Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Former prosecutors in St. Louis face possible disbarment in alleged cover up for former detective, who now is in prison for beating up a suspect

Former detective Thomas A. Carroll;
Now serving 52-month prison sentence for
beating up a handcuffed suspect.
(From stltoday.com)
A lawyer and two former prosecutors face possible disbarment in St. Louis, MO, for their alleged roles in covering up police abuse. According to a disciplinary complaint, the three attorneys lied in their statements about a detective's assault on a handcuffed suspect in 2014.

The case suggests someone in the state takes police and prosecutorial corruption seriously -- and we have experienced plenty of it in Springfield, MO. That could be bad news for lawyers involved in bringing bogus "assault on a law enforcement officer" charges against my wife, Carol, in an effort to cover for police brutality that left her with a shattered arm, requiring trauma surgery for repair.

In the St. Louis case, former detective, Thomas A. Carroll, is serving a 52-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to violating the civil rights of Michael Waller by assaulting him on July 22, 2014. Waller had been arrested on suspicion of breaking into Carroll’s daughter’s car and stealing her credit card.

The former prosecutor who helped Carroll cover up the crime, Bliss Barber Worrell, was sentenced in July 2016 to 18 months of probation and 140 hours of community service.

Could individuals wind up in prison for violating Carol's civil rights? The answer is yes, but it might depend on whether legal corruption in the southwest corner of the state is even worse than it is in Missouri's largest city.

As for the three lawyers who allegedly lied about a cover-up in the Thomas A. Carroll case, this is from a report at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Two former St. Louis prosecutors and a St. Louis County family court lawyer are facing possible professional discipline over allegations that they lied about the cover-up of a St. Louis police detective’s assault on a handcuffed suspect in 2014.

The city paid the man who was assaulted a $300,000 settlement in October, according to a copy of a document released to the Post-Dispatch on Thursday.

The two former prosecutors — Ambry Nichole Schuessler and Katherine “Katie” Dierdorf — were working in the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office at the time and the third — Caroline Anne Rutledge — was an intern there.

In her defense filing, Caroline Rutledge portrays a prosecutor's office that lacked professionalism and integrity:

Rutledge’s filing says Worrell told her that Carroll “beat that guy up,” and she was aware of “limited discussion by others of an assault.” She denied lying to investigators but acknowledges that she could have been more “forthcoming.”

Former prosecutor Bliss Barber Worrell:
She admitted covering up police abuse.
(From stltoday.com)
Her filing says she was just an intern focused on an upcoming mock trial. She was also placed in a culture “that did not emphasize professionalism and ‘best practices’ for its interns” and did not receive the appropriate supervision and management.

What's ahead in the case? From the Post-Dispatch report:

No disciplinary hearing has been scheduled. The disciplinary process could result in dismissal of the case, an admonition or discipline ranging from a reprimand to disbarment.

As for allegations that the St. Louis prosecutor's office was riddled with corruption and unprofessional conduct, we're guessing that the office in Greene County might be just as bad -- if not worse. And we're starting to see signs that the Public Defender's office isn't any better.


Anonymous said...

Corrupt prosecutors cover for corrupt cops? Gee, I didn't see that one coming.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:47 --

That's a shocker isn't it? We've seen signs of the same thing happening in Carol's case, in Greene County. It's not just a "big city, St. Louis" thing.

Anonymous said...

Is the U.S. Constitution taught in law school? Maybe it's time to make that part of the curriculum.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:56 --

I think the U.S. Constitution course was replaced in most law schools with a course called "How to Maximize Profits At Your Law Firm."

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time our police learn that you can't beat someone up until he's at least been convicted of something? Geez, guys, c'mon. It's kind of like that old rule about never wearing white after Labor Day. It's OK to beat up a convict; not OK to beat up a suspect.

Anonymous said...

So St. Louis paid $300,000 because the cop beat up a man who was handcuffed? I'd say the city got off easy on that one.

Anonymous said...

It's comforting to know women are caught in the middle of this corruption, that they can lie when cornered, just like dudes can. At one time, I thought chicks were smart enough to stay out of crap like that. Not anymore, I guess.

legalschnauzer said...

@5:13 --

I hadn't thought of it, but you nailed it: All three of these lawyers facing discipline are women. Why would they feel the need to cover for a rogue cop? Maybe their supervisors were pushing them to do it? If so, the supervisors need to be outed and punished.

Anonymous said...

So, a cop can go to prison for beating up a man in handcuffs? Hmm . . . maybe that should happen to the guy who beat up Carol and broke her arm?

legalschnauzer said...

@5:22 --

That's exactly what should happen to him, along with loss of job and career. That's what will happen to him, if I have a say in the matter. Prosecutors, I believe, know that could happen to him, and that's why Carol and I believe they have not disclosed his name. Their narrative hints that Lt. Christian Conrad broke Carol's arm, but I have my doubts about that.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the guy's injuries were from being beaten up.

legalschnauzer said...

@5:28 --

Good question. I found the following from another Post-Dispatch story:

In deciding the sentence, U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey explicitly rejected Carroll’s insistence that he never put his gun in Michael Waller’s mouth nor seriously hurt him. Both elements drove up the officer’s liability under federal sentencing guidelines. Carroll, 52, pleaded guilty in April to violating Waller’s civil rights.

Waller complained of chipped teeth, a bloodied lip, badly bruised ribs and possibly a concussion in the beating July 22, 2014, in an interview room at the Central Patrol station.

He said that when he complained after Carroll left, a police lieutenant gave him a black eye. The accused supervisor has not been charged or disciplined because Waller could not pick his picture from a lineup.

Anonymous said...


legalschnauzer said...

@11:20 --

Thanks for sharing. That document says Worrell and Carroll had a "close, personal relationship" and all three of the attorneys who now face possible discipline knew about it. That probably explains the cover-up. Very dumb to provide cover for someone's misconduct related to what apparently was an affair or a relationship that was to be kept on the down low.

Anonymous said...

It almost sounds like the plot of a cheap porno! Handcuffs and cop hats and crimeandpunishment!