Alabama Blogger Roger Shuler Jailed for Writing About Ex-Governor’s Son

Roger Shuler was recently jailed at the tail end of a fairly protracted battle against the Alabama political establishment. The story goes like this:

Shuler writes a blog about political stuff. He apparently found out through undisclosed sources that Rob Riley, son of Bob Riley—former Republican governor of Alabama, had an affair. Shuler mentions it on his blog a few times. Rob Riley sues Shuler for defamation and gets a court to serve a restraining order that requires Shuler to stop writing about the affair. Shuler doesn’t stop. Shuler is arrested in his home, roughed up a little, maced in the face, and then carted off to jail, where he is being held without bail.

Many people are saying Shuler should have contested the court order legally, but in the meantime, followed the stipulations of the restraining order. I might agree, but the whole thing stinks nonetheless. There are plenty of speculative assertions made on the internet, and most of them don’t mean a whole lot. A public figure needs to develop thick skin, and I don’t think a blogger should be jailed for mentioning a politician’s dalliances with a lobbyist. As far as I’m concerned, it’s open season for gossip on public figures. If it isn’t true, does it really matter?

Furthermore, the use of legal connections to silence a blogger does not bode well for freedom of the press. I would include blogging in the press, and I want to be left free to make assertions about public figures and expose local government corruption.

Should Shuler have exposed the source of his information? I don’t think so. He’s currently being held in jail without bail for writing about a single low-level politician’s sexual misconduct. Do you really think he trusts that the justice system in Alabama is going to treat his informant to any proper level of due process? Probably not.

Freedom of speech and the press is breaking down in this country. Freedom of expression is not about vulgar language and pornography, although that is about all the civil government has been dedicated to protect. No, freedom of expression is most vital in those areas where a solitary voice may be the only difference between concealing corruption and exposing it.

Even if Shuler’s claims were actually false, and I doubt they were based on the reaction, it should be disturbing to us how easy it is for politicians to silence their detractors. From Obama on down, this has become the norm, and it is a Republic-destroying trend.

56 responses

    • Of course, a Republican being verbally attacked. Is the Pendalum starting to swing the “other way?” Can’t help but quietly laugh.

      • 2shinyshoes— you blithering, f’ing idiot! You would use party distinction to detract from the REAL problem of having OUR rights trampled? Citizens of ALL parties are at risk of losing our rights, and have been for some time. So, please shut your ignorant yap unless you have something useful to add to the discussion.

          • I think your comment was a little out of place myself, you are obviously a liberal.
            I would like to remind you that it is the democrats that use the dig up dirt and smear tactics most of the time, often using total falsehoods and receive 100% media backing.
            All the while you still have an unvetted president sitting in office with all his past history locked away where no one can see who he really is! And so the pendulum swings!

    • First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
      Because I was not a Socialist.

      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

      Martin Niemöller re the Third Reich

      • Actually, the ones she mentions first were the WRONG socialists. the na z i s WERE NATIONAL socialists.

        The European socialists are the ones runnign the country now, and they will make short work of the Constitution in they can.
        Remember, the LEFT thinks the Constitution and the Bill of Rights ONLY apply to THEM, not to conservatives.

        • It is not required to own a gun before you can become an NRA member!
          Only that you be a freedom loving person that doesn’t hold our constitution in contempt!

          • Then they came for the members of the NRA, but I did not speak out, and now no one in this country can own a gun…It’s Obama’s law!

  1. Michael, truth ALWAYS matters, but most especially when making accusations of this nature. I am simply stunned you would write otherwise, and admonish you to change your stance.
    Adultery, Biblically, is a capital crime. The Biblical penalty for falsely accusing someone of a capital crime is death to the false accuser.
    Shuler’s only refuge (both temporally and eternally) is if the charge is accurate. If not, he deserves every bit of the punishment that will come his way, and more.

    • The article says the politician got a judge to issue a restraining order. In view of the judicial order then the writer should have refrained from writing about the affair even if he believed it was true. But for the judge to issue such an order is surely not good law unless a trial had determined that the report was false.

    • So what you are saying is that Shuler should be stoned to death if he made this up, or the ex-governors son should be stoned to death if it is true.

      Hell why don’t we just stone them both to death to make sure we get the right one. Is your cave heated?

      • Is that what I said? No… no, I don’t think it is. But nice try.
        I emphasized the gravity of his comment that truth doesn’t matter. Thanks for playing.

