Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dash-cam recordings, computerized dispatch logs, and electronic communications are targets of Carol's discovery request to defend against "assault" charge

Dash cam
(From tulsaworld.com)
Dash-camera recordings are among the types of media my wife, Carol, is requesting in her defense of an "assault on a law enforcement officer" charge connected to our September 2015 eviction in Greene County, Missouri.

We have reported seeing six to eight officers on the scene that day. If they each drove individual vehicles, that means quite a few dash cams could have been in the area. Discovery documents show that Christian Conrad was one officer present at the eviction, and we have found a court case involving an incident from March 2010 in which Conrad is described as having a dash cam in his vehicle.

Our understanding is that deputies with the Greene County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) do not have body cams. But other forms of "media" likely were involved with our eviction, and they were a focus of Public Defender Patty Poe's Motion to Compel Disclosure, which was heard on Sept. 20 before Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto. After oral argument, Palmietto took the matter under advisement and scheduled the next appearance for Oct. 4.

In her Motion to Compel (embedded at the end of this post), Poe states she served all parties with a request for discovery, on or about May 15, 2017, pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rules 25.03 and 25.07. Poe goes on to state:

3. On July 10, 2017, an email was sent to Evelyn Keith of the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office requesting media discovery pursuant to local practice. [Exhibit A]. 
4. The media request included CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatch) logs and recordings, 911 calls, dash camera recordings, and phones.

The prosecution received this request more than two months ago, but has it been responsive? Not exactly. From Poe's Motion to Compel, dated Aug. 29, 2017:

5. To date, defense counsel has only been provided a 911 call and photographs of Ms. Shuler.

Photos produced probably are ones Deputy Scott Harrison took of Carol's injuries at the Cox North Emergency Room after she complained of pain in her left arm. X-rays showed she had suffered a comminuted fracture, which means her arm was broken into three or more pieces, above the elbow.

How badly has the prosecution been stonewalling. Poe states in her motion that she sent an email to assistant prosecutor Nicholas Jain and requested the following material under No. 7:

a. Copies of all communications between or among the Greene County Sheriff's Office regarding the eviction dated September 9, 2015.  (This apparently includes emails, text messages, voice messages, and other forms of communication. We're not clear if it includes communications from outside the GCSO to anyone on the inside, regarding us or our eviction. If not, it needs to.)
b. Notes or reports from Deputy Scott Harrison regarding Ms. Shuler's injuries. 
c. Statements of any officer present at the scene on September 9, 2015. 
d. Citizen complaints or allegations of excessive violence or force by the Greene County Sheriff's Office in the past five years.

Item d was the focus of oral argument on Sept. 20 and likely will be at the heart of any ruling Judge Palmietto announces on Oct. 4. But there seems to be little doubt that items a, b, and c must be disclosed, by law. In fact, Poe argues that some of those items are required disclosures:

9.  The documents requested in 7(b) and 7(c) are required disclosures under 25.03. Deputy Harrison's notes or reports are "written or recorded statements" from a witness endorsed by the state. Deputy Harrison is an endorsed witness in the misdemeanor information. The statements of any officers present at the scene on September 9, 2015, is required under 25.03 (A)(1) as to Christian Conrad and Jeremy Lynn, as they are endorsed witnesses in the misdemeanor information. As to the other officers present at the scene, but not endorsed by the state, disclosure should be court ordered under 25.04. . . . The relevancy of any witness statement, report, or note is self-explanatory, as they are witnesses to an alleged crime.

Are Carol and her counsel in the position of just hoping the prosecution coughs up information it apparently wants to keep hidden? The answer is no:

13. Alternatively, since the state has either chosen not to comply, or does not have the ability to comply, Rule 25.03 (9)(c) provides that the court shall issue subpoenas or orders "to cause such material or information to be made available" to the defense.

How important is it for Carol to obtain this discovery? Poe spells it out:

15. The defense is unable to identify important legal issues and file relevant motions herein without disclosure of the aforementioned evidence from the state. As a result, the defendant would be prejudiced by the state's failure to disclose all of the aforementioned evidence.


