Litigation

Alabama Blogger Jailed, Apparently For Not Obeying Order to Stop Publishing Certain Information about Politician

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Weird story out of Alabama, as reported by the Justice Integrity Project:

The prominent investigative blogger Roger Shuler was arrested and beaten by Shelby County sheriff's deputies at his Alabama garage upon returning home Oct. 23.

justice integrity project

Shuler faces a resisting arrest charge stemming from his refusal to obey a judge's order to stop writing adversely about Robert Riley Jr., a well-connected attorney who is part of Alabama's most prominent political family.

Shuler, shown in a jail photos with a swollen face from his beating, was being held on a $1,000 bond on his resisting charge. But the judge has declined to set bond on two contempt of court charges, thereby enabling authorities to hold Shuler for an undetermined period that could be many months at the judge's discretion…

At Fox Radio's site, Shuler is quoted from before the bust:

Riley is seeking to have us held in contempt of court for reporting last Thursday on the lawsuit he has filed against us in Shelby County Circuit Court. Riley claims we have violated a preliminary injunction, with which we have not been served and for which we were not a party to any hearing. Riley also seeks to have all posts about his extramarital affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke removed from Legal Schnauzer–and Riley wants all of this done in secret, with the case file sealed and no reporting allowed to the public. …

New court documents suggest Alabama Republican Rob Riley has filed a fraudulent defamation lawsuit against me in an intimidation campaign designed to clean up his record for a run at the U.S. House seat that Spencer Bachus is vacating….

Never mind that my wife and I have not been lawfully served with Riley's complaint, so the court has no jurisdiction over us. We only found out about the case when Shelby County deputy Mike DeHart violated any number of federal and state laws when he conducted a bogus traffic stop in order to "serve" us with the Riley papers. Also, never mind that the "prior restraint" doctrine, which grows out of the First Amendment right to free speech, generally forbids preliminary injunctions in defamation cases.

Gulf Coast News Today reported last week on the traffic stop to serve Shuler papers he mentions above.

Hat tip: Melissa Brewer

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  1. Of course, the solution to this is to give government more power.

    “Don’t trust your life to no backwoods Southern lawyer,” trust it to the man who wears the star.

    1. Now I may be just be a simple country Hyper-Chicken, but I know when we’re finger licked

  2. Well, this story sounds corrupt as hell. I hope this journalist sues the shit out of everyone involved.

    1. The only thing worse that run-of-the-mill scum is politically-well-connected scum.

  3. Not to play Devil’s advocate here, but to play Devil’s advocate, was Shuler doing something that was found libelous or defamatory and continuing with that writing?

    I’m not going to comment on the arrest and beating (always the ultimate consequence of refusing to abide by any directive from the state, no matter how picayune).

    1. There has been no trial on whether his writing was libelous, so there can be no finding that it was libelous that would justify any sort of punishment.

      The preliminary injunction was almost certainly wrongly issued. Generally speaking, a preliminary injunction requires the following:

      In most courts in the United States, the party seeking the preliminary injunction must demonstrate all four things together:

      1.That there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case,
      2.That they face a substantial threat of irreparable damage or injury if the injunction is not granted,
      3.That the balance of harms weighs in favor of the party seeking the preliminary injunction
      4.That the grant of an injunction would serve the public interest.

      I have a very hard time seeing a real court signing off on 3 and 4 in this situation.

      1. I thought he was being punished for contempt of connected lawyer?

  4. Sometimes, it seems the mid-level races, the ones for House seats, or even state legislature, can be the most vicious. Looks like this one is going to make the ugliness very public.

    1. Fewer eyes watching it (most people don’t really pay attention to local politics, nevermind national) mean there’s less light being shined on the cockroaches.

  5. But I first wrote about his affair with Liberty Duke on January 24, 2013

    I’m imagining a woman with very big hair, a turquoise blouse with tassles on it and a humongous belt buckle.

    1. You would be wrong.

      (scroll down for her picture)

      1. Them Dukes! Them Dukes!

      2. What is with pols and their penchant for uggos on the side?

        1. Politics is Show Business for ugly people. Hence, their groupies tend to be …

    2. Wow. I would not have pictured him banging her.

      1. Therefore the accusations must be false.

  6. The article makes serious allegations, and indeed if the court issued an injunction against writing about the alleged adultery, then it was guilty of prior restraint. The remedy for defamation is to sue the defamer for damages *after* the alleged defamation – not blocking it beforehand.

