Thursday, May 31, 2018

Missouri judge Jerry Harmison, an Eric Greitens appointee, finds Carol guilty of an offense even the "victim" stated under oath that she did not commit

Jerry Harmison Jr.
Missouri Judge Jerry Harmison Jr., an appointee of scandal-plagued Gov. Eric Greitens, has found my wife, Carol, guilty of "assault on a law enforcement officer," in a ruling that defies fact, law, logic, and common sense. In the almost 11 years I've been writing this blog, Harmison's "judgment" might stand as the most blatant example of judicial corruption I've ever seen -- and as regular readers know, that's a mouthful.

Sentencing for the "crime" Carol did not commit -- and Harmison's findings show she didn't commit it -- is set for June 11. (Judgment is embedded at the end of this post.) The prosecution removed jail time from the table months ago for the misdemeanor offense, and that seems like a good thing. But that move took away Carol's right to a jury trial and forced her to a bench proceeding before a judge, who proved to be every bit as sleazy as the governor who appointed him.

Harmison, apparently looking to burnish his right-wing, pro-police street cred, was willing to turn a blind eye to a prosecution case that was filled with enough lies to make Donald Trump blush. All four prosecution witnesses lied under oath -- and Carol can prove some of the lies; she probably can prove all of them, with an opportunity to conduct the discovery she was denied prior to trial.

Get this: Harmison apparently based his "judgment" on the following statement: "This court finds the testimony of the state's witnesses more credible and persuasive than the defense witnesses (Carol and me). Is this guy serious? Is a witness "more credible" because he's wearing a uniform and has a gun strapped to his waist -- no matter the garbage he spews forth in court?

Speaking of credibility, every prosecution witness testified that Carol flailed about in the back seat of a patrol car, suggesting she broke her own arm -- and they had nothing to do with it. Never mind that Carol testified she was handcuffed and seat-belted while in the car. Never mind that I testified that an unknown deputy -- who was not present at the trial -- slammed Carol butt-first to the ground, grabbed both arms above the elbow while she was seated, and yanked on them in an upward and backward direction, breaking her left arm before she ever was placed in the patrol car.

But Jerry Harmison is dumb enough to believe a person can inflict a comminuted fracture in her own arm? This man isn't qualified to be a judge in a pissing contest. Does Harmison cite anything that caused him to conclude Carol and I were less credible than the cop witnesses? Nope, not one thing.

Here are a couple of nuggets of good news:

* Under Missouri law, Carol can file a number of post-trial motions -- seeking to have the judgment vacated or set aside for various reasons. She also can seek a judgment of acquittal or a new trial. She also can seek criminal charges for perjury and "deprivation of rights under color of law."

* Under Missouri law, a judgment based on "fraud and collusion" cannot stand and will not preclude Carol's federal, civil-rights claims. [See Kapp v. Naturelle, Inc., 611 F. 2d 703 (Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, 1979).]

What is wrong with Harmison's judgment? I don't have room to go into everything in one post. We will provide more analysis in upcoming posts, but here are several key points for now.

(1) Statute? What criminal statute?

You might expect a judge to make note of the statute that governs a criminal case he is deciding. But we did not get that with Jerry Harmison. His "judgment" makes no mention of RSMo 565.083 -- which was repealed, by the way, effective Jan. 1, 2017 -- the statute governing Carol's alleged offense. Here is the key language from the statute, saying a person commits the offense if:

Such person knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical contact with a law enforcement officer . . . without the consent of the law enforcement officer.

When that language is applied to the facts, as stated in Harmison's own "judgment," Carol is not close to being guilty. But Harmison makes no mention of the applicable law; it appears he did not even read it. If a judge is going to convict someone of a crime, doesn't he have an obligation to use the law under which she was charged? I kind of think he does? What do you think?

(2) Well, what law did Harmison use to convict Carol?

On page 7 of Harmison's "judgment," we find this rationale: "The relevant evidence in this case is that the Greene County Deputies evicting Roger and Carol Shuler were acting in good faith."