Anonymous said...

Go get 'em, Carol. Grrrrrr . . .

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that two years after Mrs. Schnauzer was beaten by cops, and almost four years after Mr. Schnauzer was beaten and incarcerated by cops, the story of protests against police violence has gone national -- even turning the NFL on its head?

legalschnauzer said...

@1:02 --

Thanks for a powerful comment. I hadn't thought of things in those terms, but everything you say is right on target. Does it mean Carol and I are on the cutting edge when it comes to being victims of police violence? Maybe it does, although that's not a position we were looking to achieve. We could have lived without it.

Anonymous said...

This comment might be more appropriate on your post from this morning, but I'll put it here since it sort of applies in both places:

1. What if the violence you and Carol have experienced is somehow connected to Russian interests? Jill Simpson's point about the Dixie Mafia's ties to Russia made me think of this. Also made me think it's possible Russian interests might be involved today in election theft on Luther Strange's behalf.

2. What if Don Siegelman's case was connected to Russians? That was in 05-06, long before anyone thought of Trump and Russia.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:10 --

Wow, you ask big-time questions. At one time, I think a lot of people (including me) would have thought such a notion was absurd. But Jeff Sessions and Rob Riley have documented ties to Russia, and they clearly are connected to the violence and other abuse that Carol and I have experienced. They also are close to the Siegelman case.

Russia is an overwhelmingly white country where a few people have lots of resources and the vast majority of people have very little. That's a mode right-wingers in the U.S. seem to find attractive, and they probably want to turn the U.S. into an English-speaking Russia.

The lust for money drives so many things in this perverse life, so I no longer find it absurd to think Russian interests have been involved in Alabama affairs.

Anonymous said...

I'll play this game . . .

What if the DOJ has been hiding Siegelman-case documents because they include evidence of Russian influence in that case?

What if Alabama government has been run by a bunch of traitors for years, and it's just now getting to the White House?

What if the thing that attracted Trump and Sessions to each other was their shared greed, pointing toward Russia?

Anonymous said...

Good luck on getting dash-cam footage. That's where the rubber should meet the road.

Anonymous said...

With the prosecution dragging its feet on turning this material over, it makes me think they know it contains information not favorable to them.

Anonymous said...

Dash-cam footage would be interesting to see, but I think the e-mails, texts, etc. between and among the coppers would be even more interesting. Would reveal what they were thinking -- if they were thinking anything at all.

e.a.f. said...

perhaps they think if the stone wall Carol will go away. Not likely, but they can hope, which is about all they have that they won't be at the loosing end of this all. The police broke Carol's arm. no where in their job description is there anything about going around breaking citizen's arms. If they don't provide the requested information, I'd conclude they have something to hide. If the Judge orders them to provide the requested information, they may appeal. Most of these type of people don't expect some one to dig in their heels and confront them when they the police break the law.

legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f. --

Point well taken. One thing I've learned, though, is it's pretty much impossible in the U.S. system for Carol (or anyone) to walk away from a criminal charge. It hangs over you like a black cloud. The prosecution can drop it, the judge can dismiss it, but Carol has to fight it to have any chance of those things happening. By law, they have to happen in this case. But getting anyone in a courtroom to correctly apply the law is a huge challenge; that's pretty much the whole point of this blog -- it's how our relatively minor legal issues mushroomed into a nightmare.

There's no doubt they have a lot to hide. Their own "victim" admits Carol did not "assault" him, as its defined under Missouri law. This criminal case, like so many things in life, is all about money. It's designed for one thing: To harass and intimidate Carol and me into not filing a civil action. That's a stupid notion, and it's not going to work, but that's what is going on -- and they probably think we are too stupid to figure that out.

In their cleverness, these cops have opened themselves to criminal exposure. No telling how many federal criminal laws they have broken, and we might eventually pursue that with the DOJ, if we can find any career people who have integrity and take their jobs seriously. Some of these people should go to prison for this, and time will tell if that is to happen.

legalschnauzer said...