    I note that the author doesn’t actually defend the accuracy of the adultery allegation, only says that he (author) has heard reports of adultery among Alabama’s “family-values” Republicans. Nothing about proof against Riley and the woman. Wouldn’t this this be the time to put forward the evidence?

    The article is also filled with the usual denunciations of Karl Rove, the Tea Party, Bush – who allegedly railroaded the former Democratic governor.

    1. Wouldn’t this this be the time to put forward the evidence?

      Nah. Save it for the defamation trial, when you can subpoena people and put them under oath.

      1. Sure, if you’re the defendant. But if you’re one of the defendant’s cheerleading section in the media, now would be the time to show how this guy is a lying right-wing adulterer.

        1. Of course, even if it were true, that wouldn’t justify prior restraint.

  7. Update: Riley has now filed a court order compelling anyone who knows about this incident to immediately forget about it.

  8. In a functional America, the DOJ would be landing on this case with both feet, getting a federal court to overturn everything and investigating the judge, the candidate, and the cops.

    Also in a functional America, the judge and the candidate would be DOA next time they showed up on a ballot.

    My guess is, the DOJ will be nowhere to be seen, since the victim is white, and the judge and the candidate will win their races and continue to sup at the public table and abuse power, without fear of consequence.

  9. The article’s link to legalschnauzer.com goes to a generic GoDaddy “this domain is available” page.

    1. Seems OK to me:

      http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/

      This guy is tearing it up. I can see why the corruptocrats went crazy. Incredibly sordid stuff, the kind that you wouldn’t believe if you read it in a novel.

    2. The article’s link is wrong. Should be legalschnauzer.blogspot.com.

  10. Talladega is known as an Alabama jurisdiction where divorces can be obtained quickly, and court filings are likely to be kept away from prying eyes in the home county.

    I thought people only went to Talladega for the racin’.

  11. In Alabamastan you can be jailed for belonging to the wrong party.

    See Seigelman.

    1. See one of Balko’s articles a couple years back:

      “It’s about a month old, but this Wall Street Journal article about Jabbar Collins, wrongly convicted for killing Rabbi Abraham Pollack in -”

      Oops, not Alabama!

      “…New York City in 1994, is equal parts inspiring, jaw-dropping, and infuriating. After his conviction, Collins spent his 15 years in prison teaching himself law in the prison library; then filing, re-filing, and appealing requests for information about his case; then finally breaking his case open by getting a witness to admit he had lied . . . while Collins posed as an investigator for the prosecution. Collins’ tenacity, resourcefulness, and determination in the face of long odds are inspiring. But the dark side of the article is the sheer mendacity of prosecutor Michael Vecchione (who of course has since been promoted to the appropriate-sounding title of the Brooklyn DA’s “chief of the rackets division”), the obstinacy of trial judge Robert Holdman, and the general indifference of the criminal justice system that put Collins away.”

      https://reason.com/blog/2011/01…..ngful-conv

      1. A recent update to Collins’ story, from all of three weeks ago:

        “Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who is taking a second shot at re-election after getting trounced in the Democratic primary, is seeking a postponement of his deposition in a $150 million lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was framed by prosecutors for a murder he didn’t commit.

        “Hynes was scheduled to be grilled Oct. 22 by the lawyer for plaintiff Jabbar Collins, who was released from prison after spending more than 15 years behind bars forthe 1994 shooting death of Rabbi Abraham Pollack.”

        Oh, and PB, you’ll love this one: After losing the Democratic Primary, Hynes decided to run on the Republican and Conservative lines. Maybe you’re right, PB, the Republican Party *must* be corrupt if it’s associated with this sleazy Democrat!

        http://www.nydailynews.com/new…..-1.1476561

    2. Corruption never happens in the northern states, politicians there are as pure as the driven snow. They’re almost saints, and at least one of them from Chicago is the new Jeebus.

      1. The North is much better even though I live in Georgia.

        Luckily, I am well connected and white so therefore safe here.

