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Zuccaro Ordered Back to Sharpe Hospital to Remain in Leg Shackles; Creating Frustration for Some

The Gilmer Free Press

UPDATE:

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has collaborated with Brooke County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Barki to file a motion which will seek to move Rocco Zuccaro to a facility in South Carolina instead of back to Sharpe Hospital.

==============================================

The West Virginia State Police will be adding up what it cost the agency to conduct a nearly two-day search for an escapee from Shape State Mental Hospital who will likely soon be returned to that same hospital.

Accused murderer Rocco Zuccaro, who took off from the Sharpe Hospital in Weston on Monday by climbing a 15-high brick wall and scaled a fence on his way off the property was captured Wednesday night about 15 miles away near Lost Creek in Harrison County.

West Virginia State police brought in troopers from different parts of the state to conduct the search and used the West Virginia State Police helicopter.

Zuccaro, who allegedly murdered a man in Brooke County in 2013, was ordered back to Sharpe Hospital by Brooke County Circuit Judge Ronald Wilson Thursday.

Brooke County Prosecutor Joe Barki said the judge had few options because Zuccaro had been ordered there previously for competency restoration.

Judge Wilson’s order said Zuccaro would be required to wear leg shackles at all times at Sharpe Hospital.

The exact return date will be worked out by regional jail and hospital officials.

Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said the decision to send Zuccaro back to Sharpe was frustrating.

“He just escaped Sharpe. Do I like him going back to Sharpe? Absolutely not. Would I rather have him in a regional jail setting? Absolutely.”

Prosecutors still hope to have Zuccaro on trial this June.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 03.23.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday, March 23, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over Court in Gilmer County.


•  Seven juvenile cases were heard


•  State of West Virginia vs. Christina Marks

She was scheduled for sentencing but since her diagnosis and classification was not complete, her sentence was reset for Monday, June 22, 2015 at 9:10 AM.

She is represented by Bryan Hinkle of Buckhannon.


•  One fugitive from justice, namely Nelson Villanueva waived extradition back to New York and authorities have until 4:00 PM Wednesday, April 01, 2015 to pick him up at Central Regional Jail or he will be released.

Clinton Bischoff of Summersville represented the fugitive.


•  One civil matter Elder Oil Co vs. P&C Oil & Gas Inc.

The case is now set for status on Monday, July 20, 2015 at 9:00 AM.

Gary Morris of Weston represents plaintiffs and R. Terry Butcher represents defendants.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Kyle Britner

He was before the Court for pretrial but Britner was a no show and Judge Facemire directed the Circuit Clerk to issue a capias but to hold it until Noon on Wednesday before issuing it.

Britner is represented by Clinton Bischoff.

 

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 03.19.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015 Family Court Judge Larry Whited dismissed 1 divorce and granted 2 others as follows:


•  Catherine Nottingham (23) of Duck, WV divorced Eric C. Plummer (26) of Bluefield, WV.

Both parties are in the military.


•  April Wright (40) of Cox’s Mills, WV divorced Hayward Troy Wright (42) of Linn, WV.




On WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2015 Family Court Judge Larry Whited:

•  Heard 1 contempt hearing

•  Dismissed 1 divorce for non appearance

•  Granted one domestic violence petition

•  Heard another divorce with 2 attorneys involved so no information is available on that case yet

Two Gilmer County Residents Sentenced for Manufacturing Meth

The Gilmer Free Press    The Gilmer Free Press

Two Gilmer County Residents were sentenced in federal court on Friday, March 20, 2015 for manufacturing methamphetamine in Gilmer County.

James Ash, age 44, of Glenville, WV and Sarah Snyder, age 37, of Spencer, WV both pleaded guilty in November.

Ash pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting manufacture of methamphetamine.

He was sentenced to five years and three months in prison.

Snyder admitted she produced methamphetamine out of her home and pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises.

She was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison.

Snyder is currently in the Central Regional Jail.

Ash is in the North Central Regional Jail.

Suspended Ritchie Attorney Facing Additional Ethics Charges

A Ritchie County attorney whose career is on hiatus for ethical lapses faces a new set of ethics charges.

