In a sense, that does not surprise us; over several dozen posts I've written about events during our unlawful eviction on Sept. 9, 2015, I've consistently reported that Carol did nothing unlawful, nothing wrong. I've reported that she was the victim of an assault, which left her with a shattered left arm, not the perpetrator of an assault. I witnessed every second of her interactions with Greene County Sheriff deputies that day, except when she was inside the apartment gathering our personal belongings -- and even the cops don't claim there was any physical encounter there.
I've known for more than 16 months that the only criminal actions were by the cops themselves. But even I did not expect their probable cause statement to, in essence, admit that Carol did nothing wrong. So, why was she arrested, finger printed, photographed (as in a mugshot) on Jan. 31? Why does she have a hearing at 9 a.m. today before Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto?
How could this happen? It certainly can't continue for very long, under the law, because Carol clearly was arrested without probable cause. Here's how we know:
A Misdemeanor Information (MI) filed by Greene County prosecuting attorney Dan Patterson reads, in part, as follows:
(Missouri Charge Code: 565.083-002Y20051313.)
The Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Greene, State of Missouri charges that the defendant, in violation of Section 565.083, RSMo, committed the class A misdemeanor of assault of a law enforcement officer in the third degree, punishable upon conviction under Sections 558.011 and 560.016, RSMo, in that on or about September 9, 2015, in the County of Greene, State of Missouri, the defendant knowingly cause physical contact with Jeremy Lynn, a law enforcement officer without the consent of Jeremy Lynn by pushing him.
That's it. That's the only allegation that Carol assaulted anyone. Now, let's look at the Probable Cause (PC) Statement. (The MI and PC Statement are embedded at the end of this post.)
Lt. Debi Wade, the only female officer on the scene that day, is author of the PC Statement. Wade seemed mostly on the periphery of events, and I don't recall her and Carol coming in contact with each other. So why, out of six to eight officers on the scene, was Debi Wade chosen to write the PC Statement? I have no idea, but it certainly wasn't for the sake of accuracy. This is from the PC Statement, beginning with the fourth sentence:
Upon initial contact in the entryway of the residence, Roger's wife Carol T. Shuler physically assaulted Capt. Jeremy Lynn. I was not witness to that assault, however, I was advised that Carol first pushed the door from inside when Capt. Lynn attempted entry with the key, then got physical with him once inside the threshold and pushed him repeatedly.
Those of you who read this closely might already have guffawed loud enough to wake the neighbors. Let's pause to gather ourselves before pondering the absurdity in this statement. Notice the part in yellow; it says Wade did not witness the assault -- someone else told her about it -- but she's swearing about it under oath anyway.
You could drive to downtown Birmingham right now, if you aren't already there, and find a wino under a bridge who would recognize that as hearsay. And the wino probably would know that hearsay generally is not admissible evidence in a court of law. Since that's the only statement about an "assault" on Jeremy Lynn -- and it's hearsay -- there was no probable cause to bring charges against Carol Shuler.
You could print out a copy of the PC Statement and show it to the wino, allowing him to read it thoroughly. And he probably would say, "They call this probable cause? Shiiiiiiii - ittttttttt. How dumb are them hillbillies in Missouri?"
Better yet, imagine this: You are the parent of a third grader at an elementary school in your neck of the woods. You get a call from the school saying you had better come quick, Billy Jones has alleged your child stole his lunch money. You arrive at the school to hear the following conversation:
Principal: "Now, Billy did you see little Johnny steal your money?"
"No sir, Mr. Principal, but someone advised me that he did."
"Who advised you of that?"
"I don't know his name. But he's a tall, green man -- sort of like the Jolly Green Giant. And he has wings, and sprinkles pixie dust everywhere, and then flies off."
"Billy, do your parents have a 'friend' they call 'Mr. LSD'?"
"Oh, yes, Mr. Principal, they talk about him all the time."
"I see. Billy, that explains a lot. Here's some good news: I think you've got a fine career ahead of you as a deputy with the Greene County Sheriff's Department."
"Thanks, Mr. Principal! That sounds like fun!"
"Oh, trust me. You'll have a blast."
What about the trespass charge against Carol? The MI says the "facts" that form the basis for the charge are contained in the PC Statement. When you read the PC Statement, you see that it says not one word about trespass, not one word about actions that even conceivably amount to trespass.
You've heard the phrase, "You can't make this stuff up," usually accompanied by a shake of the head? Well, the criminal charges against Carol certainly fit in that category. More on this subject in upcoming posts.