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U.S. Judge Puts Ex-WV School Chief’s Suit on Hold while He Considers Transfer to State Court

The Gilmer Free Press

A federal judge has put the former state school superintendent’s wrongful termination lawsuit on hold while he considers whether to send it back to state court.

The U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston entered an order Tuesday staying proceedings.

Jorea Marple sued the state Board of Education in Kanawha County Circuit Court in February, claiming that she was unlawfully fired and that members of the board secretly plotted to oust her.

The board had the case case transferred to federal court, arguing that Marple alleged her federal due process rights were violated.

Marple wants the case removed from federal court to focus more on alleged state law violations.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 09.04.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry Whited heard cases in Gilmer County on Wednesday, September 04, 2013.

•  One domestic violence was denied

•  One domestic violence was transferred to Braxton County

•  Genetic testing was ordered in one case

•  2 modification petitions had temporary orders entered in them

•  One divorce was continued to Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM

•  An allocation petition was dismissed

•  2 hearings will have orders prepared by the Child Advocate Bureau

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 09.09.13

The Gilmer Free Press

•  On Thursday, September 05, 2013 Judge Jack Alsop appeared by video conference from Webster County where the defendant, Teresa Riggs and her attorney, James Clevenger also were.

Gerald Hough, prosecuting attorney was in Gilmer County Circuit Courtroom and Riggs entered a plea of guilty to count 1 of a 2 count indictment charging her with 3rd offense-shoplifting.

Count 2 will be dismissed as part of the plea bargain agreement and sentencing was set for Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM following a presentence investigation by the probation officer.


On Friday, September 06, 2013 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire heard several matters in Gilmer County.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Joran Biscombe

He was before the Court for further hearing on revocation of probation.

More testimony was taken that day and the Judge revoked his probation and sent him for 60 days Diagnosis and Classification before he is sentenced on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM.

Judge Facemire also ordered he have a substance abuse evaluation.

Biscombe was represented by David Hart of Beckley.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Kimberly Murdaugh

She was also in Court for a revocation of probation hearing.

She was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton and admitted to the allegations in the petition filed against her by the prosecutor.

Judge Facemire revoked her probation and sentenced her to 1-5 in the penitentiary, suspended all but 10 days of the sentence which she reported to serve this day.

He also placed her on 4 more years of probation and she also must perform 100 hours of community service per year of probation.

She was also ordered to obtain her G.E.D. and pay $11.00 probation fee per month as well as make restitution within 12 months.

She also must undergo a substance abuse evaluation and have a 9:30 PM curfew each day.

She was further allowed to leave the state with her infant child to keep the family together for her fiancé’s employment.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Randall Lambey

He was before the Court for sentencing upon his misdemeanor plea to failure to provide child support for a minor.

He was sentenced to 1 year in Central Regional Jail, but it was suspended and he was granted 3 years’ probation.

There was no fine imposed but he must pay court costs and keep current on his child support and pay at least $50.00 per month toward his arrears.

He was also ordered to perform 150 hours community service per year of probation.

He was represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Hollie McCraw

She was before the Court for motion to suspend further sentence.

Judge Facemire felt she was “putting the cart before the horse” as she had not completed her drug treatment program yet.

He stated he had seen defendants re-offend with only 2 days left of treatment and/or probation so he said if she completes her program on Thursday, October 03, 2013 (which he ordered the probation officer to determine) then she will be released until further hearing Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM when he will rule on suspending the remainder of her sentence.

She must be drug tested weekly until that time.

She was represented by David Karickhoff.


Two juveniles were heard and reset as follows:

•  One for Thursday, November 07, 2013 at 10:00 AM

•  One for Thursday, November 22, 2013 at 10:15 AM


On Monday, September 09, 2013 Judge Jack Alsop conducted his regular monthly motion day in Glenville.


•  Kevin Aguilar, a fugitive from justice, waived extradition back to Maryland.

Authorities in Maryland have until 4 PM Wednesday, September 18, 2013 to pick him up at Central Regional Jail or he will be released.

Christopher Moffatt of Charleston represented Aguilar.


Seven juvenile cases were before the Court and some of them reset as follows:

•  One for Monday, December 09, 2013 at 9:00 AM

•  One for Monday, December 09, 2013 at 9:10 AM

•  One for Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 11:30 AM

•  One for Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM

•  One for Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM

•  2 other cases were not reset at this time.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Rodney Singleton

He was before the Court for further arraignment and he appeared with his hired counsel, Jerome Novobilksi from Clay County.