    • I didn’t say truth doesn’t matter. What I said was that it should worry us how easily the political and judicial system can be used to silence dissenting voices. Furthermore, Shuler was not making a judicial accusation. He was gossiping on the internet at worst, which is shameful and sinful, but not necessarily criminal. If what he said isn’t true, it doesn’t really matter much from a judicial standpoint. Do you recommend we prosecute the National Enquirer and Us magazine as well? He’s not being held without bail because the justice system in Alabama was serving justice and truth and “showing no partiality or respect to persons.” I don’t really like Shuler. I don’t appreciate almost anything he has to say. But I believe he deserves a fair trial and a “blind” justice system. I don’t think that’s what he got. If we don’t defend justice on principle, even for those that disagree with us, we shouldn’t be surprised when our pleas for justice fall on deaf ears.

      • Perhaps it is simply a careless construction, but here is your exact quote:
        “As far as I’m concerned, it’s open season for gossip on public figures. If it isn’t true, does it really matter?”
        There is where I got the sense of “truth doesn’t matter”… seems pretty clear to me. Your overall point about abuse of power, etc., may be entirely valid, but you vitiate your entire argument with many sincere readers when you appear to be as cavalier about truth as many of those we battle on a daily basis. If we don’t hold to a higher standard, then the world, indeed, has no hope.
        If People or Us prints something that slanders a person and/or harms him and his family then, yes, prosecution is absolutely warranted. To make a false accusation about a man having an affair is a damnable thing that can lastingly harm him, his family, and his livelihood.
        The truth or falsity of the charge is the main story. If the charge is accurate, then the political persecution is the act in the center ring. If the charge is false, then the blogger should be punished as an example to all such writers that truth does matter, and false accusations should not be tolerated.
        We are under command to defend our neighbor’s reputation with the same passion that we would defend our own.

        • Fair enough. Then prosecute all these cases, not just the ones that are politically convenient. And prosecute them with the same standard, and punish them all with the same punishment. Until that happens, I’m still calling foul play.

  2. If that’s the “free speech” standard we now have, then it’s time to mace the face of obama and his cohorts, for the old woman in the Wheelchair Ad against Romney, Harry Reid for his explosive declaration of the floor of the Senate, regarding Romney NOT paying taxes and several other mindless dolts that participated in slashing the reputation of an opponent during the election. I would like nothing more than to see these goons maced and carted off to jail, for basically the very same thing, but much worse for the American people.

  3. When it isn’t true is when it really matters. Liberal progressive democrats have been using lies for years politically to damage (destroy) their opponent one of the worst offenders is obama. But he it seems is an accomplished compulsive liar in his own right

    The real question as I see it is, is it legal to spread a lie under the second amendment (freedom of the press)? Personally I do not think so!

  4. I sincerely question whether or not their is freedom of the press that has any bearing on anything anymore. The whole idea behind freedom of the press was so that the press could watch what our politicians and lawmakers was doing and reported to the people. For the last 5 years the mainstream media is totally ignored the fact that their job is to report facts not cover them up. The mainstream media has taken the term brown nosing to an all-new high. Their noses so far out somebody’s shiny chocolate but that their brown all the way to their toes and when they talk it smells like a fart.

    The complete political scene has become so corrupt and so bogged down at the whole system needs to be torn down and restarted from the original document. We need a constitutional convention that will tell these overfed and overpaid worthless politicians where they can go. Strip them of all their parks and benefits and take away their ability to set their own salaries and benefits packages. They want to raise they go to the employer and ask. By the way that’s us they work for us they seem to have forgotten that somewhere along the line.

    The current administration is so extreme in its corruption that it has really highlighted the overall corruption in Washington DC. We’ve known all along that all politicians are liars and that all politicians are cheats. This administration has taken it to the extreme and needs to be taken down permanently as soon as possible with extreme prejudice. And that’s not because this person happens to be a fudge sickle is because he’s in incompetent bungling fool who was so busy feathering his own nest and destroying America that he’s lost touch with reality.

  5. What happened to free speech? If this blog was untrue, had it been me Shuler was writing about, I would have proved him wrong, if in fact it is wrong ( makes one wonder, however). Maybe the female, if there was an affair, will come forward.The police used excessive force. Why? Likely because it was the former governor’s son. And why is Shuler still in jail? There is no good reason, other than, again, it’s the former governor’s son. Perhaps a lawsuit against the police department and the arresting officer is in order. There is no need in this kind of treatment.

