Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Margaret Palmietto steps down as judge in Carol's Missouri assault case after making a series of preposterously unlawful rulings on pre-trial motions

Margaret Palmietto
The Missouri judge in charge of the "assault on a law enforcement officer" case against my wife, Carol, has stepped down following a series of wildly unlawful rulings on pre-trial motions.

Carol filed an Application for Change of Judge, for Cause, under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 51.05(D) -- and Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto did step down, but not for the right reason. Palmietto could not even get recusal right, which was in keeping with her actions on pre-trial motions.

Palmietto denied Carol's motion for cause -- which called for her to step down due to comments and actions taken from the bench -- but did grant a change of judge under Rule 32.09(a). Due to timeliness factors, Carol was not entitled to a recusal under Rule 32.09(a). But she received one anyway, apparently because Palmietto did not want to call attention to the fact she had been cheating Carol and engaging in blatant impropriety from the bench.

After Palmietto stepped down on 5/7, the case was assigned to Judge Becky Borthwick, who recused two days later, without explanation. Carol's case then wound up with Judge Jerry Harmison Jr., an appointee of scandal-plagued Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

Will Harmison be an improvement over Palmietto? I've learned to have low expectations for judges, so I doubt it. But he can't be any worse.

Carol filed six dispositive motions -- meaning, by law, they should have settled the matter and forced dismissal of the state's case, short of a trial -- and they were scheduled for hearing on 3/26. Palmietto butchered every motion, not coming close to ruling correctly under the law on any of them.

On that many motions -- involving important and fairly complex matters of law and fact -- you would expect a judge to take matters under advisement before issuing rulings. But not Palmietto. The minute argument was over, she summarily denied all of Carol's motions -- providing zero indication she had read the motions or given her rulings any thought.

Carol's most important document was a Motion to Suppress Evidence, which is a common pre-trial filing in many criminal cases. In essence, the motion claimed any evidence against Carol was obtained via an unlawful search and seizure, violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Given that our eviction was unlawful on at least 10-12 grounds, this should have been a no-brainer. With all of its evidence suppressed, the state's case would have been kaput. But Palmietto refused to suppress evidence that clearly was unlawfully obtained.

There was no evidence to speak of anyway. Officer Jeremy Lynn, the "victim" of Carol's alleged push, has admitted in an incident report that he grabbed Carol, not the other way around, and he never says that she pushed (or even touched him). In fact, he says Carol tried to pull away, which is the opposite of a push. Even though the state obtained no legitimate evidence via its unlawful search and seizure of our rented duplex apartment, Palmietto's denial still was a massive clunker. Carol's motion describes the inanity of the judge's rulings, especially on a central issue. (The full motion is embedded at the end of this post.)

A big issue in this case: Was there a judge-signed, court-approved writ of execution that gave approval to proceed with the eviction? Under Missouri law, per State ex rel Turner v. Sloan (MO, 1980), “An enforcement of judgment by execution supposes a judgment not merely interlocutory but become final.” Was there a final judgment in the rent-and-possession case landlord Trent Cowherd brought against the Shulers? The docket shows in at least two places that the answer is no. The possession order twice is listed as interlocutory (non-final), with a hearing scheduled for roughly a month in the future to consider other issues, including the Shulers’ counterclaim for breach of contract. The Shulers never have been presented with a court-authorized eviction notice, and one does not exist in the record – and that’s because there could not be one, given that the judgment was only interlocutory and not final. At the suppression hearing in Carol Shuler’s criminal matter, the state called two witnesses – Officers Scott Harrison and Jeremy Lynn – in an apparent effort to show the eviction was lawful. That effort failed miserably. Harrison admitted under oath that the writ of execution in his hand, the one upon which the eviction was based, did not contain a judge’s signature or any form of court approval. Despite that, Harrison burst into the Shulers’ home and pointed an assault weapon at Roger Shuler’s head. Officer Lynn stated under oath that he never had even seen a writ of execution for the Shulers’ eviction.

