Thursday, September 8, 2016

My brother, Missouri lawyer David Shuler, apparently knew cops were going to evict my wife and me with high-powered weaponry--and he let it happen anyway

Missouri attorney David Shuler
Have you ever had an assault rifle pointed at your head? I have, and please take it from me, it's an unsettling experience. In my situation, I had an assault rifle pointed right between my eyes, with five or six other law-enforcement types drawing and waving pistols in various directions.

It happened when my wife, Carol, and I were evicted from our apartment in Springfield, Missouri, almost exactly one year ago, on September 9, 2015. Evidence suggests that my brother, Missouri lawyer David Shuler, is at least partly responsible for allowing the unlawful eviction to take place. If I had made one wrong move and got my head blown off -- and Carol easily could have been shot, too -- well, I guess Missouri lawyers aren't supposed to concern themselves with such things, even when they know they are about to happen and the possible victims are family members.

What did David Shuler know, and when did he know it? Well, let's consider an e-mail he wrote to me on September 2, 2015, exactly one week before we were evicted. Right off the bat, he says I had asked him to stay out of our business, and I had threatened to sue him. I don't recall asking him to stay out of our business, although I might have noted that in instances where he supposedly was trying to help us, things did not turn out so well. I also don't recall threatening to sue him, although I think I made a reference in a legal document that, according to his own e-mail, he had contacted our landlord in a way that could be construed as tortious interference.

The e-mail centers around some bizarre claims by a deputy named Scott Harrison, who apparently placed a notice to vacate on the door of our apartment, owned by landlord Trent Cowherd. (By the way, this suggests Harrison had experience working eviction cases, so he should have known the relevant law. He should have known that the filing of a notice of appeal, which we filed within the lawful 10-day window and paid the required fees, puts a stay on execution of an eviction. But Harrison burst through our door -- I'm pretty sure he was the one pointing the assault rifle at me -- even though every attorney in the matter [including David Shuler] had been notified of the notice of appeal and stay. Sounds to me like Dep. Harrison and his band of thugs were instructed to ignore the law on this one. I wonder why?)

But let's examine the more important issue: Numerous readers and friends have asked me, "Why did the Missouri cops enter your apartment like a SWAT team, and with an attitude that led to Carol's arm being broken?" David's e-mail, I think, helps explain that. Here it is:

Roger: Per your request and your threat to sue me, I am doing my best to stay out of your business. As a good faith effort to stay out of your business, I would appreciate it if you would not respond to this e-mail. A deputy called me today and asked me to have you contact him. He said he posted the notice to vacate on the Cowherd property. He also said he was concerned because his dispatch contacted him and said you had called 911 and threatened to shoot anyone coming on the premises to get you out. I certainly hope that you did not really do that, but he asked me to make you aware that they take such threats seriously and that you are setting up a potentially dangerous situation. He stressed to me that he would like to help you find housing and that he did not want you or anyone else to get hurt. His name is deputy Harrison and his phone number is 501-6092. He is very concerned and stressed to me that he did not wish for you or anyone else to get hurt.

Let's note a few oddities about this e-mail, at least to me:

(1) David does not want me to respond to an e-mail in which he makes, or at least informs me of, an outlandish allegation against me?

(2) Why would a deputy contact him about an eviction involving Carol and me? David, on the surface, was involved only because landlord Trent Cowherd had sued our mother, with zero grounds for doing so?

(3) Is it normal for a deputy to post an eviction notice on an apartment door? I thought the landlord, or his staff, usually did that.

(4) Is it normal for a sheriff's deputy to help someone find housing? Unless, of course, that housing is the Greene County Jail. (No thanks on that one, bud; I think I'll find my own housing.)

(4) Neither David, nor Deputy (Scott) Harrison, seems to have the slightest idea that a tenant has 10 days to file a notice of appeal regarding an eviction order. Carol and I, of course, did just that, and by law, it put an automatic stay on the eviction. In other words, there was no "dangerous situation," other than the one caused by the determination of Sheriff Jim Arnott and Co. to ignore our notice of appeal -- of which every lawyer involved, including David Shuler, received notice.

(5) It's ironic to hear that Deputy Harrison did not want me to get hurt, but it appears he was the officer who burst through the door, with an assault rifle pointed at my head. If one of the other officers had jostled Harrison as he barged through our door, causing him to pull the trigger . . . well, I guess that would have sprayed my brain matter all over the place. But it's nice to know Deputy Harrison was concerned about my safety.

