Monday, April 16, 2018

My nephew, Noah Hayes Shuler, was not guilty in wild-ass speeding case in January, but suddenly became guilty in April. How did that happen?

Noah Shuler and Aubrynne Russell
My nephew, Noah Hayes Shuler, has seen his wild-ass speeding case (being clocked at 88 mph in a 60 zone) resolved -- with a plea of guilty, six months of probation, and a fine of $90.50. The offense to which he pleaded guilty is the equivalent in Missouri of a DUI -- which carries possible punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000 -- so it's clear Noah received softball treatment, even though he also had a possession-of-drug-paraphernalia charge pending when the speeding case first was set to be heard.

That presents this question: Why was Noah "not guilty" when he entered a plea back in January -- the speeding incident happened in May 2017, but was not listed as a court case until late October -- but he suddenly became guilty on April 6?

Public documents suggest the answer is that Noah's father, my lawyer-brother David Shuler, pulled a con game to help his son achieve a soft landing while he had three court cases pending at one time. That David Shuler would engage in a con certainly is no surprise, given the evidence we've uncovered in recent weeks that he has acted with repugnant deceit toward Carol and me. In short, evidence suggests David helped arrange our unlawful eviction, his actions regarding a 911 call (that I did not make) damned near got us killed, and he played a huge role in Carol's arm being broken. (Details in upcoming posts.)

How did David Shuler game a system that is broken beyond repair to begin with? It couldn't have been hard, when you are a lawyer with a kid who can't stay out of trouble, and many members of the legal tribe are known for protecting their own -- while screwing the general public at every opportunity.

Noah's case presents powerful proof that our pleading system in criminal cases is a dysfunctional, steaming pile of cow feces. During the course of a court case, individuals who "swear falsely" (under oath) can be subject to criminal charges in the form of perjury. But the same individuals can enter a false plea -- David Shuler likely knew his son was guilty in the speeding case -- and get away with it.

Curious timing was everywhere in the Noah matter -- and that's because he was facing multiple charges, in separate cases, at roughly the same time. Let's follow the docket trail:

* May 22, 2017 -- a state trooper clocks Noah driving up to 88 mph in a 60 zone on U.S. 65 near Springfield, MO.

* October 28, 2017 -- the case appears in public records as a court matter. Why the delay of more than five months? Our guess is that Noah was hoping the case would go away and did not tell his parents, and they likely got clued in when a piece of court mail arrived at the residence.

* December 19, 2017 -- Noah is set for arraignment, but David Shuler (acting as his son's lawyer) was granted a continuance.

* January 17, 2018 -- The arraignment is held, and David Shuler enters a plea of "not guilty."

Let's catch our breath and remember that date -- Jan. 17, 2018. That's when Noah, according to his lawyer/father, was not guilty.

But let's consider another key date -- Dec. 30, 2017. That's when a cop in Sparta, MO, pulled Noah and girlfriend Aubrynne Russell over (she was driving and charged with speeding), with Noah found in possession of drug paraphernalia.

David Shuler almost certainly knew about the drug charge when he entered the "not guilty" plea in the speeding case on Jan. 17, 2018. But that's just the first sign of gaming. The next came on March 7, 2018, when a hearing was set in the speeding case, and David again asked for a continuance -- this time, the hearing was reset for April 6, 2018, Friday before last.

Was there a legitimate reason for the continuance? The answer probably is no. David Shuler likely knew two things: (1) Noah was going to have to plead guilty in the speeding case; it's pretty hard to prove your innocence when a trooper has clocked you driving at 28 mph above the speed limit; (2) The drug-paraphernalia case still was hanging out there and could lead to a tougher sentence for Noah in the speeding matter.

I don't claim to be an expert on the criminal side of our "justice system," but my research indicates it's not a good idea to get a new charge -- particularly a drug-related matter -- while another charge is pending. Prosecutors, if there are any real ones in Missouri, can ask for tougher sentences in such circumstances. And Judge Jerry Harmison might have become inclined to issue more than a wrist slap in the speeding case.

Our guess is that David Shuler asked for the continuance on 3/7 because he knew the drug matter had not been resolved. We're still not sure it's been resolved -- a hearing was set for April 12 (last Thursday, in Sparta Municipal Court), but the record disappeared from on or about March 8, one day after David asked for a continuance in the speeding case.

