Thursday, August 10, 2017

Missouri prosecutor stonewalls on discovery, probably because he knows it will produce embarrassing or incriminating evidence against law enforcement

Carol Tovich Shuler
Why is Missouri prosecutor Nicholas Jain stonewalling on discovery in the bogus "assault on a law enforcement officer" case against my wife, Carol? It's probably because Jain knows legitimate discovery will produce information that is embarrassing, incriminating, or both for his office (led by Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson) and that of Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott.

Our guess is that certain discovery requests from Carol are particularly sensitive for Jain and Co. Which ones are they? Let's a take a look at several, with Carol's requests and Jain's responses embedded at the end of this post, in "State's Response to Defendant's Motion for Disclosure . . . ": (Numbers correspond to those in Carol's discovery requests; Carol's requests and the State's responses also are summarized in Carol's "Motion to Compel . . . , " embedded below.)

      (1) Carol's Request: All documents related to an investigation of a “critical incident” involving use of force. (Such an investigation is required by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office Policy and Procedure Manual,)

      State's Response: The State has provided law enforcement reports to Defendant . . . pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 25.03. These items do not need to be ordered to be disclosed pursuant to Rule 25.04.

      What's Up With That Response? The point of Carol's request is to determine if Greene County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) personnel followed their own procedures. Jain conveniently ignores that and claims it is enough to provide incident reports, which have nothing to do with the department's policies or procedures.

       (2) Carol's Request: A list of all GCSO personnel, with full names and addresses, who were on the scene during the eviction at 4070 South Fort Ave., in Springfield, MO, on 9/9/15.

       State's Response: The names and last known addresses of persons the state intends to call as witnesses have been disclosed to the defendant in the witness endorsements on the Misdemeanor Information filed herein. . . .

       What's Up With That? Once again, Carol asks for one thing, and Jain provides something else. Jain provides the names of four officers he intends to call as witnesses. But Carol asks for the identity of all GCSO personnel on the premises that day, and there appeared to be 6-8 officers, maybe twice the number Jain is identifying. Jain's response obviously is ridiculous because the defense (Carol) might want to call anyone who was present as a witness. Seeking testimony is a two-sided affair, so it's hard to see how Jain can argue with a straight face that Carol is not entitled to the names of all GSCO personnel involved in the eviction. That he's dragging his feet suggests he does not want the defense, or the public, to know everyone who was present that day.

       (4) Carol's Request: A list of Human Resources records for all GCSO personnel involved in the South Fort eviction on 9/9/15, including all officers on the scene and any other employees who were involved in other capacities.

       State's Response: Pretty much the same as for No. 2 above.

       What's Up With That? We've been told that law-enforcement offices hate this kind of request. They don't want defendants, or the public, to know about various screw-ups that officers have been involved with in the past, which likely have resulted in complaints or even lawsuits. Carol's request goes to the credibility of officers on the scene, some of whom beat her up and left her with a shattered left arm.

       (8) Carol's Request: Copies of all communications, in any format, between or among GCSO officers re: the Shulers or their eviction prior to, during, or after 9/9/15.

       State's Response: The State has provided law enforcement reports  . . . (and) any information beyond this is not material.

       What's Up With That? Carol has stated in court documents, correctly, "This case is not about a crime she committed; it's about crimes committed against her." This request goes directly to Carol’s innocence, that she was the victim of a frame-up, and the police had ill motives. It seeks e-mails, text messages, phone records, and other information that will show cops acted with ill (and probably criminal) intent.

       (15) Carol's Request: All documents regarding any new information the GCSO received . . . between Carol's release from jail on 9/9/15 and the filing of an indictment against her on 9/8/16, followed by her re-arrest on 1/30/17.

       State's Response: Any information in this time period has no legal or logical relevance to the immediate case and pending charges. This is not not material the court should find . . . relevant.

       What's Up With That? Jain seems to be playing stupid here. Carol was released from jail, with no charges against her, on 9/9/15. Then an indictment was brought against her on the last day possible under the one-year statute of limitations. That implies new information was discovered in the interim to cause Carol's second arrest. Unless, of course, there were no grounds for either arrest, and it was done for purposes of harassment and malicious injury.