He entered pleas of not guilty to all 4 counts of his indictment and asked for his trial to be continued to the November, 2013 term of Court.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Mark Taylor

He was before the Court with his attorney, Daniel Grindo of Gassaway.

He asked for a copy of the c.d. in the case.

Judge Alsop ordered he may view it in the Sheriff’s Office and if he gets a copy burned there is a protective order entered prohibiting it from being distributed to the public.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Robert Hacker

He was before the court asking for a new court appointed attorney.

Judge Alsop granted the motion and relieved Grindo as his attorney and appointed Steve Nanners of Buckhannon to represent Hacker.

His case was also continued to the November term.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 08.23.13

The Gilmer Free Press

One divorce was granted on Friday, August 23, 2013 as follows:

Susan Ash (23) of Glenville, WV divorced James Edward Ash (20) of Glenville, WV.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 08.28.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday, August 26, 2013 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over his regular monthly motion day in Glenville.


Four fugitives from justice waived extradition back to their states.

•  Daniel Banks agreed to return to OHIO.

•  James Spencer agreed to return to Kentucky.

•  Travarus Gray agreed to return to Virginia.

•  Joe Wilson Jr. agreed to return to Michigan.

All 4 fugitives were represented by Dennis Willett of Buckhannon and authorities in their states have until 4 PM on Thursday, September 05, 2013 to pick up the defendants or they will be released from the Central Regional Jail.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Shanna Johnson

She appeared before the Court for revocation of probation.

She admitted the allegations and took responsibility for her actions.

She was represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.

Judge Facemire told her he was troubled by her case and ordered her sent for 60 days diagnosis and classification and to be returned to CENTRAL REGIONAL JAIL pending sentencing on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Joran Biscombe

He was also before the Court for revocation of his probation.

Judge Facemire took testimony in his case and continued the hearing to Friday, September 06, 2013 at 9:00 AM.

Biscombe was represented by his hired attorney David Hart.


•  State of West Virginia vs. James Roberson

He also had a revocation hearing and was denied probation again, after previously being readmitted to probation in 2011.

The Court believed he had not learned anything from his mistakes and that he had a serious addiction problem and sentenced Roberson to 1-5 years in the penitentiary and to pay court costs within 18 months of his release.

He was represented by Kevin Hughart of Sissonville.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Kimberly Murdaugh

She was also before the Court for revocation of her probation, which hearing was rescheduled for Friday, September 06, 2013 at 9:00 AM.

Murdaugh is represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton who was unable to attend this hearings due to illness.


Seven juvenile matters were heard and reset as follows:

•  One for Monday, October 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM.

•  One for Monday, September 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM.

•  Three for Monday, October 28, 2013 at 9:10 AM.

•  One for Friday, September 06, 2013 at 9:00 AM.

•  One for Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Jeremy Harris

He was represented by Clinton Bischoff.

He was before the Court for sentencing.

Judge Facemire sent him for 60 days diagnosis and classification and set sentencing for Friday, November 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Randall Lambey

He was before the Court for sentencing.

However, his attorney, Christina Flanigan, had filed a motion to continue due to not receiving the pre-sentence investigation in time to go over it with her client.

Judge Facemire granted her motion and reset sentencing for Friday, September 06, 2013 at 9:00 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Holly McCraw

She was before the Court for motion to suspend sentencing.

However, her hearing was continued due to the illness of her attorney.

It is now scheduled for Friday, September 06, 2013 at 9:00 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Virginia Richards

She was before the Court for probation revocation, and she admitted the allegations.

She was then sentenced to 1-10 years in the penitentiary, with all but 10 days suspended which she shall self-report to CENTRAL REGIONAL JAIL on Monday, September 02, 2013 to begin serving.

She will then be readmitted to probation.

She was represented by Willett standing in for Christina Flanigan from Buckhannon.


•  A hearing was held in a magistrate appeal which the Judge directed the Clerk to get him a recording of the magistrate court hearing and then he will make a ruling.


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


Judge Jack AIsop heard 3 juvenile matters in Gilmer County Circuit Court on Tuesday, August 27, 2013.

•  One was reset for Monday, September 09, 2013 at 10:45 AM and Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM.

•  The second was reset for Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:00 PM.

•  The last one was reset for Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 3:00PM.


•  Judge Alsop returned on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 and granted a permanent injunction prohibiting sale of certain items in the case of State of West Virginia vs. John Burrows and the business of Charmed One Emporium located in Glenville.

Burrows was represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon.


