Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Suspicious Tuscaloosa bail bondsman took steps that set off a chain of events leading to the arrest of attorney John Fisher Jr. on meth-trafficking charges

John Fisher Jr.
(From Tuscaloosa News)
A bail bondsman, fearing he was being set up for a drug offense, took steps that led to the arrest last Friday of a Tuscaloosa attorney and another man on charges of trafficking methamphetamine, according to a new report.

The bail bondsman received a visit from Christopher Shane Rushing, who left a backpack in the bonding company's office. That raised the bondsman's suspicions, and they raised even more when he noticed the backpack contained items used to make meth, according to a report at The Tuscaloosa News. 

The bondsman contacted law enforcement, sparking a complicated series of events that led to the arrest of Rushing and attorney John L. Fisher. At one point in the proceedings, Fisher held a gun at his office, in the presence of drug task force agents. Did that play a role in his arrest? We aren't sure.

Due to the convoluted nature of events, I will run the entire T-News article below and hope readers can figure it out. If you are like me, you probably will have more questions when you finish than when you began. Part of that is due to the way the newspaper chose to report the story. For the record, the T-News has a subscription site, so that means a limited number of people can see this coverage. Hopefully, we are doing a public service by including the full article here:

Meth bust details released

Court records say bail bondsman called police
Stephanie Taylor
Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at 9:22 p.m.

A bail bondsman who feared he was being set up called drug agents, sparking the investigation that led to the arrest of a Tuscaloosa attorney accused of meth trafficking.

The bondsman called the commander of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force Friday and reported that Christopher Shane Rushing had left a backpack at his office, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

He had opened the bag and noticed that it contained items used to make methamphetamine, according to files.

The bondsman then spoke with a lieutenant who arranged for narcotics officers to observe the bonding company on T.Y. Rogers Avenue. Afterward, he called attorney John Fisher's office to tell him about the bag, and that he suspected he was being set up, according to the court documents.

Agents watching the business saw Fisher arrive and later leave with the bag. They followed him to his office, and saw as Rushing later arrived. Rushing placed the backpack in his car and went back into the office, according to the court filing.

The agents confronted Rushing when he later left the law office and met a woman in the parking lot. They searched the bag and found 369 grams of meth oil, digital scales with meth residue, a bag of meth, lithium batteries, baggies and straws with meth residue. Agents went to speak with Fisher, who met them at the back door of the law office with a pistol in his hand.

Both men were arrested and charged with trafficking methamphetamine. Rushing faces additional counts of manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.

Fisher has practiced law in Tuscaloosa for nearly 20 years after earning his degree from The University of Alabama School of Law in 1997. He ran for the Alabama House of Representative District 63 seat in 2010, but was defeated by Rep. Bill Poole in the Republican primary.

A few questions that come quickly to mind:

(1) Why would anyone take drug paraphernalia to a bail bondsman's office, and why would he let it out of his control?

(2) Why was Rushing visiting the bail bondsman? Does he have a pending criminal matter? Does he have a criminal history. (Answer: Yes, and we will have more on that in an upcoming post.)

(3) Why did the bondsman place a call to Fisher? Had Fisher represented Rushing in a criminal matter? IF so, what were the charges?

(4) Why was Fisher holding a pistol when he greeted agents at the door to his office? Did that play a role in his arrest? Was he hit with a gun charge? If not, why not?

(5) Who was the woman that Rushing met in the parking lot? Why wasn't she been arrested? Will she be among the others expected to be arrested?

(6) Did agents search Fisher's office, and if so, did they find something that caused them to file trafficking charges against him? This account provides little evidence that Fisher was involved in trafficking.

(7) Why did the T-News omit certain details from its story? What is the bondsman's name, and what company does he work for? What is the lieutenant's name?

(8) Was the newspaper careful with certain details because it fears lives could be in danger? If that's the case, does it mean Fisher and Rushing are small pieces in a larger ring that includes some nasty individuals?


Anonymous said...

This keeps getting stranger...If they didn't want to name the bondman, why not name the bond company at least?

It's confusing that the bondsman called Fisher AFTER he called police. Why didn't he just let the cops handle it/ watch the bag to see who picked it up? (and like you said, who was the random woman?)

The other thing that's weird is why no one posted or seems to have a copy of Fisher's mugshot..they sure had Rushing's. Is there something telling about the mugshot? What about the incident report? Has anyone seen it?

Anonymous said...

The woman Rushing met in the parking lot seems to be a new character. Wonder who she is.

Anonymous said...

Has any other news outlet mentioned Fisher's ties to conservative political/legal circles and pointed out his many well-known conservative friends on Facebook?

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier (12:08) but forget to ask something.

