Roger Shuler Convicted of Resisting Arrest, Remains In Custody for Contempt of Prior Restraint Order

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23 Responses

  1. EH says:

    This whole story just reminds me of stories of getting caught in The System, and 90 days for resisting is textbook example-making to someone who doesn't show sufficient deference. The System is an unfeeling, uncompromising machine that will grind people up if they try to push against it from the inside. Call it 'compliance,' or 'being soft,' but the guy needs to get his head straight and lawyer up.

  2. Clark says:

    Telling the court that it's a joke and (incorrectly) that it lacks jurisdiction over you is generally not a recip e for appellate success.

    Re the word "incorrectly" above:

    In a moral sense, I agree with Shuler that the court lacks jurisdiction (because I, like Lysander Spooner, find the entire government to be a fiction).

    In a pragmatic sense, I agree with Mencious Moldbug, who suggests that when one man can wield a truncheon to beat another man, and there is no negative effect, then the first man has jurisdiction.

    News tells us that this judge does have the power of prior restraint, just as the news tells us that police do have the power to murder a homeless mentally ill man with impunity.

    IMO, much confusion results from this de jure / de facto conflation, and we'd all be better off if we frequently reminded ourselves that there is a distinction between the world we'd like to live in (where there is a Constitution and it means something) and the world we actually live in.

  3. Andrew says:

    It was cool to see you quoted in the NYT, but next time they interview you I hope they run a picture. (Caption: "Notorious First Amendment lawyer and blogger Ken White peruses the Monster Manual.")

  4. Quiet Lurcker says:

    Something about the court not granting him time to gather evidence does not pass the smell test with me. If there was some genuine logistical problem with him gathering discovery while incarcerated, and the court refused a delay, then isn't that reversible error or close to it?

    I know the sixth amendment provides for compulsory witness testimony, but I don't know if that also covers production of documents/other evidence.

    I dunno, I'm beginning to smell a rat here.

  5. Odd Man Out says:

    That's a lot of wrapping paper. Where's the Pony Popehat signal?

  6. Ken White says:

    Andrew: I'm strictly a Fiend Folio guy. FLUMPHS 4 LIFE

  7. Clark says:

    @Ken White:


    I'd mention my favorite, but Mrs. Clark is from down south and thus has no truck with "Damn githyankis".

  8. Mike B says:

    I propose we skip calling circumventing jury trial in criminal court a "strange" way to do it and just call it the "alabama" way. It seems damningly fitting.

  9. Mike says:

    Given that he's missed the Iron Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the BCS National Championship Game, I suspect there is Alabama caselaw somewhere that would hold that the period of coercive contempt has clearly lapsed and we are into punitive contempt until next football season begins.

    Edit: And if you think I'm joking, consider this: Federal judge grants an Auburn University fan's request to delay trial for BCS title game

  10. George William Herbert says:

    I so hope Charlie Stross reads this blog…

  11. Grifter says:


    "even nuts and cranks deserve due process of law; depriving them of it threatens to weaken everyone's rights."

    You and your consistent application of principles!

    @Mike B:

    Is that Voytek in your avatar? Voytek is awesome.

  12. Kirk Taylor says:

    Can he be compelled to accept counsel?

  13. Josh C says:


    Rights are also a fiction, as is morality and every other social construct. I approve of them anyway. Moreover, I'm not really sure what is gained for a minarchist position by insisting that all is mere words, and that force is the only constant.

  14. Ken White Fan says:

    Ken, I was so pleased to see your two new posts! I learn so much about the law from your writing.

  15. George William Herbert says:

    I think it's important to remember that these are rights within a system mediated by humans, as opposed to computer programs or mathematical or physical laws.

  16. Mike says:


    Alabama lawyer. Ala. R. Crim. P. 18.1 grants a right to a jury trial in all criminal cases (which is above the federal constitutional standard of charges carrying a greater than 6 month incarceration.) In cases where district or municipal court has original jurisdiction, the defendant is informed at time of conviction of his right to appeal de novo to circuit court.

    District courts have original jurisdiction of misdemeanor charges.

    Basically, you were right, just wanted to confirm.

  17. Ken White says:

    Thanks Mike. That's what I thought I figured out, but I wasn't positive.

  18. pjcamp says:

    " I'm not an expert on Alabama criminal procedure"

    Allow me to enlighten you.

    The cop is right and you're going to jail. If you were innocent, you wouldn't have been accused.

  19. Ernie Menard says:

    "questioning whether the Alabama court system is treating Shuler according to the rule of law"

    Is this an example of a rhetorical question? It seems to me that as you've already presented the facts, the law, and an analysis, you've answered your own question.

    I hope that nobody actually believes that this general situation – a pro se defendant not being treated according to, or even being given the benefit of the rule of law – is a rare exception.

  20. Adam says:

    "His wife spoke of collecting damages when this is over, but Mr. Shuler is thinking beyond civil remedies this time: He is planning to bring federal criminal charges against the judge."

    Has no one pointed out yet that Mr. Shuler has apparently somehow acquired the local USAO's prosecutorial power? Is this a Highlander-type thing?

  21. inode_buddha says:

    The man is a nutbar. The judge is just giving him time to be honest with himself (step one is to admit you have a problem…) and hopefully swallow some pride.

  22. Bruce Godfrey says:

    A third option may exist: habeas relief.

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