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.


Anonymous said...


Did your wife request copies of the GEDs the GSCO personnel on the scene had to file to get hired? What was the response? (I mean, GCSO does require at least a GED don't they? Or is a good word from a cousin of an important person good enough?)

Did your wife request a list of GSCO employees granpappied in before the GED requirement wuz inventid?

Anonymous said...

The cops and the prosecutors are playing cover-up now. They thought Carol would cave by now, and it hasn't happened, so they are in damage-control mode.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:57 --

We've requested personnel files on all participating GCSO personnel, so we will see what that turns up.

Anonymous said...

The key to this will be getting the texts and emails and phone records among the cops and with outsiders. That will tell the story.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it rich that cops and prosecutors have no problem invading YOUR life, but when you try to pry into their business, they don't like it?

legalschnauzer said...

@11:19 --

Interesting point. The cops invaded our lives in a way that was criminal. Carol is seeking information to which she is lawfully entitled, to defend herself against bogus charges. Yes, there is irony, but one side (Carol) is acting lawfully, and the other side (cops/PA) are trying to cover up criminal acts.

Anonymous said...

Who is this fellow, Don Schlueter? That's a new name in all of this.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:30 --

He's a "friend" of mine from college, who came to Birmingham and convinced us to come to Missouri. We never would have come to Missouri without his intervention, and once we got here, he turned into a horse's ass, berating me multiple times for re-starting this blog. I normally wouldn't allow someone to talk to me (and Carol) the way he did. It was mean and nasty and vicious, and I can't help but wonder why a supposed "friend" would turn on someone like that. There usually is a reason for such a dramatic change. We are going to find out his story in all of this, along with my family's story, and that process will begin very soon.

Anonymous said...

I understand questioning the cops actions in a civil way, but how did they act criminally?

legalschnauzer said...

@11:36 --

See "18 U.S. Code § 242 - Deprivation of rights under color of law"

It has a five-year statute of limitations, as is the case with most federal crimes.

Anonymous said...

Why would Mr. Schlueter think it's any of his business whether you write a blog or not?

legalschnauzer said...

@1:26 --

You've got me there. I can only think of two possible answers: (1) He's an extraordinary control freak; or (2) He has an agenda, either one of his own or someone else's that he has bought into.

He seems to have had two major interests: (1) Getting us out of Birmingham; (2) Shutting down Legal Schnauzer. Why he would care about either one is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

If this involved criminality, I assume that would go beyond the cops to anyone who conspired with them?

legalschnauzer said...

@1:30 --

Yes, you are correct.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they are just pleading the 5th.

On a different note, and I realize this is a completely hypothetical case, but if discovery did show that a deputy that was at the eviction had a friend in Alabama, would that prove anything other than they have a friend in Alabama. Are you looking for any connection or are you looking for just political connections?

legalschnauzer said...

Carol and her public defender, Patty Poe, are the ones seeking the information, so I can't speak for them. But my guess is that they aren't concerned about any GCSO personnel who might happen to have a friend in Alabama. I think the interest is in anyone connected to an Alabama legal/political figure who communicated with anyone connected to the GCSO about us or our eviction. That is what would make it relevant and material. The other would not.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of collusion and other types of miscreant behavior going unchecked, have you noticed that Donald Watkins is going "all-in" on the Megan Rondini case? He's outing some very unsavory stuff about UofA Tuscaloosa.
Keep up the good fight, Schnauzers! There is no ju$tice in today's world, only fortitude to withstand the grinding down process.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:16 --

Yes, I've followed Watkins' posts on the Rondini story. I've done several such posts myself. The whole thing is ugly, but perhaps it will expose the Tuscaloosa underbelly that probably has been there for years.

What do you think of it? Surprised at all?

Anonymous said...

@LS: Honey, I'm old enough that nothing (and I mean nothing) "surprises" me. Disappointment in my fellow humans might be a better word.
Despite finding most of it an annoying waste of time, I will say that the upside of the Net is that it's certainly exposing a lot of stuff. How useful and sustainable this over the long run is the big question.

e.a.f. said...

deflect, deflect, deflect. omg you'd think the guy went to the trump school of whatever.

if this is the way the state does business in criminal cases you do have to wonder how they stayed in business and why it wasn't dealt with earlier or is Carol just a "special case".

guess ye ole prosecutor either can't read and comprehend what is being asked for or is used to people just accepting what he writes. what ever his rationale, he is going to have to get with the new agenda. There is a new "criminal" element in town. They can read, write, blog and refuse to accept the normal activities of the great unwashed prosecutorial gAng who can't seem to do their job properly.