        1. Yeah, Kasim Reed has to worry a lot. Same with Shirley Franklin, Hosea Williams, Bill Campbell, Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson…

          Jesus, you’re even stupider than the regulars here always say. Or is it just plain bigotry?

        2. The North is much better

          Yes, Boston, Philly, NY, Chicago,all the big northern enclaves where corruption and cronyism are unknown.

      2. Google is your friend, PB. Guess which state this happened in? (hint: rhymes with “Bishagan”)

        “A federal judge vacated today the 2006 conviction of an accused drug dealer whose case triggered a perjury scandal involving a judge, the police and a Wayne County prosecutor who wound up in prison for lying to seal the conviction….

        “According to court documents, Aceval’s case gained notoriety when it came to light that the police, prosecutor and trial judge “knowingly allowed witnesses to perjure themselves” at his first trial….

        “During the trial, the prosecutor, Karen Plants, went to the trial judge and, in a secret meeting, told her of the perjury. The meeting and the perjury were kept from the jury….

        “As a result of her conduct, Plants was…sentenced to six months in prison and disbarred. Additionally, two Inkster police officers…received 90-day jail sentences. The judge who oversaw the case, Mary Waterstone, retired and was reprimanded by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission.”

        http://www.freep.com/article/2…..yne-County

        1. “[Joseph] Frey, 54, was wrongfully convicted in 1994 of sexual assault and kidnapping, crimes for which he was serving a 102-year sentence.

          “When he was released earlier this month [July 2013], Frey had less than a week’s supply of the dozen or so drugs he needs for a degenerative bone disease, blood clots and other health problems. He can’t afford more medication nor the required follow-up visits to the doctor.

          “”I’m transient,” said Frey, who is staying at the homeless shelter at Grace Episcopal Church in Madison. “I have no health coverage. Nothing.”…

          “Frey, who was convicted of an earlier sexual assault in Brown County to which he pleaded no contest, now relies on the Innocence Project and others to help him put his life back together after his conviction for the 1991 rape of a UW-Oshkosh student that he didn’t commit was overturned and the charges dropped.

          “Had he been released in 2005 ? after completing his confinement for the Brown County assault ? Frey would have gotten some help transitioning beyond prison life, [Innocence Project attorney Tricia] Bushnell said.

          “But because he was innocent of the crime for which he was doing time, she said, Frey was released back out into the world with no support from the state.”

          http://www.weau.com/home/headl…..61031.html

          1. (The Frey case was in Wisconsin.)

      3. “[Dec. 2012] Annie Dookhan, a former state lab technician in Massachusetts, is facing 27 different criminal charges in connection to a scandal rocking the state’s justice system. Her behavior has tainted potentially thousands of drug cases. The charges, announced today, range from tampering with evidence to perjury (she apparently lied about having a master’s degree) to obstruction of justice.”

        https://reason.com/blog/2012/12…..s-of-the-g

        1. Hey – she got a whole three years! I mean, what do you expect, she was just a selfless person doing her best to help the community (and rack up overtime).

      4. Bear in mind, these are the results of fairly generic searches in Reason and on Google.

        1. Except the Mass police story, which I knew about already.

  12. All laws, ordinances and regulations, no matter how small — from a jaywalking ticket to a capital murder — eventually lead to looking down the barrel of a gun.
    I’m paraphrasing, but it’s true.

  13. This is precisely why we need occupational licensing for journalists. You can’t just have some prole out there printing shit willy nilly, acting like he’s entitled to 1st Amendment protections.

  14. See, this just proves that if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide and nothing to be afraid of!

  15. American “justice”; a sick and twisted torturing of slaves.

  16. Hat tip: Melissa Brewer

    Melissa Brewer? Really? The same whackjob who’s one of Speedway Bomber Brett Kimberlin’s equally batchit sychophants and was busted for prostitution? The psycho formerly known as @CatsRImportant on Twitter before she turned it over to Neal Rauhauser? If it’s that Melissa Brewer, you might want to triple check whatever “story” she sends you, because her elevator doesn’t even get out of the basement.

  17. It has been said that Robert Riley Jr. likes to shop at Sears because boys’ pants are half off.

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