Tuesday, September 12, 2017

If Carol "assaulted" a cop at the start of our Missouri eviction, why did officers wait until the end to make arrest, when "victim" admits he caused contact?

Jeremy Lynn, his wife, and a hay bale
Of the many perplexing questions surrounding our unlawful eviction in Missouri, one near the top of the list is this: If my wife, Carol, "assaulted" deputy Jeremy Lynn as he burst through the door of our rented apartment at the beginning of the eviction -- as officers and prosecutors claim -- why did they wait roughly 30 minutes to arrest her, near the end of the eviction?

We now know the answer to that question: Carol did not "assault" Jeremy Lynn by pushing him as he entered our apartment. In his own incident report, Lynn makes no mention of Carol pushing him. In fact, Lynn admits that he caused contact with Carol, not the other way around. And under Missouri law, the central question in an alleged case of "assault of a law enforcement officer" is: Who caused contact with whom, without that person's consent? In this case, Jeremy Lynn admits he was the one who caused contact, and that means Carol is innocent of the assault charge against her -- according to the alleged "victim's" own words.

That leads to a related perplexing question: Why did officers wait until near the end of the eviction to arrest Carol and claim she had committed a crime? Well, we now know the answer to that question, too. It wasn't until the end of the eviction, as Carol was trying to gather some of our personal belongings (which cops had given her permission to do), that they brutalized her -- slamming her butt-first to the ground and yanking on her arms in an upward and backward motion. She had not threatened them, she had not violated any directives -- but three cops surrounded her and participated in a group beat-down, with an unknown cop coming from behind (we call him "Mr. Blue Shirt" because that's what he wore, while others generally wore black) and doing most of the damage.

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott saw all this from a few feet away and immediately pointed a finger at Carol and said, "She assaulted a law enforcement officer." Arnott likely knew this was a blatant case of police brutality, so he on-the-spot concocted a "cover charge," in a brazen attempt to place blame on Carol and deflect it from his officers. That's how the mind of a corrupt sheriff operates.

But it creates a problem for Arnott. Greene County Prosecuting Attorney (PA) Dan Patterson did not bring any charges against Carol from the end of the eviction. She is charged only with the alleged push of Jeremy Lynn -- and incident reports from four officers claim that took place near the beginning of the eviction. Never mind that Jeremy Lynn himself makes no mention of it, admitting that he "caused contact" with Carol. (Incident reports are embedded at the end of this post.)

Officer Debi Wade, in her Probable Cause (PC) Statement, claims Carol "barreled into [her] head first." But PA Patterson must not have thought too much of that claim, which purely is a product of Wade's vivid imagination, because he did not charge Carol with it in his Misdemeanor Information (MI). (The PC Statement and MI are embedded at the end of this post.)

What are the MI and PC Statement, and how do they work together under Missouri law? The MI is the charging document in misdemeanor cases, providing the defendant with notice of what he allegedly did. The PC Statement is evidentiary in nature. It, in theory, is to provide evidence to support the charges in the MI.

An attorney connected to Carol's case recently advised us, in so many words, that charges involving the alleged Debi Wade incident did not have to be in the MI because Wade wrote the PC Statement -- and that means her allegations are automatically incorporated into the MI.

This, like much of what attorneys say, is horse manure -- and it raises serious questions about this attorney's integrity, competence or both. We will explain why that contention is horse manure in an upcoming post.

But first, let's revisit Jeremy Lynn's own words about what happened as he entered our apartment, owned by landlord Trent Cowherd. Lynn describes using a key to open the door and seeing me sitting calmly in a chair. He then states the following:

There was a female, however, that had been trying to force the door closed and she was standing just behind the door and trying again to force it closed. She was very aggressive and fighting against the door. She was grabbed by her arms and restrained to stop her from harming one of us or herself. During this process she was pulling her arms away from me and tried to push me back with her arms and body. She was told to calm down repeatedly and ignored those commands. She was eventually handcuffed and taken outside.

The female in question was Carol, and we learn two key points here:

(1) Lynn admits he "caused contact" with Carol by grabbing her arms and restraining her;

(2) Lynn admits that Carol reacted by "pulling away" from him. How could Carol push him as she was trying to pull way. As a matter of common sense, she couldn't.

So, what is the reality here? Carol knew, because we had timely filed a Notice of Appeal (with appropriate fees) the day before, that the eviction was stayed, by law. In fact, we recently published a post that included multiple documents -- our Notice of Appeal, a document showing the Notice had been filed electronically filed and was available for attorneys via secure case.net, plus a letter that the Missouri Court of Appeals had received our notice.