In a statement of charges filed November 14, the Lawyer Disciplinary Board, the arm of the state Supreme Court that oversees attorney discipline,  accuses Ira M. Haught, age 55, of Harrisville, of committing 11 violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct in the cases of four former clients. 

The statement, which acts like an indictment for disciplinary purposes, alleges Haught’s lack of either communication or diligence led to, among other things, one man losing his ability to appeal a verdict in a personal injury suit, and a woman the opportunity to adopt her grandchildren.

The Gilmer Free Press


The new statement of charges comes midway through a one-year suspension the Court imposed on Haught in April.

The statement contains the complaints filed against Haught by John A. Tripp, Sr.,  Freda K. King, Dana J. Minor, and Kyle M. Gibson with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the arm of the Court that investigates attorney misconduct.  All four complainants allege Haught either failed to keep them updated on the status of their respective cases or mislead them about it.

According to the statement, Tripp hired Haught in 2005 to file suit against Jay Bee Production Company for property damage caused by drilling.  The suit was filed, and appeared to come to a conclusion in 2009 when Haught informed Tripp a tentative settlement was reached via mediation.

However, due to the death of Judge Robert Holland, Haught told Tripp finalization of the settlement would have to wait until Holland’s replacement could be appointed.  In December 2010, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed former Pleasants County Prosecutor Timothy J. Sweeney to fill Holland’s unexpired term.

According the statement, between the time of the proposed settlement and May 2012, Tripp said he was unable to speak directly with Haught.  When he called the circuit clerk’s office on May 1 to inquire about the status of the suit, he was told it was dismissed a year earlier due to inactivity.

After Tripp filed his complaint on May 29, 2012, the statement says Haught promptly filed a motion to reopen the case, and later to withdraw from it.  Both were subsequently granted by Sweeney.

However, Tripp averred Haught never informed him of his intention to withdraw.  He told ODC because of Tripp’s then-pending complaint, it was in everyone’s best interest he no longer handle the case.

According to the statement, following Haught’s withdraw, Tripp asked for a refund of the money he paid him.  In early 2013, Haught send ODC copies of the invoices of the work he performed as an explanation why he didn’t owe Tripp a refund.

However, according to the statement, the invoices showed the last work Haught performed in Tripp’s suit was in June and July 2009 after the mediation began.

In January 2013, King lodged her complaint against Haught alleging he strung her along for over a year about gaining custody of her grandchildren.

According to the statement, King hired Haught in September 2011 to file paperwork to gain custody of her grandchildren, who are not identified in the statement, after their parents relinquished their parental rights the previous month.  After an order was entered officially terminating their parental rights, Haught told King he would get to work immediately on filing a motion to intervene.

Eventually, in June 2012, Haught called King saying a hearing would be scheduled for sometime in July or early August.  On June 14, the statement says King sent Haught sent a check, and two money orders totaling $3,000.

In late August, King contacted Haught’s office regarding the status of the hearing.  Haught’s assistant told King to expect a letter from him.

According to the statement, King received a letter from Haught on September 14, 2012.  In it said his schedule did not permit him the time to devote to her case, and, as such, he was refunding her money.

Sometime thereafter, King hired David Moore, a sole practitioner in Ripley, to help her.  On October 02, 2012, he filed a motion to intervene on King’s behalf.

However, according to the statement, it was all for naught as following a hearing on November 16, Moore learned King’s grandchildren had already been adopted.

Also in January 2013, Haught’s inaction in filing an appeal in Minor’s personal injury suit led to his complaint against him.

According to the statement, Minor was injured when struck by a car on December 02, 2009.  The location is not specified.

However, before the end of the month, he hired Haught to file a lawsuit. Though a date is not specified, a suit was filed, and Minor rejected the first settlement offer from the insurance company. 

According to the statement, after a two day trial on January 23 and 24, 2013, a jury ruled in favor of the defendant.  After the trial, Minor asked Haught to file an appeal on the grounds the defendant, who is not identified in the statement, committed perjury, and Minor’s witnesses did not have enough time to prepare for trial.

On an unspecified date, Haught said he would not only file the appeal, but also seek to have the defendant charged criminally with perjury as an investigator he hired confirmed he committed it.  Over the next year, the statement says Haught told Minor the appeal was filed, and he was awaiting word on a court date.

