Friday, December 23, 2016

Trump pick Jeff Sessions led Alabama attorney general's office that engaged in "persistent" prosecutorial misconduct, according to CNN report

Jeff Sessions: CNN report raises questions about
prosecutorial misconduct
Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's planned nominee as U.S. attorney general, led an Alabama law-enforcement office that engaged in "pronounced and persistent" prosecutorial misconduct, according to a report yesterday from CNN.

Sessions was Alabama attorney general from 1994-97, and you might expect the CNN report to make major news in his home state. But so far, we can find no coverage, at least among newspapers, in any of the state's four major media markets.

Ironically, the CNN report touches on unlawful rulings in our pending federal lawsuit over my five-month incarceration in the Shelby County Jail, which made me the first U.S. journalist since 2006 to be jailed -- apparently the first one in U.S. history to be jailed because of a preliminary injunction in a defamation case, which is an unlawful prior restraint.

How does the CNN report hit our little corner of the world? Well, it doesn't do it directly. But it shines light on the connections between Sessions and U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor, who has repeatedly violated black-letter law regarding our in forma pauperis (indigent) status in what we call "The Jail Case," currently on appeal before the U.S. Eleventh Circuit. Proctor also is handling "The House Case," which involves the wrongful foreclosure on our Birmingham home of 25 years (plus related issues, such as defamation and unjust enrichment).

We will provide details about the Sessions-Proctor relationship, and how it could explain Proctor's corrupt actions, in an upcoming post. We also will show how the case at the center of the CNN report adds to evidence that Sessions holds racially dubious views -- and so does Proctor.

For now, let's focus on the accusations against Sessions and his office, which grew from a tangled set of civil and criminal matters involving two Birmingham corporate entities -- USX Corp. and Tieco Inc. Allegations in the cases, which lasted for roughly five years, are convoluted, but here is the gist of it:

USX alleged that Tieco engaged in fraud and other wrongdoing, essentially stealing funds via accounting trickery and other deceitful methods. Tieco filed a counterclaim, alleging that USX unlawfully used a criminal prosecution to help collect an alleged debt. Tieco also alleged that USX's lawyers from the Birmingham firm Burr Forman conspired with the Attorney General's office (and Jeff Sessions) to improperly seize Tieco's business records.

During a criminal proceeding, former Jefferson County Circuit Judge James S. Garrett was unimpressed (to say the least) with the conduct of Sessions and his henchmen. From the CNN report:

As Sen. Jeff Sessions awaits a confirmation hearing in hopes of becoming the next US attorney general, a blistering legal opinion on a case he oversaw as Alabama's top prosecutor two decades ago could emerge as an issue for the nominee.

The 1997 "order and opinion" by an Alabama judge accused the state attorney general's office, which had been headed by Sessions, of the worst prosecutorial misconduct he'd ever seen.

"The court finds that even having been given every benefit of the doubt, the misconduct of the Attorney General in this case far surpasses in both extensiveness and measure the totality of any prosecutorial misconduct ever previously presented to or witnessed by this court," wrote James S. Garrett, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge.

The misconduct was "so pronounced and persistent," Garrett wrote, that "it permeates the entire atmosphere of this prosecution."

Garrett went on to dismiss the criminal case against Tieco, but not before blasting Sessions and his team in a memorandum opinion. From CNN:

A year after the high-profile indictments, Garrett found that the case was rife with prosecutorial misconduct, including failures to turn over exculpatory evidence, deceptive testimony by assistants or agents of the Attorney General and "flagrant disregard of the constitutional rights of those accused."

"This court can only conclude it is dealing with either intentional and deliberate misconduct or conduct so reckless and improper as to constitute conscious disregard for the lawful duties of the Attorney General and the integrity and dignity of this court and this Judge."

An ethics complaint against Sessions was dismissed, and he stepped down as attorney general after being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996.

Retired Jeffco Judge James S. Garrett (right), who now
lives in Lithia, Florida
On the civil side, a federal jury found for Tieco and awarded more than $7 million in damages, plus almost $1.5 million in attorney fees. In 2001, long after Sessions had left the AG's office, an Eleventh Circuit panel reversed the damages and attorney-fees finding for Tieco and remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings.

The appellate panel found that Garrett's opinion in the criminal case had improperly been entered as evidence in the civil case. The appellate court found that Garrett's opinion was "inadmissible hearsay."

That more or less put Garrett's harsh words behind Sessions for about 15 years. But CNN's report has dug them back up. Soon, the nation will learn if its attorney general will be a man who was involved in what Judge James S. Garrett found to be the worst prosecutorial misconduct he had ever witnessed.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

Can't believe the Alabama MSM has ignored this story. What a fail.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reporting, Schnauzer. This needs to get out, in Alabama and across the country.

Anonymous said...

We need more judges like this Garrett dude.

Anonymous said...

The loons aren't going to like this.

legalschnauzer said...

Agreed, @9:08, but the loons can shove it up their asses. They are all about supporting corruption and the status quo, and we are learning that's what men like Sessions and Trump are all about. That's why the loons see this blog as a threat -- it goes against their anti-justice, anti-American, anti-democracy, pro-Russian, racist agenda.

Actually, I enjoy pissing off the loons, so I kind of look forward to hearing from them, although I probably won't be publishing any of their comments. They are trying to hijack this blog with tomfoolery and stupidity, and it ain't gonna happen. Nobody wants to read their brain-dead garbage anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ted Kennedy was right about Jeff Sessions.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Shuler has a track record of using race shaming against white people. Fuck you, cuck!

Anonymous said...

I flush shit like you down the toilet every day and don't think twice about it. And shit has more brains than you do.


Anonymous said...

Censorship? Yes, that's what you're engaged in. And we won't stand for it. Enjoy your "free speech" while you can. You won't be able to publish ANYTHING once the New FCC steps in. You're a disgusting, anti-American maggot/faggot. You love ass fucking other men in bathrooms, don't you Roger?

e.a.f. said...

oh, dear. CNN is being critical of Session. Might want to subscribe to them again. Could be entertaining to say the least.

Unless 3 Republicans reject him, Sessions will be the A.G. It just because of Garrett's findings that Trump may want him as his A.G. An A.G. who is willing to "bend/break" the law to enforce the law in favour of favorites is always good if you're up to no good.

Sort of reminds me of Russia and their system.

Talk about draining the swamp. Looks like Trump is simply filling it up with alligators.

Don't expect the MSM in Alabama to report on this. Its usually outside organizations only which tangle with these types of cases. The state media doesn't want to loose the advertising dollars. its always about the money,.

legalschnauzer said...

I don't normally publish garbage comments like the three above e.a.f., our insightful friend from Canada. But thought I would publish a few of these just to give readers an idea of the "brain power" behind the deluge of such quotes I've been receiving for about a month now -- ever since I published unflattering posts about Sessions and Pryor and their likely ties to a Trump admin. Other than these three comments, today's other comments from the lunatic fringe all when in the trash, because they are trash, written by trash.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the commenter from yesterday: You are being gaslighted. That tells me they are scared s--tless of what you have on some folks, like Sessions and Pryor. Hang in there. These people probably aren't smart enough to be more than an irritant.

Anonymous said...

12/23/2016 @ 9:20 A.M. You are correct, and too about Pryor. Republican Chairman Hatch on June 09, 2005 violated his own Senate Judiciary Rules, Rule # 4, to push through Pryor's appointment approval for 11th circuit with Sessions leading the band all the way; for Kennedy knew that by Pryor not being allowed to be called under oath, no witness/evidences presented, the minority side's investigation was never allowed. In large part looming laying foundation was that Sessions had with Pryor in tow used actively employed out of jurisdiction FBI agents in his political campaigning along with complicit witnesses. Additionally monies given to Sessions various times never were reported. The Ice Cometh and he's sitting at the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing room's table wanting to know also about their concerns for blackmails.

Anonymous said...

This piece summarizes it nicely, I think:

Anonymous said...

From Judge Garrett's opinion, re: actions of Alabama AG's office under Sessions --

"flagrant disregard of the constitutional rights of those accused."

That should scare the daylights out of every American.

Anonymous said...

Burr Forman must be a shit hole of a law firm if they are in bed with Jeff Sessions.

legalschnauzer said...

An order in the case says that Burr Forman had represented USX for more than 100 years. Talk about old, corrupt Birmingham money.

legalschnauzer said...

Would be interesting to know how much campaign cash USX and Burr Forman have given to Jeff Sessions' campaigns. I bet it's a ton.

On the subject of Burr Forman being a shit hole, I don't know of a major downtown Birmingham law firm that isn't a shit hole. Here is the honor role of dishonor: (1) Bradley Arant; (2) Maynard Cooper Gale; (3) Burr Forman; (4) Haskell Slaughter, now out of business.

I know I'm leaving out a few of the big players, but it's just one cesspool after another.

legalschnauzer said...

Just found URL to chart re: Alabama's largest law firms. Two shit holes I left out are Balch and Bingham (Alabama Power firm, home to Jessica Medeiros Garrison) and Sirote Permutt, which includes Barry Ragsdale, who has such high morals that he represented wife-beating federal judge Mark Fuller.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised an Alabama judge had the stones to call out Sessions the way Garrett did. He charged the AG's office with failure to turn over exculpatory evidence, and misconduct can't get much more serious than that.

legalschnauzer said...