There was a mountain of evidence in the docket, showing the eviction had been stayed. And yet, Carol has a strange man -- with no lawful grounds for being there -- entering her home and grabbing her. Did she push him? The strange man admits she did not. Did she instinctively try to pull away. Yes, she did, but that's not a crime under Missouri law.

So why did PA Dan Patterson bring the charges? Why has a clearly baseless case been hanging over our heads for roughly eight months? Why does Carol face another court appearance, on September 20, when she has filed multiple pro se documents that show there is no probable cause to support the one remaining charge against her -- that she pushed Jeremy Lynn, even though his own words show it didn't happen? Why has Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto apparently refused to read or consider Carol's filings, which should have brought this sham case to a close months ago?

We will examine those questions, and more, in upcoming posts.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

I missed your first post on this, dealing with hurricane concerns. So the cop your wife "assaulted," admits he grabbed her first? Wow!

Anonymous said...

These are the same cops and prosecutors we are supposed to trust to get it right when they sent someone to prison -- or to death row.

Anonymous said...

One pushes and pulls when struggling against restraint. According to the officer, Carol did both. She tried both to get away by pulling away, and to resist the restraint and handcuffing by pushing the officer in an ineffective attempt to get him away from her.

This is not a very reasonable objection of yours to the idea that she resisted the officer with pushing. Her attorney (I am presuming her public defender is the one giving this info) is correct that anything Wade wrote in her statement is incorporated.

The best line of defense is that Carol sincerely and reasonably believed the officers had no right to enter and that Carol believed they were trespassers.

Again, Carol will not be jailed. Worst case scenario is a diversion program. She may be found not guilty, but I think if the officers testify to her resistance, she will be found guilty with an opportunity to have that verdict vacated if she is of good behavior (and thats it) or meets the terms of a diversion program.
I think it is clear this is a cover charge designed to bulletproof a defense of reasonable use of force in any civil case you might bring. Good faith error in effecting your eviction (it's lawfulness and their actions to remove you) will protect the officers but not necessarily higher ups or the county.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't admit he "assaulted" her first. He says Carol was fighting back against entry with the door, and that restraint was necessary to protect all concerned.

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't this case dismissed months ago?

legalschnauzer said...

@10:43 --

Good question. You can check case.net (1631-CR07731 - ST V CAROL T SHULER) and see that Carol filed pro se documents back in March, April, and May that should have ended this case. You also can see where motion hearings were set, but no motions ever were argued. Judge Palmietto said in open court that she wasn't going to consider Carol's motions until Carol had an attorney. Is that lawful? I doubt it. Why did the judge say it, and why did the judge sign a warrant for Carol's arrest when the docket shows that attempts to serve Carol via U.S. mail failed -- and Missouri law requires that some form of personal service be attempted? I don't know the answer, but these things are troubling. Carol was arrested for failure to appear when the record makes it clear she received no notice that she was to appear.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:37 --

I didn't say Officer Lynn admitted assaulting Carol. I said he admitted "causing contact" with her, which is the key element in the statute Carol is charged under. That means she did not assault him.

Given that officers had no grounds to be on the property and no grounds to arrest Carol, Lynn's actions might constitute an assault, and the guy who broke Carol's arm clearly committed an assault. One of the basics of criminal law: Any use of force in making an unlawful arrest is excessive force. That, of course, is a civil matter, but it also could point to criminal actions by the cop.

Anonymous said...

The smartest appearing entity in the picture is the hay bale.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:36 --

When confronted with an inconvenient truth, you tend to ignore said truth:

TRUTH: Officer Lynn admits causing contact with Carol, not the other way around. By law, that means Carol did not assault him.

TRUTH: Carol isn't charged with resisting anything. She's charged with "assaulting" an officer -- and Jeremy Lynn's own words show she didn't do it. I would encourage you to learn what this case is about. Right now, you seem to have no clue.

TRUTH: You cite no law to support your claim that Wade's statements are "incorporated" into the MI. That's because there is no such law, but there is law saying just the opposite -- and I will be writing on that shortly.

TRUTH: The best line of defense is Jeremy Lynn's report showing Carol did not assault him. The other items you mention are important issues also. Keep in mind, Officer Wade admits she knew we had filed a Notice of Appeal, but "counsel" told her to go ahead with eviction. I wonder who said "counsel" is. Do you know? I bet you do.

TRUTH: If Carol is found not guilty, it will be because she isn't guilty -- and Jeremy Lynn's words prove that. No amount of officer testimony about resistance -- a non-issue, under the law -- can change that. More importantly, the case cannot lawfully go to trial for a multitude of reasons. It must be dismissed, mainly because the PC Statement and MI are wildly deficient.