On February 15, 2014, Minor found out about Haught’s suspension.  Despite speaking with him a day or two earlier, Minor claims Haught never told him about it.

According to the statement, shortly after learning of Haught’s suspension, Minor called the Wood Circuit Clerk’s Office, and discovered Haught failed to file the appeal.

After he filed his ethics complaint, Minor sent a certified letter to Haught seeking return of his file.  Though he promptly received it, Minor says not only where items missing from it, but it also contained materials he’d never seen before.

Also, he made several attempts with Wood Circuit Judge Robert A. Waters to schedule a new trial.  On April 08, the statement says Waters’ secretary said it was Haught’s responsibility to schedule one.

Because Haught’s suspension would soon take effect, Waters on April 17 scheduled a hearing for October 27. 

As Haught’s suspension was drawing near, Gibson filed his complaint on April 01 alleging for nearly the past three years he was unable to find out the status of his habeas corpus petition.  According to the state Department of Corrections’ Web site, Gibson, age 22, was convicted in 2010 on one count each of first-degree robbery, attempted first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit malicious assault, and malicious assault.

Currently, he is incarcerated at the Mt. Olive Correctional Center near Smithers in Fayette County.

In a letter dated April 30 responding to Gibson’s ethics complaint, Haught said he removed his name from the list of court-appointed counsel two years prior, and requested substitute counsel be appointed in those cases.  However, in a letter dated a week later, Gibson averred that Haught not only failed to tell him that, but also his mother who made multiple visits to Haught’s office inquiring about the status of the habeas petition.

According to the statement, ODC on May 2 asked Haught for all documents regarding his motion for substitution of counsel in Gibson’s case.  Three weeks later, he provided them a letter dated February 14, 2014, signed only by himself that Gibson was making a motion for new counsel.

After requesting additional documents from the Ritchie Circuit Clerk’s Office, ODC discovered the only motions Haught filed were ones on March and May 15, 2012 seeking each time a 60-day extension to file Gibson’s habeas petition. 

In addition to ones for communication and diligence, Haught is charged with violating Rules dealing with expediting litigation, misconduct, and bar admission and disciplinary matters.  The latter specifically accuses Haught of “knowingly making a false statement of material fact” regarding his work, or lack thereof, in Gibson’s case.

Last February, the Court ordered Haught suspended for a year on a previous statement of charges.  There, he was accused of not safekeeping funds belonging to one client, and having a conflict-of-interest with another in a property transfer. 

When the Court rejected his motion to reconsider its decision, the suspension took effect April 24. 

In addition to the suspension, the Court ordered Haught is to have his practice supervised for an additional two years to include regular audits conducted by a certified public accountant, and take an additional nine hours of continuing legal education in the areas of ethics, and office management.

When the first statement of charges were filed, Haught was the Republican nominee to fill Holland’s unexpired term.  However, in the November 2012 general election he lost to Sweeney by a 2-1 margin. 

An evidentiary hearing on the current statement of charges was scheduled for 9 AM on Wednesday, March 11 at the Ritchie County Courthouse.

According to the state Bar’s Web site, Haught began practicing law on May 17, 1983.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, case number 14-1150


State Supreme Court’s February 12 opinion in Ira Haught’s suspension


The Court’s April 29 order


~~  Lawrence J. Smith ~~

03.12.2015
CommunityRitchie CountyCourt News(1) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Interesting!  It appears some of these same issues are true in Gilmer County law officials as well. Just goes to show, it’s only a matter of time before crooks get caught.

By Justice  on  03.12.2015

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Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 03.10.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday, March 03, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire held his motion day that had been rescheduled from Monday, February 23, 2015 due to a family emergency.


In addition to calling the docket for his March 2015 term he set 2 criminal trials:

•  State of West Virginia vs. Desirae Miller

AND

•  State of West Virginia vs. Kyle Britner

Both had their trials set for Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

Miller is represented by Bryan Hinkle of Buckhannon and Britner is represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.

Britner will have a pretrial Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10:00 AM.


•  Twenty-two criminal cases were called and capias’ were renewed in all of them


•  Seven juvenile matters were heard.


