Monday, June 17, 2019

Was curious arrest of former ALEA head Spencer Collier driven by lawsuit-generated dirt on "Luv Guv" Bentley and perhaps donors to his "Girlfriend Fund"?


Spencer Collier

Spencer Collier, former chief of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), was arrested last Friday in Baldwin County on a charge of filing a false report with law-enforcement authorities. Coming just two days after Collier announced a settlement in his wrongful-termination/defamation lawsuit against former Governor Robert Bentley, the arrest emits all kinds of noxious fumes.

Collier stated in a lawsuit deposition that, while working for Bentley, he learned the governor had a fondness for misusing law-enforcement resources to target perceived enemies. (More on that in upcoming posts.). Does that help explain Collier's arrest on charges that would have to improve to be flimsy? Our guess is yes.

Collier, once a personal friend and political ally of Bentley's, likely landed on the enemies list after helping reveal Bentley's extramarital affair with aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason and challenging his termination as unlawful. The story of Bentley's affair with Mason, which we broke here at Legal Schnauzer, led to Bentley's resignation in April 2017 after he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and agreed never to hold public office again. The Mason affair, which ended Bentley's marriage of 50 years, helped earn him such nicknames as "Luv Guv" and "Horndog Governor." Mason became known as "Home Wrecky Becky."

The first sign of fishiness surrounding Collier's arrest involves the offense with which he was charged. Based on published reports, he apparently was charged under Code of Alabama 13A-10-9 (False Report to Law Enforcement Authorities), which states:

Section 13A-10-9

False reporting to law enforcement authorities.

(a) A person commits the crime of false reporting to law enforcement authorities if he knowingly makes a false report or causes the transmission of a false report to law enforcement authorities of a crime or relating to a crime.

(b) False reporting to law enforcement authorities is a Class A misdemeanor.

[Note: Per Sec. 14-1 of the Daphne Municipal Code, the city has adopted state offenses law, so it's likely Collier was charged under the state law cited above.]

The key word in the law is "knowingly." That word, by law, goes to a culpable mental state and is described at Sec. 13A-2-2 as follows:

(2) KNOWINGLY. A person acts knowingly with respect to conduct or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware that his conduct is of that nature or that the circumstance exists.

Was Collier aware his alleged actions constituted a violation of law? Let's look at how relevant events have been described in the press. From al.com:

Spencer Collier, the state’s former top cop, was arrested in south Alabama amid accusations he filed a false report.

Collier was booked and quickly released from Daphne City Jail, according to local law enforcement. A spokesperson from the Daphne Police Department said Collier’s charge related to a report he made regarding fraudulent credit card use while he was staying in a local hotel Thursday evening.

He turned himself in to the Daphne City Jail at around 1:30 p.m., according to Daphne PD Sgt. Jason Vannoy, who characterized the incident as “domestic.”

How was the incident domestic? Here is more from al.com:

Collier addressed the arrest and his family situation in a statement.

“My adult son, who is a recovering addict and multiple felon, used my bank card without my permission,” said Collier in a message to AL.com. “I filed a police report, being this is the second time in a year that he has done this. I was unaware that my wife (we are currently estranged) gave him permission. He pressed charges because I listed him as the suspect.”

He added: “I have no doubt that I will be exonerated - but the entire episode is embarrassing. I am so sorry for any embarrassment that this has caused the City of Selma. I wish to apologize to the Daphne Police Department and also express my gratitude for their professionalism throughout the entire incident.”

Having been told about Collier’s defense of what happened, Sgt Vannoy of the Daphne PD said that fundamental information given by Collier to an investigating officer was deemed to be false.

Let's consider some questions this press account raises:

1. Collier plainly states that he was unaware his estranged wife had given his son permission to use the credit card. What does this say about Collier's "culpable mental state"? It suggests he didn't have one.

"Luv Guv" Bentley and Rebekah Mason
2. Was the credit card in the name of both Collier and his estranged wife? If his wife's name was not on the card, did she have grounds to give the son permission to use it? At this point, we lack information about the nature of the card.

