|Carol Tovich Shuler
If I have a say about it, someone is going to pay dearly for this abuse of Carol's constitutional rights. It's bad enough that the charges against Carol -- assault on a law enforcement officer and trespass -- are bogus and not supported by probable cause, as we will show in upcoming posts. But as a simple procedural matter, her arrest runs contrary to Missouri law.
How do we know? Please follow us for a brief explanation of the law that governs such issues.
It might seem strange to you, as it does to me, that courts could be allowed to send a summons -- for which you are subject to arrest if you fail to appear -- via first-class mail. You might think that a document that carries with it the potential loss of freedom would require some form of personal service, via certified mail, a process service, or a "peace officer." But you (and I) would be wrong. Missouri allows service of a summons via first-class mail, per Mo. Sup. Ct. Rule 21.08. Here's how it reads, in pertinent part:
A summons may be served by:
(a) The clerk mailing it to defendant's last known address by first class mail; or
(b) An officer in the manner provided in Rule 54.13 or Rule 54.14.
If the defendant fails to appear in response to a summons and upon a finding of probable cause that the defendant has committed a misdemeanor, the court may issue an arrest warrant.
Rules 54.13 and 54.14 refer to personal service in the state and outside the state, respectively. The highlighted section notes that an individual is subject to arrest if she "fails to appear in response to a summons." But Carol did not fail to appear "in response to a summons." The court's own records, as found at case.net (Case number 1631-CR07731), show she did not receive a summons. Last time I checked, it's hard to respond to something you did not receive, especially when you have no reason to believe it even exists.
To summarize, a summons in Missouri may be served by first-class mail or personal service. But if the court opts to serve by first-class mail, that comes with an extra burden: It must receive acknowledgement that the summons actually was received. If that doesn't happen, the court must turn to one of the other methods allowed by law, and that means some form of personal service.
In other words, a subject who does not acknowledge receipt of a summons -- and in Carol's case, she did not acknowledge because she did not receive the summons -- cannot be subject to arrest. The court must try again, via personal service, to make sure the summons actually is received. The relevant law can be found at Mo. Sup. Ct. Rule 54.16, which reads in pertinent part:
Acknowledgment of Service By Mail
Service of the summons and petition upon a resident or nonresident defendant of any class referred to in Rule 54.13(b)(1)(2) or (3) may be made by mailing a copy of the summons and petition by first class mail, postage prepaid, to the person to be served, together with two copies of a notice and acknowledgment conforming substantially to Civil Procedure Form 4B or Civil Procedure Form 4C and a return envelope, postage prepaid addressed to the sender. If no acknowledgment of service under this Rule 54.16 is completed and returned to the sender, service of the summons and petition shall be made as otherwise provided by statute or rule. Unless good cause is shown for not doing so, the court shall order the payment of costs of service on the person served if such person does not complete and return within thirty days after mailing, the notice and acknowledgment of receipt of summons.
We call your attention to the highlighted section above, which states in real clear English that if the subject does not return acknowledgement, the court cannot haul off and arrest her; it must attempt a form of personal service that is allowed by law.
What does this tell us? Carol was the victim of a wrongful arrest and imprisonment. Her constitutional rights were trampled. And it adds to the evidence that charges were brought against her for an unlawful reason -- probably in retaliation for my reporting about Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions and his status as a closeted homosexual.
Who ordered Carol's unlawful arrest? We aren't certain at the moment, but we have a real strong suspect, maybe more than one. I'm more than a little fed up with the abuse we've received from courts and law enforcement, and I am determined to see that the responsible person (or persons) is held accountable for this one.