Harmison is citing the so-called "good-faith exception," which defense lawyers routinely use in lawsuits alleging excessive force and Fourth Amendment violations against cops. In other words, Harmison decided a criminal case . . . with civil law. Carol's case is governed by the criminal statute mentioned in item No. 1 above. The charge is against her, and the statute is about her alleged actions; it has nothing to do with whether cops acted in "good faith" -- and there was overwhelming evidence at trial that they did not act in good faith, anyway.

(3) What about that key word, knowingly?

Under the statute, Carol had to act "knowingly" to be convicted, meaning "she was aware of the nature of her conduct or that those circumstances exist." Did the prosecution prove this? Nope. But it didn't matter because Harmison didn't apply the law and make them prove it. From page 5 of Harmison's "judgment":

The defendant, Carol Shuler, testified on her own behalf. She stated the judgment for possession was an interlocutory judgment in the landlord tenant case and did not authorize the Sheriff's Department to evict her and her husband. She stated that on September 9, she was napping and got up for some water. She heard loud noises outside the front door and looked through the peep hole, but it was covered. She saw the door knob moving, and she got scared and grabbed her cell phone. She said the door flew open, and she went flying against the wall. She felt hands grabbing her, and her head was pounded against the wall several times. She was placed in handcuffs, and then she saw it was the police.

Here are four points we can take from this:

(a) Carol was correct that the rent-and-possession judgment was interlocutory (non-final). Officer Scott Harrison admitted this under oath, on page 1 of the Harmison document. Under Missouri law, there cannot be execution on a judgment that is not final. (See State ex rel Turner v. Sloan [MO, 1980]) Neither Harrison nor Harmison could be bothered to look up the law. But Harrison inadvertently admitted that the cops had no grounds, under the law, to be on our rented property, much less to break into our home. Also, Carol believed (correctly) that the judgment was non-final, so there could be no eviction. She believed cops could not possibly be at her home, so she could not have "knowingly" assaulted one of them.

An X-ray of the arm a Missouri judge
apparently thinks Carol broke on her own.
(b) First, Carol did not testify that she heard "loud noises"; she said she heard noises, and that allergy problems caused her hearing to be off that day. Further, her testimony was that she looked out the peephole, and it was covered, so she could not see who was outside. Is this "good faith" in HarmisonWorld? For goodness sakes, the cops intentionally covered the peephole, so Carol could not see who they were, and that is good faith?

(c) Carol testified that she felt hands grabbing her, and she never said she "caused contact" with a cop; he caused contact with her, and the key prosecution witness admitted this. No kidding.

(d) Carol did not know she was dealing with cops until after her head had been pounded against the wall, and she was placed in handcuffs.

Did Carol "knowingly cause contact" with a cop? Hell, she did not even know they were cops, and they covered the peephole to ensure she would not know they were cops. The prosecution did not come close to proving Carol acted knowingly -- even if she did cause contact with a cop, and she did not.

(4) How can you be so sure Carol did not cause contact with a cop?

Because the "victim," Officer Jeremy Lynn, admits it -- as we've been reporting here for months. From page 3 of the Harmison document:

When [the door] was three-fourths open, resistance was experienced. Lynn used his left foot to block the door and forcefully opened the door. Lynn saw a male in the living room, approximately 15 feet away. The male was sitting in a chair with his hands palm down and his feet on the floor, apparently demonstrating he was not a threat. Lynn grabbed the person behind the door and pulled her out to apprehend her. Carol Shuler kept pushing Lynn and trying to pull away from him to resist custody.

Who caused contact here? Lynn admits he did, by grabbing Carol from behind the door. The statement goes on say to Carol "kept pushing Lynn," but that is different from Lynn's written incident report, where Lynn never says Carol pushed him or even touched him. And that goes to possible perjury -- or the filing of a false police report. Does Lynn say what Carol had done to merit being "apprehended"? Nope. Don't you have to do something wrong to have a cop grab and attempt to apprehend you? Not in Missouri, I guess.

Once again, the cop-witness and the judge seem to be clueless about the law. Missouri appellate courts have determined the key question in such cases is "Who initiated physical contact?" (See State v. Armstrong, 968 SW 2d 154 [Mo. Court of Appeals, 1998]) So, who initiated physical contact? Jeremy Lynn admits he did -- in order to apprehend someone who had done nothing unlawful.

