An Alabama judge imposed a 90-day sentence this week on corruption-fighting Alabama blogger Roger Shuler, whom authorities have jailed indefinitely for alleging a sex scandal involving a prominent attorney.
At right, Shuler, now 57, is shown puffy-faced in his mug shot following his arrest Oct. 23 in his garage in a suburb of Birmingham.
In a quickie trial Jan. 14, Shelby County District Judge Ronald Jackson found Shuler guilty of resisting arrest Oct. 23 and ruled that force by Shelby Deputy Sheriff Chris Blevins was justified under the circumstances. Three other deputies helped cart Shuler off to jail, where he has remained on a contempt of court charge with no bail permitted. In court, Shuler unsuccessfully argued for a continuance to prepare a defense. On substance, he said authorities showed no warrant. He denied reaching for his pocket, as Blevins alleged.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Jan. 12 on the threats to civil rights law posed by the libel case underlying Shuler’s jailing. The Times headlined the story, Blogger’s Incarceration Raises First Amendment Questions.
National coverage in the Sunday edition of the nation’s most influential newspaper was a net positive for Shuler and the First Amendment, of course, in the face of dire circumstances.
But the Times report by Campbell Robertson seemed to contain a significant error and a biased tone that undercut the fight for First Amendment freedoms.
To discuss developments, Alan Colmes invited me to return to his show Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. (EST) on his nationally syndicated radio show.
After Shuler’s arrest, Colmes promptly took a national leadership role on his show and his blogsite, Liberaland, in the showcasing the injustice. I appeared following commentary at this site, which included one column about the arrest that received than 40,000 hits.
Here are the basics of the situation: