|Noah Hayes Shuler|
Judge Jerry Harmison handed down a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS), with six months of unsupervised probation, and a requirement that Noah engage with the Missouri Driver Improvement Program (DIP) within 90 days, plus costs. Harmison also imposed a fine of $90.50. (The speeding ticket is embedded at the end of this post.)
Is this softball treatment for the son of a lawyer? We will let you make that call. Noah pleaded guilty to a Class B misdemeanor, and here is how we described such offenses and possible punishments in an earlier post:
Class B misdemeanors in Missouri include driving while intoxicated and first-degree trespassing, and they carry a possible punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
So, Noah pleaded guilty to an offense that is the equivalent of a DUI, and he faced possible punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 -- but he got off with six months of unsupervised probation, and a fine of $90.50. I'm not sure that even qualifies as a wrist slap.
No wonder my brother sought a change of judge early in the case. The original judge in Noah's case was J. Ronald Carrier, and I suspect he has a history of treating drunk drivers and wild-ass speeders with less leniency than Harmison showed in Noah's case.
As we explained in a recent post, the speeding case was one of three pending charges against Noah, age 19, and all had hearing dates within roughly a month of each other. Here is a summary of the charges Noah was facing:
(1) Speeding (exceeded speed limit by 20-25 mph), May 22, 2017, Springfield, MO -- next court date: April 6, 2018;
(2) Possession of drug paraphernalia, Dec., 30, 2017, Sparta, MO -- next court date: April 12, 2018;
(3) Operating a vehicle without maintaining financial responsibility, Feb. 25, 2018 -- court date: March 20, 2018.
Item No. 1 now has been disposed of. Items 2 and 3 have disappeared from the public records at case.net, so it's hard to know about their status. The title of the No. 3 offense is a glorified term for driving without proof of insurance. That's a relatively minor matter, and probably has been taken care of with a fine or something similar.
As for No. 2, it's odd that Noah's drug-paraphernalia charge has disappeared from case.net, but his girlfriend (Aubrynne Russell) has a speeding charge from the same incident that still appears. It is set for hearing at 1:30 p.m. on April 12 at Sparta Municipal Court. Her lawyer is Russell Dempsey, the same lawyer Noah has for his drug-paraphernalia case. Is it wise for her to have the same lawyer as Noah, especially in a case where there could be questions about the owner of the drug-related items? I'd say no, but that decision obviously rests with Ms. Russell. One wonders if she has one or more capable parents who can help guide her through this.
Speaking of parents, David Shuler took a number of curious actions in his son's cases that suggest he gamed the system -- one perhaps could also use the term "conned the court" -- to help Noah receive a soft landing from his legal troubles. We will examine that issue in an upcoming post.
(To be continued)