Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley is not the first to abuse law-enforcement power to target my wife and me; oily Alabama lawyer Rob Riley beat him to the punch

Rob Riley: He invented
abuse of police powers
against Legal Schnauzer
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has pressured law enforcement to seek dirt on me in an effort to stop our Legal Schnauzer reporting about the governor's affair with aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason, according to a report this week from Bill Britt, of Alabama Political Reporter (APR). I have followed Britt's work for several years, and I see him as an excellent journalist with solid sources, so I believe the report is on target. But I do not believe Bentley is the first to use law enforcement against my wife, Carol, and me. In fact, it's obvious the idea did not originate with Bentley.

That leads to this question: Are the federal and state authorities investigating Bentley's misuse of law-enforcement resources to target me also going to scrutinize others who have done the same thing.

By "others," I'm referring to Homewood attorney Rob Riley (son of former Gov. Bob Riley, 2003-11) and the conspirators who helped him have me unlawfully arrested and thrown in jail for five months (from October 23, 2013 to March 26, 2014). Thanks to Rob Riley and Co., I became the first U.S. journalist to be incarcerated since 2006 and the only one to be imprisoned in the Western Hemisphere in 2013. My research indicates I'm the only journalist in American history to be incarcerated because of a defamation lawsuit (which had no basis in law or fact) that sought a preliminary injunction and resulting contempt order that have been unlawful under First Amendment law for more than 200 years.

Who were Riley's conspirators? Some are obvious from the public record. Riley's co-plaintiff was lobbyist Liberty Duke, and her attorney was Christina Crow, of Union Springs. Almost all members of the Riley Jackson Law Firm--Jay Murrill, Jeremiah Mosley, Keith Jackson, Francois Blaudeau--played a role in representing their boss/partner. Claud Neilson, pulled out of retirement in Demopolis to serve as "judge,"rubber stamped every document the Riley firm prepared for him, so it seems likely he was in on the scheme. Several Shelby County deputies--especially Chris Blevins, Jason Valenti, and Mike DeHart--trampled our Fourth Amendment rights, so their boss at the time (former sheriff Chris Curry) likely was involved.

I strongly suspect U.S. Circuit Judge William H. Pryor was a conspirator, given that law enforcement started swarming our home shortly after I reported about Pryor's ties to gay pornography, via full-frontal nude photos that appeared at in the 1990s.

How did abuse of law-enforcement authority take shape in the Riley case? Let us count just a few of the ways:

(1) Officers trampled our property for more than a week in the days after the Pryor/gay porn story broke. Birmingham Attorney David Gespass later viewed the unlawfully sealed case file--after visiting me in jail--and reported no summons had been issued at the time the sheriff's department started flexing its muscle. The deputies' story--and they came 2-3 at a time, always in multiple vehicles, often parked to block our driveway--apparently was that they were trying to serve us with the complaint in the Riley lawsuit. But if no summons had been issued, they could not have been attempting lawful service. Without a summons, officers had no lawful grounds to be on our property and they were committing criminal trespass and invasion of privacy. The evidence suggests the officers, in fact, were trying to arrest us, not serve us.

Liberty Duke
(2) Since we refused to fall for the "swarm the property" con game, Officer Mike DeHart was dispatched to attempt an even more dubious tactic. After conducting surveillance on our house for roughly two hours--according to sheriff's department records--DeHart stopped us in the parking lot of the North Shelby County Library, supposedly because I had rolled through a stop sign in our neighborhood. I knew the traffic-violation claim was bogus the minute it left DeHart's lips, but he only gave me a warning for that. But then the real fun began: DeHart extended the traffic stop, contrary to decades of Fourth Amendment law, to "serve" me with papers in the Riley lawsuit. If Gespass is correct, DeHart actually didn't serve me at all because his papers did not include a summons. Thus, I had no reason to appear the next day for a hearing. (DeHart did not even bother trying to serve Mrs. Schnauzer, who was with me at the time of the traffic stop.) Since our encounter with DeHart, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued an opinion in a case styled Rodriguez v. U.S. (2015), driving home the point that his actions were a gross violation of our right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. (A traffic stop, by law, is a seizure.) DeHart could not extend the traffic stop unless he had reasonable suspicion that our vehicle was connected to criminal activity. Even DeHart, as dense as he apparently is, never hinted at that. Once he returned the traffic-related documents (license, registration etc.) he, by law, had to let us go. But he didn't do that.