Just how incompetent is this Missouri court? At (1631-CR07731--ST V CAROL T SHULER) -- under charges, judgments, and sentences -- it has Carol being found guilty of trespass, first degree. The court bounced that charge almost one year ago. Again, I don't have the imagination to make this stuff up.

We'll stop for now with the above four primary points, but there is much more to examine in this horror show of a "judicial process."

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

This judge is a son of a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about this, LS. Glad to hear Carol has options, but this crap case should have been dismissed long ago. A horrible injustice.

Anonymous said...

What was the trial date?

legalschnauzer said...

It was May 14 -- 17 days ago.

Anonymous said...

Looking back over your statements from earlier this month, I gather you weren't surprised by this.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:22 --

No, I expected it. You learn after a while that facts and law don't matter to quite a few judges, who are sworn to uphold the law. When Harmison did not force the prosecution to turn over discovery, and did not rehear the suppression motions (which he was required to do, under Missouri law), I knew this case was cooked.

Plus, look who appointed him. Are you going to expect integrity from an Eric Greitens appointee?

Anonymous said...

This judge had his mind made up before the case ever started.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:28 --

No doubt about it, you are correct. I mean they have Carol listed as "guilty" of trespass, a charge that was dropped last June.

Harmison gave this zero thought.

Anonymous said...

This judge looks like a fairly classy guy. I wouldn't see this kind of BS ruling, just from looking at him.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:31 --

Looks can be deceiving. Harmison even has a pretty good bedside manner, but it's all an act. He's a con man. Must admit he fooled us a few times because he seems imminently reasonable and fair. But he's just another political/judicial hack.

This judgment might be the worst I've seen, especially when you consider someone was seriously injured, with potentially life-threatening injuries.

Anonymous said...

I assume this judge has females in his life who matter to him, yet he issues a ruling like this in an obvious case of police abuse against a woman. Amazing.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:45 --

Just shows that Harmison is a bad judge and a worse human being. He has a wife and two daughters that I'm aware of. I'm sure he would be fine with cops beating them up and breaking their arms. I'm sure he would find thug-cops more "credible" than them.

Anonymous said...

I've read through the judgment, and it's a joke. He basically regurgitated a bit of testimony, and then says the cops were more credible, without giving a reason for that finding or any examples to support it. Pure rubbish.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:49 --

Harmison found the prosecution witnesses more credible than us because they are cops. He must not read the news and all the stories about police misconduct, including falsification of records, etc. Here, they lied to the extent that they could not even keep their own lies straight -- and that's apparent in the judgment.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, he allowed the female cop to testify about Carol "bulling" into her! Anyone who has been around Carol knows that story is a crock. And Carol wasn't charged with that. Why were witnesses testifying about it?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:55 --

Great point. That is one of many things wrong with this ruling. The general rule in Missouri (and probably all jurisdiction) is that testimony about alleged uncharged "wrongful acts" is not allowed. There are a very few exceptions to that, but none of those were present here -- and Harmison doesn't say any exceptions existed. He just had his mind made up and did not give a crap about heaping more abuse on Carol.

Debi Wade is a horrific liar, maybe the worst of the four cop/witnesses. Scott Harrison and Christian Conrad also are huge liars, but not in Wade's class. Ironically, the closest to an honest witness was the "victim," Jeremy Lynn. To an extent, his testimony matched Carol's.

Anonymous said...

The judge believed that flailing in the backseat bull? Did he see the X-rays of Carol's arm? He believes any human can break their own arm that way? Did he complete fourth grade?

legalschnauzer said...

@9:15 --

The X-rays and photos of Carol's arm were entered as evidence. Whether Harmison looked at them and gave them any thought is another matter. As I state in the post, his ruling defies common sense.

legalschnauzer said...

A note: As a witness, I was out in the hall for most of the trial, except for my own testimony. I'm not sure if the cops actually said Carol broke her own arm, but they clearly suggested that she did -- and they claimed they didn't do it. A civil trial, of course, will prove them to be liars, but that's the whole point of this bogus criminal charge -- to help the cops avoid civil liability.

