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Ohio State Football and Our Broken Justice System Have a Lot in Common

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Author 13717
Message Roger Shuler

One of Tressel's duties then was to organize and run the Buckeyes' summer camp. Most of the young players who attended it would never play college football, but a few were top prospects whom Ohio State was recruiting. At the end of camp, attendees bought tickets to a raffle with prizes such as cleats and a jersey. According to his fellow assistant, Tressel rigged the raffle so that the elite prospects won--a potential violation of NCAA rules.

That episode was not nearly as serious as the recent violations while Tressel was OSU's head coach. But it speaks volumes about Tressel's two-faced nature:

Says the former colleague, who asked not to be identified because he still has ties to the Ohio State community, "In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel."

That's also quite a few of the people I've encountered in the legal world. One of my own attorneys, Richard Poff, gave me a business card with a cross on it. Poff then took $4,500 as a retainer and proceeded to do almost no work on my case, not the first drop of discovery. (Poff, by the way, no longer shows up as a member of the Alabama State Bar. His wife, Christina Mosca Poff, still appears on the bar's roster, which indicates her husband probably still lives her. I know a man named Gregory Dennis, and possibly others, had filed a bar complaint against Richard Poff. It's possible that Richard Poff has been disbarred, although I haven't found an official announcement. Such an outcome certainly would not surprise me.)

Let's consider J. Michael Joiner, the Shelby County circuit judge who probably is the individual most responsible for the cheat job Mrs. Schnauzer and I have experienced. (Joiner recently was appointed to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals by new Governor Robert Bentley, who is from Joiner's former home base, Columbiana, Alabama.) After our troublesome neighbor, Mike McGarity, filed a lawsuit against me, my lawyers filed multiple motions for summary judgment (MSJs) because we had probably eight to 10 grounds for dismissal. (McGarity's primary claim was for malicious prosecution, claiming I swore out a criminal-trespass claim against him without probable cause. Malicious prosecution is a disfavored tort, and McGarity had no evidence to support it, mainly because he admitted to trespassing during the criminal trial. In other words, I had not only probable cause, I had actual cause. Hard to build a malicious prosecution case on that.)

My MSJs were properly executed and supported with material evidence (multiple affidavits), as required by law, shifting the burden to McGarity to show there was a reason to go to trial. He presented no timely evidence on the first MSJ, and no response of any kind on the others. When a nonmoving party presents no evidence in answer to a properly supported MSJ, the moving party's evidence must be considered uncontroverted and summary judgment granted. That's Law School 101, as spelled out in the Alabama case styled Voyager Guar. Ins. Co., Inc. v. Brown, 631 So. 2d 848 (Ala., 1993):

"When a party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment offers no evidence to contradict that presented by the movant, trial court MUST consider the movant's evidence uncontroverted, with no genuine issue of material fact existing."

Joiner proceeded to deny MSJs that, by law, had to be granted--and under Alabama law, it is a nondiscretionary ruling. Like Jim Tressel, Joiner projects a Boy-Scout image. He has taught Sunday School classes at The Church of Brook Hills, a suburban mega-church in the Birmingham suburbs. His daughter, Christy, is a graduate of Briarwood Christian School, where Coach Fred Yancey (much like Jim Tressel) regularly touts his religious beliefs. As I've reported in several posts, Yancey, Briarwood Presybyterian Church, and its affiliated school are largely responsible for Mike McGarity (and his substantial criminal record) becoming our next-door neighbor.

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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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