(3) When I challenged DeHart's "service" as unlawful, filing a motion to quash service, Deputy Chris Blevins and several colleagues (including Jason Valenti, who threatened to break my arms) were dispatched to our home to arrest me--no matter how many constitutional violations it took. As I pulled our car into the basement garage of our house, Blevins entered without showing  a warrant, saying he had a warrant, or even stating his purpose for being there. This violated state and federal law, but he then beat me up--violently shoving me to a concrete floor three times and dousing me with pepper spray. I then was dragged to the back seat of a squad car and driven to the Shelby County Jail in Columbiana, where I stayed for five months. as the story made international news.

Without a summons, Blevins and Co. were trespassers and kidnappers. That's how ugly the Riley case got.

What about Robert Bentley's abuse of law-enforcement power? What forms has it taken? We don't have a definitive answer to that question, but available evidence points to some very ugly actions, indeed--almost as if Bentley borrowed directly from the Rob Riley playbook.

Bottom line: If Robert Bentley is under criminal investigation, in part, because of his actions toward me, Rob Riley and Co. also should be investigated.


Anonymous said...

Bob Yancey reporting from Alabama;
It appears the Alabama State Goverment is holding a Chinese fire drill.
Back to you Roger

Anonymous said...

Straight from the Riley bag of dirty tricks.

Anonymous said...

Thursday July 14, 2011 FBI raids Mississippi Choctaw Gaming
Monday August 15,2011 Bingo trial verdicts
We are getting there

legalschnauzer said...

Just had an anonymous comment left on a post that is almost five years old, I guess because the author didn't want anyone to see it, which is understandable when you read it. But I am going to cut and paste the comment into the comments here. It shows the stupidity and cowardice of some people who claim to know the law, and it also gives me an opportunity to help educate the public about some important topics.

The comment was placed on this post from 2011:

Here is the comment:

Anonymous said...
You want to know why Beasley Allen did not represent you in your employment claim? It's because you didn't have one. Alabama is an at-will employment state, genius. And, as such, you can be fired for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. That has been the law in Alabama for a century. That means that blogging about politics - on your own time - can end in your termination, even if everyone on planet Earth thinks it was a bad reason. From reading your post, I suspect there were other reasons. I have multiple claims against UAB for clients who's claims actually exist under the law.

I am not associated with Beasley Allen or Judge Acker. But I am an employment attorney. Before you jump to conspiratorial conclusions and make accusations about a sitting federal judge and a respected lawyer, take a look at the law. Ridiculous.

March 30, 2016 at 12:43 PM Delete

My reply is next.

legalschnauzer said...

If you are an employment attorney, @12:43, you must be the worst one in the country. Your comment indicates you have no clue about employment law. A few points to show you are a con man (or woman):

* Most states are at-will employment states. Nothing unique in Alabama about that.

* The old "good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all" BS does not apply to cases that allege unlawfual discrimination (age, gender, race, etc.) or violations of clear constitutional rights (First Amendment).

* If you don't know that . . . well, no wonder you posted as anonymous on an old post where no one was likely to see your comment.

* You clearly have no clue about the factual issues in my case, and even if you did, you don't know the law so it wouldn't matter.

* If you want to discuss these issues further, feel free to contact me for a confidential dialogue at or (205) 381-5673. As it stands now, you are embarrassing yourself.

legalschnauzer said...

For those interested in reading up on the actual law raised in the above comments, here is one of many good articles on the Web. The title is "Can You Be Fired for No Reason?"

legalschnauzer said...

