men. Society doesn't look at those who hold positions of authority as spousal or child abusers. The ought to, because their conduct on the job doesn't stop when they go home, and vis versa. People in positions of authority need to be held to a higher standard.

When Dr. Hare, University of British Columbia, Canada wrote the first definitive description/definition of pyschopaths, they did the research in jails in British Columbia. Where did they think the rest of the psychopaths were? Perhaps in government and such occupations.

If spousal abuse is ever to end it needs to be brought out into the open and All who are guilty of it be exposed for what they are.

Even if the non traditional press did the heavy lifing on Mark Fuller, it is rewarding to note the MSM finally got with the agenda. It is the non traditional press which is leading the way in many areas which need light shone on them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for republishing the requests for admissions. Makes for very entertaining reading.

David in S. David said...

Somebody needs to interview Lisa Boyd Fuller. She knows what is in the sealed court file.

Michelle said...

You are absolutely correct in recognizing certain Alabama newspapers as being negligent in delivering responsible, factual, thorough, documented and unbiased news coverage to the citizens of your state - with regards to certain subjects.

You and your blog, and all that you have stood, endured and suffered for are living proof that this country cannot continue to be free as long as Americans depend on politically or financially motivated, inferior main-stream news organizations for truth.

The Mobile Press-Register coupled with Sheriff Hoss Mack of Baldwin County attempted to publicly discredit me and my blog regarding my child's disappearance and the well-documented facts that his body did not match Alabama autopsy reports.

News organizations realize their power is massive in reporting, that their stories are often "set in stone" for the general public, even if they are untrue or poorly researched. They know they nail the coffin shut on stories which should be further investigated by serious, conscientious authorities.

Congress should examine news agencies and stiffen requirements that any news agency advertising to the public to be honest should be delivering factual information and not half-truths, nor poorly researched stories. It is extremely important for Americans to be given the truth by trusted media sources, and that verdicts, guilt or innocence in any case is not determined by privately owned newspapers and their publishers and editors.

Freedom of the Press is a responsibility which should not be taken lightly.

There is an incredible connection between Alabama and Georgia that suggests the states may well be "joined at the hip" in many ways.

Anonymous said...

It is shameful to see how judges get away with crimes that the average person would be sent to prison for committing. Public sentiment is far too trustful and forgiving for some of the activities committed by these judges --- just because of their title.

I know from experience - My daughter was representing us on a case here in Georgia, during discovery she found evidence of corruption and possible criminal activity. The judge then wrote a fraudulent and defamatory order to get her off the case, so the truth would not come out about the corruption from within that city department. Then he acquired the help of an attorney friend and they filed a complaint with the Alabama State Bar to have her disbarred.

Although many complaints were filed against this judge, including a law suit, he refused to vacate that order.

Because of his title and political connections, (his Daddy is Governor of Georgia), she could not get any help in getting these lies vacated.

It is heartbreaking that she died from judicial assassination. The judge, attorney and Alabama State Bar harassed her to death!

Public beware - these judges have far too much power!

e.a.f. said...

if you want the laws to change, you have to vote for politicians who will change the laws or you run for office as an independent.

This is part of the problem with "elected" judges and a federal system which is more political patronage orientated than law orientated.