Anonymous said...

Is it too late for Carol to enter a guilty plea and try to do whatever she can to get off with something that can someday be "spun" in her favor when applying for a job, or credit, or a lease or anything else that involves a past conviction check? This would seem to be her best course at this juncture. Sorry it came down to this. Now may be the time for her to seek legal advice from a local lawyer. Sometimes it's best to do whatever you can to cut your losses, and move on.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a legal expert -- not even a legal schnauzer -- but the judgment is not that long, and I read it, and there is reasonable doubt all over the place.

This has to be overturned at some level.

Anonymous said...

As I read the testimony, at least one of the cops admitted that Carol might have been seat-belted, during and before transport. He pretty much undercuts their whole "flailing" story. If she might have been belted before transport, then their flailing story might not be true. And that's a cop saying it.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:38 --

Yes, Officer Scott Harrison says Carol "may not have been belted" prior to transport, which means she "may have been belted" -- just as Carol testified.

That blows up the judge's claim that the cop/witnesses were "credible."

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to wonder if there is an honest judge on the planet. This ruling is an outrage.

Anonymous said...

Collusion in this case is obvious. Prosecutors and public defender took jail off the table so that Carol would be forced to a bench trial. The crooks didn't want to leave it in the hands of a jury, so there was an agreement to have a judge convict, no matter what the facts and the law say.

This is criminal stuff, and people should go to prison for it.

legalschnauzer said...

I was wrong in my comment @8:15. The trial was held on May 17, which is 14 days ago.

The verdict came on May 22, nine days ago.

Sorry for the confusion.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of collusion, I smell Alabama scoundrels being involved in this, probably with your charming brother as a conduit.

Anonymous said...

How can someone be smart enough to get through law school, but not smart enough to see you can't inflict an injury like that on yourself, certainly not while seat belted in the back of a police car.

Anonymous said...

I think the whole "flailing" story was created to portray Carol as a nut case. Questioning her mental health is a convenient way to cover up the cops' misdeeds.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:42 --

Carol tells me prosecutor Nicholas Bergeon suggested in his closing that someone help her with mental-health care. So yes, portraying Carol as crazy was part of the story line.

Anonymous said...

LS: Don't know how you are able to write a coherent post about a subject like this, when it hits so close to home. I couldn't do it. I'm glad you can because the rest of us need to know that our courthouses are rotten.

Anonymous said...

I think certain "forces" are trying to goad you and/or Carol into saying or writing something they can portray as a threat and an excuse to arrest you.

They've tried that arrest deal once already, and I think they would love to try it again.

Anonymous said...

You are reporting on issues that I'm sure are concerning to the Alabama State Bar and possibly the Missouri Bar (whatever it's called). Be on the lookout for retribution. This ruling might be part of the retribution.

The criminals don't like it when you fight back.

Anonymous said...

There's a reason the two judges in this case -- Palmietto and Harmison -- did not force the prosecution to turn over properly requested discovery. I'm not sure all of Carol's discovery requests should have been granted, but the general rule is that discovery should be wide-ranging, and I have no doubt most of her requests were within reason and should have been granted. After all, she was charged with a crime, and she's entitled to gather information that might aid in her defense.

That discovery, for the most part, wasn't allowed is a sure sign that something is amiss.

legalschnauzer said...

@12:06 --

The prosecution turned over only what they wanted us to have. They pretty much didn't disclose anything that Carol asked for, and judges allow that.

Would be nice to cost Nicholas Bergeon his bar card for discovery abuses. Even better would be to see him prosecuted -- along with cops, Patterson, Arnott, Cowherd, Lowther, my brother, etc. -- for civil-rights violations. Judges can't be sued, for the most part, but Harmison has placed himself at risk of criminal prosecution.

legalschnauzer said...

Oh, I forgot . . . about the only discovery we received was the probable cause statement, misdemeanor information, and various incident reports. But Carol tells me the prosecution did not want that allowed as evidence, and Harmison did not allow it in.