Two cases were before the Court for sentencing:


•  State of West Virginia vs. Joe Williams III

He was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton will be sent for diagnosis and classification at the penitentiary for 60 days as well as having a substance abuse evaluation before being sentenced on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 9:15 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Clayton McCune

He was represented by Bryan Hinkle of Buckhannon will also be going for 60 days diagnosis and classification and evaluations for anger management among other things before being sentenced on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 9:00 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Amanda Smith

(who appeared by video conference from Lakin Correctional Center) and who was represented by Jeff Davis of Clay was before the Court and her motion for reconsideration was denied.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Roseann Shelton

She was before the Court for revocation of her probation.

Her attorney, David Karickhoff, appeared without his client who he reported is in California and going through a treatment program.

Judge Facemire agreed to allow her to continue in that program and transfer her probation to California if they will accept her.

He directed the Clerk issue a capias but to hold it in abeyance pending her transfer to California.

Her revocation hearing was continued until Monday, April 27, 2015 at 9:15 AM.


•  A civil appeal out of magistrate court in the case of Amy Self vs. Richard Shaffer

It was reset for Monday, April 27, 2015 at 9:30 AM due to the illness and hospitalization of Self’s mother.

Shaffer has until Noon Friday, March 06, 2015 to pay $200.00 to the clerk for filing fee in this matter or it will be dismissed and no hearing will be necessary.





On Wednesday, March 04, 2015 Judge Facemire heard 4 juvenile matters and continued one final juvenile hearing until Monday, April 02, 2015 at 9:00 AM.


•  Judge Alsop will hear hearings Monday on his regular motion day in Gilmer County.

•  Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Chief Judge Facemire will indoctrinate the petit jury.





Monday March 09, 2015 was Judge Jack Alsop’s regular monthly motion day in Gilmer County and he had a 3 page docket to be heard.


•  Ten juvenile matters were heard.


The magistrate appeal in the case of

•  State of West Virginia vs. Matthew Butcher was set for a bench trial on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 1:00 PM.

Special prosecuting attorney Shannon Johnson will represent the state and Butcher will be represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Teresa Riggs

She was released from home confinement and order to pay a minimum of $250.00 per month beginning Sunday, April 01, 2015 to pay off her court costs and fees.

She will be on probation for 18 months.


•  The magistrate appeal in the case of Shock’s Well Service vs. Deloris Florence was set for a bench trial Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 2:00 PM.

Both parties are self represented..


•  A civil pretrial was scheduled with trial still being set for Tuesday, April 07, 2015.





On Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire appeared and indoctrinated the petit/magistrate jurors and they were released with a letter from the Clerk with instructions to call the recording before 2 trial dates in April.

•  One civil trial is set for trial Tuesday, April 07, 2015 and two criminal trials are currently on the docket for April 28, 2015.

GRAND JURY CANCELLED‏ for March 03, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Circuit Court grand jurors please be advised that Grand Jury scheduled for Tuesday March 03, 2015 has been cancelled.

Grand jurors DO NOT NEED TO REPORT.

Karen Elkin, The Gilmer County Circuit Clerk

GRAND JURY CANCELLED‏ for March 03, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Circuit Court grand jurors please be advised that Grand Jury scheduled for Tuesday March 03, 2015 has been cancelled.

Grand jurors DO NOT NEED TO REPORT.

Karen Elkin, The Gilmer County Circuit Clerk

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 02.24.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Judge Jack Alsop started:

•  A jury trial in Gilmer County in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Janice Collins.

At 10:40 AM after the Clerk drew a panel of 20 jurors and individual voir dire was conducted in chambers, the defense filed a motion for change of venue.

The Court granted said motion and excuse the jury panel for the term, after thanking them for their service.

Judge also set the case for trial on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 in Webster County Circuit Court.

Collins is represented by Steve Nanners of Buckhannon.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Nathanielle Butler

He was before the Court with his attorney, Christopher Moffatt of Charleston.

Butler entered a plea to count 1 of his indictment charging him with delivery of a controlled substance.

He was readmitted to bond and released from Central Regional Jail pending his sentencing on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 11:40 AM.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 02.19.15

The Gilmer Free Press

TRIAL:

On Wednesday, February 18, 2015 David Junior Marks was set for trial in Circuit Court.

After 14 jurors were excused by the Court a jury was finally impaneled and sworn at 11:11 AM.

After which opening statements were given and 6 witnesses were called by the state before it rested its case.

