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Will Lawyer Get Away With Making False Statements Under Oath in Divorce Case?

By       Message Roger Shuler     Permalink
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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

Experience has taught us that lawyers can lie in most any setting--in a courtroom, during a deposition, over lunch--and almost always get away with it. In fact, we personally have witnessed numerous examples of lawyers making statements that either are clearly lies or don't meet the initial smell test--only to see the legal establishment help them get away with it.

So we were not surprised to learn that an Alabama lawyer has admitted to making a false statement under oath--and he apparently will not be held accountable. For good measure, it involves a case that we have reported on here at Legal Schnauzer.

The lawyer in question is Kile Turner, a partner at the Birmingham firm of Norman Wood Kendrick and Turner (NWKT). Angela Turner Drees, also an attorney, filed a federal lawsuit against former Jefferson County Judge R.A. "Sonny" Ferguson over his handling of her divorce from Kile Turner.

During the divorce/child custody proceedings, Kile Turner stated under oath that Dr. Hajo Drees, Angela Turner Drees' current husband, had been convicted on two felony counts of domestic violence--one involving his ex wife and one involving his son. Those statements apparently played a key role in Turner receiving custody of the three children, triplets, that he had with Angela Turner Drees.

Kile Turner, in a proceeding before the Alabama State Bar, reportedly acknowledged that those statements were not true. But Angela Turner Drees has not been allowed to have contact with her children for more than two years. And we've seen no signs that Kile Turner will be sanctioned for making false statements before a court, statements that helped him benefit in the course of litigation.

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This information comes to light through a press release that Hajo Drees issued on March 7. (See the full press release below.) Drees, a former international economic-development executive for the State of Alabama, was forced out of his job not long after allegations surfaced against him in the Turner divorce case. Drees has returned to his native Germany, partly to obtain work that was comparable to what he had in Alabama.

Drees said he issued the press release to set the record straight, clear his name and call attention to the legal profession's tendency to protect its members, rather than sanction them, for admitted misconduct. The press release includes contact information for NWKT, the Alabama State Bar, and the Defense Research Institute (DRI), along with Hajo Drees. All of the parties received copies of the press release before it was made public.

We reported on the Turner divorce in a pair of posts from June 2009:

Domestic-Relations Court: Another Alabama Cesspool

Domestic-Relations Post Strikes Some Serious Nerves

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From reporting on the Turner divorce, and following its aftermath, its easy to understand why Hajo Drees' press release is dripping with thinly veiled sarcasm. Consider this:

Mr. Turner clarifies that even though his testimony that Dr. Hajo Drees was convicted of domestic violence was repeated multiple times and in multiple court filings in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, he meant to cause no harm. He did not lie--he made an honest mistake. He simply did not know the difference between a criminal conviction and a civil hearing.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)

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