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General News    H3'ed 3/1/11

Black Minister Wrongfully Winds Up On "Most Wanted" List in Alabama

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Roger Shuler
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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

A black minister in Alabama is seeking a public apology after a sheriff's office wrongfully posted his photo on the "Most Wanted" section of its Web site, saying he was charged with a drug crime.

Kenneth Earl Dukes, who is pastor of Holly Grove Baptist Church in Jemison, had an arrest warrant against him for distribution of a controlled substance. Dukes, a school bus driver for the Shelby County School System, found out from church members about his photo on the Web site. When he called the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, he was told to turn himself in. The Sheriff's Office now acknowledges the arrest warrant and photo were done in error.

This is just the latest example of the dangers of being black or a Democrat in heavily Republican Shelby County (courthouse in photo), where I live and where the legal travails described on this blog began. Mrs. Schnauzer and I have a pretty good sense of how Pastor Dukes feels. After all, we had full ownership rights to our house stolen by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and we still are trying to get them back through the federal courts.

Would Kenneth Earl Dukes have had a bogus arrest warrant issued against him, with his picture plastered on the Shelby County Sheriff's Web site, if he had been a white Republican? Not on your life.

In fact, I know of a DUI case where a white Republican--Pelham attorney William E. Swatek--received kid-glove treatment. Swatek is the ethically challenged lawyer who filed the lawsuit that started our legal headaches, on behalf of our criminally inclined neighbor, Mike McGarity. We will be writing much more about the handling of Swatek's DUI case in Shelby County, comparing it to what happened to Pastor Dukes.

Speaking of Mike McGarity, he committed a felony assault against me in October 2006--in front of at least one eye witness. Here is how we described the attack and the relevant law in an earlier post:

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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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