Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cop-witnesses tell one lie after another under oath in Carol's "assault" trial, and Missouri Judge Jerry Harmison Jr. does his best to let them get away with it

Debi Wade
How many lies and inconsistent statements can four cop-witnesses tell in one relatively simple misdemeanor trial? Based on our experience in Missouri with the "assault of a law enforcement officer" case against my wife, Carol, the answer is "a lot."

Judge Jerry A. Harmison Jr., however, was looking out for his cop friends. He unlawfully excluded the Probable Cause (PC) Statement, Misdemeanor Information, and written incident reports in the case, depriving Carol of the opportunity to impeach witnesses and show that their credibility was near zero. [See Davis v. Alaska, 415 U.S. 308 S. Ct. (1974) and State v. Armbruster, 641 S.W. 2d 763 (Mo. banc, 1982).]

And yet, Harmsion stated in his judgment that he found the prosecution witnesses (the four deputies) more "credible" than the defense witnesses (Carol and me). That's because Carol was not allowed to show the cop-witnesses repeatedly lied on the stand -- or, at the least, made statements wildly inconsistent with what they had written earlier.

Let's consider the written statements of Officer Debi Wade, compared to what she testified under oath at trial. Wade wrote the PC Statement, and here are her words from that document:

I was once again able to calm (Carol) down, and I talked her into loading her packed items into the car. She and I placed all of the bags . . . into the back seat and trunk of the car. Just as (Carol) appeared to be getting into the passenger side door to the car, she started screaming that she needed her cat's litter box. I was trying to tell her that I would go back into the residence for it, when she suddenly took off in a dead run toward the front door to the residence. Knowing that Deputy (Scott) Harrison would be exiting that door at any moment, I feared that she would catch him off guard, so I jogged up behind Carol and attempted to tell her that I would get the litter box for her. Just as I caught up to her she suddenly pivoted and barreled into me head first. I was caught off guard, and as my left arm automatically came up to block my face in a reactive manner, I automatically turned my body to my right in an attempt to blade my gun side away from her while I regained my footing. At this time, both Lt. (Christian) Conrad and Deputy Harrison came in from either side to secure Carol's arm and place her in handcuffs. 

Wade's account is pure fantasy; hardly a word of it is true. Consider:

* Wade did not help Carol put items in our car, and neither did any other cop. I was sitting in the driver's side of the car, inches away, and Carol put our stuff in the car herself. Wade was on the front porch of the residence.

* Carol didn't appear to get in the passenger seat, she did get in the passenger seat briefly -- just as I testified at trial. We looked at each other, not saying a word, but I could tell Carol had a "light bulb moment" go off over her head. She didn't tell me what it was, but I learned later that she had realized we didn't have Baxter's litter box.

* I've known Carol for more than 30 years, and I've never seen her take off on a dead run for anything, and she did not do that in this instance. She walked at a normal pace down the sidewalk toward the front porch, where she encountered Wade and Harrison. They apparently refused to let Carol retrieve the litter box, even though Carol and I both had been told we could get our personal belongings. As Carol discussed the matter with Wade and Harrison, an unknown cop in a blue shirt grabbed her from behind, slammed her butt-first to the ground, and then violently yanked on both arms, in an upward and backward position, causing a comminuted fracture in the left arm and severe bruising in the right arm.

What's the main point of Wade's written account? Wade says she came up from behind, without Carol knowing she was there, and Carol turned around, into her. In other words, it was an accident -- and not a crime. Wade says she was "caught off guard' when Carol turned around. Well, it only stands to reason that Carol was "caught off guard" when she turned to find Wade in her face. Again, Wade's own words show this was an accident, not a crime -- and prosecutors must have agreed because they did not bring this charge against Carol. (Probable Cause Statement and Misdemeanor Information are embedded at the end of this post.)

Jerry Harmison Jr.
But what happened when Wade testified at trial? She took any accident component out of it. From the Harmison "judgment":

Carol Shuler got upset a second time and started yelling "just shoot me." Carol Shuler then charged Wade like a bull since she wanted in the residence but the doors were being locked.

Wade's statement under oath at trial was wildly inconsistent with what she wrote (also under oath) in her PC Statement. Before, Wade came up from behind Carol, and Carol accidentally turned around into her. On her second crack at it, Wade says she was in front of Carol, who intentionally charged her "like a bull."

What's going on here? First, it's important to note that none of this actually happened. Second, by law, Debi Wade should not have been allowed to testify about alleged conduct with which Carol was not charged. (See State v. Bernard, 849 S.W.2d 10 (Mo. Sup. Ct., 1993.)

The reality? Both of Wade's accounts are products of her fertile imagination. Carol and I both stated at trial that she and Debi Wade never made contact with each other, and that is the truth. But even if you believe there is some truthfulness in Wade's account, it simply does not hold up.

Wade changes her story completely -- meaning she either lied under oath at trial or submitted a false police report (an affidavit, where "false statements are punishable by law"). Either of those is a crime.

And Wade hardly was the only cop-witness at Carol's trial to make statements that were wildly inconsistent with what they stated before.

(To be continued)

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