Memo to @10:32 --

You sound a bit agitated about something. I wonder what it is. It's hard to tell because you can't write a coherent sentence in English. Also you can't spell. (A "lean" on a house.) Geez, where did you go to school? Never mind. I don't care, and neither does anyone else.

legalschnauzer said...

Memo to @10:32 --

Forgot to mention that I can't wait for the Tweets, and tags and Facebook posts you reference. Quaking in my boots over threats like that from someone afraid to ID himself. Oooooo, scary tough guy.

Anonymous said...

What is your take on the US v. Rodney Lamont Phillips case? Especially regarding Rodriguez v. U.S.

legalschnauzer said...

@6:39 --

By US v. Rodney Lamont Phillips, I assume you are referring to this case:


If so, I have a few thoughts on it:

(1) Phillips is an interesting case, especially when you consider it involves Dep. Christian Conrad, the guy who, according to incident reports by his colleagues, broke Carol's arm. (I'm not sure it actually was Conrad, but that's what his cohorts say.)

(2) This is an order from a district-court judge, so it probably has no precedential value. It's not a circuit-court finding, and certainly not a SCOTUS opinion, which would set precedent throughout the circuit, or the country.

(3) It's hard to say much about this order without knowing what happened in the case. Was this order appealed to the circuit court, was Phillips convicted and was that appealed to the circuit court? Do you have more information about the facts, and what happened?

(4) That being said, I don't have a strong opinion on Phillips, either way. It appears to be an isolated order, from one trial-court judge, with no impact on any other cases. I'm not saying the judge ruled incorrectly, but without knowing what happened in the case and doing more research, it's hard to have a firm opinion on it.

(5) The Phillips order cites three 8th Circuit rulings to support its findings. I haven't had a chance to study those three cases to see if the judge cited them correctly. I will assume the trial judge cited the cases correctly, meaning his order is within the law. But I don't see how it has impact on any other cases. Do you?

(6) As for Rodriguez, it was decided by SCOTUS in 2015, and the Phillips order was in 2010. The three cases cited in Phillips all are older than Rodriguez (2010, 2007, 2003). I don't see how Phillips could have any impact on cases that apply to Rodriguez. If anything, I think it would be the other way around. If the Phillips case were to happen now, Rodriguez might provide an avenue for Phillips to have an order like this one reversed. It's hard to say for sure because the order doesn't include a lot of the facts in Phillips case -- so not sure if it's really on point with Rodriguez. Sounds like it might be; just not sure.

All in all, pretty interesting case, right from Greene County, MO. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Robby Scott Hill said...

I like this. The cops use dispatch logs & such against truckers who are just trying to feed their families everyday. Love seeing the tables turned on them for a change!

legalschnauzer said...

Rob --

Will be interesting to see if they actually turn over this material. How many times in court cases do you think one side or the other knowingly fails to turn over discovery? I know that's supposed to result in tough sanctions, but how many lawyers are afraid of sanctions -- unless it means removal of their bar cards for a lengthy period, or permanently. Seems to me discovery is basically an honor system conducted by dishonorable people. In this instance, there might be 2-3 different sets of footage that show these bastards beating Carol up and breaking her arm. There's also probably email and texts that show they knew they had no grounds to be on the property, but decided to terrorize us anyway. Who is going to make the prosecution turn that over? What's to keep the prosecutor from saying, "I couldn't find anything," and the judge just shrugs her shoulders?

Anonymous said...


"The City of Santa Clara has settled a lawsuit alleging that its police department entered a home without a warrant and broke a woman’s ankle while detaining her under questionable circumstances in 2016 for $6.7 million.

Sgt. Gregory Hill and officers Mitchell Barry, Mark Shimada, Peter Stephens and Greg Deger were all named defendants in the suit, which claims that officers kicked down the door of Danielle Harmon Burfine’s home after she refused to let them in without a warrant on April 12, 2016, according to attorneys Michael Haddad and Julia Sherwin."

legalschnauzer said...

@10:32 --

Very interesting case. Thanks for sharing. Want to learn more about this.