No wonder the cops felt free to lie at trial.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of flailing, isn't Judge Harmison the one who hitched his wagon to the Greitens political train, which has gone flying off the tracks?

Tried looking in the mirror, "Your Honor"?

Anonymous said...

With Trump and Sessions both on thin ice, the justice landscape might be changing before too long. Don't lose faith, LS. You are on the right side of things, and that eventually will be proven.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, 12:22. The two snakes, Trump and Sessions, are hissing at each other right now. I want to see who will strike first.

Anonymous said...

Here's a good story about Trump-Sessions feud. Sounds like Sessions might be dishing dirt on Trump to Mueller, but Trump must have plenty of ammunition against Sessions, too.

Anonymous said...

The judge clearly did not decide this case on the appropriate statute, as you report. How can any judge make a "mistake" like that. The judge's own words show your wife was convicted on some notion of civil law, which is way apart from the actual law in this criminal case.

What law school do these people graduate from? Astounding.

Anonymous said...

I thought the landlord, or his representative, are supposed to conduct an eviction -- with a cop hanging around keep the peace and scratch his nuts, maybe while eating a donut.

Jeremy Lynn states that he was "apprehending" Carol, but he makes no mention of what she had done to merit being apprehended. Lynn had no grounds to be breaking into your home, even if the eviction was lawful -- and I doubt that it was.

The landlord could have opened the door with the key and said, "Look, you folks need to leave, and I've got a cop here to make sure things go peacefully." No reason for Jeremy Lynn to be grabbing anyone.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:18 --

You are right on target. The law in Missouri is that the landlord or his rep conduct the eviction, with a cop on standby to maintain the peace. I'm pretty sure the law is similar in other jurisdictions.

A big problem here is cops took over something that they had no lawful grounds to be involved in, except as a bystander.

The landlord, Trent Cowherd, probably didn't want to get involved because he knew he no signed writ of executuion. This was a classic self eviction, executed by heavily armed cops.

Anonymous said...

If it turns out that Sessions became a confidential informant against Trump, look for Republicans to turn on the AG like rabid wolves. They will chop Sessions off at the nuts and leave him dead and bleeding by the highway.

Plus, no telling what the Trump mobsters will do. "The Elf" is playing a dangerous game with some rough customers. He could wind up encased in concrete at The Meadowlands, with Jimmy Hoffa as a neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Harmison's claim about credibility, with no statement to back it up, is a classic judge's cop-out. He had made that determination -- cops wearing uniforms and guns are more credible than a woman and her husband who have been the victims of police violence -- before the trial ever started. I suspect there was agreement with key parties -- sheriff's office, prosecutor's office, judge, presiding judge, public defender's office, maybe a county commissioner or two -- that it was going to be done this way.

Anonymous said...

I would bet both of my testicles that Harmison is planning a run (or appointment) for higher office -- maybe a spot on the Missouri Supreme Court -- and in a conservative region, feels he must have the backing of law enforcement. So he's willing to sell Carol down the river for his own political ambition.

I think I read somewhere that he's mid 50s, so that means the clock is ticking and he needs to move quickly or he stays a lowly associate circuit judge in Springfield. It's all about politics and power, with justice not even a consideration.

Anonymous said...

Greitens obviously is a money-hungry SOB, with all kinds of apparent campaign-finance violations. So how did Harmison get in Greitens' good graces. We know the governor reacts favorably to two kinds of incentives -- financial and sexual. I'd say Harmison used the financial side to get what he wanted.

Anonymous said...

Just one man's opinion: If all witnesses are sworn under oath, it should be presumed they are telling the truth -- unless through physical evidence, cross-examination, inconsistencies, demeanor, etc. -- there is objective evidence they are not telling the truth.

What's the point of swearing in witnesses if a judge is free to ignore the fact that all statements are made under oath.

legalschnauzer said...

Stumbled upon an interesting article about witness credibility . . .

This is in the civil arena, personal injury, where there can be big money judgments.

Anonymous said...

I did some research and found it interesting that Harmison's legal career has been almost totally in worker's compensation defense. In other words he sides with the establishment -- employers and their insurers -- to limit compensation for those who have been hurt on the job.

