Thursday, December 14, 2017

Missouri lawyer David Shuler, asked for a comment on his son's speeding case, indicates he's keeping secrets that could wind up biting him on the ass

Noah Hayes Shuler
How did David Shuler (my lawyer-brother) respond after shown a draft of our post about his son Noah Hayes Shuler (my nephew, a student and soccer player at William Jewell College) being clocked at up to 88 mph in a 60 zone -- an offense that, if proven, is the equivalent of a Class B misdemeanor, such as a DUI?

David did respond, which surprised me. His words, in places, were peculiar -- and given that he's a lawyer and has stabbed me in the back on at least one obvious occasion (and, I suspect, quite a few more) -- I was not surprised by that. Here, in pertinent part, is David's response:

Roger: As you know, you are free to write what you want but I have not been authorized to talk to you about this matter. I should point out that you do have the alleged facts incorrect. It is my understanding that the alleged speeding occurred on Highway 65, not on Evans Road.

Roger, if you would like to get together to talk as brothers, I would be happy to do that. I can not and will not talk to you about other people's business.

Now, that was interesting, especially the last sentence. So, I responded thusly:


I will make the correction about U.S. 65.

As for anything else . . . (1) You say you are not authorized to talk about the traffic incident; and (2) You "cannot talk about other people's business." What does that mean?

The way I read your email, I don't see that there is much to talk about. If you can give me a reason for us to have a talk of substance, I will give that consideration. But right now, I don't see where any such substance exists.

I've heard nothing more from David. As you can see, I was bumfuzzled by his claim that he "can not and will not talk about other people's business." Since David does not seem inclined to elaborate on what that means, I can only take a whack at it myself.

Who are these "other people" and what is there "business"? David seems to be referring to people in the Springfield legal/business world (perhaps individuals from Alabama, too), and he feels an obligation to keep their secrets. Their "business," I'm guessing, is connected to the unlawful eviction in September 2015 that ended with cops breaking Carol's left arm. If I'm correct about that, David probably is speaking of landlord Trent Cowherd, attorney Craig Lowther (or someone at his firm), and Sheriff Jim Arnott (or someone affiliated with him).

Here are a few questions I wanted to ask David about Noah's traffic case:

* According to court records, Noah was clocked at 88 mph, 28 mph over the speed limit. How does one prepare a defense for that?

* Why didn't Noah pay the fine and be done with it?

* Are you hoping the state trooper doesn't appear for the trial, which would let Noah off the hook?

* Are you planning to claim the trooper was incompetent, corrupt, or both?

* In your communications with Carol and me, you generally have suggested that cops can do no wrong. If they lie about someone making a threatening 911 call, that's fine. If they break into a residence without having lawful grounds to be on the property, that's fine. If they break your sister-in-law's arm so severely that it requires trauma surgery, that's fine -- and it doesn't even merit a, "Gee, Carol, I'm sorry this happened, and I hope you are doing OK" from you. But if they nab your son driving 28 mph over the speed limit, that's not fine -- and the cops must be incompetent or corrupt? Is that how it works in your mind?

David Shuler
As for David's tight-lipped approach, the casual observer might say, "Hey, David is just trying to keep things in confidence -- "in house," "on the down low" -- to maintain the trust of those with whom he interacts." That sounds reasonable on the surface, but it takes on a different tone when you consider certain legal realities.

Consider, for example, Rule 4-8.3 of the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct:


(a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the appropriate professional authority.

We've noted the strong likelihood that the actions of cops (and any associates) in unlawfully evicting us and breaking Carol's arm constitute a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 242 (Deprivation of rights under color of law). Was David actively involved in a conspiracy to commit such a crime? If so, he clearly has problems. Is David simply keeping his lips tight in order to protect members of the legal/business tribe? If so, he still has problems.

That points to 18 U.S.C. 4 (misprision of felony), which holds:

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Perhaps David is counting on his connections to save him from being held accountable. Perhaps that has happened before, especially in a legal-malpractice case (31107CC3401 -- SCOTT WELLS V DAVID SHULER ETAL) that ended in 2012. Records at show the Wells case started in 2007, rocking along for more than five years, and was set for trial. That means David could have been in serious trouble, especially if he did not have malpractice insurance -- and many small-firm lawyers do not. Shortly before trial, Wells' lawyer withdrew from the case, for reasons that aren't clear from the record. Forced to represent himself in complex malpractice litigation, Wells apparently was not able to pull it off, and the case was dismissed in David's favor.

Maybe David will pull one out at the 11th hour again. But speaking in "brother to brother" form, I'd say he's playing with fire.

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