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Court News

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Monday, February 13, 2017 Judge Jack Alsop spent the day in Gilmer County hearing cases.

•  Seven juvenile matters were heard.

•  One fugitive from justice was reset to Wednesday, February 15, 2017 prior to the jury trials beginning.

No transport order was signed for Central Regional Jail to transport the defendant.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Joshua Bohn

He was supposed to appear at 9:00 AM for a hearing, but the Court was made aware that he was presently incarcerated elsewhere and reset that matter for Wednesday also.

•  One adoption was heard.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Charles Collins

This case was continued to the March, 2017 term.

His attorney is Joseph Spano.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Richard Williams Jr.

He was before the Court for modification of bond, which was denied.

His attorney was David Karickhoff.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Christopher DeBarr

He was supposed to be in Court for revocation of probation, however his whereabouts are unknown and a bench warrant was issued with no bond set.

His attorney is Christopher Moffatt of Charleston.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Dale Carr

His drug case remains dismissed.

His other criminal case was continued to the March term as well.

David Karickhoff also represents him.

Judge Alsop will begin a jury trial on February 15, 2017.

Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Wednesday, February 08, 2017 Family Court Judge Steve Jones held Family Court in the Court House Annex.

•  One domestic violence petition was denied.

Two divorces were granted wherein:

•  Debra Doolittle (50) of Weston, WV divorced Orville Jack Doolittle (58) of Mt. Olive, WV.

•  Matthew D. Fisher (25) of Cedarville, WV divorced Tracey Fisher (24) of Paden City, WV.

•  One divorce was continued.

•  A guardian ad litem was appointed in a modification case and it was continued.

•  Another modification had no order entered in it yet due to attorneys being involved and they will prepare the order and submit it for signature to the FCJ.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

•  On Wednesday, February 08, 2017 Judge Jack Alsop heard a juvenile matter in Gilmer County.

•  After he recessed his hearing, Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire heard a juvenile by video conference from Braxton County.

Unfortunately the Circuit Court equipment was not working and all parties had to use the Magistrate Court Room to participate in the video conference.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

Judge Jack Alsop spent all day in Gilmer County on Friday, February 03, 2017.

Two fugitives from justice waived to return to their states.

•  Deshawn Hood waived extradition to return to the state of Virginia.

•  Gary Reyes waived to return to Ohio.

Authorities in those states have until February 15, 2017 at 4 PM to come to the Central Regional Jail and pick them up or they will be released.

Both men were represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.

Nine pretrials were scheduled to be heard in criminal cases.

•  William Reynolds had his bond lowered to $30,000.00 and his case was continued to the March, 2017 term of Court before Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire.

He was represented by Brian Bailey of Buckhannon.

Shannon Johnson is special prosecutor in this case and failed to have defendant transported from Central Regional Jail for the hearing.

After the Judge ordered the Clerk to call the jail, the defendants who were not transported by special prosecutors arrived at 10:40 AM

•  Patty Reynolds was before the Court with her attorney Clinton Bischoff and she will remain on the bond heretofore posted and her trial is still scheduled for February 15th.

Special prosecutor Johnson has a conflict this day and must file a notice of scheduling conference to be worked out between the 2 Judges.

•  Jason Starcher is still set for trial February 15th.

His attorney is Timothy Gentilozzi from Clarksburg.

•  Dale Carr had his drug case dismissed with prejudice due to the affidavit of search warrant not having been filed.

Carr’s attorney was David Karickhoff of Sutton.

Later after the affidavit had been located still in Magistrate Court, Judge Alsop informed Prosecutor Hough that he could file a motion for reconsideration in the case.

•  Dale Carr’s second trial remains on the docket for February 22nd.

•  Eric Williams trial is still on for February 16th despite both sides asking for a continuance.

His attorney is Tom Kupec of Clarksburg.

•  Ralph McCourt Jr. Is set for trial on February 22nd also, but both attorneys have to file briefs prior to trial for the Judge to rule on.