Did that keep prosecutors and Judge Harmison from even knowing about the drug case -- and help Noah get softball treatment that he likely did not deserve?  The answer probably is yes.

David Shuler makes good money, but we've seen substantial evidence that suggests he's not much of a lawyer. Early in his career, David did quite a bit of criminal-defense work, but he wound up with a legal-malpractice case that paints a disparaging assessment of his legal skills.

Attending the University of Missouri School of Law might not make you much of an attorney, but it apparently provides you with enough knowledge of procedural matters that you can easily con a court and give your ne'er-do-well kid a soft landing.


(Note: While Noah Shuler's drug paraphernalia case has disappeared from, the speeding charge against his girlfriend, Aubrynne Russell, remains in plain sight, for anyone to see -- 160572245, CITY OF SPARTA V AUBRYNNE LAINE RUSSELL. A hearing for her was set on April 12 (the same date as Noah's was set), but attorney Russell Dempsey (the same attorney Noah had) asked for a continuance, and a new hearing date has not been set. Why does Ms. Russell's speeding charge remain visible to the public, while Noah Shuler's drug-related charge has disappeared? Is she being treated differently from the son of a local lawyer? Is that "justice" in the Missouri Ozarks?)


Anonymous said...

Pleas don't mean anything and plea bargains are basically legalized extortion.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the judge in the speeding case would have cared about the drug case. He was more than happy to go easy on a lawyer's kid.

Anonymous said...

If I'm the GF, I'm highly pissed that my speeding case still appears to the public, and Noah's drug case has been hidden. Fishy . . . fishy . . .

Anonymous said...

You're brother learned one thing at Mizzou law school: It's all in the timing if you are going to get a judge to let your wayward kid down easy.

Anonymous said...

Moral of the story: It's easier to figure out legal tricks to help your kid than it is to be a good parent.

Anonymous said...

Noah's brain cells might kick in over the next 2-3, and he will become a worthwhile adult. On the other hand, he might kill someone or himself before he gets there.

Anonymous said...

Plea bargains . . . the lazy prosecutor's way to achieve "justice" for the public.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this girl has any kind of parental guidance on all of this. I'm alarmed that her case seems to be treated differently than Noah's. I'm guessing David Shuler is paying for the lawyer, so he's likely to take Noah's situation more seriously. If Noah's parents blame her for what happened -- Noah was perfect until he met you -- they could be trying to pin something on her. She certainly does not need to be using Noah's lawyer. Maybe she can't afford her own, which makes her vulnerable.

Anonymous said...

If the GF is from "the other side of the tracks," Noah's parents might be using this to split them up, blaming her for Noah's actions.

Anonymous said...

A $90 fine for a kid driving 28 mph over the speed limit? Gee, did the judge give the kid a BJ as a side benefit? Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Oh wait, Noah's got to go through the Driver Improvement Program (DIP). That'll be tough.

Anonymous said...

Daddy is using his bar privileges to create a spoiled brat.

Anonymous said...

Noah might be getting off easy in the courtroom, but he's getting killed on the Web.

If you Google his name, eight of the first nine entries are Legal Schnauzer stories or Tweets about his legal issues.

Future employers certainly should find that to be interesting reading.

Anonymous said...

Do you think your nephew became a C. I. ( Confidential Informant ) , AKA SNITCH, RAT .... Ect I thought that is how most get out of the crimes they commit. DA does not want Noah"s name to appear in the court records. The saying goes you Snitch on three you go free !!!!!!

legalschnauzer said...

@1:49 --

Thanks for an interesting comment. I don't know much about the drug/prosecutorial games that are played all the time, but you might be right on target. "You snitch on three, you go free." Never heard that one before, but I bet it's used a lot.

Are you thinking this suggests Noah was a dealer, a buyer, a user, something in between? I've been curious about the presence of three baggies, which happened to be empty (except for residue) at the same time. Perhaps the prosecutor saw something curious about that, too.

Also, what could it mean that defense attorney asked for continuance in GF's speeding case? Are they trying to get her to snitch, too? You'd think she would just pay the ticket and get it over with, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Have thoughts on that or other aspects of the case?

You've certainly raised an issue that had not occurred to me.

