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David Gespass, an attorney in Birmingham, AL and past president of the National Lawyer’s Guild, conferred with journalist Roger Shuler in jail yesterday, and offers initial observations about the case….Click here for GoDaddy deal that benefits the PBC Podcast!
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As Shuler approaches a week in custody, the judge has yet to schedule a hearing to explain the contempt order and temporary restraining order in the defamation claims brought by Rob Riley and Liberty Duke. Gespass was able to visit Shuler on Monday 10/28, but because the case has been sealed, he has still not seen the legal documents and can only speculate on some of the issues. He describes the numerous abnormalities of the proceedings to date, starting with the basis for the contempt and restraining orders when there has been no trial or judgment of defamation.
Gespass has seen cases sealed to protect a minor’s identity, but never to keep the entire case secret. He notes that civil and criminal contempt have different terms, but is not yet sure of the nature of the contempt orders and how long Shuler can be held.
Gespass outlines the possible routes to freeing Shuler, which may involve depositions and a trial, with potential appeals to state and federal courts. And he outline the possible costs, which could easily reach $35,000 and more.
We’ll keep you updated on this case until Shuler is released.