Wednesday, August 31, 2011

31 AUG 11: Mark 'em All Down

Before there were Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Katia, another local website was talking in terms of a "hurricane Shelnutt." There are plenty of attorneys who could fit that description, I suppose - since lawyers have a reputation for presenting a lot of hot air in court.

But now a Muscogee County Judge openly is accusing attorney Mark Shelnutt of stirring up a storm throughout the Government Center. In fact, Bobby Peters says Shelnutt is going after officials other than judges - so city auditor John Redmond had better not foul up any upcoming reports.

Judge Bobby Peters told the Ledger-Enquirer it's "my understanding" that Mark Shelnutt has provided tips to the special state prosecutor examining Muscogee County courts. Those tips may have brought down Judge Douglas Pullen, and potentially could embarrass other judges. The big winner in all this could be the business which dry cleans judicial robes.

Judge Bobby Peters went so far as to remove several cases from his docket this week, because Mark Shelnutt is a defense attorney in them. Shelnutt supposedly suspects Peters is biased. A few weeks from now, Shelnutt might complain Judge John Allen is exhausted from handling too many cases.

Why would Mark Shelnutt consider Judge Bobby Peters biased? Peters explains it stems from a July hearing involving Melvin Moseley - a convicted child molester, who at the time was approaching nine years without going to prison for his crime. Shelnutt supposedly claimed Moseley was mistreated. If living in Columbus nine years is mistreatment, why didn't Shelnutt move to LaGrange long ago?

Mark Shelnutt responded to the claims Tuesday by saying it's "bizarre" for Judge Bobby Peters to make accusations against an attorney to the news media. Shelnutt has a good point. When other judges do this, they insist on being called "highly-placed sources."

But Judge Bobby Peters didn't stop there. He suggested Mark Shelnutt has provided the special state prosecutor with tips about Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr. This probably involves the gender discrimination suit Shelnutt filed, and the alleged "whistleblower" who was suspended. Come to think of it, do Columbus Police even blow whistles anymore to stop crooks?

Special state prosecutor Joe Hendricks said Sheriff John Darr is NOT the target of his investigation. Of course not - the judges are, since Hendricks is reviewing the judicial circuit. The only people Darr seems to judge are public school students....

Perhaps the strangest accusation of all is Judge Bobby Peters's claim that Mark Shelnutt gave the prosecutor tips about District Attorney Julia Slater. Huh?! Those two were such close friends three years ago that Shelnutt practically was accused of being a scout for "Prosecutors Got Talent."

The eye of this alleged hurricane is a pending criminal case against Mark Shelnutt. Late September will mark one year since his arrest on drug charges, yet the case apparently still hasn't gone to a grand jury. Of all people, Joe Hendricks is the state-appointed prosecutor in that case -- so Shelnutt may be trying to win by being the last lawyer standing.

-> The big moment came early for us Tuesday night, at an online poker tournament. Read what happened at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Our brief Tuesday mention of "Hands Across the Border" prompts a reader to raise a hand and ask a question....

Hmmm.. couldn't be sure of the time given the brevity of your comment but wouldn't midnight til 3:00 AM on a Friday or Saturday night be a better time for a DUI checkpoint downtown?

What I saw on the Oglethorpe Bridge occurred around 9:30 p.m. ET Sunday. But remember, this was a check "across the border." A downtown drunk driving detail would be Hands Across the Broad Street.

(Wow - a 3:00 a.m. drunk driving check? No wonder they held the Midnight Express Run so early in the evening....)

We're holding one other message for this weekend. Now hold on for a few more Tuesday topics:

+ The Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum announced next year's headline speaker will be former President George W. Bush. This follows his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week and his wife last year - making me wonder if the organizers don't consider any Democrats real leaders.

(We confirmed Tuesday Condoleezza Rice barred any "soundbites" of her Monday night speech at the Trade Center, and declined to do any interviews beforehand. Did someone bother telling Rice Columbus actually does have a Fox News affiliate?)

+ Columbus Council heard a proposal to move Muscogee Manor from its current location on Schatulga Road to Whitesville Road and Williams Road. It's always seemed strange to me that a big-name nursing home was placed down the street from the prison and the landfill. For one thing, quality card games at the Gallops Senior Center are such a long drive away....

(Frank Morast with Muscogee Manor told WXTX he also wants to move the nursing home because it's close to a training ground for Fort Benning. Take that, you scoffers! Some residents actually still have hearing.)

+ The Cathedral of Praise on Buena Vista Road confirmed someone left a winning $80,000 lottery ticket in a collection plate. So which minister gets a bonus for shouting during the service, "Money is coming today!"?

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported Auburn University football has a backup offensive tackle named A.J. Greene. Considering Georgia had a star wide receiver named A.J. Green last year, I'm a bit surprised the coaches didn't tell Greene to move to Athens.

Instant Message to whomever kept the scoring at the Midnight Express Run: Thank you! I've been moved up two places to number 1,080. But have you figured out the true identity of the fourth-place runner - the one named "The Ghost Ghost"? How could one of those things from the Springer Opera House pay the entry fee, anyway?

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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