Why did the bail bondsman think he was being set up? What am i missing? Is it normal for bail bondsmen to worry day-to-day about someone setting the up ( for no apparent reason)?

legalschnauzer said...

@2:04 -- I'm not aware of any such coverage elsewhere. To me, that angle is extremely important. This is not just any old lawyer with a solo practice. This guy is connected.

Unknown said...

Moreover, why did Fisher go to the Bondsman to pick up the bag? Why did Fisher come to the door with a gun? Was he afraid of someone? Were the police armed when they confronted Fisher?Because, usually, when the police meet citizens with a weapon, especially, people of color; its DEJA VU and as Yogi would add, all over again.

legalschnauzer said...

Good question, @2:08, and I don't really know the answer. My initial thoughts: (1) The bondsman saw the drug material inside the backpack and became concerned about a set up; (2) The bondsman has seen drug offenders try such things before; (3) The bondsman had some reason, based on previous experience, not to trust Rushing: (4) The bondsman thought Rushing was acting suspicious in a number of ways.

Would welcome thoughts from others.

Unknown said...

Moreover, why did Fisher go to the Bondsman to pick up the bag? Why did Fisher come to the door with a gun? Was he afraid of someone? Were the police armed when they confronted Fisher?Because, usually, when the police meet citizens with a weapon, especially, people of color; its DEJA VU and as Yogi would add, all over again.

Anonymous said...

Fisher's Facebook page seems to be gone with the wind. Guess his many exalted friends didn't much care for being tied to a meth case.

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, Shaheed, greeting cops at the door, while holding a gun, generally is not a good idea. Another man, especially one of color, probably would have gotten his head shot off.

Was Fisher actually threatening to shoot someone, maybe himself?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like just another day at the office for drug enforcement official. Most don't care with the daily goings on in the war on drugs. It's only went it come home to them or a close friend that they are alarmed at the actions of the good guys aka law enforcement. The war itself is doing more harm than the drugs. The game works this way, you get busted or more to the point set up by a friend, then law enforcement will say unless you what to spend the next forty years in jail, you need to set up two others for a bust. Now they don't have to be dealer, you just have to get them to share one of their pain pills with you while we record the act. Then they get busted and the process starts all over again. Now if you can set up somebody that is somebody in the community well big boy, you have hit the lotto. You can then expect some money and free dope out of the deal. That in a nut shell is a normal day in the war on drugs. The tax payers have paid a high price for this and thousands of good people have had their lives destroy by this process.

Anonymous said...

Good work on this one...I'm enjoying the new content this week....this story is heating up

Anonymous said...

You know what else is curious? That the bail bondsman's first call was to the W AL Task Force Director. Is that normal? Why not dial 911 or a buddy at the Tuscaloosa PD? Mr. Bondsman went right to the top!

Robby Scott Hill said...

The gun thing says it all. If it had been a Black Man in that situation, he'd have gotten shot. Goes back to what I was saying on yesterday's post. If you have an "in," with the right people, you can get by with stuff. People like McGarity can pick up a hooker who is really an undercover cop & tell her he wants to fuck. Then, he can violate your property rights. He keeps his job. You start a blog to complain about it & you lose your job & your house. McGarity's father was a lawyer. He had an in. We need to start our own mafia to get ourselves a way in.

Robby Scott Hill said...

With so many Tea Party types, from the Governor on down to local lawyers going down, one has to wonder if there is some super secret organization going after them. We have few resources, but what if someone with means like Milton McGregor is going after them. I say fuck John Caylor's personal problems with McGregor. If Milton can take out some Tea Partiers, we have a common enemy & I'm all for it. We live in an imperfect world & the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for a super secret org going after the bad guys, but I hope they don't stop with a few tea partiers!

legalschnauzer said...

Rob (@5:20) -- Lots of truth and insight in your comment, as usual. I think the gun thing goes beyond race. When the deputy arrived at my garage in 10/13, what if I had gotten out of my car with a gun. No doubt in my mind, I would have been blown away because, as you say, I don't have an "in" with the right people, even though I'm white. To the contrary, I'm an irritant to the "in" people. Can you imagine cops walking right into Fisher's garage, like they walked into my home. (And I was not remotely connected to any crime.) Can you imagine them bursting through Fisher's front door, like they did here in Missouri for an "eviction" that had been stayed by law, because of an appeal? Can you imagine them shattering Fisher's wife's arm because she was trying to retrieve her cat's litter box? And your point about McGarity is so on point it's scary. McGarity is an idiot, but as you say, daddy had a bar card, and that made a difference. McGarity also had the "advantage" of having an older brother who had been charged with theft, burglary and all sorts of other offenses. The brother had Bill Swatek defend him, and I suspect that's how Mike M wound up with Swatek as a lawyer. Swatek, of course, is a horrible lawyer, but he's connected, and that's all that matters. Mike M. himself had been through the system, having been charged with at least eight misdemeanors as an "adult," and God only knows what his juvenile record was like. I had never set foot in the system, so I had no idea how corrupt it really is. That's why I never should have entered it. I should have given McGarity one final warning, and when he came on our yard again, I should have shot his ass. That sounds harsh, I know, but self help is better than dealing with a law enforcement mechanism that is rotten from stem to stern. Depending on the circumstances -- he had already threatened me multiple times -- I might have gotten a 10-year sentence and been out by now. That probably would have been a better outcome than we've gotten from trying to follow the law. Here' my new motto: "If you have a problem, never call the cops thinking they will help solve it. They likely will only make it worse."

