Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Both Judge Margaret Palmietto and public defender Patty Poe show an utter lack of class and grace, as Poe rushes out the door to withdraw from Carol's case

Patricia Poe
A Missouri judge this morning approved public defender Patty Poe's motion to withdraw from Carol's "assault case." The good news is that we won't have to deal anymore with Poe -- and her tendency to blow smoke up our rear ends. The bad news is . . . well, I'm not sure there is any bad news. Carol will have to find a private attorney or represent herself, but either option is preferable to being represented by a public defender who would have to improve significantly to be worthless.

Poe was in such a hurry to get away that she scrambled out of the courtroom before Carol's hearing even was finished. Perhaps she wanted to make sure she had no conversation with Carol or me. If so, her quick exit probably was a good idea. I doubt Poe wanted to hear what I think of her, and I really don't think she's worth putting forth the effort to tell her she's a louse -- a louse who lies, a lot.

In a little more than five months of "representing" Carol, Patty Poe accomplished one thing: She got the trespass charge against Carol dismissed. But Carol already had filed a pro se motion that would have accomplished the same thing if Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto had bothered to read it. In the end, Poe wasted five months of our time, on a case that, by law, should have been dismissed back in May or June.

Speaking of Palmietto, the whole public defender fiasco largely was her fault. At a hearing in May, Palmietto essentially forced Carol to fill out an application with the public defender's office, saying Carol would not be allowed to leave the courtroom until the application was finished.

On that day, Palmietto made it clear she knew about Carol's pro se motions -- I think five had been filed, three of them within a few days of that hearing date. In fact, Palmietto said she was not going to read Carol's motions until she had an attorney or waived her right to an attorney. Well, Carol had an attorney for more than five months, and Palmietto still has not heard, or ruled on, any of her motions -- most of which would have kicked out the prosecution's case, as a matter of law.

That Palmietto said she would hear Carol's motions, and then didn't, raises questions about her integrity -- at least with me. In terms of basic courtesy, Palmietto could have said something this morning like, "Mrs. Shuler, I'm the one who sent you to the public defender, so I'm sorry this didn't work out and it has wasted a lot of your time." Better yet, Palmietto could have directed a glare at Poe and said, "Ms. Poe, I sent Mrs. Shuler to you, with the expectation that your office would fulfill it's duty to provide a competent defense. So why are you seeking to withdraw now? What's the problem?"

Palmietto said nothing of the sort. I couldn't tell that she questioned Poe about anything. Poe, on the surface, is withdrawing because Prosecutor Nicholas Jain filed a Notice of Jail Waiver of Jail Time, and Missouri law states as follows (RSMo 600.042. 4(2)):

4. The director and defenders shall provide legal services to an eligible person:

(2) Who is detained or charged with a misdemeanor which will probably result in confinement in the county jail upon conviction, including appeals from a conviction in such a case, unless the prosecuting or circuit attorney has waived a jail sentence;

That seems like a nifty way for a prosecutor and a public defender to conspire to deprive an eligible person of her right to counsel. I'm not sure how that is constitutional, but it probably stands because no one has thought to challenge it. (Poe's Motion to Withdraw and Jain's Notice of Jail Waiver are embedded at the end of this post.)

The dubious nature of that Missouri statute is one reason it's disturbing that Palmietto seemed to approve Poe's motion with a wave of the hand -- without asking a few hard questions. We're only talking about the right to counsel here.

Speaking of the prosecutor, Jain was not present this morning, and we hear he is planning to run for prosecuting attorney in some Missouri county. Hopefully, it's one where the citizens are smart enough to pick someone -- anyone -- other than Jain. I've met billy goats who have more legal talent and integrity than this guy. When I heard of his plans, I could not suppress a guffaw. Not sure I've encountered anyone who has a more inflated assessment of his own abilities than Nicholas Jain.

I'm holding out some hope still for Palmietto -- she has made two or three rulings that actually were correct, under the law -- but she receives a failing grade from me today. This clearly is a case of Poe and Jain colluding to leave Carol without legal representation, and a judge should have enough curiosity to want to get to the bottom of it. The real reason for Poe's withdrawal, in my estimation, is that Carol was not buying her shuck and jive routine. Carol knew Poe repeatedly had made false statements regarding relevant law in the case, and Carol made it clear she wasn't buying Poe's BS. That likely made Poe uncomfortable -- and it might have made her boss uncomfortable, too -- so they bailed out.

In fairness to Palmietto, this was your standard "cattle call" court day, with little time to consider the niceties of any case. But at the very least, Palmietto should have asked Carol, "Mrs. Shuler, why is Ms. Poe withdrawing from this case -- in your view -- and how do you feel about that?" Carol's answer likely would have shined considerable light on the sorry representation she's received.

Given that Poe is a lawyer, this comes as no surprise, but her exit this morning was utterly without class. Carol and Poe were sitting shoulder to shoulder before the judge, and Carol said Poe didn't speak a word to her -- and I didn't notice Poe even glance at Carol. In fact, Carol was speaking to the judge when Poe turned and rushed out of the courtroom. I'm not sure Palmietto had even officially granted her motion yet. Unprofessional? To the max.

Poe has said multiple times that she is convinced Carol is not guilty -- "You don't look like the kind of person who would assault a police officer" -- and admitted the cops' story that Carol broke her own arm by flailing about in the back seat of a patrol car was pure rubbish. You'd think as a small sign of human decency, Poe might have said something like, "Good luck, Carol; I know you're going to have a good outcome with this case, and I'm sorry you've been put through this."

But that apparently is too much to expect of Patty Poe. Instead, she rushed out of the courtroom before the hearing was over, without a word to her "client" -- showing not the slightest concern about issues of justice. Why not give Carol a word of encouragement, especially when Poe knows Carol is innocent, probably one of the few truly innocent people to come through that courtroom -- and Poe knows cops abused Carol to the point that they practically ripped her left arm apart at the elbow?

From my seat, it appeared Poe was too busy covering her own ample ass to worry about Carol. I'm not sure Poe is even 30 years old, but she's already proven to be a heartless, graceless sellout for the legal tribe. She deserves to have her bar card stripped, and I wouldn't mind helping to make that happen.

What a worthless piece of excrement, and my feelings about her exit from Carol's case can be summed up in two words -- good riddance.

If Carol can find a private attorney we can afford, and is worthy of our trust, that would be great. But if Carol has to represent herself, I have no doubt she would do a better job than Patty Poe and Her Traveling Clown Show.

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