Missouri sheriff Jim Arnott
Given the untrue cow feces in David's e-mail, I was not about to let that go without responding. So here is my reply, sent on September 2. It references a blatantly prejudicial letter he had written to the judge prior to our eviction case, and I feel certain he didn't think I knew about that. It also references some legal sleight of hand the landlord's law firm, Lowther and Johnson, pulled to make sure we could not prove landlord Trent Cowherd was trying to violate our lease:

Would you please ask Deputy Harrison to procure a copy of any 911 call that allegedly was from me. My understanding is that such calls automatically are recorded. I also would like for Deputy Harrison to provide the name of any dispatcher who gave him the information you describe. Maybe Deputy Harrison can cite any law that allows for an eviction when the tenant still has time to file an appeal.

On another brief note, are you going to allow this to move forward even though the "judgment" in question is void, by law, due to lack of service. As a lawyer, I assume you know that, but you seem to have no interest in doing anything about it. I assume you also know that Cowherd's lawsuit against our mother is 100 percent bogus, but you aren't going to do anything about that either. Did you ask them to sue her just so you would have an excuse to be involved? That's how it looks from here.

Your letter to the court said you would do anything possible to help Cowherd regain possession of their property. Does that include helping Cowherd and their law firm cheat? Does that include poisoning the judge's mindset with a flagrantly ex parte and unlawful communication. The judgment is void, and we have a lawful period of time to appeal it, but we've already received an eviction notice on our door.

I also find it interesting that the Lowther lawyer intentionally didn't have the woman I talked with show up, so the hearsay rule could be invoked, and I couldn't prove how they have violated our lease. Again, I guess you either were in on that or just sat there and let it happen. But your letter makes it clear what your intentions have been all along, and this is my third request for you to serve me with a copy (of the letter). If you were brave enough to write it, why aren't you brave enough to serve it, as required by law, on parties in the case? I shouldn't have to ask for a copy. This so-called judge (Kelly Halford Rose), by law, was disqualified from the case due to your letter, and that's another reason the judgment is void. Why don't you tell that to Deputy Harrison?

You obviously have some deep-seated hatred for me that apparently goes back years, and I guess this is your big opportunity to stab me in the back. How you developed into such a morally bankrupt individual is beyond me. But your credibility level with me at the moment is zero. And this is just the latest example of you taking blatantly false information and throwing it in my face.

But regardless of the vindictiveness you have towards me, and regardless of what disturbance in your soul has caused it, the judgment in question is void as a matter of law on multiple grounds, and we have a right to appeal it, so I would suggest that you instruct Deputy Harrison to chill out and abide by the law.

Did David ever provide any of the information I requested about the alleged threatening phone call I made? Nope. Did David have any answers to his flagrantly improper, and vicious, letter to the judge? Nope. Did David ever serve me with a copy of said letter? Nope, although I have a copy of it, and we will be taking a look at it in an upcoming post? Did David advise Deputy Harrison to chill out and abide by the law? Given Harrison's behavior with an assault weapon, it sure doesn't look like it.

Here is the key point: I never made a call to 911, threatening or otherwise, but multiple deputies on the scene referenced such a call as grounds for their SWAT-team tactics. Here is another response I sent to David:

One other point: Missouri law says that in a rent-possession case, a tenant can pay the allegedly owed rent and fees and the case is over. My understanding is that we still have time to do that, but I guess you are going to allow a SWAT team to come in and shoot us before we even have a chance to pay. Did you completely check your conscience at the door when you entered law school, or was your conscience warped to begin with?

Even if we had paid the rent -- and we hadn't paid it because the landlord told us not to; we were going to be evicted anyway, on grounds not in the lease -- I guess I still was looking at possibly getting my head blown off. Here is one other thought I had for a brother I once thought was a great guy -- but who now appears bereft of any ethics whatsoever:

Making a false report to 911 . . . isn't that a crime? I can tell you for sure I did not place such a call. Therefore, I suggest you and Deputy Harrison initiate a criminal investigation to identify and prosecute the caller. Please let me know how the investigation is going, and I would be glad to assist in any way that I can. If such a call was made and my name was falsely used, I would like to see the person responsible behind bars. In fact, it sounds like I might need to file a police report. And if the cops won't take it seriously I probably need to contact news outlets.

After deputies had broken Carol's arm and were taking her to jail for allegedly "assaulting a police officer" (per Sheriff Arnott's instructions) a deputy Carol believed to be Harrison told her he had heard the 911 tape, that it was traced to our phone and to our apartment, and he was convinced it was me.

Well, it wasn't me, and it could not have been made by anyone at our residence, or from our phone. That means someone pulled off a fraudulent 911 call -- or the whole thing is a creation of Harrison's imagination.

