Wednesday, December 6, 2017

In a moment of dark comedy, public defender Patty Poe informs us that constitutional issues in Carol's case will be decided on the word of a ghostly "friend"

Patty Poe, on law-school graduation day
One of the "benefits" of having your own lawyer repeatedly lie to you is that it can create moments of dark comedy. Consider our experience with Patty Poe, the public defender who supposedly was representing Carol in a pending "assault" case over the past six months.

Carol is charged with "assaulting" a law enforcement officer by pushing him as he burst into our rented duplex apartment in Springfield, Missouri, for an eviction on Sept. 9, 2015. The charge is nutty, of course, because the "victim" -- Officer Jeremy Lynn -- admits in a written statement that he caused physical contact with Carol, not the other way around. And under the statute in question, RSMo 565.083, that is the central element to the offense.

In our early interactions with her, even Poe seemed to acknowledge there are big issues here -- ones that go straight to the U.S. Constitution. "Did Carol push Jeremy Lynn, or did Jeremy Lynn grab Carol?" is an important question. But it pales in importance to this question: "Did Jeremy Lynn and his fellow officers that day have lawful grounds to be on our property, much less to be breaking into our residence?"

If they did not, any evidence they gather is a violation of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable and unlawful searches and seizures, and it must be suppressed or excluded. In criminal law, it's called the "exclusionary rule," and we've written about it many times -- especially in the context of dubious traffic stops. But the same rule that protects you in your automobile also protects you in your home. That doctrine was made clear more than 55 years ago in a U.S. Supreme Court case styled Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961),

A Motion to Suppress the prosecution's evidence probably was the No. 1 task that needed to be addressed in Carol's case. If granted, such a motion would exclude all of the government's evidence -- and there isn't much, just the weak tea in its Probable Cause Statement. Without that evidence, however, the government's case is wholly barren, and the case must be dropped. It is, after all, hard to prosecute a case with no evidence.

So when Poe first joined Carol's case in late May, she brought up the issue of the eviction's legality -- and noted, as a public defender who deals in criminal cases, she is far from an expert on tenant/landlord law. We said, "Fine, we're not experts either, but we have had reason to study tenant/landlord law because of all we've been through -- and we'd be happy to try to help."

In that spirit, knowing that Poe works in an understaffed, overworked office, Carol sent her five e-mails in early August, outlining research on a number of issues related to the case. Poe acknowledged receipt of the emails and said she would go over the material and get back to us. The information on eviction law was primarily in Email No. 2, dated Aug. 8, 2017. (The emails, and Poe's responses to them, are embedded at the end of this post.

Poe's response came about 2 1/2 weeks later, in an email dated Aug. 27. Rather than show the slightest hint of appreciation for having a client who was able and willing to help, Poe's response had a snarky, "you put me out" tone. Worse, she hit us with one lie after another, showing she had made no genuine effort to understand the law she had admitted a few weeks earlier was critical to Carol's case. A key point to remember: A Motion to Suppress, if granted, wipes out what little evidence the government has in Carol's case -- and the prosecution is over, finito.

So, we had this strange notion that Poe would take Carol's research on this matter seriously. But here is the introduction to Poe's response:

Good Evening Roger and Carol:

I've spend a good part of my Sunday researching some of your points as well as preparing the Motion to Compel. I will send you a copy of that motion once it's complete. I've broken up my responses based on your 5 emails. If you have any further questions or wish to set up an appointment please let me know, although I'll be on vacation Wednesday through Wednesday. As always, Carol, if you disagree with how I am representing you in this matter you may always proceed pro se or hire private counsel.

Notice in the first sentence that Poe almost seems to be expecting us to write a note of apology for causing her to actually do some work on a Sunday. Then, in the last sentence, she invites Carol to boot her ass off the case if Carol is dissatisfied with her "representation." That was the first of about a dozen times Poe resorted to that tactic in the final 2-3 months she was on the case. Her commitment to justice during that time was profoundly touching.

Carol refused to bite at that bait, even when Poe used it 3-4 more times during our final in-person meeting with her on Oct. 30. But here is where the dark comedy enters the picture.

Poe made it clear in her email that she saw nothing wrong with the eviction -- that everything about it was lawful and downright hunky dory. So we challenged her on that in our in-person meeting -- in fact, we flat out told her she was wrong; after all, she had admitted she knew virtually nothing about tenant/landlord law.