After the defense moved for directed verdict and judgment of acquittal Judge Alsop took the matter under at advisement at 3:04 PM and returned to the Court room at 3:17 PM.

And released defendant from custody.

Marks was represented day Daniel Armstrong of Gassaway.
 

Two other matters were scheduled as follows:


•  State of West Virginia vs. Ross Miller

He will enter a plea on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 11:00 AM.

Butler is hiring a new attorney thus his court appointed attorney.

Christopher Moffatt will be relieved.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Nathanielle Butler

The case is now set for trial or plea on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.





On Thursday, February 19, 2015 Judge Jack Alsop held Court hearing 3 matters in Gilmer County.

•  He heard and reset a juvenile matter.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Ross Miller

He entered a plea to count 2 of the indictment charging him with attempting to operate a clandestine meth lab.

After 2 corrections to the plea agreement, Judge Alsop accepted said plea and set sentencing for Monday, April 13, 2015 at 11:20 AM with Mike Haley to do a presentence investigation.

Miller was represented by Timothy Gentilozzi of Clarksburg.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Kyle Britner

He was before the Court for arraignment and entered not guilty pleas to both counts of his indictment.

Judge Alsop continued the case until the next term and ordered Britner to appear before Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire on Wednesday, March 04, 2015 for docket call.

Britner was represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 02.18.15

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Family Court Judge Larry Whited presided over Family Court in Gilmer County on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.

•  Two divorces were dismissed.

•  One divorce was granted, with attorneys involved the order will come later and information will be published then.

Gilmer County March Grand Jury Cancelled

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer County Grand jury has been cancelled for the upcoming March, 2015 term of Court.

Any person who received a summons to appear on March 03, 2015 for grand jury WILL NOT appear.

There will be no grand jury in March.

If you have any questions, you may contact Karen Elkin, Circuit Clerk at 304.462.7241.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 02.11.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday, February 09, 2015 Judge Jack Alsop heard 6 juvenile matters, rescheduled an arraignment on Kyle Britner, and heard one civil habeas.


•  In the civil matter Charles Emerson is represented by Bryan Hinkle of Buckhannon who has 120 days to file an amended habeas corpus petition.


•  Sentenced was Darius Tibbs who got 5 years probation and 120 hours community service per year.

Frank Walker of Morgantown represented Tibbs who had earlier pled to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver a Schedule I controlled substance.


•  One criminal case was also expunged.




On Tuesday, February 10, 2015 a trial was held:

•  State of West Virginia vs. Tyler Stupin. Sutphin

He was represented by Brian Bailey.

Defendant was found guilty and sentencing will be on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 10:10 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Desirae Miller’s case was continued to the March term.


•  State of West Virginia vs. David Marks’ trial is on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Nathanielle Butler is set for plea on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Janice Collins’ trial is on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.




 
On Wednesday, February 11, 2015 Judge Alsop took 4 pleas as follows:


•  State of West Virginia vs. Chris DeBarr

He pled guilty to grand larceny.

Represented by Christopher Moffatt DeBarr was sentenced on February 13, 2015 at 10:20 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Julia Mollohan

She pled guilty to count 2 destruction of property and count 4 battery of police officer.

All other counts will be dismissed and she will be sentenced on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 10:30 AM.

She was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton and later flunked her drug screen and was returned to jail until sentencing.

She had been on bond and home confinement.


•  State of West Virginia vs. John Puffenbarger

He pled no contest to 2 counts of incest and 8 other counts in his indictment were dismissed by the prosecutor.

Judge Alsop stated this was a VERY favorable plea agreement and normally he would not have accepted this plea, in deference to the young age of the victim and to save them from going through a trial.

Judge Alsop accepted his plea and set sentencing for Monday, April 13, 2015 at 10:40 AM.

John was represented by David Karickhoff.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Christopher Puffenbarger

He pled guilty to 1 count of sexual intercourse and his sentencing is set for 11:00 AM Monday, April 13, 2015.

He was represented by Christopher Moffatt.

Doddridge County Circuit Court Issues Indictments for February Term

The Gilmer Free Press

The Doddridge County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office released the February term indictments on Monday., February 09, 2015

The following people were indicted by the Doddridge County Grand Jury:


•  Dale Welling II, age 34, of Parkersburg, was indicted for one count of third or subsequent offense driving while license suspended or revoked for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.


