|Tripp Vickers, at lectern|
The issue began when Fultondale attorney Greg Morris, who attempted to help us with a Rule 26 scheduling meeting, contacted the bar's Center for Professional Responsibility with a question related to our case. That office includes a general counsel (who now is Roman Shaul, taking over on a full-time basis for McElvy), plus three assistants -- Tripp Vickers, Jeremy McIntire, and Mark Moody. Morris was not certain with whom he spoke (his best guess was McIntire), but when I talked with McElvy via phone, he said any ethics question would almost certainly have gone to Vickers or McElvy himself.
Did McElvy seem to take the matter seriously? Not exactly, as I indicated in a May 29 post:
I recently called the state bar office and asked to speak to Jeremy McIntire, the individual a Birmingham-area attorney identified as making statements that strongly suggested the attorney should not get involved in our Jail Case and could even come to some form of harm if he remained engaged. The attorney was "75 to 80 percent sure" he spoke with McIntire, not one of the other two assistant general counsels -- Tripp Vickers or Mark Moody.
When I spoke with McIntire by phone, he denied having talked with the attorney. When I asked if he could check with Vickers or Moody, he declined to do so. When I asked why, he rudely informed me that it's "not my job."
I wound up speaking with Acting General Counsel Douglas McElvy, who immediately went into whitewash mode -- saying he found it almost impossible to believe that a member of his staff would interfere in a pending court case. I informed McElvy that I had the evidence in a word-for-word format, so he invited me to send a written complaint (which I did), and he promised to investigate.
I responded promptly with a written complaint to McElvy, and it was pretty much a summary of what I had told him on the phone. Here it is, dated May 21, 2018:
This is a followup to our phone conversation of early last week. I am a journalist and publisher of the Legal Schnauzer blog. I also am a litigant in two pending federal cases -- Roger Shuler, et al v. Jessica Garrison, et al (Case No. 2:16-cv-00695-VEH) and Roger Shuler, et al v. Liberty Duke, et al (Case No. 2:16-cv-00501-VEH).
I have a statement from Fultondale attorney Greg Morris that a member of your staff interfered in the Duke case, and evidence indicates similar interference took place in the Garrison case, plus 3-4 other federal matters over the past six to eight years. This interference apparently has taken the form of pressuring or persuading judges to rule against my wife, Carol, and/or me.
Morris was assisting me in the Duke matter and says he contacted a member of your staff with a question about an affidavit he was preparing. Morris said he was 75-80 percent certain he spoke with Jeremy McIntire. You stated in our phone conversation that Morris likely spoke to Tripp Vickers. For now, we will assume it was Vickers, and here are just a few of the statements that Morris attributes to your staff member (in Morris' voice):
* The State Bar tells me, "Do not use [the affidavit]; it may just make your matters worse."
* I said I feel strongly about all I've written, [but the bar said], "You'd better not go [with the affidavit]. If the judge wants to hear from you, she will call you in."
* [The bar said] Tell Roger, "No, no you don't have permission," You stay away from that, If the judge wants to hear from you, she'll let you know.
* I don't know what they are going to do to you, Roger. I can't imagine why they have such a hard-on. But the bar is telling me, "Greg, do not get any further involved -- you're not helping yourself and you're probably not helping Mr. Shuler."
I have these statements, and more, in a word-for-word format from Mr. Morris. As you can see, they blatantly interfere with my right to counsel and my relationship with counsel. On an even more serious note, the apparent interference with judges points to obstruction of justice, misprision of a felony, wire fraud, honest-services fraud, and maybe more -- all pointing to RICO.
You asked for specifics, so that you could conduct an investigation of these matters, and I've provided specifics above. Your statements during our phone conversation suggest you are not likely to conduct a serious inquiry, so I am expecting a whitewash. If corruption continues in the above-styled cases, I will know it has been a whitewash.
As I stated in our phone conversation, I take this with the utmost seriousness. My constitutional rights -- and those of my wife -- have been trampled. I've long suspected back-channel interference with my court cases -- going back years before you joined the Alabama State Bar staff -- and Mr. Morris' statements now give me a good idea about the origins of that interference.
I believe criminal acts are involved here, and I intend to do everything in my power to make sure the appropriate parties are held accountable. You are welcome to investigate on your end, but I'm not going to be in waiting mode on my end. I intend to move forward on all appropriate fronts.
If you wish to notify me of your findings, I ask that you do so by 5 p.m. next Monday (5/28/18).
I gave McElvy roughly one week to complete his investigation -- and I was flexible on that point -- which I thought was plenty of time, given that he only needed to interview three people in his own office. In fact, based on McElvy's own words, he likely only needed to interview one person, Tripp Vickers.
Thank you for your email. Please forward to me the statement from attorney Greg Morris which you quote in your email. Please also forward the evidence which you allege “suggests that the bars of Alabama and Missouri are colluding to be sure we are cheated in two states . . . ” You also reference other evidence that “interference took place in the Garrison case…” and other federal matters. Please forward all evidence you believe implicates the Alabama Bar in any misconduct. I am unaware of any such misconduct.
Notice that McElvy was asking me for information -- on top of what I already had provided -- while giving no indication that he had questioned anyone on his end. I brought this to his attention.
I'm not sending you any statement that is covered by attorney-client privilege, and I'm not sending you any evidence that could be subject to civil or criminal proceedings later. I've given you an opportunity to investigate from your end, and that's up to you. Your statements to me by phone indicate you are not serious about investigating this matter, so you're not getting any further help from me. I've given you plenty to go on, and your email doesn't indicate you've even questioned anyone on the bar staff. I would suggest that's where your inquiry needs to start.
Have you questioned Mr. Vickers and Mr. McIntire and Mr. Moody? If you have, and they are honest, you should have all the information you need.
I received no reply from McElvy, so I followed up two days later, on May 31:
I take it you haven't found out who spoke with Greg Morris? It shouldn't be that hard. Have you even bothered to ask?
You want more assistance from me, but you haven't even found the most basic evidence that is right under your nose?
Again, I received no replay from McElvy, which means the bar has done nothing in two-plus months to address my concerns. The bar's directory indicates Roman Shaul has taken over as full-time counsel, so this issue now will land in his lap -- and Tripp Vickers' lap, since the current evidence suggests he's the one who took Greg Morris' call.
If the bar thinks it can stick its head in the sand, and this problem will go away . . . well, that's not going to happen.