Anonymous said...

@1:49 --

You are one wise dude, and I bet Noah is squealing like a stuck pig. I live in Christian County, and it's a high-growth area with a growing drug problem. I doubt they are going to sweep Noah's little incident under the rug.

New nickname: "Noah the snitch."

Anonymous said...

Becoming an informant, a snitch, or a rat can be dangerous for your health.

Anonymous said...

The idea of Noah becoming a snitch also could explain delays in the speeding case, and the softball "punishment" he got for the case. Perhaps prosecutors did not want to resolve that case until they were certain they had good information for Noah. At that point, it was "snitch on three, and you go free."

Anonymous said...

The SNITCH game to me is nothing more tha a secret pyramid scheme for lawyers by lawyers. At one time I read a kid gets busted for the weed every 46 seconds, do the math. By the way pyramid schemes are illegal.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if some of Noah's friends and associates wind up on police blotters in coming weeks.

Anonymous said...

If Noah's not careful, he's going to wind up at the bottom of one of those beautiful Ozarks streams with a slab of concrete tied around his neck.

Anonymous said...

Christian, Greene, and surrounding counties in Missouri have something called COMET (Combined Ozarks Multi-Jurisdictional Eradication Team). My guess is that Noah's case -- especially because of those three baggies -- went straight to this organization for heavy pressure to become an informant.

Anonymous said...

Here is a story about COMET being involved in the seven arrest of seven people re: a drug lab that was in Oldfield, very close to Sparta, MO, where Noah was heading:

Christian County residents remain behind bars in meth lab bust
5:07 PM, May. 19, 2011 | Comments
TwitterFacebookShare Digg Reddit Facebook Twitter Newsvine FarkIt

Written by
Tara Muck
Filed Under
Christian County

Ozark — Seven Christian County residents remain behind bars after authorities found an active methamphetamine lab last week in an Oldfield residence.

Clem Mason of Bruner, Doyle Phillips of Bruner, Michelle Walker of Oldfield, Rachel Thomas of Oldfield, Billy Price of Oldfield, Dennis Walker of Sparta and Jack Guerin of Chadwick each face a Class B felony for manufacturing and distributing a controlled substance.

According to the probable cause statement, authorities from the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team (COMET) received a tip stating Phillips, Price and Guerin manufactured methamphetamine at the residence of Price and Thomas.

When deputies arrived the evening of May 11 at the home, located at 407 Clayton Hollow Road in Oldfield, one of the people gathered at the front door shined a flashlight on the deputies demanding to know who they were. When they announced they were from the sheriff’s department,“men took off running toward the back door,” the statement said.

As deputies were apprehending the fleeing residents, they smelled a “very strong chemical odor” known to be associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine, the statement said.

In a well house behind the residence, deputies found soda bottles “containing a powder, which had clear plastic tubing coming from the top. There was an obvious chemical reaction occurring in the bottle,” the statement said.

Also found at the residence were bags of white powder that field tested positive for methamphetamine, as well as a syringe containing liquid and scales. Plastic bags containing marijuana, white pills and two guns were also found at the residence.

According to the statement, Phillips has had seven felony convictions and is on probation for manufacture related charges. Dennis Walker had several drug-related felony charges and also is on probation.

Price’s criminal history shows multiple arrests on drug-related charges and five felony convictions. Guerin was arrested March 30 by the COMET Drug Task Force for manufacturing a controlled substance and is on probation for a previous arrest for manufacturing.

All seven remain in the Christian County Jail.

Mason, Thomas and Michelle Walker remain in jail on a $100,000 cash bond. Phillips, Price, Guerin and Dennis Walker are being held on a $250,000 cash bond.

Anonymous said...

Here is an article about a 2016 arrest in Sparta of two people on meth and pot charges. If you read the story, it's pretty obvious there were informants and snitches involved in this case.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Noah and GF were driving toward Selma when they were stopped. Would be interesting to know who they were heading to see and if that person winds up on the wrong side of handcuffs in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Here is story about biggest "drug bust in history" of Shannon County, MO, executed with a search warrant -- and that almost certainly was the result of informants.

Anonymous said...

Funny story about a dude from Sparta being arrested last year:

Anonymous said...

A career as a snitch can be short-lived.