Reminds me of the Ted Stevens case, the late U.S. Sen. from Alaska. This is a good Roll Call piece about that:

"After trial we learned that government prosecutors concealed compelling evidence from the defense. The cooperating witness did not come up with the “covering his ass” testimony until right before trial and his previous inconsistent statements were hidden from the defense. Likewise, the government concealed evidence that its star witness had suborned perjury from an underage prostitute with whom the star witness had an illegal sexual relationship. And the government concealed evidence that another witness — whom the government flew back to Alaska away from the Washington, D.C., trial after their mock cross-examination of him went poorly — had told the senator that the bills he received and promptly paid included all of the work that was done. Government prosecutors mocked Stevens when he explained that on the stand — all the while knowing that they had a witness who would have supported him, but whom they had removed from the trial."

legalschnauzer said...

Here's more about the Stevens case:

The case was indeed about concealment, but it was government prosecutors who did the concealing. An independent investigation ordered by presiding Judge Emmet G. Sullivan found that the prosecution was “permeated by the systemic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence, which would have independently corroborated Senator Stevens’s defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.”

Though the case was dismissed before any sentence was ever imposed (and before a conviction was entered), the prosecution of Stevens was a miscarriage of justice.

Six prosecutors were investigated. Two were suspended from their work (though those suspensions were later overturned). The lead prosecutor was found to have exercised poor judgment, and left the government. Another committed suicide before the investigation was complete. None was prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

And one of those prosecutors was involved in the bingo trial trying to convict innocent people and the judge helps the prosecutors hide phone records.

e.a.f. said...

Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. L.S.

legalschnauzer said...

Merry Christmas to you, e.a.f. Hope things are peaceful and pretty up in Canada.

e.a.f. said...

Yes, things are peaceful in Canada, just look at our Prime Minister and his family. Makes everything just a tad better. At least we have hope.

We have a drug crisis in British Columbia, with the premier (equivalent of a Govenor) not doing much of anything, but the first responders, all types of police officers carry the antidote, so its saving lives.

Nationally we are doing fine, provincially, in B.C. not so great. Other provinces are doing better than British Columbia or are doing well given what they have to work with. All our provinces and territories have functioning health care systems, which are truly a blessing.

we have gun control and that keeps the murder rate down. People are not sentenced to decades in jail for things of little to no consequence, so families remain in tact. Only those arrested for the very most serious crimes are required to post bail or are known gangsters. So most people are out of jail when they await trial. Even those charged with murder or manslaughter may be out on bail with conditions, if they have stable places to reside. Civil matters do not get you tossed in jail such as the case of yourself and the doctor

We have a carbon tax coming into effect in Jan. or a cap and trade system. some provinces already had that, so its not a big change. The Prime Minister and his federal Liberal party are into climate change as are the provinces. The only differences are, how to deal with it, but all agree dealing with it is a must.

A couple of our provinces have dusted off a social experiment of 40 years ago in a small praire town and are now in the process of selecting a town in their province to try the experiment again. it was a secret 40 years ago, but a change in federal government ended it. what was that experiment and why was it so secret? It provided people with a guaranteed income, whether they worked or not, up to the what was considered the poverty line. What the results demonstrated was there was less family violence, children did better in school, there was less mental health issues, people continued to work in their jobs, etc. the short and long of it is, it saved the government money and produced a safer society. Two towns will embark on this experiment. If the results are positive, we may see a Canada with a guaranteed annual income. Prime Minister Trudeau and his government did implement a child credit program which sends parents a cheque each month if their income falls below a standard. The max. is approx. $600 per month. Its helping families with children improve their lives.

So yes, things are pretty up in Canada and its peaceful if only for today. We do have a wonderful country, even if we complain and know there could be improvements.

Not all provinces are equal, but they do have to provide a medical service which standards are set by the federal government.

Again, Merry Christmas! If things don't turn out well in the U.S.A with the new administrations remember Canada took in 25 thousand Syrian refugees within a few months and most are doing as well as can be expected given what they have been through. Oh, and not a terrorist amongst them. All the children are in school and many of the parents also, in English or French classes. Political refugees also receive a stipend from the government to live on. Canada rocks!

There are progressive cities and states in the U.S.A. and there are many organizations working to ensure things can continue as normal in the U.S.A. The President elect is a good source of comedy for S.N.L. and several other shows, so at least we will have something to laugh about. I believe if Trump continues with his current tweets, etc. the world leaders who are grown ups will simply ignore him. if he adversely effects the stability of the U.S.A. it maybe the senate will take action. some of them need to be re-elected in to years. Some of those who will be contributing to the sanity of the nation will be you and your blog, publishing information others won't. it all helps.

Comrade Rutherford said...

"persistent" prosecutorial misconduct"

Well, yeah, that's what the GOP refers to as 'Highly Qualified." It's exactly what Trump looks for when choosing cabinet members.