The state's two witnesses essentially claimed ignorance as an excuse for their actions. They undoubtedly are ignorant, but that excuse does not cut it under the law:

At the suppression hearing, the state’s witnesses – Officers Harrison and Lynn – sought to excuse their actions by essentially claiming ignorance of the law. The U.S. Supreme Court has held on multiple occasions that ignorance of the law does not excuse constitutional violations: “In sum, a Fourth Amendment violation occurs when police engage in a warrantless search and no exception to the warrant requirement applies, or when police search pursuant to a warrant not based on probable cause. That the police officer acted in an objectively reasonable (i.e., non-negligent) manner is irrelevant to the existence of a constitutional violation. See, e.g., Anderson v. Creighton, ___ U.S. ___, 107 S.Ct. 3034, 97 L.Ed.2d 523 (1987); Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 106 S.Ct. 1092, 89 L.Ed.2d 271 (1986); United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 104 S.Ct. 3405, 82 L.Ed.2d 677 (1984)

Palmietto showed no sign that she knew who carries the burden of proof in a suppression hearing, even though Carol's motion spelled it out:

Trent Cowherd and wife, Sharon

Under Missouri law, per State v. Hernandez, 954 S.W.2d 639, 642 (Mo.App. W.D.1997), the burden in a suppression hearing is on the state to prove that evidence is admissible. Here, the state failed in spectacular fashion. Neither of its witnesses could point to a court-authorized writ of execution that would have made the Shulers’ eviction lawful. Thus, it was unlawful, and all evidence resulting from it, by law, must be excluded. Palmietto’s failure to rule correctly on this central issue might be the most glaring example of her impropriety in the instant case.

How wrong was Palmietto's finding on this one key motion?

Palmietto ruled at the suppression hearing that officers’ actions were reasonable under the circumstances, citing the “good faith exception” articulated in U.S. v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984). Leon, however, applies only to searches with a warrant. Missouri case law holds: “"Subject to only a few specific and well-delineated exceptions, warrantless searches and seizures are deemed per se unreasonable." State v. Johnson, 316 S.W.3d 390, 395 (Mo. App. W.D.2010). There was no warrant in the Shuler case because there were no allegations of criminal activity. This was an eviction, a civil matter, and it did not involve even a lawful, court-approved eviction order. Thus, the officers’ actions, by law, were per se unreasonable – and Palmietto butchered this issue and displayed glaring and actual impropriety.

Bottom line: The state had the burden of proof, and its two witnesses admitted they broke into our home without seeing a court-authorized, judge-signed eviction order. In other words, this was a classic "self eviction," which landlord Trent Cowherd perpetrated with his lawyer (Craig Lowther), but Palmietto found it constituted "reasonable" police work -- even though she cited no law that the "reasonableness" standard even applied in a warrantless search.

Palmietto's prejudicial statements from the bench also played a role in the whole circus:

On multiple occasions during recent hearings, Palmietto has said, in terms of possible punishment that Shuler faces, “It’s just a fine.” That suggests Palmietto has a predetermined outcome in mind, a guilty verdict, so that she easily can dispose of a case that has been dragging on for more than 15 months. It suggests Palmietto does not care if Shuler is found guilty of a crime she did not commit – and for which there was not even probable cause for issuance of a warrant.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

I think she had her mind made up before the suppression hearing ever started. She obviously gave no thought to her rulings.


Anonymous said...

Isn't this gal a Democrat. I seem to recall that you had written that.

legalschnauzer said...

Well, she was appointed by a Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, and that usually means you (the appointee) have ties to the Democratic party.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like it should be good news.

legalschnauzer said...

@7:49 --

It probably isn't. When you get one bad judge to recuse, they tend to be replaced by another bad judge, especially in a sensitive case where cops, prosecutors, public defenders are in the wrong.

Anonymous said...