His attorney is Brian Bailey of Buckhannon.

•  James Christman was represented by David Karickhoff and his motion to suppress and for reduction of bond were both denied.

His trial still remains on February 15th also.

•  Joshua Bohn failed to appear for his pertrial and contacted his attorney 10 minutes prior to hearing to inform him that he was in rehab.

Judge Alsop cancelled his trial for February 9th and the prosecuting attorney asked for a bench warrant for his arrest and Judge Alsop granted it and set bond at $25,000.00.

Bohn’s attorney is Jeff Davis of Clay.

•  State of West Virginia  vs. Steven Crislip

He was before the Court for a preliminary hearing on revocation of probation again.

Crislip waived the preliminary and made admissions and Judge Alsop ordered him to spend 120 days in jail with credit for the 8 days already served and then readmitted him to 3 years probation.

All jail time will be attributed to the DOC rather than the county.

His attorney was Bryan Hinkle of Buckhannon.

•  Four juvenile matters were taken up.

•  Lastly Judge Alsop sentenced Keith Arbogast upon his jury conviction to 6 charges, but ran them together for a total to be served of 10-25 years in the penitentiary.

He remains free on bond pending appeal to the Supreme Court.

His attorney was Daniel Grindo from Gassaway.

Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

Gilmer County Family Court Judge Steve Jones heard cases in Family Court in Glenville today, February 01, 2017.

•  One divorce was granted with Bridget Freeby (58) of Sand Fork, WV divorcing Douglas Freeby(49) of Kunkletown, PA.

•  Guardian ad litems were appointed in 2 domestic violence cases and they were continued.

•  One domestic violence petition was terminated.

•  Temporary orders were entered in 2 divorce cases.

•  No order was entered in a case scheduled for contempt.

Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Wednesday, January 25, 2017 Family Court Judge Steve Jones heard matters in Gilmer County Family Court.

•  One temporary hearing in a divorce case was heard.

•  One divorce was granted between Dione Raynelle Hardman(36) of Glenville, WV and Angel Michelle Wood (45) of Sanford, North Carolina.

Gilmer Athletic Director Charged with Battery Of Student Athlete

The Free Press WV

Police in Gilmer County have charged the athletic director of Gilmer County High School with battery, related to an incident last weekend at the Gilmer-Braxton ballgame in Glenville.

Director Shawn Leo Cole has been charged by the Glenville Chief of Police Brenton Huffman, after the juvenile boy’s mother filed a complaint related to an incident in the school gymnasium.

The complaint, based upon reviewing video footage and photographs, indicates that Cole picked up the player off the floor by his neck and carried him off the gym floor, after he was shooting a basketball.

“Mr. Cole grabbed the ball… and grabbed (subject) with his left arm around the chest…and placed his right arm around area of his neck and picked him up off the floor and carried him off the gym floor and put him down,” says the complaint.

The player was reportedly a middle school student.

The juvenile player’s mother sent photos of her son with what the complaint says showed “red marks on both sides of his neck.”

The juvenile’s mother said she received a text message from Mr. Cole following the incident saying “He was sorry for what happened between him and her son and never meant to hurt him or embarrass him.”

The case will be heard by Gilmer County Magistrate Court.

The Free Press WV

NewsArrestsCourt NewsWest VirginiaRegionBraxton CountyGilmer CountyGlenville(14) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Why was it left up to the parents to file charges?

School administrators were there to see what happened.

It should have been their responsibility to have done something immediately without parents having to do it.

Does this latest news demonstrate need for administrative changes at the GCHS? Authorities should investigate.

The child’s parents are applauded for being role models to see to it that all our children will be treated with respect and proper care in the future.

By Applaud For The Parents  on  01.24.2017

There is an emerging wave of parents, teachers, and staff standing up more openly for our children and they have community backing.

It always takes a courageous few to get the ball rolling.

Let us hope that ranks of those who will take open stands for our children will swell.

