Legal Magazine

My "Neighbor From Hell" Has a Track Record of Criminality and Stupidity

Posted on the 11 October 2012 by Rogershuler @RogerShuler


Def. was walking down sidewalk n the 2600 blk (illegible) holding a (sic) opened bottle of Miller beer. Def saw officer and put the bottle on the ground and tried to walk off. Officer had to yell three times to get Def to stop. Def 1st stated he was 19 years old but later said he was 18. Mike McGarity, the "Neighbor From Hell" who started my legal difficulties, has a record of criminality that goes back to the 1970s. He has convictions for a sex-related offense and a violence-related offense, showing signs that he might be unbalanced and potentially dangerous.
A significant chunk of McGarity's record shows that he is, to put it bluntly, criminally stupid. In retrospect, this might have been the No. 1 reason Mrs. Schnauzer and I decided to take a hard line about McGarity's trespassing on our property. We (Mrs. Schnauzer particularly) sensed early on that something about this guy wasn't right--and we've come to realize that, perhaps more than anything else, he's a dim bulb.
Given the liability that a homeowner can face when mishaps occur on his property, it's not a good idea to let a stupid person, and his associates, have free run of your yard. The following incidents from the files of the Birmingham Police Department show that Mike McGarity--aside from the meanness, sassiness, and antagonistic nature that lurk barely beneath the surface--is a world-class dumb ass. That's why we were determined to keep him and his associates away from us, as much as we legally could.
Does McGarity have stupidity in his background? Let's look at the files.
In December 1978, McGarity was arrested for "Drinking in Public, Minor in Possession of Alcoholic Beverage." (You can view the arrest report at the end of this post.) The narrative states:

Def states he bought the bear in Wooden Nickel Lounge and was not asked for ID.

This is a minor offense, to be sure. But what do we learn about McGarity? He tried to deceive the officer by making it look like the bottle wasn't his. He lied to the officer about his age. And he revealed that he's just plain stupid. He walked down a relatively busy street on Birmingham's Southside, in plain view, while drinking from an open container of alcohol? McGarity's actions indicate he knew he was violating the law. Again, the word dumb ass comes to mind.
In May 1980, McGarity was arrested for Disorderly Conduct. From the arrest report, which can be viewed in full below:

Def. was observed in parking lot of Crossroads Lounge (#18). In full view of passing traffic, def was urinating in parking lot. Def had strong odor of alcoholic beverages on his breath.

How stupid is this? We've all heard the "call of nature" while outside in an inconvenient place. But McGarity was not in a remote location. He could have gone back inside the lounge to find a restroom. He surely could have found a tree or bush somewhere to step behind and relieve himself. But he has to do his business in full view of passing traffic, which includes a police car.
McGarity apparently did not bother to appear in court on this charge. In May 1981, Mountain Brook Police picked him up for failure to appear. (The arrest report can be viewed in full below.)
Interestingly, it notes that McGarity was unemployed at the time, but not too long after that, he somehow managed to get a job at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. How does an unemployed guy, with a string of arrests and convictions on his record, get a job at Blue Cross?
As a Medicare contractor, Blue Cross is obligated to conduct serious background checks on would-be employees, so how did Mike McGarity slip through the cracks? Perhaps that's a question for Koko Mackin, vice president for corporate communications and community relations at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.
Here's another good question for Ms. Mackin? How did Blue Cross hire a guy who has been arrested so many times that he cannot even remember them all? And I'm not joking about this.
Court records indicate that McGarity has a mysterious arrest for disorderly conduct, from July 1977. But  the official arrest report does not list his name. The only defendant listed is someone named Ronny Powell. The narrative states:

Def was observed in the lobby of the City Auditorium (Boutwell Auditorium), cursing and creating a disturbance with a ticket taker. Def was asked to leave, Def. stated that he was not going to leave. Def got loud and abusive and had to be restrained by arresting officer and Lt. A.J. Needham.

That certainly sounds like McGarity, and it matches a court record that shows he was arrested for disorderly conduct on that date. So who is Ronny Powell? Is that a fake name that McGarity gave? Was Ronny Powell a companion of McGarity's, and he also got involved in the disturbance? Was there a mix up in the files, and McGarity actually was arrested on the same date for a different incident?
I don't have the answer to those questions, but I asked McGarity about the incident in a deposition after he filed a bogus lawsuit against me--and he clearly did not want to talk about it. McGarity's lawyer, Bill Swatek, didn't seem to want to go there either. Here is that exchange:

Roger Shuler (RS): On July 6, 1977, you were charged with disorderly conduct and obedience to police, which essentially means being disobedient to police. What was that about?
Mike McGarity (MM): I don't know.
RS: You were arrested for something, and you don't know what it was about?
MM: Huh-uh (no).
RS: Where did it take place?
MM: I don't know.
RS: Chronologically, this looks like this is the first time you were arrested. So I would think you would remember the first time you were arrested and what it was for.
MM: Huh-uh (no). . . .
RS: . . . and again, the disorderly conduct, you seem to remember all these [other arrests] but that. What was that about? The first one, the time you were ever arrested as an adult?
Bill Swatek (BS): I object, he's already answered the question.
RS: You are under oath. That's a pretty big step in a person's life. They usually remember. And conduct could be anything; you could have raised your voice, you could have done nothing.
MM: I don't remember.
RS: Why were you disobedient to the police? What did they tell you to do?
MM: I don't know. I don't remember that.
RS: Did you sass them?
BS: He said he doesn't remember.
RS: You sass me, it looks like you sass police. Do you have a juvenile record?
BS: If he does, you're not going to go into it.
RS: I understand. I'm asking him.
MM: No, not that I know of.

Does Mike McGarity sound like an honest guy or does he sound like a guy who is trying to hide something? Does he sound like someone who is testifying truthfully under oath or someone who is committing perjury? Why can McGarity remember the circumstances surrounding all of his arrests except the first one for disorderly conduct, which can cover a wide range of behavior?
Notice all of the qualifiers in McGarity's answers--"I don't remember," "Not that I know of." What does that say about the truthfulness of the guy who has caused my wife and me untold headaches?
Mike McGarity--Drinking in Public
Mike McGarity Disorderly Conduct1
Mike McGarity-Disorderly Conduct2

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