If the eviction was based on an interlocutory order, it was unlawful and any evidence was unlawfully obtained. That's Law School 101 stuff, and Palmietto has no excuse to get that wrong.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:01 --

Yes, and that means the cops could not have had a judge-signed eviction order, and the two cop witnesses at the suppression hearing admitted they didn't have one.

The explanation for Palmietto's ruling is that she's corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Don't see how a judge can rule off the top of her head on six motions.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:12 --

A real judge can't. There was oral argument, testimony from three witnesses, multiple documents entered. Palmietto is a fraud, and that became crystal clear at the hearing. Had been holding out hope for her, but the mask has come off.

Anonymous said...

The cops admitted they had no judge-signed eviction order, and Palmietto let them get away with that. Amazing.

No wonder we're heading for a police state.

legalschnauzer said...

The prosecution handed Dept. Scott Harrison a copy of the writ of execution and asked him to explain it, etc. On cross-exam, Carol asked him to point out any signature from a judge or court figure authorizing the eviction. Harrison couldn't find such a signature because there wasn't one.

Carol pretty much tore the state a new one, but Palmietto apparently was high on meth or wasn't paying attention. Pitiful.

Anonymous said...

You must feel like you are back in Shelby County, AL.

legalschnauzer said...

Yep. Not a dime's worth of difference between the two places.

Anonymous said...

Judges, prosecutors, cops, public defenders . . . they are all in this little crooked scheme together. You've called it a "tribe," and that's exactly what they are.

Palmietto is protecting her tribe, and she doesn't care if Carol is found guilty of a crime she didn't commit. That doesn't factor into the equation.

Anonymous said...

This is extremely important law. The public needs to be aware of it:

“In sum, a Fourth Amendment violation occurs when police engage in a warrantless search and no exception to the warrant requirement applies, or when police search pursuant to a warrant not based on probable cause. That the police officer acted in an objectively reasonable (i.e., non-negligent) manner is irrelevant to the existence of a constitutional violation."

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Captain Marshall suggested that the commando raid on you and Carol was not just a failure, it was a complete disaster for the tribe. The only arrow left in their quiver is time. The wheel of the gods grinds slowly but I believe it will grind in your favor in the long run.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:52 --

Sorry if I sound dumb, but who is Captain Marshall? This might be information from the deck of the Eliza Battle?

Anonymous said...

It's obvious the cops broke into your home without lawful grounds for doing so -- a true extra-judicial act, which is an extremely serious matter.

In my view, Judge Palmietto, the prosecutors, the sheriff, deputies, maybe a few lawyers . . . they are all putting themselves at risk for federal indictment and trips to prison.

Sure would not be worth that risk for me. Maybe they see it otherwise, but I think they are making one stupid move after another.

If the new judge, Harmison, pulls the same stuff, he too could wind up in the Big House. Dumb, dumb, dumb -- especially with the Trump admin teetering and all sorts of feces about to hit the fan.

Anonymous said...

Your judge spent 4 years as a assistant prosecutor, well my mother always told us birds of a feather flock together, You only have to look at the highest law of the country, with the FBI and the DOJ, They have all become the new American Gangsters, please remember it’s not about the truth, they don’t care about your constitutional rights or mine, it’s set up where you can’t afford to fight it, and again who controls the courts the same Gangsters.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:11 --

Yes, Palmietto not only worked in DA's office, she worked there with my brother-lawyer David Shuler, who has repeatedly stabbed Carol and me in the back.

Anonymous said...

Is she running for office.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:31 --

She is appointed so far, by a Democrat Gov in a heavily GOP county. I assume she will have to run for some sort of election at some point. I think Missouri's system is a little different from direct judicial elections in Alabama, but I think it involves elections of some kind.

Anonymous said...

Two things:
1. Palmietto should never have taken on this case if she worked with your brother. Blatant COI. How long have you known this?
2. Yes, Captain Marshall is from the Eliza Battle. Would have to search for the posts where he described the SWAT team's bumbled attempts--under the guise of eviction--to retrieve something of value from you and instead stupidly brutalizing Carol.
Again, the only action remaining for the tribe is stalling for time.

legalschnauzer said...