       (16) Carol's Request: All communications between GCSO personnel and Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson regarding the Shulers' eviction, Carol's indictment, and re-arrest.

       State's Response: This is not material that the court should find relevant. . . .

       What's Up With That? Not relevant? Jain must be joking. It goes to the process that caused a defendant who had been wrongfully arrested once and released with no charges to be indicted and re-arrested again. Carol has raised the issue of ill motives and corrupt conduct by cops and prosecutors, and this request goes directly to that issue.

       (25) Carol's Request: Copies of all documents related to evictions during the tenure of Sheriff Jim Arnott -- including personnel and weapons used during the evictions.

       State's Response: Essentially the same as No. 2 above.

       What's Up With That? This goes to information about the way the GCSO normally handles evictions. Did Carol receive "equal protection under the law," as required by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? This request goes directly to that question.

       (28) Carol's Request: Copies of all communications between GCSO personnel and external parties about the Shulers and/or their eviction . . . including (but not limited to) Springfield attorney Craig Lowther (or anyone from his firm), Springfield attorney David Shuler, Springfield resident Don Schlueter, Springfield landlord/businessman Trent Cowherd -- plus any legal/political figures or other individuals from Alabama.

       State's Response: Essentially the same as No. 2 above.

       What's Up With That? Again, Carol has alleged in court documents that she is the victim of a crime, not the perpetrator of one. This is designed to seek information about individuals who appear to be connected to her wrongful arrest and imprisonment. (Note: I've written previously about all the individuals in this request, except one. That would be Don Schlueter, a one-time friend of mine from college who made multiple trips to Birmingham after my incarceration in Shelby County and the wrongful foreclosure on our house. Schlueter played a major role in causing us to leave our home in Alabama, under duress, and wind up in Missouri. Almost from the moment we got here, he has acted with such belligerence and antagonism toward Carol and me that we no longer want anything to do with him. His behavior turned particularly ugly once I picked up blogging again after getting settled in Missouri. Why would Schlueter, who has a doctorate and is not a stupid guy, think it's any of his business whether I write a blog or not? I've known him for roughly 40 years and never found him to be a particularly controlling or nasty guy. But he's been both since we made the mistake of moving to Missouri. What are his motivations? That's why his name is in this request.)

       (30) Carol's Request: Copies of all communications regarding preparation of the probable-cause statement filed by Deputy Debi Wade, leading to Carol Shuler's arrest.

       State's Response: Essentially the same as for No. 2 above.

       What's Up With That? Carol has shown in court documents that Waid's PC Statement is filled with false information. This goes directly to ill motives among cops and prosecutors, which led to Carol being unlawfully arrested -- twice.

       (31) Carol's Request: All records or documents about the whereabouts and actions of GCSO Lt. Phil Corcoran on the day of our eviction.

       State's Response: Essentially the same as No. 2.

       What's Up With That? Prosecutors clearly are trying not to produce the names of all officers who were on the premises during our eviction. The likely reason is that they want to protect someone who engaged in serious misconduct. Our research indicates Corcoran is the No. 2 guy in the GCSO, and Carol wants to know if he was present on 9/9/15 and if he was among those who laid hands on her, for no lawful reason, and caused her arm to be shattered.

To summarize, here are issues that seem to be sensitive to the prosecution in Carol's case, to the point that the State clearly is stonewalling on discovery:

* Information designed to show whether GCSO personnel did or did not follow their own procedures;

* Information designed to show all GCSO personnel who were present for, or involved with, our eviction;

* Information designed to show the Human Resources records of all GCSO personnel who were involved with our eviction:

* Information designed to show all communications (including e-mails, text messages, phone records, etc.) between or among GCSO personnel regarding the Shulers or their eviction;

* Information regarding documents that point to any new evidence received from the time of Carol's release from jail (with no charges) and her re-arrest in January 2017;

* Information designed to show improper motives involving GCSO personnel and the office of PA Dan Patterson;

* Information designed to show GCSO handling of other evictions under Sheriff Jim Arnott;

* Information designed to provide evidence of communications between GCSO personnel and external parties, including any parties from Alabama;

* Information designed to reveal improper motives behind the preparation of the Probable Cause Statement that led to Carol's re-arrest.

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