3. Sgt. Vannoy, of the Daphne PD, said the "fundamental information given by Collier to an investigating officer was deemed to be false." But we know from the language in the statute that is not the key element of the offense. The accused must act "knowingly," and the available evidence indicates Collier did not know his statement to the investigating officer was false.

Many questions swirl around Collier's arrest, but two facts appear to be clear:

* Collier did not knowingly violate the false reporting law, and he never should have been arrested;

* That the arrest came two days after Collier announced a settlement in his lawsuit against Bentley -- and Collier's estranged wife sought a protection order one day after the lawsuit announcement -- suggests someone was unnerved about the settlement. Who might that be?

First, the lawsuit settlement surprised many observers, including this one. Taxpayers were funding Bentley's defense, so he appeared to have little or no incentive to settle. That Bentley did settle suggests discovery in the lawsuit might have produced potentially damaging information about Bentley, Mason, and their associates. Did Collier attorney Kenneth Mendelsohn catch someone on Team Bentley in a perjury trap, with criminal implications? If such information involved donors to ACEGOV, also known as the "Girlfriend Fund," it could be making some of the state's powerful and moneyed elites nervous.

As we reported last August, Collier filed a motion seeking information about donors to ACEGOV. Did that motion yield information that led to a lawsuit settlement and Collier's unlawful arrest?

We suggest that federal and state agencies need to launch a criminal investigation based on that question.


(To be continued)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad you weighed in on this, LS. Something about this arrest certainly smells funny.

Anonymous said...

I, too, was surprised to learn of the lawsuit settlement. I figured Luv Guv would drag it out indefinitely.

Anonymous said...

Interesting the important role one word -- knowingly -- plays in criminal law. I don't think the Daphne cops considered this word before bringing charges against Collier.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see that Collier's family life has become a dumpster fire. He needs to concentrate on that and stay out of politics.

Anonymous said...

Collier was stupid to ever trust and support Bentley in the first place.

Robby Scott Hill said...

The Dixie Mafia uses small town police departments to exert influence when the federal & state governments won’t. Remember when John Caylor got arrested in Daphne?

https://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2017/01/john-caylor-who-ridiculed-me-while-i.html?m=1

John was trying to tell all of us about this Russian Jewish Mafia & how it was tied to the Dixie Mafia years ago. If we had only listened, Trump would have never been President & Sessions would have never been Attorney General because Russia wouldn’t have been able to interfere in the election.

Despite any personal issues you may have with him, Caylor was dead on about this Russian Jewish Mafia.

I wouldn’t set foot in Daphne, Alabama to attend my best friend’s funeral. Screw that place. They are too quick to arrest folks on Mickey Mouse charges. They had better keep their noses clean because somebody will eventually try to get even with them after all the dubious charges they have brought down on people.

Anonymous said...

Who signed off on this arrest warrant? Whoever it was needs to be put under a white-hot light.

Anonymous said...

Why would "Luv Guv" Bentley still have influence over Alabama law enforcement?

legalschnauzer said...

@1:56 --

Maybe he's acquired enough dirt on the right people. Maybe Collier has acquired sufficient dirt on Bentley. Maybe that's why Collier got arrested.

legalschnauzer said...

Rob --

I don't have any personal issues with Caylor, other than I don't understand how anyone purporting to be a journalist and standing for the First Amendment could trash me while I was in jail. Do you have any clue what he was trying to accomplish with that?


https://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2017/01/investigative-journalist-john-caylor.html

Steve said...

Robbie. Does any one refer to the Italian Christian Mafia? Or the Russian Orthodox Mafia?

legalschnauzer said...

