If the $3.5 million judgment against Roger Shuler was supposed to stop “The Legal Schnauzer” from gnawing on the legs of high-profile targets around the state, so far it doesn’t seem to have worked.
Checking in on Shuler’s website, “The Legal Schnauzer,” two weeks after a judge hit him with the massive judgment for defaming former Luther Strange campaign manager Jessica Garrison, the headlines and allegations are still coming fast and furious. Shuler alleged an affair between Garrison and Strange, who she helped in his successful bid for the state’s Attorney General. Shuler also reports he has filed a motion to vacate the award.
Shuler has made a name for himself across the state by using his website to torment a number of high-profile Alabamians. Most have been public officials and Republicans, and most of the allegations have centered on shocking or unethical personal behavior. A series of allegations concerning former Gov. Bob Riley’s son Rob wound up with the Schnauzer being jailed for five months for contempt of court, a situation which gained him international notoriety as some believe him to be a journalist imprisoned for his investigative reporting.
A new slew of articles over the past couple of weeks are again targeting the Rileys, Paul Bryant, Jr., son of Alabama’s legendary football coach, Strange and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. The Schnauzer’s fans are probably happy to know he’s still out there inflicting discomfort upon the powerful, even if his methods bear serious scrutiny.
As Shuler’s home has already been foreclosed upon, it also appears he is more or less “judgment proof,” meaning trying to squeeze money out of him would be like getting blood from a turnip.
Shuler’s time in jail and loss in civil court don’t seem to have fazed him much in terms of how he’s handling sources. So it only seems like a matter of time before those who consider him a “cyber bully” will try to muzzle Shuler again.
Are circulars hazardous?
A reader brought up an interesting point to me the other day regarding the ongoing battle between the Press-Register, Alabama Media Group and the city of Mobile concerning the continued throwing of thousands of unsolicited advertising circulars a week into citizens’ yards.
Uncommented upon in this war so far is the fact the bags used to contain the ads in Gulf Coast Life and Yes! both carry warnings that they can cause suffocation.
“Warning: Keep this plastic bag away from children; misuse may cause suffocation,” is printed on the bottom of the bag, along with information as to how to recycle the bag.
The mayor and City Council have been working for several months to try to get the Press-Register to stop throwing unsolicited newspapers and advertising circulars in yards across the city, citing them as major contributors to the city’s litter problems. The P-R and its parent corporation Alabama Media Group have remained unbowed by the requests, though, and threatened lawsuits for First Amendment violations if the city passed any ordinance that attempted to stop the P-R.
The city did pass a watered-down ordinance last week that seems to have little opportunity to make the P-R discontinue the practice of throwing these bags of advertising into yards across the city. City leaders said they feared a long legal battle the city was likely to lose given precedents set in other such cases.
However, it does seem like an interesting question as to whether the city could ban the use of these types of plastic bags without violating any constitutional rights. Certainly cities around the country — as well as the entire state of Hawaii — have banned some types of plastic bags entirely, although all the bans I’ve found offer an exception for newspapers.
Still, common sense would suggest that even if the P-R is able to successfully argue it has a First Amendment right to throw newspapers and advertising circulars in yards without being asked by the owner, the constitution doesn’t guarantee a right to throw something acknowledged to be potentially deadly in someone’s yard. At that point it would seem the property owner is left in the position of having to actively guard against the bag harming his or her children.
Just another twist in the ad circular war perhaps.