|Carol Tovich Shuler|
Carol spent maybe five minutes, at most, before the judge. Poe had filed a motion to dismiss the trespass charge against Carol, and that was the primary issue presented to Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto. Nicholas Jain, the assistant prosecuting attorney on the case, was not there -- and the young woman pinch-hitting for him said she'd not had a chance to review the motion, so Holden set a hearing on that motion for one week away, at 9 a.m. on June 14.
Here was perhaps the most interesting news of the day: Poe met with us for about 10 minutes before the hearing and said Jain had contacted her a few days ago to offer an SIS (Suspended Imposition of Sentence) in Carol's case. Poe said such offers are common in misdemeanor cases. As we understood it, an SIS means Carol would enter a guilty plea, be given a term of probation (probably a year), and if all went well during that period, the whole thing would be dropped from her record.
This is just my view -- I can't speak for Carol in a legal sense -- but hell will freeze over before Carol enters a guilty plea to the "assault on a law enforcement" charge. Poe said she had reviewed documents we had filed in the case, and she seemed to sense how we would feel on that subject.
"An SIS offer is common, and it can be a good thing for some defendants, but I wouldn't recommend it for you."
My impression was that Poe understood the Probable Cause (PC) Statement and Misdemeanor Information (MI), which contain the "evidence" against Carol, are filled with what might charitably be called "cow feces."
Poe looked at Carol and said, "You don't look like the kind of person who would 'barrel headfirst' into somebody." Poe seemed to understand that deputies had no lawful grounds to evict us or even be on our rented property that day and thought that would be an important issue to pursue.
Here is an oddity from yesterday: In Carol's previous appearance, Judge Palmietto seemed to have ants in her shorts, anxious to move things along in a hurry. But yesterday, when Carol had an attorney on board, Palmietto was the picture of calmness and seemed in no hurry for the case to reach a resolution. Our impression is that this could drag on a while -- even though Poe has made a strong case that the trespass charge should be dismissed, and we have filed documents showing that the "assault" charge is not based on probable cause and should be kicked. We'd like to get it over soon -- the prosecution simply has no case -- but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
As for Poe, she impressed us as being cordial, professional, intelligent, honest, and (I think) trustworthy. If she also proves to be tough, enough to stand up to likely pressure from the legal tribe to get Carol to accept some form of bad settlement offer, she could be exactly what we need in a lawyer.
After 17 years of fighting corrupt lawyers, judges, and prosecutors, wouldn't it be ironic if we finally found a solid attorney in, of all places, a Missouri Public Defender's Office.