Oh, I forgot to add that my complaint alleged I was fired for unlawful retaliation, and tape-recorded evidence, every bit as clearly stated as the Bentley tapes, show that was true. Another exception to your at-will BS.

By the way, what "respected lawyer" are you talking about?

As for Acker, if you don't know he's a crooked old prune, you must be in a coma.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Robert Bentley and Rob Riley sharing a cell in a federal penitentiary.

Anonymous said...

I'm an employment lawyer too, and the guy who left the above comment is a phony or brain dead or both. You provided a correct statement of the law and gave the guy a tongue-lashing he deserves.

Anonymous said...

You gotta question a lawyer who does not know the difference between "who's" and "whose"

Anonymous said...

LS, just love it when you take apart a fraud like the guy at @1:48. He's probably still got scald marks on his ass. Hah!

Anonymous said...

This is @2:37 again and realized I left out a point of interest.

Beasley Allen does a lot of work with Rob Riley, and I'm guessing your "employment lawyer" commenter is unhappy about your post today on Rob Riley. He probably put the comment on an old post to hide what's really driving him--your Rob Riley post ticked him off.

A lot of people think Jere Beasley is a liberal, with a firm that fights for the little man. Not true, not even close to being true.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of employment, there is a notable job opening today.

Governor’s Office: Rebekah Mason resigns following scandal with the governor

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing, @4:02. Is this a sign that Bentley's plan is to throw a number of key folks under the bus?

Anonymous said...

Well, LS, you helped take down a federal judge (Mark Fuller) and now a senior advisor to a governor (Rebekah Mason). Who's next?

Anonymous said...

Another nice pelt to hang on the Schnauzer mantel. Hope it soon will be joined by pelts from Bentley, Riley, Riley, Riley, Strange, Garrison . . .

legalschnauzer said...

Now, if we can just get our mantel back. We lost it when our house was stolen out from under us via wrongful foreclosure. No mantel in our current flea-bag residence.

Anonymous said...

4:02 again.

I believe that he still thinks he can wait this out, and to him everyone else is expendable.

When this is a typical headline "Governor’s Office: Rebekah Mason resigns following scandal with the governor" only an boob addled old fool could fail to realize that he is the problem, and that this problem will only be solved with his immediate departure from power.

At this point the Governor is suffering the delusion that he is still in control of his destiny.

It has already been demonstrated that he is not that smart and apparently is in the middle of events cooked up at least in part by others.

Filing for an aborted name change won't fix it for him this time either.

The Lov Gov needs to throw himself under the bus right away. Figuratively of course, as his testimony will be useful to help to expose and convict his fellow miscreants.

The only thinking he needs to do at this time is to decide which of his co-conspirators he intends to rat out to save his own ass. John Law will probably be serving him last, after the others have already made their deals.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Liberty Duke was worth all the hassle.
The Riley Klan is a scary bunch.
But so is the Moore family.
Alabamammy is truly doomed.

Run Forrest Run!

MrsW said...

Would you accept an out of court settlement from Rob Riley tomorrow?

legalschnauzer said...

Can't answer that question, MrsW, without knowing what the settlement offer was. Also, can't answer because this involves more than just me; my wife, Carol, also has suffered major damages.

legalschnauzer said...

After receiving the comment @1:48, I decided to do a little research. Here are a few facts:

* I contacted the Beasley firm only because a reader/lawyer suggested I do it;

* My contact was with attorney Larry Golston and research asst. Ebony Parks;

* I sent them every document they asked for and, if my memory is correct, I talked with Mr. Golston on the phone.

* I was open to the possibility of Beasley Allen taking the case, but I never offered it to them. Mainly, I tried to give them the information they needed to understand the case.

* My records show that I inquired several times about the status of things from their end, and they simply quit responding to my queries. Not a very classy way to do business.

* They gave no reason for cutting off communications, but they gave zero indications that I had no case. I suspect the firm's ties to Rob Riley were the main reason they sidestepped the case. Also, I suspect the Alabama State Bar has made it clear that it prefers that attorneys steer clear of a reporter who writes accurately about the legal tribe.