We know that the newly structured and empowered school board will take the right path.

Oppressors of democracy have always counted on good citizens remaining silent and united Gilmer County has news for them this time!!!!

By Gilmer Unleashed  on  01.25.2017

This is pretty much the norm in Gilmer County.  Always pushing to make the individual/victim pursue and pay for justice.  We have a problem here.

By Gilmer is Broke  on  01.25.2017

Obviously Gilmer County has problems that are not to be traced to the state takeover.

Administrative issues will continue until dealt with.

Seems the building principal and Superintendent Devano should have been the ones taking this action to conclusion?

By Willie  on  01.25.2017

For years the high school sports program has continued to go rogue and done things that were illegal without consequences.  They are not counselors nor parents and need to stay out of people’s personal lives as well. This is a clear example that our sports program needs to be disciplined and severely reprimanded with severe consequences.

By Reaser8732  on  01.25.2017

We know how this works.
Its all about the ‘who’ you are.
Some get quietly slid out of town. Covered.
If you are not in the elite click you get nailed.
Or if its an elite involved, also nailed.
That’s Gilmer.
That’s how it is.

By G.C.  on  01.26.2017

The sports program is not the only “going rogue” example in our schools.

Check out what happened in a GCHS classroom when a teacher stepped out in early January.

The incident is too gross to be discussed on the GFP and it is causing intense anger throughout the County.

If I had a choice and the money I would jerk my children out of the school.

People are anxious to learn what the school board does about the inexcusable incident, assuming that the details were not covered up.

By Member Of Outraged GCHS Parents  on  01.27.2017

Yeah, we Know how it works, but I for one, am sick of it!! ENOUGH of the hiding of wrongdoing in Gilmer County!!

By Gilmer Law is a Joke  on  01.27.2017

A few Teachers seem to feel all they have to do is hand the kids the keys to the classroom while they stay in the halls or in the Administrators office for a social hour. 
Every ugly situation we know of involving poor student behavior over the past six years has happened when students were not under the direct care of the adults who were supposed to be in charge.
Stay in the classroom and properly supervise these children.
This is where employee self regulation fails every time. Just observe the actions of our state appointed superintendent when you can find him.

By F.O.W.  on  01.29.2017

What is the official policy requiring adult supervision at all times at the GCHS?

How about teachers and others in the know helping us out with information?

Assuming that policy exists is it selectively enforced or not at all?

What is the penalty for violation of the policy and if it is not enforced who is at fault on up the line and what are the consequences if any?

The public deserves honest answers right now and it is better to get everything out in the open to stop the festering.

By Who Is In Charge Over GCHS  on  01.29.2017

(a) The teacher shall stand in the place of the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) in exercising authority over the school and has control of all students enrolled in the school from the time they reach the school until they have returned to their respective homes, except that where transportation of students is provided, the driver in charge of the school bus or other mode of transportation shall exercise such authority and control over the students while they are in transit to and from the school.

By Most Do It Well  on  01.30.2017

Does the second Gilmer High incident relate in any way to WV School Policy 4373, Chapter 4, Section 1?

If nothing happened Gilmer County should be informed of it by a highly trusted person to stop the building anger.

Truth always gets out and sooner always works better than later.

By Keep Diggin  on  01.30.2017

Is there an update on this issue?

By Be fair  on  02.04.2017

People in Gilmer County question who will evaluate Devono’s performance now.

Isn’t his contract held by the WVBE?

Will the new WVBE members appointed by Governor Justice conduct a fresh review of Devono’s performance?

The former WVBE people hired Devono, they evaluated him, they renewed his contract, and it is believed that they rewarded him with pay raises. Right?

The old WVBE guard is gone and the replacements are in charge. WV is pleased that help on the way finally arrived. Thank you Governor.

By Help On The Way Arrived  on  02.04.2017

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Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over his regular monthly motion day in Gilmer County on Monday, January 23, 2017.