That tells me he is likely a cold-blooded, elitist, corporate son of a bitch.

If you get your arm cut off on the job, you can count on Mr. Harmison to appear in court and essentially say, "Hey, Mr. Jones doesn't need that arm."

That's probably the approach he took with Carol. "Hey, she doesn't really need the full functioning of that arm, and besides, the cops said she broke it herself -- and they are establishment, so they must be right."

The guy is an elitist sicko.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is Jerry Harmison's application for a judicial position in Greene County. Thought readers might find this interesting:

Robby Scott Hill said...

A misdemeanor charge with no jail time is the classic way they throw a conviction on a Brotha or a Sista. They don’t have to prove anything to a jury & without a jury to find you not guilty, double jeopardy doesn’t attach & it’s harder to sue for false arrest, etc. Then, later on down the road when they manage to convict you of a felony, you have prior convictions on a “crime of violence” which enhance your prison sentence even though they are “just misdemeanors.” They love to sell it that way, but misdemeanors have consequences.

Anonymous said...

Officer Wade testified that she checked the docket on the eviction case that morning, 9/9/15, and said it wasn't stayed by the court. But the docket that morning shows you had filed a Notice of Appeal and includes a letter from the Court of Appeals that your appeal had been received. Wade admits she had doubts about the lawfulness of the eviction, but she didn't know what she was looking out, and the whole thing was based on the alleged go-ahead from a lawyer -- and she doesn't even know his name.

That appeals court letter put a stay on the case, by operation of law. The court doesn't have to issue a stay. I know a little bit about this landlord-tenant stuff, and Wade obviously does not. Once the Court of Appeals put that letter on the docket, they had jurisdiction, and the trial court finding was essentially set aside until the higher court affirmed it or overturned it.

No way you should have been thrown out of your home that day, no way your possessions should have been lost, no way Carol's arm should have been broken.

It's a shame they let someone as ignorant as Debi Wade be involved in such important decisions.

legalschnauzer said...

@5:48 --

Thanks for your insights. Below is section from docket in Cowherd v. Roger Shuler, showing we timely filed a Notice of Appeal (2 days before the deadline, and one day before the unlawfully scheduled eviction), and the Court of Appeals had acknowledge receipt of the notice.

And as you say, that means the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction at that point, but Debi Wade admits the eviction moved forward based on her interpretation of a court that did not have jurisdiction at that point. This stuff can't be disputed, and it shows why we were shocked and alarmed to hear noise outside our door and to see the knob turn, with someone coming in.

09/09/2015 Correspondence Filed
Missouri Court of Appeals files Correspondence to acknowledge receipt of a notice of appeal./bh

09/08/2015 Motion to Quash
Defendant filing pro se files Motion to Quash Execution. /kbt
Certificate of Mailing
Notice of Appeal saved and attached in PDF format for Attorney(s) to retrieve from secure Notice of Appeal sent electronically to Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District/KC
Notice of Appeal Filed
Roger Shuler Defendant Pro Se Files Notice of Appeal. /KC

Anonymous said...

As I recall from your earlier reports, the cops made a big deal about Carol pushing on the door. But here, they say the door was 3/4 open before they met resistance, so she must not have been pushing very hard. Sounds like she was standing there -- as she is entitled to do in her own home -- and they forced the door into her and caused her to fly up against the wall.

If the door was 3/4 open, they could have walked right on in, unless the officers are hugely fat.

The cop's story makes no sense, but Harmison finds them "credible." You almost have to laugh, but it's not really funny.

Don said...

Maybe you should have gotten a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Can Carol file an appeal? What happened to your appeal in the Cowherd case?

Anonymous said...

Let me ask this from a person with minimal legal knowledge, if the prosecutor said the defendant needed mental health care shouldn't a mistrial been called? Or found not guilty? If they believed she needed mental help should they recognize that she couldn't properly defend herself? Sounds like they opened a can of worms in her favor!!

Anonymous said...

Many judgments. No justice. Yet.

Steve said...

This doesn't work. Is there a better link?