•  A juvenile matter was heard and further hearing scheduled for October 15, 2013 at 11:15 AM.

Gilmer County Woman Settles Lawsuit Against Nonprofit

The Gilmer Free Press

WV Record Reports:

A Gilmer County woman has settled her lawsuit that alleged a nonprofit agency did a poor job on her home improvement project.

Janet Pritt sued Community Resources, Inc., in Gilmer County Circuit Court on January 17, claiming the agency was negligent in attempting to improve the weatherization and efficiency of her home.

A dismissal order noting a confidential settlement was signed July 17 by Judge Richard A. Facemire.

In 2010, Pritt contracted with Community Resources for home improvement reasons.

“(T)he work was to consist of improving the weatherization and efficiency of the home,” the complaint says. “(T)he Defendant and their agents did perform work on the Plaintiff’s home during 2010 and into 2011, with the last work being performed on the 18th day of January 2011.

“(T)he work performed on the home was negligently performed and failed to comply with the relevant workmanlike and industry standards for such construction.”

Community Resources failed to accomplish the improvements it was contracted for and caused additional damages to the home, the lawsuit says.

Medical conditions from which Pritt suffer were exacerbated by the stress and interruption in her life caused by Community Resources, she claims.

She was seeking damages for repairs to her home, annoyance, inconvenience, mental anguish and “worsening of her health,” as well as punitive damages.

Pritt was represented by Daniel R. Grindo of Gassaway, while Community Resources was represented by Aaron C. Boone of Bowles Rice in Parkersburg.

~~  John O’Brien - WV Record ~~

Gilmer County Family Court Report - 08.21.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Wednesday, August 21, 2013 Family Court Judge Larry S. Whited heard cases in Gilmer County Family Court.


Four divorces were granted as follows:

•  Charmaine Belton (55) of Logan. WV divorced David Wayne Belton (62) of Sand Fork, WV.

•  Samantha Gail Lloyd (30) of Glenville, WV divorced Brian Mark Lloyd (33) of Exchange, WV.

•  Brenda McAuliffe (48) of Glenville, WV divorced William P. McAuliffe, Sr. (43) of Elyria, OH.

•  Crystal Murphy (41) of Normantown, WV divorced Michael Murphy (42) of Glenville, WV.

•  One divorce was dismissed.

•  One contempt proceeding was dismissed.

Spencer Woman Who Admitted Embezzling $800K from Employer Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud

The Gilmer Free Press

A woman who admitted embezzling more than $800,000 from her employer in Spencer has pleaded guilty to mail fraud.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says 59-year-old Rosalie J. Seabolt of Spencer entered the plea Wednesday in federal court in Charleston.

She faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on November 21, 2013.

Seabrook was the bookkeeper at Kimco Inc., an oil and gas company.

She worked at Kimco and a related company, Roy G. Hildreth and Son, Inc., for more than 25 years.

According to prosecutors, from September 2000 through December 2012 Seabrook wrote unauthorized checks to herself from Kimco’s bank account.

She indicated in the company’s books that the checks were written to Hildreth as a business expense.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 08.13.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Tuesday, August 13, 2013:

•  Judge Jack Alsop held a bench trial in the case of John Jordan vs. Victor Jordan.

Plaintiffs were represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway and Mike Asbury of Clay was guardian ad litem for one of the respondents.

After hearing the matter Judge Alsop ruled that the terms and conditions of the land contract had been satisfied and petitioner was entitled to the relief requested.

He further approved and ordered the transfer of the real property and appointed Asbury as special commissioner to execute the necessary deed to effectuate this transfer.

The matter was then completed and retired from the active docket of the Court.


•  A civil magistrate appeal was heard and upheld by the Court between Charlotte Yeager and Roxanne McAtee, both pro se litigants.

Gilmer County Family Court Report - 08.16.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Wednesday, August 14, 2013:

•  One domestic violence petition was dismissed.

•  Three hearings were continued by the Court.

•  One final divorce hearing was dismissed due to neither party appearing in Court.

•  Two other cases had paperwork filed in them, but no orders were entered.

•  One objection to relocation case was heard but no order was entered.


•  One divorce was granted on Friday, August 16, 2013 between Roger Minigh (64) of Glenville, WV divorcing Debra L. Minigh (57) of Clarksburg, WV.

Recent Court Ruling on Flood Plains Has Counties Scrambling

The Gilmer Free Press

A recent Circuit Court ruling involving an oil and gas company and affected landowners over a floodplain drilling permit has some counties reviewing their ordinances.