@3:01 --

I've known about the conflict re: my brother for a few months. Does Captain Marshall know what the SWAT team was looking for? Seems like it might have been mentioned in a previous EB episode, but I can't remember. Seems like it involved a transcript, maybe about Bentley, but I could be off target on that. Does seem it involved a transcript of something; maybe I had mentioned it in a post.

Anonymous said...

Aboard the Eliza Battle Ms Chapelle was waiting for the Captain in the Galley. Upon his entry she remarked that the war briefing was extremely long. The Captain replied that the crew was monitoring Mike's plan "G". The Captain continued that mike realized that the Eliza Battle was fighting the hold-outs of the corrupt Obama/Clinton DOJ and needed to throw the alphabet at them. Greitens was recruited to expose the plan that the DOJ and Missouri's Circuit Attorney devised to search Roger's apartment. Ms Chapelle inquired as to what the plan was.The Captain replied that the SWAT team was cover to get DOJ Forensic agents into Roger's apartment to search his computer for the Bingo Trial transcripts. The Blue shirt thug who broke Carol's arm was their supervisor and was not a member of the Sheriff's Dept. Ms Chapelle asked how the Captain knew the Blue Shirt supervisor was not a trained law enforcement officer. The Captain replied that trained law enforcement officers know that when making an arrest, a person's arms must be forced behind the back one at the time, to allow the body to twist and prevent injury. The Sheriff knew instantly that Carol had been injured. Ms Chapelle inquired if the Marines had been sent to Missouri. The Captain replied that the recruits needed more training. The Captain continued that Bob Yancey had intercepted a message from the Victoria that Minda had gone home to ride the crosseyed thoroughbred and reflect on her life and that she would be staying with Miss Willie. The Captain added that the Marines will try again to procure her crimson tide ear rings. Meanwhile in the creek bottom near Miss Wille's house the Marines were assembled. Jimmy said that they should walk around Miss Wille's cow pasture and reassemble at Minda's barn. The General replied that he was not walking around because the shortest distance was a straight line thru the pasture. Jimmy explained that there were land mines in the pasture and that Miss Willie's old milk cow was a little bossy. The General replied that he was not afraid of a old cow and started across the pasture. Unbeknown to the General , Miss Wille's cow had gone dry and a bull was spending the night with her. The General got halfway across the pasture and something pushed him face down on a land mine. The General heard something snort behind him and reached back. He felt a nose with a ring in it and that ring was standing vertical. The General whispered "Coach".......... "JIM.......MY"

legalschnauzer said...

I think it might have been about unsealed documents in the Alabama bingo case. Here is one post on that subject:


legalschnauzer said...

Here is another post I did about bingo trial:


legalschnauzer said...

Eliza B:

The post above at @3:39 includes a number of references to 8,000 missing text messages from FBI agent Keith Baker's phone, including some that involved Bob Riley. Is it possible someone thinks I had Baker's missing texts, and that's the reason I was thrown in jail, Carol and I cheated out of our home in Birmingham, and/or we were evicted in Missouri? Here is a key section from the post:

"The Advertiser obtained records that show more than 8,000 text messages sent and received by Baker during the bingo investigation are missing from his phone and from backup computer servers at FBI headquarters in Virginia. Defendants were able to retrieve a few messages from Baker's phone, and one of them suggested the FBI agent had communicated with Governor Bob Riley in late 2010."

legalschnauzer said...

Eliza B --

An interesting note . . .

Eric Greitens was inaugurated as Missouri governor on Jan. 9, 2017.

Carol was arrested on Jan. 30, 2017

Greitens appointed Jerry Harmison, new judge in Carol's case, on Sept. 1, 2017.

The latest sleaze on Greitens: He might have used shell companies to hide donor money, according to MO House Committee.