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How Badly Does Alabama Republican Operative Rob Riley Struggle with the Truth? Let Us Count the Ways

Posted on the 28 May 2015 by Rogershuler @RogerShuler

How badly does Alabama Republican operative Rob Riley struggle with the truth? Let us count the ways

Rob Riley

Alabamians long have had reason to wonder about the honesty of Rob Riley, Homewood lawyer and son of former governor Bob Riley. After all, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined the junior Riley $10,000 in 2008 for shadowy actions connected to one of his father's Congressional campaigns. Published reports indicate the same case involved money laundering, connected to a Virginia-based company called Triad Management Services--and Riley likely escaped prosecution only because of his father's political connections.
On top of that, Riley has claimed to be morally opposed to gambling, even though his connections to the gaming industry, via a company called Crimsonica, apparently date to at least 1985.
Want further proof that Rob Riley has a fractured relationship with the truth? Just check out court papers and published reports about the defamation lawsuit he and fellow GOPer Liberty Duke filed against my wife and me. Both Riley and various attorneys connected to the case (mostly from Riley's own firm) demonstrate an uncanny ability to twist the truth beyond recognition.
We will examine this subject in a series of posts, starting today with perhaps Rob Riley's most widely circulated lie about his lawsuit against me, my wife, and the Legal Schnauzer blog. This whopper comes from an article Campbell Robertson wrote about the case at The New York Times.
Robertson tracked down Riley for an interview and came away with this pearl:
Mr. Riley said Mr. Shuler’s refusal to engage with the legal process had given the judge the leeway to make a final ruling.
“If someone can continually ignore the judge just by saying, ‘You don’t have jurisdiction over me,’ then the whole system breaks down,” Mr. Riley said, adding that Mr. Shuler could not plead ignorance of the legal process. “This is not the first time Roger Shuler has been in court.”

These two paragraphs contain so many falsehoods that I'm struggling to keep track of them with one hand:
(1) Riley claims I refused "to engage with the legal process"; the public record shows that is false--My wife, Carol, and I engaged the process by filing a Motion to Quash Service because a deputy from Shelby County, Alabama, conducted an unconstitutional traffic stop to "serve" us with the Riley/Duke complaint. (See motion at the end of this post.) Our motion, under the law, put the burden on Riley/Duke to prove that service was conducted properly, and the record indicates they never did that.
(2) Riley claims Judge Claud Neilson had "the leeway to make a final ruling"; more than 200 years of First Amendment law show that is false--Neilson's three primary rulings--granting Riley/Duke a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction--all are wildly contrary to U.S. Supreme Court precedent. That is perhaps most clearly spelled out in a foundational case styled Near v. Minnesota, Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the nation's foremost First Amendment scholars, has shown in scholarly articles and legal briefs that all three remedies Riley/Duke sought are unconstitutional. And that means Neilson had no "leeway" to grant them. In fact, experts quoted elsewhere in the Times article state that Neilson's actions were unlawful.

How badly does Alabama Republican operative Rob Riley struggle with the truth? Let us count the ways

Liberty Duke

(3) Riley claims I was continually able to "ignore the judge"; the record shows that is false--Again, I engaged the court by filing a Motion to Quash Service, which is the first order of business in any case where service is questionable. Without proper service, the court has no jurisdiction over defendants and no authority to decide the case. A 2012 Alabama Supreme Court ruling styled Ex parte Trust Company of Virginia shows that, where plaintiffs fail to meet their burden of proving that service was properly executed (as Riley/Duke failed to do here), the court's orders directed to defendants "are void and due to be vacated." Trust Company of Virginia is right on point with our case, and we wrote about its implications here.
(4) Riley makes light of our claims that the court did not have jurisdiction over us; in fact, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling helps show our claim was correct--In Rodriguez v. United States, a ruling issued on April 21, 2015, the nation's highest court found that a traffic stop prolonged beyond the time for an officer to complete his traffic-based inquiries is "unlawful," especially where there is no reasonable suspicion of any criminal activity connected to the vehicle. That has been the law for years, but Rodriguez drives it home in the context of law enforcement's use of a drug-sniffing dog. A traffic stop long has been considered a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, and the court found in Rodriguez:
Authority for the seizure ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are—or reasonably should have been completed. The Fourth Amendment may tolerate certain unrelated investigations that do not lengthen the roadside detention . . . but a traffic stop “become[s] unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete th[e] mission” of issuing a warning ticket. . . .
Without additional reasonable suspicion, the officer must allow the seized person to depart once the purpose of the stop has concluded.

Alabama officer Mike DeHart never even hinted that he had suspicion of criminal activity connected to our automobile, so he had no grounds to prolong the traffic stop by giving us court papers. By law, he had to allow us to depart, but he did not do that, making the stop unconstitutional and service unlawful. That means the court, despite Rob Riley's smart-alecky comments to The New York Times, did not have jurisdiction over us. And that has profound legal implications, which we will discuss in detail shortly.
For now, we know that Team Riley/Duke does not have much to show for its dubious defamation lawsuit. My reporting never has been found to be defamatory at trial, because there was no trial. That's because Riley/Duke did not ask for a trial and they did not seek a jury to hear their claims; instead, they wanted Neilson to act as a one-man censor, in violation of First Amendment precedent, as set out in a case styled Bernard v. Gulf Oil Company, 619 F. 2d 459 (Fifth Cir., 1980).
(Hmmm . . . wonder why Riley and Duke did not want a jury to hear their case. How odd.)
Rob Riley has proven, as if we didn't already know, that he and his legal minions have a hard time staying in touch with the truth. More evidence of that is coming up.
(To be continued)
Rob Riley Lawsuit--Quash Service by Roger Shuler

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