•  Two fugitives from justice waived to return to their states, both being represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway:

Tshombe Miller waived to return to Ohio.

John Morytko waived to return to Texas

Authorities in those states have until 4 PM on Wednesday, February 01, 2017 to pick the inmates up at Central Regional Jail or they will be released.

•  Six juvenile matters were taken up by the Court.

•  Two civil matters were not ready for hearing and will be reset for a later date and time.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire came to Glenville on Tuesday, January 17th and indoctrinated the petit/magistrate jurors for the November term.

Judge Alsop had cancelled the November date for indoctrination due to their being no heat in the Court House at that time.

•  A civil trial was scheduled before Judge Facemire but the parties had reached a settlement so the jurors were excused after being indoctrinated.

•  Judge Facemire also heard 3 fugitive from justice cases with all 3 defendants being represented by Brian Bailey of Buckhannon.

1) Reymond Rivera-Morales waived to return to Pennsylvania.

2) Terry Joe Higdon waived to return to Georgia and

3) Andrew Parker waived to return to Ohio.

Authorities in those states have until 4 PM Thursday, January 26, 2017 to pick up the inmates or Central Regional Jail will release them.

Judge Facemire will return to Glenville on Monday, Jnauary 23rd for his regular monthly motion day.

Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 new Family Court Judge Steve Jones heard matters in Gilmer County Family Court.

•  He heard 8 matters with 3 cases having temporary orders entered.

•  One divorce was granted wherein Lorrie McCord (38) of Glenville, WV divorced Jackie McCord (51) of Burnsville, WV.

•  The remainder of the cases will have orders prepared by the child advocate bureau and are not available at this time.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Wednesday, January 04, 2017 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire heard a magistrate appeal and upheld the magistrate’s ruling.

•  Samantha Woolard was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton and must pay both magistrate costs and Circuit Court costs, including the court appointed attorney fees within 45 days of her release from jail.

She was sentenced to 6 months in Central Regional Jail with all but 30 days suspended and being placed on home confinement for the remainder of her sentence.

Judge Jack Alsop spent all day in Gilmer County on Monday, January 09, 2017 hearing cases on a 4 page docket.

•  One adoption was granted.

•  Seven juvenile matters were heard.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Joshua Rigsby

He was before the Court asking for reconsideration of sentence which Judge Alsop denied.

He was represented by Kevin Hughart of Sissonville.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Adam Couch

He was sentenced to a definite term of 40 years in the penitentiary for his former plea of guilty to second degree murder.

He will be given credit for all time served beginning September 19, 2015.

Couch had co-counsel of Kevin Hughart and Brian Bailey of Buckhannon.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Patty Reynolds

She had motions heard in her case and her trial remains on the docket.

She was represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Steven Crislip

He was before the court for a preliminary hearing on motion to revoke probation.

He will have a further hearing on Friday, February 03, 2017 at 10:45 AM.

Bryan Hinkle was appointed to represent him.

Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

On December 29, 2016 Family Court Judge Larry Whited was in Gilmer County.

    •  Stephanie Montgomery (62) of Glenville, WV divorced Bryan J. Montgomery (52) of Masontown, WV

Debate: Trump Will Throw Fuel On Our Criminal-Justice Dumpster Fire

David Meyer-Lindenberg and Andrew Fleischman  debated whether President Trump will be good for criminal justice reform. This is David’s argument. 

Donald Trump may not have taken office yet, but that isn’t stopping his enemies from blaming him for everything under the sun. His most innocuous comments, like a “Happy Hanukkah” tweet, are now routinely taken as proof of something sinister. With all the gloomy, bad and outright apocalyptic press he’s getting, it’s increasingly hard to distinguish between valid criticism of Trump, his cabinet or what little we know of his agenda and partisan outrage.