You can bet that will be a subject for future inquiry.


Anonymous said...

I thought I had some crappy family members, but your brother takes the Grand Prize, hands down.

legalschnauzer said...

Wait until you read the letter he wrote to the judge in our eviction case. Then, you will see his true colors. And he claims he was trying to stay out of our business? What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Judges probably determine your brother's income, to a great degree, especially since he's a divorce lawyer. Therefore, he's going to side with the judicial lobby, and if that means his brother getting his head blown off, so be it. My impression is that the legal profession attracts unethical people and turns them into immoral people. Your brother seems headed right down that path.

He hasn't shown concern about Carol's injuries because he doesn't care. After all, she's only his sister-in-law.

Unknown said...

Someone asked me why I never got married and, I responded" I don't need anymore relatives"

legalschnauzer said...

I hear you, Phil. Fortunately for me, the one I married is the only relative (at least that I'm aware of) that I can trust. The rest seem to live in an ethics-free zone. I guess life is comfortable there for them, and they value comfort over all.

Anonymous said...

Why would your brother ask you not to respond to such a BS-filled email?

legalschnauzer said...

I'm not real sure, @10:53. He had to know the 911 garbage was a bunch of bull -- for Pete's sake, it doesn't even make sense. One guess is that lawyers think in terms of "stipulated" facts, and if I didn't respond, it might be a sign that I took the allegations as true. On a psychological note, I think he's used to everyone in our family taking anything he says and treating it as God-blessed insight. Maybe he thought I would be that way, but he should have known I'm not one to willingly let someone blow smoke up my fanny.

Anonymous said...

Another thought . . . Why would this deputy know to call your brother about YOUR eviction matter? How did he know that the two of you were brothers?

legalschnauzer said...

I'm not sure about that, @11:11. At one point, the court file mistakenly said David was representing me, but he actually was representing my mother, who was wrongfully sued by the landlord, Trent Cowherd. The mistake in the file might be the reason the deputy knew about the connection. The funny thing is that my brother didn't seem at all concerned that Cowherd had filed a bogus lawsuit against our mother. They had zero grounds for filing that, and I was pissed off about it. But I think David was fine with it because it gave him an excuse to be involved, as her attorney. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he suggested that Cowherd sue our mother as a way to keep David connected to the case.

Anonymous said...

Was your brother paid to represent your mother in the matter of you and your wife's eviction? Is there some sort of guardianship arrangement? IE if he was paid, who paid him?

legalschnauzer said...

I don't know if he was paid or who paid him, @12:58. He didn't do anything, so I'm not sure why he would be paid. But lawyers are among that special class of people who think they should be paid whether they do any work or not. As I understand it, my brother is my mother's trustee, but I'm not aware of a guardianship.

Anonymous said...

To claim someone called 911 to announce he was going to shoot someone is one of the nuttiest things I've ever heard.

Did the cops respond to this 911 call that supposedly you made, from your apartment? If they take things like this so seriously, why didn't they respond when you made the call?

legalschnauzer said...

Great questions, @3:52, and no, they did not respond when I supposedly made the call -- although I'm not sure when I supposedly made the call, since I didn't actually make the call.

And what a great question you raise: Do people who plan to shoot people call 911 to alert them about it first? I mean it's laughable.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same brother who tried to have you incapacitated?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, @4:12, he's one of two brothers engaged in that scam. The other one, Paul, works in health care, and I imagine the lawyer came up with the idea.

Anonymous said...

>>And what a great question you raise: Do people who plan to shoot people call 911 to alert them about it first? I mean it's laughable.<<

This probably happens more often than you think. When such a call is received a response is required to determine what the actual threat is. If such a call is received it will be taken seriously. That's why "swatting" and the resultant law enforcement response presents such a threat to the victims and innocent bystanders.

e.a.f. said...

It has been my experience that when it comes to family and money, its easier and safer to deal with "criminals". At least you know where they stand and what they might do. Family members not so much. You really never know your family members until there is a death or impending death in the family.

With a brother like yours, it might have been better to have been an only child. I know they say only children are lonely. On the other hand, their wives don't get beaten up in events orchestrated by their brother in laws......

legalschnauzer said...

My dad died in 2008, e.a.f., so that might be a key event in all of this. My brother became a lawyer in 1992 (think that's the right year), and that probably is another key event.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for pointing out, @1:43, that such 911 calls do happen. Of course, you note that such calls almost always generate a response from police. The one in our case didn't because there was no such call.

Someone concocted a fairy tale, in which my own brother obviously was involved.