BTW, I find it amazing that you agree this is a "cover charge," but you seem to give credibility to the cops who caused the PA to bring the charge. How can cops who bring a cover charge have credibility on any issue?

Anonymous said...

Which one is the hay bale in that photograph?

legalschnauzer said...

@11:29 --

Not sure why, but your comment made me LOL. Very goofy humor on your part. Thumbs up. BTW, I think the hay bale is on the back row.

Anonymous said...

The hale bale is the intelligent one in the pic.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:26 --

Wouldn't you love to see a photo of Jeremy Lynn and the hay bale, hunkered over a chess board?

Anonymous said...

with a unicorn grazing next to them. Things you will never see.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy a good laugh as much as the next guy, but I hope we aren't making sport of Mrs. Lynn here.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:14 --

Agreed. I don't think that is anyone's intention here.

Anonymous said...

@10:36 --

You talk about the officers acting in "good faith." What about Mrs. Schnauzer? She was present when a Notice of Appeal was filed the day before, and she had reason to believe that put a stay on the eviction. The next day, she sees a strange man coming into her home, grabbing her, while she had a reasonable belief that he had no grounds for being there. Wasn't she acting in "good faith," or does that apply only to cops?

legalschnauzer said...

@1:20 --

You raise a very important point, particularly when you consider that a required element of this offense was that the defendant acted "knowingly." Putting aside Jeremy Lynn's admission that he caused contact with Carol. there is no way Carol acted knowingly here. As you say, she had every reason to believe the eviction was stayed, and that cops and landlords actually follow the law in Missouri. In fact, she was correct about that, and the Missouri Court of Appeals even had our appeal at time of eviction. So Carol acted in good faith, and she did not "knowingly" do anything improper to Jeremy Lynn or anyone else.

If the prosecutor's office had done the slightest bit of homework before filing charges, they would have known all of this.

Anonymous said...

Using a hay bale as a photo prop? Must be a midwestern thing.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Schnauzer:

I had never heard of a police "cover charge" until I read about the practice here on your blog. I went back to one of your posts on the subject, to see if I could find a definition, and this is what I found:

"Police often charge victims of brutality with anything from assault to disorderly conduct to discredit their claims of police misconduct. While it is nearly impossible to compile exact statistics on this practice, sometimes called “cover” arrests, video recording has helped expose a number of cases where police have wrongfully charged people or fabricated police reports to justify violence."

From this, it appears the "cover charge" practice is about wrongfully charging people with crimes to discredit their claims of police misconduct. Use of the term "fabricated" indicates this is about cops making shit up about citizens. How sick is that?

With that in mind, I can't believe @10:36 acknowledges this is a cover charge brought against Carol, but he seems blase about the notion of cops "fabricating police reports to justify violence." This is a horrific violation of the public trust, harming not only you and Carol, but all of us. But I see no sign that bothers @10:36 in the least. And as you note, he still seems to give cops credibility.

The cops in Carol's case should have zero credibility. And in my view, they should be criminally prosecuted and taken off the streets.

Funny that @10:36 seems to be the guy who thought you have autism. I would say @10:36 has a giant hole in his soul.

legalschnauzer said...

@4:46 --

Thanks for an excellent comment, very thoughtful. And thanks for bringing that definition of a cover charge back to my attention. Yes, it very definitely is about dishonesty, breach of trust, the ugliest of corruption. It's also involves a vile waste of public resources. Cops who bring such charges are wasting taxpayer dollars and abusing law-abiding citizens.

@10:36 makes a lot of strange statements, and his claims to the contrary, I believe he is an attorney with a horse in this race. His knowledge of the law and his knowledge of autism are at about the same level -- Ground Zero.

Anonymous said...

You stated in an earlier post that the judge said "I'm not going to consider your motions until you have representation or you waive your right to an attorney." That is a lot different than you stated in the comments of this post when you said "Judge Palmietto said in open court that she wasn't going to consider Carol's motions until Carol had an attorney. Is that lawful? I doubt it." I think it is important to have a defendant have representation or to make a clear waiver of their right to an attorney before proceeding. Had she heard the motion and denied it, the first thing you would have said is that she didn't have representation. It seems the Judge made the right call in this case.

legalschnauzer said...

@7:22 --

The issue here isn't what you think is important. The issue is the law, and I can find no law that says pro se filings cannot be heard until the party has a lawyer or waives right to an attorney. If that is the law, I haven't found anything that states that. Also, I must note that Judge Palmietto cited no law when she made that finding.

If the judge had heard the motion and denied it, I would have reviewed her finding to make a determination if she got it right or wrong -- and I would have stated accordingly.