But get this! When confronted with the rubbish she had spewed on perhaps the single most important issue in Carol's case, Poe said the following (and I'm not joking): "Well, I have a friend who knows a lot about tenant/landlord law, and my friend says the eviction was lawful."

Well, there you go -- that's what students learn at the University of Missouri School of Law. If they don't know something about a certain topic, they call a friend they consider to be an expert -- whether the "friend" really is an expert or not. Then, they transmit that information to the client, seemingly never thinking that, "You know, discussing this case with someone else might violate attorney-client privilege -- just a little bit." And then there is this: "Since I'm not going to disclose the identity of my friend to the client, she's not going to have a clue about this person who is having a major impact on her case."

In essence, the client's defense strategy is being formed by some unknown third party -- and the friend might not even be a lawyer. Even worse, the friend might be a lawyer who has a vested interest in the outcome of the case, who has a conflict the size of Yellowstone National Park. The friend might be feeding a steaming load of buffalo turds to Patty Poe, but Carol is supposed to accept that, without any concern.

Well, Carol and I both had huge concerns. And it was in that moment, we both knew -- FOR SURE -- Patty Poe was trying to screw Carol. Still, during that meeting, Carol refused to let Poe off the case. In followup emails, Carol again raised the suppression issue, and that's when Poe broke, came up with the Notice of Jail Waiver from prosecutor Nicholas Jain, and bailed out of the case.

That's not the only moment of dark comedy in the song-and-dance routine Patty Poe put us through. There is at least one other, not to mention specifics about how wrong she was on the critical issue of eviction law.

We will address those subjects in an upcoming post.


Anonymous said...

"when Poe first joined Carol's case in late May, she brought up the issue of the eviction's legality -- and noted, as a criminal prosecutor"

I think she was the defense attorney not the prosecutor.

Anonymous said...

So you're going to sue for legal malpractice, right?

Anonymous said...

maybe if u got a job youd be able to afford a good attorney

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Carol had a mystery lawyer all along. Doesn't sound terribly ethical.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:22 --

maybe if you had a brain, you could write a halfway decent comment.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:12 --

Carol's the client, so that's her decision. You think we should?

Anonymous said...

Aboard the Eliza Battle Ms Chapelle was interviewing Captain Marshall. She asked him how he determined that The Obama DOJ was searching for the Bingo Trial Transcripts. The Captain replied that he had found a empty "OLD CROW" whiskey bottle at the ship's bow. The inscription " Perhaps the Mystery is a Little Too Plain" was on the bottle. Ophelia Foreman recognized the text as from Edgar Allen Poe's " The Purloined Letter". Ms Chapelle agreed that that would be good clue that they were searching for something , but how did you know it was the The Obama DOJ. Captain Marshall replied that Roger had reported that a SWAT team member had pointed a assault Rifle at him , But none of the statements from the officers mention the SWAT Team was there. Ms Chapelle asked if the searchers found what they were looking for. The Captain responded that the Obama DOJ felt confident , Other wise it would not have sent the Documents To the Judge overseeing Siegelman's lawsuit. Ms Chapelle replied that a previous Federal Judge Had ruled that the documents did not exist, so why did they suddenly appear? The Captain responded that now the DOJ needs them to force Mike to keep quiet about the Bingo Trial corruption. Ms Chapelle inquired if the Captain believed Roger retained a copy of the transcripts. The Captain replied that he summoned Allan Poe to help solve that mystery. Alan was stumped on the solution until John and Thomas Yancey put the cat in the box. By reading Debbie Wade's probable cause statement you will read that Carol had packed 5 bags of belongings. But if your read the incident report , you will note that 4 of those bags were pet carriers. Roger and Carol have had only had 3 pets. The flash drive that Roger used to download the Bingo Trial Transcripts to his computer was hidden in the 4th pet carrier. Ms Chapelle added that now we must wait for Mike to choose his option before she could write the rest of the story.

legalschnauzer said...

@6:38 --

You are correct. I will fix that error. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Anonymous said...