•  Matthew Nicholas, age 31, of Cairo, was indicted for two counts of third or subsequent offense driving while license suspended or revoked for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.


•  William McKinney, age 49, of West Union, was indicted for one count of third or subsequent offense driving while license suspended or revoked for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled substances.


•  Gary Davis Jr., age 38, of West Union, was indicted for one count of failure to provide change of sexual offender registration information.


•  Steven Dotson, age 25, of West Union, was indicted for one count of daytime burglary and one count of domestic assault.


•  Sunrak Spencer, age 30, of Auburn, was indicted for one count of daytime burglary, one count of grand larceny, one count of conspiracy to commit burglary and two counts of destruction of property.


•  Brandon Davis, age 39, of Pennsboro, was indicted for one count of daytime burglary, one count of grand larceny, one count of conspiracy to commit burglary and two counts of destruction of property.


•  Dwayne Boggs, age 39, of Salem, was indicted for three counts of child abuse resulting in injury, one count of domestic battery and one count of domestic assault.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 02.03.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Tuesday, February 03, 2015 Judge Jack Alsop held Court in Gilmer County and heard several cases as follows:


•  A fugitive from justice case was heard with Tracy Sauls waiving extradition to return to the state of Maryland.

Sauls was represented by Christopher Moffatt of Charleston and authorities in Maryland have until 4:00 PM Friday, February 13, 2015 to pick him up or Central Regional Jail will release him.


•  In the case of Patrick Collins vs. Marvin Plumley, Warden an evidentiary hearing was held and evidence was presented.

The Court took the matter under advisement and will issue a ruling later.

Christopher Moffatt also represented petitioner Patrick Collins.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Nathanielle Butler

He was before the Court for entry of a plea.

However, the Court relieved Timothy Gentilozzi as his attorney and Moffatt was appointed to further represent Butler.

A status conference will be held Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 11:45 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Wayne Roberts

He was before the Court with his attorney Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.

Roberts entered a plea to 2 counts and a presentence investigation was waived.

Judge Alsop ordered Roberts sent to Anthony Correctional Center for not less than 6 months nor more than 2 years and deferred imposing a sentence until such time as he is returned from Anthony Center.




On Wednesday, February 04, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire was in Braxton County due to grand jury and he took up some Gilmer County matters there and later appeared by video conference and heard other matters in Gilmer County.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Stephanie Smarr

She was admitted to probation again and must complete the Reigh of Hope rehab program.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Lisa Sutphin

She was sentenced to 1-5 years in the penitentiary for her plea to conspiracy.

She and Stephanie Smarr were both represented by Bischoff.


•  State of West Virginia vs. John Paletta

He was represented by Moffatt and was denied probation and sentenced to 1-5 years with no fine but court costs and attorney fees to be paid to the Clerk within 18 months of his release.

His sentence runs consecutive to his five to forty-three year sentence in Harrison County.

Judge Facemire told him he felt he was likely to re-offend if admitted to probation on our charge due to his LSCMI score being high and he had been doing cocaine for 20 plus years.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 02.04.15

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Family Court Judge Larry Whited presided over Family Court in Gilmer County on Wednesday, February 04, 2015.

•  One divorce was granted on January 28, 2015 between Hope Bossert (43) of Glenville, WV and James R. Bossert (66) of Glenville, WV.


•  On February 03, 2015 a special family court judge dismissed a domestic violence petition.


•  On February 04, 2015, 3 matters were heard by Judge Whited and a temporary order was entered in one.

Are Adult Decisions Doing Kids Harm in the Juvenile Justice System?

The Foundation has produced a brief video to highlight how adult decision makers in the juvenile justice system, looking to address and rehabilitate counterproductive actions in young people, ironically make decisions that instead damage young lives and open the door to youth becoming a greater threat to public safety.

The video, “Decisions,” depicts situations most of us can relate to and many of us have personally experienced. Though the scenes in the video are staged, they mirror real events in countless communities every day. Young people are often arrested and placed into custody for minor misbehavior even though research shows this damages their futures, makes their behavior problems worse and does nothing to improve public safety – at great cost to taxpayers.