      • Thank you. Sounds like you know more about this situation. I do wonder why this person isn’t out on bond since he’s not a physical threat to anyone. It makes one wonder if it’s because of the name Riley. Since proven a liar in court he was obviously wrong in what he did. It would be interesting to know why Shuler lied to begin with.

    • You were there when he was arrested and can testify that the police used excessive force? You don’t have a clue as to why the force had to be used (resisting arrest comes to mind), but you are willing to believe that the blogger was “right” no matter what the circumstances.

      • Same to you! You were there, huh? Re-read my second sentence – “Sounds like—” meaning I agree.Then see the next to the last sentence – “—proven a liar—.” And get rid of perceived prejudices.

  6. What BS. he was not jailed for writing about anyone. He was Jailed for contempt of court. It is not “Freedom of The Press” to print any unsubstantiated thing you want to say no matter the damage you do to your victims. The guy was a loon and printed lies.

    The author of this piece needs to delve further into the FACTS before he prints complete crap

    • He was jailed for writing about the ex-governor’s son, which writing was in contempt of court since it violated a restraining order. I see what you are saying, but I wasn’t intending for my headline to be misleading. It was already running long, and all that. I don’t like Shuler much, and I don’t like generally what he has to say. But I don’t think that excuses an abuse of political power to silence dissenting voices. That dissenting voice could be yours one day, and you would I’m sure appreciate justice. If the Alabama court is so interested in loons and liars, perhaps they should jail the entire staff of Us Weekly and the National Enquirer. All they print pretty much is rumors and such. It’s trivial. More of a deal was made of this than was necessary. Smells of foul play in my opinion.

  7. Was it not the non-political son, not the former Governor father, who had the affair? In other words, was it not the non-public person whom he wrote about?

  8. The constitution trumps the restraining order every time, when it involves the news and press, the peoples right to know, the blogger must have been a republican, or leaning conservative! Cops and servers have to serve the order, they get fired if they don’t, but I would have had a hard time arresting the guy. Cops have to take the warrant the chief gives them, and serve it, be it search, seizure, or a court ordered silence. They work for the chief, who does the work of enforcing the courts orders. It smells really bad, and a cop can’t be ordered to violate the constitution he swore to uphold!

  9. This is like so many things today, it stinks to high heavens. The ruling class may arrange for getting a man roughed up and thrown into jail but “eventually” constitutional rights will triumph. Problem is unless you “are” the ruling class, how does a common man pay for the lawyer (s) and an extended stay at the “Motel Crips” ? .
    My dad used to always tell me that “life’s a excrement sandwich, the more bread you got the less excrement you’re forced to eat”….
    Seems that nothing is new just the the level of obnoxiousness…

  10. The stronger the reaction from the subject of the article, the more likely it is true. If the story is false then it would have probably been ignored. The guilty in power often unconsciously confirm their misdeeds by reacting violently when exposed.

  11. Freedom of speech no longer exists. It’s now known as the freedom of speech, as long as you don’t say anything bad about certain people.


  13. I’m all for freedom of the press, but this was not about a politician. It was about the private life of an ex-politician’s son. Should we allow the press to publicize the private lives of all of us? That’s exactly what most of us object to the government doing.

  14. HOW MUCH LONGER ARE WE GOING TO TAKE THIS.. Because of about right now, I think we are going to wait until they want to invade our keisters.. (or rectal areas if you prefer).. I mean WHEN ARE WE THE PEOPLE GOING TO PUT A STOP TO THIS..

    there are way more citizens on the constitution side than not.. And we have quite a few Generals that were just relieved of their careers for not wanting to follow the orders of an ILLEGAL-ALIEN BORN IN KENYA and a corrupt, TRAITOROUS congress…

    Are we going to let them put us all in FEMA CAMPS or are we going to fight for our God-given freedoms and rights.. After all, the actions we take, or don’t take might lead the rest of the world to fight for their freedom.. even in the repressive muslim societies…

    I guess it’s not going to happen, and we are going to become socialist, then worse, communist. It will take 25 or 30 million American deaths to convert completely to socialism.. that’s what it took in Russia, and that’s at least what it’s going to take here…

    I, for one, will not go quietly into that good night..

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