Monday, June 4, 2018

Missouri deputy admits rent-and-possession judgment was interlocutory, meaning he and his thuggish colleagues had no grounds to be on our property

Jerry Harmison Jr.
A Greene County deputy testified, in so many words, that he and his colleagues had no lawful grounds to be on our property -- and yet, a Missouri judge still found my wife, Carol, guilty of an "assault on a law enforcement officer" in a bench trial that would have to improve to be deemed the product of a kangaroo court.

Here is the scary part: Deputy Scott Harrison apparently works evictions on a regular basis, but his testimony in Carol's case shows he has no clue about tenant-landlord law that governs such cases. Even scarier, Associate Circuit Judge Jerry A. Harmison Jr. apparently is just as ignorant as Harrison about the relevant law in Carol's case. Let's consider these words from page 1 of Harmison's judgment: (The full judgment is embedded at the end of this post.)

Scott Harrison of the Greene County Sheriff's Office, Civil Division, testified on behalf of the state. He served a summons by posting on August 11, 2015, at Carol and Roger Shuler's residence of 4070 South Fort, Springfield, MO. On August 27, 2015, an interlocutory judgment for possession was entered against the Shulers, with a future trial date established on the issue of damages. Deputy Harrison testified he posted an eviction notice on September 1, 2015, which indicated tenants must vacate the premises by September 9, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. The court file indicates the Shulers subsequently filed a Motion to Quash Execution and a Notice of Appeal on September 8, 2015.

The docket in our rent-and-possession case (1531-AC04535 -- TRENT COWHERD V ROGER SHULER ET AL) shows in two places that the judgment was interlocutory (non-final), partial, or both. The docket also showed that a hearing was set for Oct. 1, 2015 -- "ISSUE AS TO DAMAGES SET ON 10/1/15 AT 9:00 AM IN DIVISION 25 ON BOTH PETITION AND COUNTER PETITION." In other words, Harrison's assertion that the future hearing was only about the landlord's damages was false; it also was about our counterclaim for breach of contract and any damages that might have accrued from that.

Let's go back to the section highlighted in yellow above. Harrison claims he posted an eviction notice on Sept. 1, 2015. But his own words show this could not have been a court-approved notice because the judgment was interlocutory. This guy just isn't very bright, but he has been assigned to help throw people out of their homes -- even when there is no court order giving him such authority.

Missouri law is clear that there can be no execution on any judgment that is not final. That certainly applies to evictions, where a court ruling regarding possession pretty much means nothing. A landlord can only move forward with a writ of execution, signed and authorized by a judge. And such authorization can come only on a final judgment.

Scott Harrison
The controlling law is found at State ex rel Turner v. Sloan, 595 S.W.2d 778 (MO, 1980), which holds: "An enforcement of judgment by execution supposes a judgment not merely interlocutory but become final.”

Even Scott Harrison admits the judgment in our underlying rent-and-possession was interlocutory. A semi-trained lowland gorilla would have known an eviction could not move forward on a non-final judgment. But Harrison did not know that, and Judge Harmison either was too ignorant to know it or too lazy to look it up.

Harrison's cluelessness does not end there. On page 2 of the Harmison judgment, we find this:

Deputy Harrison confirmed the judgment for possession had not been set aside. He went to the residence with Captain Lynn. Lieutenant Wade, Lieutenant Conrad, and Sheriff Arnott. Lynn and Conrad were in full uniform and approached the front door. . . .  

Harrison -- and apparently none of the other goons -- could figure out that the judgment for possession had not been set aside because it wasn't final. Under Missouri law, such a judgment -- even if it is final -- does not authorize an eviction. The landlord must obtain a writ of execution, signed by a judge, to move forward with eviction -- and that cannot happen unless the judgment is final.

Harrison, by the way, is the deputy who burst into our home -- with no lawful grounds for doing so -- and pointed an assault rifle at my head. He and several of his buddies appeared to be dressed in full SWAT regalia that day, including bullet-proof vests. At trial, Harrison reportedly claimed he did not have an assault weapon that day, and he was wearing a blue short-sleeve shirt, as if he was about to go out for a round of golf. Yeah, right!

What does all of this mean?

(1) The guilty verdict against Carol is due to be set aside or vacated, replaced with a judgment of acquittal.

(2) That the underlying rent-and-possession judgment was non-final means the trial judge in that matter could not possibly have signed an eviction order. Landlord Trent Cowherd, Attorney Craig Lowther, and the deputies (Under Sheriff Jim Arnott) all moved forward with an unlawful "self eviction," one conducted without the authority of a court.

(3) That means their civil liability, in light of Carol's broken arm and the theft of almost all our possessions, is substantial.

(4) The cop witnesses are liars of monstrous proportions, even under oath, on a witness stand.

(To be continued)

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