Monday, October 31, 2016

In reopening Hillary Clinton e-mail case, FBI director James Comey shows the disregard for policy and law that we have written about for years in Alabama

James Comey
FBI director James Comey's decision last week to notify Congress and the public about his decision to reopen the Hillary Clinton e-mail case illustrates the disregard for rules and laws that undergird our democracy. It also represents the kind of abusive actions that have provided us with almost 10 years' worth of material about corruption -- in Alabama and beyond -- here at Legal Schnauzer.

Much still is not known about Comey's motivations, but we do know the following, based on multiple news reports about the case:

* The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has a longstanding policy against discussing specifics of a pending investigation. Comey violated that policy.

* DOJ policy forbids taking actions that could influence an election. Comey violated that policy.

* The FBI's decision to expand its investigation of Anthony Weiner's e-mails to target Hillary Clinton's e-mails likely went beyond the boundaries of the bureau's warrant and could represent a violation of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable (and unlawful) searches. In other words, powerful evidence suggests Comey violated constitutional protections.

* The Hatch Act bars the use of an official position to influence an election. A former Bush-administration already has filed a Hatch Act complaint against the FBI with the Office of Special Counsel.

In many ways, Legal Schnauzer has presaged dubious acts such as the ones Comey took late last week. Here are a few examples of similar acts at lower levels of government:

* In the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case, the matter had been litigated for three years in South Carolina, where the family lived when Sherry Rollins initiated divorce proceedings. Ted Rollins failed to make court-ordered house payments, so Ms. Rollins and the couple's two daughters were forced to flee to Shelby County, Alabama, where family members lived. Ted Rollins then sued Sherry Rollins for divorce in Alabama, but a case styled Wesson v. Wesson, 628 So. 2d 953 (Ala. Civ. App., 1993) shows Rollins v. Rollins could not be heard here once jurisdiction had been established elsewhere. Shelby County Circuit Judge Al Crowson heard the case anyway and heaped a monstrous cheat job on Sherry Rollins.

* When I was placed on administrative leave at UAB, the matter was governed by the university's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). After all, the university alleged I had used my work computer to write this blog. The AUP clearly states that, if improper use of a computer is suspected, it should be handled via progressive discipline -- starting with oral warning, written warning, and termination (if the first two steps don't work). UAB never issued an oral or written warning regarding my use of the work computer. That's probably because they had asked an IT employee to monitor my computer usage for one month, and he later testified at my grievance hearing that I had not touched the first keystroke on my blog while at work. UAB fired me anyway, its own policies be damned.

* When we brought a criminal trespassing (third degree) complaint against our neighbor Mike McGarity (the one with the extensive criminal record), Shelby County District Judge Ron Jackson acquitted based on his notion that we were required to give written warning -- and there was reasonable doubt as to whether McGarity had received our written warning prior to trespassing. The actual law on such issues is cited in Chambers v. City of Opelika, 698 So. 2d 792 (Ala. Crim. App., 1996), and here it is:

The appellant has cited no authority for his position that to be guilty of criminal trespass the intruder must be aware that he or she had no license or privilege to enter or to remain on the premises. There is authority, however, that states that when those premises are private and not open to the public, there is no requirement that the prosecution prove that a prior written or verbal warning was given to the intruder.

Under the law, we did not have to warn McGarity at all -- in writing, or otherwise. But Judge Jackson refused to follow black-letter law, and the acquittal allowed McGarity to file a bogus malicious-prosecution lawsuit against us. We've spent 16 years fighting the fallout from that baseless lawsuit, which never would have happened without Jackson's unlawful ruling.

We've seen disregard for law and policies in Alabama for years. Now James Comey has shown that the FBI is infested with a similar mindset, and it could wind up putting the presidency in the hands of Donald Trump, who likely is the most unqualified individual ever to run for the office.


Anonymous said...

Comey . . . must . . . go . . . down

Anonymous said...

Why did Obama appoint a right-wing, conservative numb nuts like Comey anyway?

Pickle said...

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I wonder if someone in GOP circles came up with some dirt on Comey -- an affair, an Ashley Madison account, something that could prove costly to his personal and professional lives. Hard to believe the guy is stupid to do what he has done.

Anonymous said...

I think Pickle has an interesting idea. Blackmail drives D.C., for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Comey not so fast to release info about Trump and Russians.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add link:

Anonymous said...

Warning someone about trespassing seems like a good idea to me.

legalschnauzer said...

It's a perfectly fine idea, @5:15, and we did warn McGarity verbally (multiple times) and in writing, as he admitted at trial. A warning probably resolves the problem with most reasonable people; most people probably don't want to get law enforcement involved in such a case. Our warnings did not work with McGarity, probably because he shows signs of being a sociopath; his criminal record certainly suggests that he does not respect the rights of others.

While issuing a warning makes sense, a property owner (or renter) is not required to do that in a criminal-trespass case. I'd suggest you think of it this way: If we had to warn everyone to stay off our property, we would not have private property, as we know it in the U.S. Under the law, the burden is on the would-be trespasser to make sure that he fits in one of the very few (three) exceptions to the general rule that gives us private property.

e.a.f. said...

Fortunately most Americans who were planning to vote for Clinton won't have their minds changed by this last ditch effort to upset the election. It is very strange that the head of the FBI took this action at the last minute. Oh, well I do wonder how big his bank account grew or some such thing. Could be Pickle has a valid thought there.

Not much was ever "released" regarding the Russians and Trump and that might be a real mess.

As the world waits for the American election to be over and have the results, its getting a tad nerve racking for some of us in Canada. To think a country led by Trump would sit on our southern border. YIKES! He talks of going door to door and rounding up people who came from Mexico. OMG. that will not end well. There are 11 million people who are undocumented. What reminds me of the stories my parents told us of what happened in Europe and the Jews and Hitler. Then when you get to Trump's comments regarding Muslims????????????????? Canada took in 25 thousand Syrian refugees late last year, early this year, in about 3 months. No problems. Every one is doing fine. Kids have taken up hockey, parents are in English classes etc.

Given Islam is a major religion in the U.S.A. things would not end well if Trump started a "war" with them. Add in the people of Mexican decent, Gays, lesbians, people wanting to control their own bodies. gee Canada might have a few million Americans coming to apply for refugee status.

It maybe the head of the FBI panicked and thought this might some how "even" the score for Trump, but what ever he thought, it was very wrong. We can only hope the American election results in Clinton as President because a trump as President is something the world really doesn't need. we already have a crack pot in North Korea.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Worst two candidates to run in my life time. No end to the trash ( and maybe crime ) that will continue to. surface on both. Still, in the end , I have to vote for the Republican platform.