A recent opinion piece by Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a Right on Crime advocate, highlights the importance of providing appropriate consequences that match youthful indiscretions. This is especially important when we know that doing the opposite can result in dismal outcomes for kids.

Several studies, including this one by the American Sociological Association, show that youth arrested during their high school years are twice as likely to drop out of school as youth with identical backgrounds and self-reported misbehavior who were not arrested.

Toward the end of the video, the narrator explains: “Adults in the juvenile justice system make decisions every day that deeply affect young people, most of whom pose little risk to public safety. These decisions can change their lives for the worse by removing kids from their homes for what is often typical adolescent behavior.” The narrator continues: “But it doesn’t have to be this way.” And adult decision makers in the juvenile justice system have to be reminded of that fact.

~~  The Annie E. Casey Foundatio ~~

A Record Number of Exonerations in 2014

An unprecedented 125 exonerations were recorded in the USA last year, and a majority of the cases involved the cooperation of an unlikely ally: law enforcement.

Prosecutors and police initiated or cooperated in reversing at least 67 wrongful convictions, also a record number, according to a report by the National Registry of Exonerations.

The report linked the law enforcement involvement to the relatively recent emergence of special prosecutorial units that examine convictions based on bad evidence, false testimony, coerced confessions and other breakdowns.

The special prosecutor units have grown in number from the first in 2002 to 15 last year. The most active last year were in Houston and Brooklyn, which assisted in a combined 39 exonerations of people wrongfully convicted of crimes, ranging from murder to drug offenses.

The Gilmer Free Press


“I think there is a seachange in the thinking related to the fallibility of the criminal justice system,‘’ said University of Michigan law professor Samuel Gross, co-founder of the registry. “It turns out that (wrongful conviction) is a much more common problem than everybody realizes.‘’

The report found that the legal system is “increasingly willing to act on innocence claims that have often been ignored.‘’

Though the use of biological evidence (DNA) has perhaps gained the most notoriety in exoneration cases, an increasing number are proved with other evidence and in cases where it has been determined no crime was committed.

In 46% (58) of the 125 exonerations last year, no crime occurred, according to the report.

Murder cases involved a substantial portion of the wrongful convictions, in 38% (48) of the cases.

Kings County, NY, which includes Brooklyn, recorded 10 murder exonerations last year as part of a sweeping review of controversial convictions, many of them involving questionable police tactics used by a New York Police Department detective. It has added one case this year.

“People are coming to the understanding that wrongful convictions are not only destroying the lives of people who have been wrongly punished, but they also are undermining the integrity of the criminal justice system,‘’ said Kings County District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.

Thompson has assigned 10 prosecutors to review questionable convictions. The unit started with 130 cases and has 100 left to examine.

“We are committed to this process,‘’ Thompson said.

Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas, said that as each “failure” of the criminal justice system’‘ has been identified, it has become “more politically acceptable to fight this fight.‘’

“Everybody knows now that innocent people get locked up,‘’ Blackburn said. “Prosecutors are figuring out that they need to get on the right side of this.‘’

~~  Kevin Johnson - USA TODAY ~~


More Information: The Rise of “Conviction Integrity Units” Helps Explain the Sharp Increase

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 01.26.15

The Gilmer Free Press

On Friday, January 23, 2015 Judge Jack Alsop held Court in Gilmer County.


Eleven criminal pretrials were heard and trials are still set as follows:

•  1) Janice Collins trial date Tuesday, February 10, 2015

•  2) Desirae Miller trial date Tuesday, February 10, 2015

•  3) Wayne Roberts trial date Tuesday, February 10, 2015

•  4) David Marks trial date Tuesday, February 10, 2015

•  5) Tyler Sutphin trial date Tuesday, February 10, 2015

•  6) Ross Miller trial date Wednesday, February 18, 2015

•  7) Christopher Puffenbarger trial date Thursday, February 12, 2015

•  8) John Puffenbarger trial date Thursday, February 12, 2015

•  9) Julia Mollohan trial date Thursday, February 19, 2015

•  10) Christopher DeBarr trial date Wednesday, February 11, 2015

•  11) Nathaniel Butler scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday, February 03, 2015


•  Two juveniles were heard.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Kimberly Demastus

She was before the Court for sentencing.