You cite to no law indicating the judge made the right call, so I assume you are just pulling that out of your ass.

legalschnauzer said...

Another quick note: Carol has had an attorney for several months now, but Palmietto still shows no sign of having considered the pro se motions. The judge said she would consider those once Carol had a lawyer, but she hasn't done it. Why?

Anonymous said...

You think the judge is just being careful to protect your rights? Either you have an attorney, or say you don't want one. Either way, she's made sure that your rights are covered. Whats' wrong with that?

In my state courts, you have to request a hearing by filing a notice of hearing or a request for submission. That places the motion on calendar, and it will not be resolved otherwise. Wonder if you have something similar that you need to do. It may just be a procedural step you need to take to alert the court that you have a pending motion ready for decision. keep in mind this judge probably has hundreds of cases, and has not thought about yours since the last time you were in her courtroom.

legalschnauzer said...

What's wrong with that is Palmietto saying she wouldn't consider Carol's motions until she had a lawyer or waived her right to a lawyer, and Carol chose to have a lawyer -- and she's had one for months now, but the motions still haven't been considered. You can see on the docket that several motion hearings have been conducted, but Palmietto has done nothing but consider administrative issues. I see no sign that you have to make a special request to have a motion heard in this court. As far as I'm concerned, Carol's motions stand on their own, and the judge could rule on them without a hearing or oral argument. As far as a procedural step, it appears that simply is filing the motion and serving on prosecution. The judge knows the motions are there; she has stated that in court.

To be clear, you make several references to "your rights," as if it's my case. It's Carol's rights I'm concerned about; it's her case. Her right to an attorney has been established for some time now; she has representation. I'm concerned about Carol's right to have her properly and timely filed motions heard because they should be dispositive of this case. In fact, by law, they are dispositive.

Anonymous said...

I did a quick search this morning and could not find the law in Missouri, but I did find an interesting case that went to the Alabama Supreme Court, Alabama v. Shelton. It's an interesting case worth a quick read.

I do agree with you that she now has counsel and the judge should hear her motions / have already heard her motions. I wonder if the judge isn't looking at them because they were filed by Carol and, since she has representation, should have been filed by her attorney. Did the attorney file motions like Carol? Does someone with an attorney have the right to file a motion on their own?

Robby Scott Hill said...

Was in Southwestern Missouri for work yesterday. They have the most messed up highways I've ever seen in my life! They don't need to be evicting anyone. They need to be putting everyone to work fixing the roads & supporting the road crews. Mssouri has the same problem Alabama used to have - Cops from about eleven different agencies patrolling the same highways to create revenues to pay the judges & lawyers the kind of money they want to make. They need to cut out some of the largesse in the criminal justice system & fix the roads.

legalschnauzer said...

Rob --

Thanks for your comment. If you have time and are back this way again, hope you will contact me. Would enjoy getting together, if possible. Missouri winters are tough on roads, although the winters aren't nearly as rough as they were when I was a kid. I'm guessing a Missouri winter now is about like an Alabama winter of 25 years ago. May your travels be swift and sure. Sounds like you're enjoying this new chapter in your life.

legalschnauzer said...

@5:37 --

Thanks for tip re: Alabama v. Shelton. Will check that out. Carol filed her motions in March April, and May -- before she retained counsel, in June. The motions should have been heard then, but they certainly should be heard now. Best I can tell, the public defender files motions the same way Carol did, although the PD probably has access to an electronic system. A pro se party certainly has a right to have her motions heard, and I believe I've found Missouri procedural law that points in that direction . . . still researching. I think a party without representation cannot file motions on her own, but these were filed well before Carol had a lawyer. They've just been sitting there, due to judicial inaction.

My understanding is that Carol has a right to a speedy resolution of this case, and those motions cite multiple grounds for resolving it. Carol remains stuck in this clogged system, when she long has filed motions that, I believe, would be dispositive if properly considered.

You probably can appreciate that we want to get this thing over with, sooner rather than later -- especially since the facts and law clearly are on Carol's side.

legalschnauzer said...

@5:37 --

Yes, Alabama v. Shelton is a very interesting case. Was not familiar with it; appreciate the tip. Looks like it went all the way to U.S. Supreme Court. For those who might be interested, here is URL to the SCOTUS finding:


Anonymous said...

I didn't realize it went all the way to SCOTUS, I only read about it going before the Alabama Supreme court. Given this case, do you feel the judge was correct in wanting Carol to either retain counsel or explicitly waive the right?

legalschnauzer said...

I haven't read the full opinion yet, so not sure re: your question.