|Jerry Harmison Jr.|
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, in September 2017, appointed Jerry Harmison Jr. as an associate circuit judge in Greene County. Harmison was assigned Carol's case last Friday after original judge Margaret Palmietto granted a motion for change of judge and Becky Borthwick recused without explanation. Palmietto stepped down, at Carol's request, after a string of unlawful rulings on pre-trial motions.
Will Harmison be an improvement over Palmietto? If his "integrity" is anything like that of the governor who appointed him, the answer is no. And Harmison already made some highly questionable decisions on the case. (More on that in an upcoming post.)
An invasion-of-privacy criminal charge against Greitens was dropped on Monday -- after an "unprecedented" ruling, allowing the prosecutor to be called as a witness, by a judge with close ties to Greitens' defense lawyers -- but it still might be refiled and handled by a special prosecutor or member of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's staff. That charge stems from an extramarital affair Greitens had with his hair stylist.
Greitens remains charged with a second felony in St. Louis for allegedly misusing a donor list from a St. Louis-based veterans' charity for campaign purposes. No trial date has been set for that case.
As sewage stacks up around Greitens, a Missouri House committee announced yesterday that it is investigating Greitens' possible use of shell companies to conceal the identity of donors to his 2016 campaign. From a report at stltoday.com:
The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens is probing whether Greitens’ 2016 campaign used so-called “shell companies” to conceal the identity of donors.
The revelation came Tuesday morning as Rep. Jay Barnes, who chairs the panel, announced that the committee was releasing two email strings it had obtained from Michael Hafner, a former Greitens campaign adviser who later worked for businessman John Brunner during the 2016 GOP primary.
In one email dated July 2016, Will Scharf, who at the time was working for GOP gubernatorial contender Catherine Hanaway, wrote to Hafner about research he had done suggesting the Greitens campaign worked to conceal donors.
Scharf now works for Greitens as his policy director.
The new allegations are reminiscent of Sean Hannity's forays into real estate:
At issue were two companies — White Impala LLC and ELX83 LLC — that were formed in December 2015 and subsequently donated a combined $30,000 to Greitens for Missouri at the time of the email string on July 9, 2016.
“By all appearances, these two entities were created to channel contributions to the Greitens campaign from an anonymous donor or donors,” reads a memorandum attached to an email Scharf sent to Hafner. “Missouri law explicitly prohibits campaign contributions made ‘in such a manner as to conceal the identity of the actual source of the contribution.’
“The use of this arrangement to hide donors certainly runs counter to Greitens’s repeated attacks on ‘corruption’ and ‘insider political games’ in Missouri,” the memo states.
Barnes said Tuesday that the committee would seek Scharf’s testimony.
As for Harmison, his task with Carol's case should be simple -- if he has the slightest bit of integrity (always a big "if" with a judge). Here are four straightforward reasons the case cannot go to trial and must be dismissed. These all are issues that Palmietto got wrong:
(1) The "victim" admits there was no crime -- Officer Jeremy Lynn is the "victim," the guy Carol supposedly pushed as he burst into our duplex apartment. But Lynn admits in his own incident report that he grabbed Carol first, not the other way around, and he never says she pushed him or even touched him. In fact, Lynn says Carol tried to pull away from him, which last time I checked, is the opposite of a push. The central element in the statute is "knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical contact." Missouri appellate courts have determined the key question is "Who initiated physical contact?" (See State v. Armstrong, 968 SW 2d 154 [Mo. Court of Appeals, 1998]) Lynn admits that he initiated physical contact. I don't call the case bogus because the defendant is my wife. I call it bogus because the words of the "victim" prove it's bogus.
(2) Accuser? What accuser -- Officer Debi Wade, author of the Probable Cause Statement, admits she did not see Carol push Jeremy Lynn. But she states that an unnamed person "advised" her of such. This is sub-hearsay, and the PC Statement includes none of the corroboration or verification required in such a case. (See State v. Kirby [MO Ct. of App., 2004]) Carol has been fighting this charge for almost 16 months, based on the word of . . . well, nobody. The lack of an accuser makes the PC Statement defective, meaning there never was probable cause to arrest Carol, much less prosecute her.
|Trent and Sharon Cowherd|
(4) Why bother getting a final judgment? -- The docket in our rent-and-possession case shows in at least two places that the ruling was interlocutory, meaning it was non-final, with issues still to be determined at a hearing set one month from entry of the judgment. Under Missouri law, there cannot be execution on a judgment that is not final. (See State ex rel Turner v. Sloan [MO, 1980]) That means we were the victims of an illegal "self eviction," perpetrated by landlord Trent Cowherd and his lawyer, Craig Lowther, and any evidence gathered must be suppressed.
By law, Carol's case cannot go to trial, and she cannot be found guilty. But that requires a judge with integrity, and it would be a shocker if Harmison shows he has any.