October 25-27, 2013 -- SPECIAL EDITION -- Alabama sheriffs' deputies assault, arrest, and imprison on-line journalist

publication date: Oct 24, 2013
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October 25-27, 2013 -- SPECIAL EDITION -- Alabama sheriffs' deputies assault, arrest, and imprison on-line journalist

Roger Shuler, the enterprising Alabama on-line journalist, whose Legal Schnauzer website has held accountable corrupt Alabama politicians and judges, was assaulted by four Alabama sheriffs' deputies on the evening of October 23, arrested, and hauled off to jail.

Shuler, a former reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald, earlier evaded the serving of a subpoena by sheriffs' deputies who engaged Shuler in an unconstitutional traffic stop. The subpoena had been issued by retired Alabama judge Claud Neilson who had enjoined Shuler from publishing any articles regarding an alleged extramarital affair involving a prospective U.S. House of Representatives candidate. The candidate in question is Rob Riley, Jr., the son of Alabama Governor Bob Riley, the man who helped engineer the electoral theft of the governorship from Democratic Governor Don Siegelman in 2002 and the subsequent political prosecution and imprisonment of Siegelman for 6 and a half years on trumped up charges. Riley, Jr. sued Shuler and his wife Carol over a Legal Schnauzer report that Riley had engaged in an extramarital affair with a lobbyist named Liberty Duke.

WMR reported on Neilson's conflict-of-interest in the matter involving the junior Riley on October 16. Neilson also ordered sealed all records relating to the law suit. Neilson's order prohibiting Shuler from publishing any further stories about Riley represents nothing less than a
court ordered injunction imposing prior restraint on freedom of the press, a guaranteed right under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Although guaranteeing constitutional rights in Alabama has been a problem going back to the days of Jim Crow and the Dixiecrats, Alabama has retrogressed in recent years to a draconian past that made the state seem more like a "banana republic" of Central America than a southern state in North America.

Shuler has also been pressured with a nuisance suit over his reports about an alleged extramarital affair between Alabama GOP Attorney General Luther Strange and Attorney General Department employee
Jessica Medeiros Garrison, the latter since divorced from her husband, and published a photo from a gay porn site featuring a naked Bill Pryor when he was a teen. Republican Bill Pryor, a former Alabama Attorney Genera, now sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and is a Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.  Pryor refused to recuse himself from the appeal of Siegelman to the Coirt of Appeals even though Pryor was heavily involved in the Republican vendetta against and political prosecution of Siegelman. The U.S. judge who tried and sentenced Siegelman, Mark Fuller of the U.S. Court for the Middle District of Alabama, also came under the scrutiny of Shuler's web site. Shuler exposed Fuller's extramarital affair involving one of his court clerks. Fuller and his wife subsequently divorced. Fuller is a good friend of Alabama GOP honcho Bill Canary, whose wife, Leura Canary, was the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama who filed trumped up charges against Siegelman.

On October 21, Shuler's report on the alleged Riley affair stated:

Alabama Republican Rob Riley has filed a proposed court order that seeks the arrest of my wife and me for reporting here at Legal Schnauzer on Riley’s extramarital affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke.

Riley, who reportedly plans to seek the U.S. House seat being vacated by Spencer Bachus, wants two citizens arrested for–get this–practicing journalism. . . .

The skinny? Rob Riley is deeply connected to some of the most corrupt activities in modern American political history. So it should be no surprise that, contrary to his “pro family” and “pro life” public stances, Riley engaged in an affair with Liberty Duke that led to an abortion and the payment of $250,000 in hush money. It also should be no surprise that Riley is trying to quash our reporting on the subject, especially now that Spencer Bachus has surprised many observers by deciding to abandon his safe Congressional seat.

How exactly is Rob Riley trying to circumvent the First Amendment and force our reporting out of public view? The latest salvo is found in a cover letter and proposed court order, dated October 7 and prepared under the name of Jay Murrill, an attorney in the Riley Jackson law firm. … The proposed order explicitly seeks to have my wife and me arrested if we failed to appear at a court hearing that was set for last Thursday (October 18) at the Shelby County Courthouse in Columbiana. The hearing was designed to hold us in contempt for refusing to abide by an unlawful preliminary injunction."

Neilson apparently decided, under pressure from Riley's Birmingham law firm, Riley & Jackson, to hold Shuler in contempt of court and order Shelby County sheriffs to assault, arrest, and jail Shuler. A copy of the letter from Riley's law firm to Neilson is seen below.

Carol Shuler reported that her husband never came back inside their home after he had gone out to their garage. What she did not know is that four sheriffs' deputies appeared on Shuler's property and proceeded to assault him and place him under arrest. Mrs. Shuler feared for her husband's safety when he didn't return home. Mrs. Shuler, who  is also under a subpoena to appear in court over the Riley suit, fears that she will be arrested if she leaves her home.

It is clear that what Riley Junior and Senior, as well as Strange and Pryor are after are the contents of Shuler's computer in order to ascertain his sources in Alabama. With names of sources, the Alabama RepublicKlans will certainly launch a vendetta against all of Shuler's sources in the state.

WMR is aware of an unsuccessful attempt to have the National Press Club's freedom of the press committee to issue a statement condemning what occurred to Shuler in Alabama as a threat to the press around the country. The National Press Club, in its usual pathetic manner, responded by saying its had bigger issues to deal with. For the National Press Club, bigger issues include the lack of press freedoms in Turkmenistan and Swaziland and the inability of LGBT bloggers to "do their thing" on the Internet in places like Ukraine and Singapore.

Roger Shuler of the Legal Schnauzer pictured with his schnauzer.

The problem for the Shulers is that they have no money. Mr. Shuler was keeping his blog going from computers at the local library. There is not enough money for the Shulers' legal expenses or even enough cash to make bail for Roger.

Legal Schnauzer has a PayPal donation button, titled "Support the Schnauzer, on the right-hand site of its web page[Click here]

WMR urges anyone who can help advance the cause of press freedom in Alabama to give any amount they can afford to Roger and Carol Shuler to help bail Roger out from jail and allow this remnant of a once-vibrant press to once again report on political chicanery and malfeasance endemic to Alabama.


Note: WMR is making this article available free to the general public. Widest dissemination urged.

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