But even those willing to engage with Trump on honest terms have to confront the fact that we don’t know what he’s going to do. He says contradictory things about his plans. He leaves important issues unaddressed. And when he and his team do set forth an agenda – as with immigration policy, where he committed to deporting illegals en masse, at least before he walked back that promise in the last days of his campaign – he says little to nothing about how he’s going to implement it.

The Free Press WV

Immigration is a good example. As Fault Lines contributor Mario Machado points out, Trump’s promise to step up deportation beyond what Obama, the biggest deporter of illegal aliens in the nation’s history, has done is probably impossible to keep. There’s only so much ICE can do – so much money, so many detention facilities – and far too many undocumented people in the United States.

And then there’s criminal justice, the red-headed stepchild of sane policymaking and a favorite of politicians looking to reassure a worried public that they’re “doing something.” By any objective criterion, America’s never been safer. But voters don’t believe it: over half now say crime got worse in the past ten years.

In fact, the decline in violent and property crime that began in the early ‘90s continued through Obama’s time in office, and campaign-stump claims that we’re in the middle of a new crime wave are provably wrong. But true or not, a belief held by sufficiently many voters constitutes political capital, and Trump, savvy politician that he is, may very well decide to use it.

So what could Trump do to fight crime? One obvious choice would be to make hay of the outrage du jour. In the ‘90s, it was crack cocaine, which at least had the advantage of being a real phenomenon. Today, people are panicking over a fictitious college-rape epidemic, citing made-up statistics and putting liars on pedestals in an effort to persuade Congress and the body politic that American campuses are now more dangerous to women than Somalia is.

There’s also been a push to criminalize “revenge porn,” the sharing of intimate photos of someone without their consent. This may or may not be a deplorable thing to do: advocates of revenge porn criminalization have proposed laws that’d make it a crime to share Anthony Weiner’s dick pics, and, when this was pointed out to them, suggested “public interest” safeguards that don’t work. But the really insurmountable obstacle to a ban is that revenge porn is protected by the First Amendment. Unless and until the Supreme Court holds that it falls into a recognized category of historically unprotected speech, for which there are no obvious candidates, or, even less likely, creates a new category, laws against revenge porn are unconstitutional.

So what’s Trump going to do? Will he care that claims of serial campus rape are fraudulent, or that colleges, under threat from Obama’s DoE, have set up star chambers for students accused of sex crimes, denying basic due process to the young people in their charge? Does he know that the Constitution protects something as unpopular as revenge porn, and if not, will it interest him once he’s been told?

The signs aren’t good. Trump showed precious little concern for the Constitution when he joined Hillary Clinton in endorsing a ban on gun ownership for people on the government’s no-fly list. He recently called for the prosecution of people who burn the flag. Yes, his enemies are often wrong to call his plans unconstitutional: he wouldn’t be violating the Emoluments Clause by refusing to put his businesses in a blind trust, for instance, and it’d be fine for him to keep Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. under the plenary power doctrine. But the limits of his knowledge and lack of appreciation for the nation’s founding document are pretty apparent.

When it comes to campus rape, he may very well do the wrong thing, defy BuzzFeed’s expectations and buy into the claims. And why not? For one, his immigration proposal suggests he’s not one to get bogged down in the details, like whether what he wants to do can actually be done (or, in this case, comports with reality.) For another, stories of rape on campus are by their very nature compelling. Remember Mattress Girl? Rolling Stone’s Jackie, and the wrongful outrage that ensued? Who wouldn’t want to address something so bad?

By contrast, the victims of the campus-rape witch hunt – the wrongfully accused, those denied their due process rights, college students expelled and hounded out of polite society over allegations that’d never stand up in court – are a lot less visible. And because the harms they suffer, including loss of education, career prospects and lifelong branding as a sexual predator, are more abstract than allegations of rape, they tend to be less sympathetic.

Why wouldn’t Trump be moved to fix the rape epidemic, notwithstanding the fact that it doesn’t exist? Who cares if a few people get stepped on in the process? Will it be Trump, who, if his history of abusing eminent domain to get his way is anything to go on, has no qualms about breaking a few eggs to make an omelet?