S C said...

Where's Jack Bauer when you need him?

24: Season 9: Alabama State Capital

Jack must infiltrate a shady Statehouse, while battling a drug cartel who has released a deadly virus in Jefferson County. The CDC fails to produce a cure, however the far-reaching corruption eradicates the malignant bacterium in no time flat. Meanwhile, The Governor stops nuzzling his staff long enough to focus on the latest political scandal - a well-known attorney, who travels with missions to Russia, has been arrested for methamphetamine trafficking. In an unusual twist, a blogger steps in to challenge the official story...Keep watching...could get interesting.

legalschnauzer said...

I like your sense of drama, @10:57. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

there is a bailbonds office at 1604 greensboro ave

Anonymous said...

A-Advance Bailbond Inc
1207 Ty Rogers Jr Ave
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
(205) 345-1652

e.a.f. said...

such is life when you read backwards. In my opinion, the lawyer was set up. who knows why but my money says he was set up. His having a gun in his hand, I think he was expecting trouble and not from the police.

A meth manufactuer leaves his "stock" in a bail bondsman's office and he just decides to call the cops because he thinks he is going to be set up? Oh, really, nice story if you believe it. No "cooker" leaves his goods anywhere without intent unless they were totally stoned.

Why the lawyer went to a bail bondsman's office to pick up the "stock" is beyond reason. He might have done that regularly so his life style/bank accounts would be an indication or the lawyer didn't know what was in the back pack.

I'd check the cases the lawyer has been handling lately and see if he pissed off any police departments. IF some one actually leaves their stock some where they have some low level "associate" go pick the goods up. You don't sent your lawyer. No one sends their lawyer to do that work. No lawyer does that kind of work, at least not in Canada. They know enough to keep their hands clean on that one and we don't have big jail terms for this type of thing either.

Gentlemen, gentlemen, that old line about the enemy of my enemy, is my enemy can get you into a lot of trouble. If you need a score card or chart to keep track of the "enemies" its best not to "affiliate" with any of them because they will turn on you in a New York minute, as the saying goes.

As to going after tea baggers or whatever political groups, my concern is, who would be next. As much as I dislike some political groupings it is never good to cheer for that because at some point they may come for you. There is also that thing called democracy and every one is entitled to their political opinion, however wrong you might believe it to be. It is simply better sometime to stay out of it and let things/parties emplode on their own.

Those Republican tea baggers we dislike so much do represent a fair proportion of American citizens/voters. They got elected. Its called democracy. they best thing to do is get the Republicans "unelected" by normal/moral methods.

Robby Scott Hill said...

I've been caught up in my own experiences with the double standards & prejudices of the State Bar & my employers, but I agree with e.a.f. that the lawyer could have been set up. This reminds me of the time I was arrested by the Marine Corps. Sometimes the cops arrest everyone in the vicinity or certain "bad people" & it's up to you to prove your innocence. I see no conclusive evidence that the lawyer is guilty. For all we know, Fisher called a police agency & notified them of the bag, but Rushing got there first & maybe these cops were not the ones he called & maybe they had no knowledge, but maybe they did. Whatever the truth is, if you have an "in" & the powers that be want to let you off, they will. See Roy Moore's son.

S C said...

E A F, i couldn't agree more...anybody who thinks one party or the other is all bad or all corrupt or all out to destroy the American public scares me. Unfortunately, here - and in every country - there are folks on both sides of the fence involved in dirty deeds.

I say instead of assuming one party is bad and the other bad, the good guys go after the bad guys.

Very little in life is black and white, as much as we'd like it to be

Unknown said...

Its amazing how greed can have a negative effect on people.

Buckhead Bail Bonding of Gwinnett County

Eliseo Weinstein said...

One of the huge advantages that police have on their sides is that criminals are just plain stupid. Who leaves a backpack of meth supplies at the bail bondsmen's office and thinks it will not raise suspicions? These criminals think they can get away with these crimes, but their actions usually set off alarms and get them busted in the end.