This makes Poe look really bad. She has to call someone else to figure out the law on Carol's case -- and the person didn't even cite the correct law? No wonder people don't trust lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Patty Poe doesn't like working on Sundays.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:35 --

I'm not sure Patty Poe likes working on any day of the week. She certainly put in a piss-poor effort on Carol's case. When Poe bailed out, she said something like, "I'm no longer working o Carol's case." And we thought to ourselves, "We saw little sign that you were working on it to begin with."

Anonymous said...

They don't teach legal research at the University of Missouri? Lawyers encounter issues outside their main area of expertise all the time. Real lawyers research the subject or ask a legal assistant to do the research. Ms. Poe apparently isn't a real lawyer.

Anonymous said...

It might have been one thing for Poe to consult someone in the public defender's office, maybe her boss. But to check with someone outside the office is outrageous. Hell, for all Carol knows, Poe could have checked with a lawyer at the firm that helped arrange your eviction or a firm that represents the landlord or the sheriff. This is a serious breach of legal ethics and it stinks to high heaven.

Anonymous said...

This tells me the corruption around your eviction and Carol's broken arm is bad, really bad.

Anonymous said...

Poe's first mistake was asking her friend to do legal research for her. The second was telling you about it

Anonymous said...

If you claim you wife is innocent what should you do now?

Better get the Innocence Project on your case!



Never mind.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:58 --

Does your post have a point? If so, can you tell us what it is?

A couple of points:

(1) It's not just my opinion that Carol is innocent. The "victim" of the assault admits he "caused physical contact" with her, and that is the central element of the offense. That he admits to causing physical contact means Carol did not cause physical contact, and she is not guilty, as a matter of law.

(2) Not sure what Innocence Project actually does, but I believe most of their work involves trying to prove the innocence of people who already have been convicted. That doesn't apply to Carol. Plus, jail is off the table for Carol, and I believe IP works mainly with people who have been unlawfully incarcerated.

(3) Carol will hire a private attorney or represent herself. Either way, the case is not hard to defend -- if you have an honest judge. Carol already has filed multiple pro se documents that should cause the case to be tossed, and she has grounds to file more on-point motions.

(4) It all comes down to whether Judge Palmietto is honest or not. She has made some correct rulings in the case, so we are hopeful about that. On the other hand, we know some things about her background that cause us concern. The case is easy, if she follows the law, so we'll know before too long whether she has scruples or not.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever met an honest judge?

Anonymous said...

What is the Innocence Project?

How do people qualify for help from the Innocence Project?

Some might say the best way to qualify is to be wrongfully convicted.

How does that happen?

Does the Innocence Project ever argue that defendants in overturned convictions were the victims of bogus charges, mistaken accusations, out of control cops and prosecutors , and/or an inadequate defense?

Not like anything like that could ever happen in places like Alabama and Arkansas.

Certainly not somewhere like Greene County, Missouri.


legalschnauzer said...

@11:44 --

The question isn't really whether a judge is honest, in a broad sense. I have no way of knowing that. The question is: Does the judge rule according to law, do his actions coincide with the rule of law. Given that, a few points:

(1) We hold out hope for Margaret Palmietto, the judge in Carol's pending case. Palmietto has made a couple of correct rulings -- tossing out the trespass charge and granting our motion to compel. She soon will have an opportunity to rule correctly and dismiss the prosecution's entire case. That's when the rubber will meet the road with her. We'll see.

(2) The 11th Circuit three-judge panel that overturned dismissal of our "Jail Case" unquestionably ruled according to the law. Those judges were Wilson, Carnes, and Jill Pryor. Based on that ruling, I have reason to believe they are honest judges. I've never "met" them, however, never been in their presence. That ruling came out of Atlanta.

(3) Other than that, I can't think of any honest judges that I've encountered.

Do you think there have been honest judges in our cases -- or in any of the cases I've written about that did not involve us? Who did you find honest and why?

Tim S. said...

Is Judge Jill Pryor related to you-know-who? Curious.

legalschnauzer said...


Pretty sure there is no relation. Jill P is from Pennsylvania, practiced in Georgia, and was appointed to fed bench by Pres. Obama.

Anonymous said...

Her rulings are only correct if they're in your favor, right? If they go against you, then she's dishonest, right?

Anonymous said...

@3:29 --

I figured you would stoop to that stupid game because that's all you are capable of.

Glad you didn't disappoint. So predictable.

Anonymous said...

@3:29 . . .
No wonder you're a troll. You've got the pea-sized brain needed for the job.