Finally, even if Trump does defy expectations and tries to put an end to the insanity, he’ll run into resistance from the remains of the Obama camp. President Obama just appointed Catherine Lhamon, the architect of DoE’s campus star-chamber system, to head up the Commission on Civil Rights. In other words, the woman whose signature policy resulted in the denial of civil liberties to countless college students will soon be responsible for advising Trump on whether Americans’ civil liberties are being violated.

Will Trump follow in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps and appoint someone new to the post? That’d take initiative and commitment to reform, two areas in which it’s reasonable to suppose Trump will be lacking. And if he doesn’t get rid of her, she’ll be free to play the Red Witch to Trump’s Stannis Baratheon and whisper in his ear.

There are those who claim Trump will be the best thing ever for criminal justice reform, perhaps because he may at last act on the Koch brothers’ advice and bring about federal mens rea reform.* But every sign – everything from Trump’s record to what we know of his personality, from public hysteria about crime to Obama’s legacy minions to Trump’s pick for Attorney General, a man who never met a civil asset forfeiture program he didn’t like – points the other way.

Realistically, the best we can hope for is a Trump presidency that’s less awful on criminal justice issues than his predecessor’s. And the only good thing to say about the mess we’re in is that that’s a pretty low bar.

*Of course, Trump may be too busy throwing the Kochs’ guests off his golf courses to care about something so eminently sane and overdue.

West Virginia Is No Longer a Judicial Hellhole

The Free Press WV

For over a decade, the American Tort Reform Foundation labeled West Virginia a “Judicial Hellhole.” We earned that label because liberal activist judges and personal injury lawyers promoted a culture of lawsuit abuse. Our legal system was out of step with other states when it came to the fair and impartial treatment of litigants.

Thanks to the strong bipartisan leadership of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Senate President Bill Cole, House Speaker Tim Armstead and the coalition of legislators who acted boldly during the past two legislative sessions to address our state’s notorious legal system, the American Tort Reform Association no longer labels us a “Judicial Hellhole.”

The bipartisan legal reforms passed during two legislative sessions will help make our state more attractive to job creators. They will help existing small businesses that are growing and may hire more employees. These reforms will provide more opportunities for West Virginians and boost our economy.

Despite these recent legislative achievements, there are a handful of much-needed legal reforms that would keep West Virginia off of future “Judicial Hellhole” lists.

West Virginia continues to be the only state in the country that does not provide a right of appeal for either civil or criminal litigants. Our state is one of nine that does not have an intermediate court of appeals. Our Legislature should act boldly and establish an intermediate court of appeals during the legislative session.

Legislators should reform our state’s medical monitoring system to require individuals to exhibit an injury to receive a medical monitoring award, and they should ensure medical monitoring awards are placed in a medical trust and only used for medical monitoring and health care expenses. We should not permit parties who receive a medical monitoring award to use that money to buy a new pickup truck or all-terrain vehicle.

Our Legislature should reform judgment interest rates by setting them at the Fifth Reserve District’s secondary market interest rate instead of an arbitrary rate determined by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Additionally, permitting seat belt admissibility will allow members of a jury to hear whether parties involved in an automobile accident were wearing their seat belt, which is the law.

In addition to the bipartisan legal reforms passed in recent years, this year’s “Judicial Hellhole” report applauds West Virginia voters for electing conservative Beth Walker to the Supreme Court of Appeals. With Walker’s commitment to the rule of law and Justice Allen Loughry II serving as Chief Justice in the coming year, we are optimistic fairness and balance will return to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

We applaud Attorney General Morrisey, Senate President Cole, House Speaker Armstead and every member of the West Virginia Legislature who supported the much-needed legal reforms that became law over the past two years. West Virginia is no longer a “Judicial Hellhole” because lawmakers and voters alike have stood strong against lawsuit abuse.

Roman Stauffer - Executive Director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

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