Judge Alsop denied her probation and sentenced her to the penitentiary for 1-5 years, suspending said sentence and placing her on home confinement for 1-5 years.

Mark Hudnall of Summersville was her attorney and she will be on home confinement at her address in Braxton County.


•  Nathaniel Butler flunked his drug screen so Judge Alsop placed him in Central Regional Jail to await the date of his plea.


•  Later Tyler Sutphin made admission to using drugs and Judge Alsop sent him to Central Regional Jail.


•  Also after Court personnel reported a strong odor of marijuana in the Court Room, Officer Jeremy Jenkins brought in the drug dog and a hit was made on one of the inmates that had been transported from Central Regional Jail.




On Monday, January 26, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire held Court in Glenville.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Traci Pyles

She was before the Court for sentencing upon her former pleas to attempting to operate a clandestine drug lab and conspiracy.

Judge Facemire sentenced her to 2-10 for the charge regarding the lab and 1-5 for conspiracy with sentences to run concurrently.

Then he suspended her sentence and ordered she self report to Anthony Correctional Center for Youthful Offenders for 6 months to 2 years.

Pyles was represented by Timothy Gentilozzi of Clarksburg.


•  One fugitive from Maryland, namely Ellis Sawyer, waived extradition and voluntarily agreed to return there.

He was represented by Brian Bailey of Buckhannon and authorities in Maryland have until 4:00 PM on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 to pick Mr. Sawyer up at Central Regional Jail or they will release him.


•  One magistrate appeal was heard and Judge Facemire upheld the decision of Magistrate Wolfe and ordered Gary Ferrell to pay $260.25 to magistrate court and $132.00 to Circuit Court within 45 days.

Ferrell appeared without an attorney.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Clayton McCune

He was scheduled for sentencing but due to the illness of his attorney, Bryan Hinkle of Buckhannon his sentencing was rescheduled for Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10:45 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Daniel McCormick

He was before the Court for sentencing and he was sentenced to 1 year in Central Regional Jail on 2 charges to run consecutively.

However, Judge Facemire suspended the sentence and placed him on 3 years probation.

McCormick was represented by Matthew Thorn of Morgantown.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 01.12.15

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Circuit Court Judge Jack Alsop held Court in Glenville on Monday, January 12, 2015.


•  Eight juvenile matters were heard.


•  One motion was heard in a habeas corpus proceeding wherein Rosendo Contreras (defendant) appeared by video from prison and his attorney, Kevin Hughart, argued motions on his behalf which were denied by the Judge.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Kimberly Demastus

The case was set for sentencing today but it was rescheduled for Friday, January 23, 2015 at 2:30 PM due to the illness and hospitalization of her attorney, Mark Hudnall.


•  State of West Virginia vs. James Bailey

He was in Court for sentencing with his attorney, Christopher Moffatt of Charleston.

Bailey was sentenced 1-5 in penitentiary for his delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance within 1000 feet of a school that he had previously pled guilty to.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Seth Johnson

He was also before the Court for sentencing with his attorney, Kevin Hughart of Sissonville.

Johnson had successfully completed the program at Anthony Correctional Center for Youthful Offenders, and offered thanks to the Judge for sending him there because he obtained an electrician apprentice certification while there and had greatly benefited from the opportunities offered.

Judge Alsop said it was one of the bright spots in the correctional system.

Judge Alsop admitted him to 4 years probation and ordered him to do 120 hours per year community service, but if he is employed full time he must perform 80 hours per year.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Gerald Adkins II

He was before the Court for revocation of probation again.

After Adkins admitted to the allegations in the petition filed against him, Judge Alsop sentenced him to 120 days in Department of Corrections custody and 4 years probation thereafter with him performing 120 hours community service per year of probation.

Adkins was represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Daniel Troy Rose

He was before the Court for motions and his attorney, Bryan Hinkle asked to be relieved as counsel because his client would not talk to him.

After Rose became loud and uncooperative in Court, Judge Alsop had him removed by the Sheriff and will appoint him a new attorney.


•  State of West Virginia vs. John Michael Puffenbarger

He was before the Court for a status hearing and his pretrial remains set for Friday, January 23, 2015 with his trial still being set for Thursday, February 12, 2015.

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