Rob:

Have you read what Caylor wrote about me while I was in jail? Would you have personal issues with someone who wrote that about you? Did Bill Baxley pay him to write that bullshit? Here it is:

Roger Schuler of the - Blog Legal Schnauzer - has been arrested for not attending a court hearing to answer to Civil Contempt of Court in one of several lawsuits filed against him for publishing Libelous and malicious stories against private citizens. The following is an my response to a message from one of my Facebook friends about Schuler - Dear Friend - I've been doing extensive research on Roger Schuler and his attempts to get everyone involved in his personal life to help him bring down people he has earmarked as his enemies. AT This point I think he's a plant by Karl Rove and Russian mafia's Milton McGregor to bring people around him down. You know the guy comes up with some legitimate investigative fruits every now and then - but - he uses people's personal and family lives against them - people who have fired him for his insubordination at work from UAB as he attacked then president Carol Garrison for having an affair with another University President in another state. Personally I don't give a good shit about who fucks who - as a professional journalist I've never reported on people's private sex life unless they were pedophiles or displayed in a pedophile mail out like the one Schuler got from former Alabama Attorney Tommy Gallion of federal judge Bill Pryor. Schuler or someone with access to his computer posted that totally naked photo on my Facebook page and shortly afterword Schuller telephoned me to "scream and holler" at me for being a No good Son of a Bitch for breaking into his computer and stealing the photo and his work. Problem was with the photo is Judge Pryor's age at the time of the photo and Flyer publication had me thinking someone was setting me up for Kiddie Porn. I reported the Facebook posting to the FBI and IC3 in a criminal complaint to cover my ass in case Pryor was 15 at the time of the photo. But Schuler is a fucking hot head and not a God damn reporter if he was he'd answer the "Civil Libel" complaints against him instead of ducking out and hiding out avoiding legal process - Schuler gives everyone a black eye by not facing the people he writes about ruining the private lives of people who are private and not public citizens. If someone sued me over defamation and libel "I've never been sued for Libel or defamation", I'd welcome a chance to prove my credibility and get rights to dig into my allegations against them with a court order. But Schuler has used false lawsuits usually filed by him to fuck over people with his bullshit. The lawsuit filed by Jessica Garrison apparently another person in the Garrison family alleges that Ms. Garrison demanded a retraction from Schuler for his lies and allegations she was fucking her old boss - Alabama Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

legalschnauzer said...

(Cont.)

The latest Lawsuit against Schuler comes on the heels of that one and is based on the same lie as his other one Liberty Duke was fucking Rob Riley. As much as I dislike Riley I hate Schuler more for shitting in the Muddy Water I must dig into to investigate these cases tinged with Schuler's very public idea that all his enemies are whoring around on their wives. I used to have a Private Investigators Ticket in Alabama and Florida and I can tell you that infidelity is a big problem every where. But a bigger problem is that "Criminal Libel" will buy you serious time in the slammer. As Andy has pointed out in "Supreme Court - Times v. Sullian" the First amendment doesn't protect speech with MALICE. What pisses me off is that everyone wants to help poor Roger and he's a Godamed Blogger - Not a real journalist - a real journalist is more than happy to publish documents from people we write about to have as evidence down the road toward the discovering the truth - something Roger is about to be butt fucked for not doing.

legalschnauzer said...

Rob --

Can you pick out one word of that horse manure that is true. Caylor claims I'm not a journalist, and he can' even spell my name right. I would be happy to compare my journalism degree and resume with his any day.

He has no clue what he's talking about in that Facebook post, and yes, I do resent some clown like Caylor writing that, especially while I was in jail and could not respond.. He's both a coward and a sorry excuse for a "journalist." Does he think my arrest was lawful? Can he cite how?

Best I can tell, his arrest WAS lawful -- he broke state law about reporting on expunged records. He got hat he deserved.

e.a.f. said...

they charged him over that????? so how did they know what was on/in his mind to conclude they had a case for "knowingly"..........that is very, very difficult to prove. perhaps that isn't why he was arrested, but more to send him a message.

don't the cops in that area have real work to do. this falls under family problems and does not require any one to be arrested. It would be reasonable to conclude this is get even time for some one.

Its a waste of taxpayers money and time. he might be better off to leave the state

aren't there any child sex trafficking cases the police could be following up on. I'm sure some of the organized crime types might need some police attention. O.K. that isn't a big deal in Alabama? o.k. time to leave the state.