|Missouri attorney David Shuler|
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|
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.