Judge Tim Sweeney ruled that parts of Doddridge County’s floodplain ordinance were unconstitutional and county officials have since adopted a new plan.

Terri Jo Bennett, building permit and floodplain coordinator for Upshur County, said they, like Doddridge County, use the state model.

“Ours is going to have to be revisited and revised to meet new requirements we weren’t aware of at that time, just like Doddridge County’s was,” Bennett said.

Report: WV Supreme Court Filings Reach Lowest Levels in More than 25 Years

The Gilmer Free Press

The number of filings in the state Supreme Court has reached its lowest level in more than 25 years.

A report presented to a legislative committee on Monday says there were about 1,500 cases filed in 2012.

That is down from an all-time high of nearly 4,000 cases in 2007.

The court’s clerk told lawmakers that legislative reforms and privatization of the state’s workers compensation system led to the caseload decrease.

The 446 workers’ compensation appeals filed last year comprised 29% of the court’s caseload, which is the lowest percentage since 1986.

Rory Perry told lawmakers the court is able to keep pace with the number of incoming cases.

Some lawmakers have suggested creating an intermediary appeals court.

WV Supreme Court Mandates e-Filing to Reduce Court Errors

The Gilmer Free Press

The state Supreme Court said Thursday it is creating a centralized e-filing system for West Virginia’s 55 circuit clerks as it tries to fix widespread problems with record-keeping that caused the mistaken release of an inmate earlier this year.

An eight-page order issued by Chief Justice Brent Benjamin said that neither Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster nor Circuit Clerk Cathy Gatson violated any ethical rules. But the accidental release of an inmate in March highlighted widespread flaws in a nonsensical filing system that lawyers call an “error magnet” and that Benjamin said is not limited to the state’s largest county.

“Simply warning any judge or staff members to be careful is clearly not adequate to fix future problems if the systems themselves are so abstruse, so non-transparent and so needlessly complicated that they almost generate a certain level of mistakes,“ the order says. “The court wishes to remedy that bigger problem.“

Benjamin said Software Systems of Morgantown will run the new system, starting with 14 pilot counties that will be online within the next year. That company will partner with On-Line Information Services of Mobile, Ala., and work with the courts and the State Bar to train lawyers before e-filing becomes mandatory.

Currently, four vendors serve the 55 counties with different systems, but Benjamin said all will eventually use a universal operating system. The state will fund installation, maintenance and operation, he said, and the court will appoint a committee to create and improve the system.

In March, kidnapping suspect Jeremy Carter was released from the South Central Regional Jail on an order that Webster said she didn’t mean to issue. Rather, she was trying to dismiss a related but separate motion for a psychiatric evaluation.

Benjamin’s report says that investigators found the clerk’s office changed case numbers in keeping with local practice “that is not supported or authorized by statute, court rule or even a provision of the Circuit Court Clerk’s Manual.“

When Webster learned of the erroneous release, she promptly ordered the suspect re-arrested.

But the report says it was part of a larger pattern of problems: Between February 28 and March 08, Webster wrote 28 orders, some of which were issued to correct mistakes in previous orders.

Interviews with circuit clerk staff make it “abundantly clear” the judge didn’t understand the case-numbering system, and after speaking to Gatson, Benjamin wrote, “the authors of this report cannot help but be sympathetic to Judge Webster since the system is abstruse and its numbering of cases ... counterintuitive.“

Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury determined Webster’s actions don’t merit a complaint to the office of disciplinary counsel.

“Indeed, her goal in issuing the cluster of orders was laudable: She wanted to update her docket, clearing it of extraneous matters,“ the report says.

“It is somewhat understandable why Judge Webster did not comprehend the synecdochic nature of the numbering system _ where any single number that is part of the list of numbers contained in a single case implies the whole case,“ it says. “It is not a written policy.“

First to participate will be Berkeley, Braxton, Cabell, Hampshire, Harrison, Jefferson, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Morgan, Ohio, Randolph, Upshur and Wood counties.

Gilmer County Family Court Report - 08.07.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry S. Whited heard cases in Glenville on Wednesday, August 07, 2013.

•  He heard 2 contempt petitions for the Child Advocate Bureau.

•  He entered a temporary support Order in one case.

•  He dismissed an allocation.

•  He entered an order for genetic testing in one case.

•  He continued a final divorce hearing until 1:00 PM on Wednesday, September 04, 2013.

•  He entered a temporary order in a modification proceeding.

•  He dismissed another modification hearing.

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