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Confronting a Corrupt Republican Judge at Election Time

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Confronting a Corrupt Republican Judge at Election Time
Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
We posted recently about the race for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals between Republican incumbent William Thompson and Democratic challenger Kimberly Drake.

It is unfortunate, we noted, that Drake has not been able to put up a stronger fight because Thompson is demonstrably corrupt. Thompson is bidding for his third term on the five-member court, which is all Republican.

I know Thompson is corrupt because I had a case before him three years ago, and he ruled contrary to law and violated established appellate procedure in the process. And his ruling just happened to favor the opposing attorney (William E. Swatek) who has a son (Dax Swatek) who has worked closely with Bill Canary. And Bill Canary is a close associate of Karl Rove. Hmmm.

The Thompson/Drake race has not received nearly as much attention as the battle between Democrat http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081012/NEWS02/810120336/1009">Deborah Bell Paseur and http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081012/NEWS02/810120336/1009">Republican Greg Shaw for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court. And that's too bad because if you are a regular citizen in a case that involves a relatively modest amount of money, you almost certainly will go before the Court of Civil Appeals, not the Supreme Court.

In our earlier post about the Thompson/Drake race, I noted that I would e-mail Thompson and ask him to respond to my questions about his handling of my case. I stated that I would post the contents of my e-mail and any reply I received from him.

Well, I e-mailed Thompson on Thursday--and I have yet to receive a reply. Here is my e-mail, and it lays out the unlawful actions Thompson took in my case:

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To: wthompson@appellate.state.al.us

From: Roger Shuler Judge Thompson:

I live in Birmingham and write a blog called Legal Schnauzer. The blog focuses on justice-related issues, and I am particularly interested in your race against Kimberly Drake for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. That's because I had a case before your court, and it was handled in a most curious fashion.

I would like to give you a chance to respond to my concerns. I've already expressed my concerns on Legal Schnauzer, and I will run your response in its entirety.

First, some background: The case was styled Roger Shuler v. Mike McGarity (Appeal from Shelby Circuit Court: CV 00-1248). The appellate docket number was 2040161. The case was assigned to you, and a no-opinion affirmance was issued on June 24. 2005.

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Rule 53 of the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure states, in pertinent part, that the Court of Civil Appeals may affirm a judgment or order of a trial court without an opinion if the court "after a review of the record and the contentions of the parties, concludes that the judgment or order was entered without an error of law."

Now, I am not a lawyer. But I do have a college education, and I know how to find the Jefferson County Law Library, ask for the appropriate materials, and read simple declarative sentences. Through that process, I've learned that the trial court's handling of the lawsuit filed against me was riddled with errors of law.

And we aren't talking about complicated law here. This is the equivalent of "three strikes and you're out" in baseball.

So I am left to wonder: What in the world were you and your four colleagues on the Court of Civil Appeals thinking when you issued a no-opinion affirmance in my case?

In an article dated October 20, 2008, in The Birmingham News, you noted that the court's cases tend to affect working people and stated: "Win or lose, I want them to leave feeling they got a fair shake. It's an important part of the public's view of the court system."

Well, I didn't leave with that feeling. In fact, I didn't "leave" at all because I never was allowed to enter the court. There was no oral argument in my case--although none should have been necessary to get it right. More alarming, I see no evidence that anyone even read my appellate brief or the record on appeal.

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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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