Court News

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 07.09.12

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday, July 09, 2012 Chief Judge Alsop appeared for his regular monthly motion day and ran through a 2 page docket and left Gilmer County before Noon.

Five juvenile cases were heard and reset as follows:

•  Thursday, August 09, 2012 at 11:00 AM

•  Monday, August 13, 2012 at 9:25, 9:45 and 11:45 AM

•  Tuesday, October 09, 2012 at 9:15 and 9:30 AM

•  State of West Virginia vs. Joshua Hoover

He was sentenced to 1-5 in the pen for forgery, 1-10 for uttering, and 1-5 for conspiracy running consecutively for 3-25 years.
However, the Judge suspended the sentence and placed him on home confinement to allow him to continue working and supporting his infant child.

He was fined $2,000.00 and must pay home confinement fees and court costs.

All court costs and fine must be paid within 3-12 months.

Probation was denied and he also must pay $750.00 restitution.

Hoover was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton, WV.

•  One name change was granted.

•  One adoption was finalized.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Patrick Collins

Sentencing was reset for Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:00 PM.

He is represented by Kevin Duffy of Clay, WV.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Catherine McGhee

She was set for the bonding company to appear and explain why she failed to appear at the last scheduled hearing.

However, they had asked for a continuance and it is now reset for Monday, August 13, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

On Tuesday, July 10, 2012, Judge Richard A. Facemire appearing and indoctrinated the petit/magistrate jurors for the July term.

•  Several cases set for July 03 and 05, 2012 were heard on this day due to the Courthouse being closed for the entire week due to the storm.

•  At 8:55 AM Judge Facemire indoctrinated the petit/magistrate jury and excused them to report back as directed by letter from the Circuit Clerk.


Several jury trials are already scheduled to be tried by Judge Alsop:

•  State of West Virginia vs. A juvenile  -  Thursday, August 16, 2012 Alsop

•  State of West Virginia vs. John Carder  -  Tuesday, August 21, 2012

•  Civil case - Murphy vs. Mitchell, et al  -  Thursday, August 23, 2012

•  State of West Virginia vs. A juvenile  -  Wednesday, August 29, 2012

•  Civil Case - Langford vs. Bush  -  Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Several jury trials are already scheduled to be tried by Judge Facemire:

•  1st - State of West Virginia vs. Charles Emerson  -  Tuesday, August 28, 2012

•  2nd - State of West Virginia vs. Tonya Ramsey  -  Tuesday, August 28, 2012

•  3rd - State of West Virginia vs. Jimmie G. Stewart  -  Tuesday, August 28, 2012

•  State of West Virginia vs. Gary Farrell  -  Tuesday, September 18, 2012

•  When magistrate trials are set jurors will receive a letter regarding those trials.

•  Four juvenile matters were heard, 2 were disposed of, 1 was taken under advisement, and one reset for Friday, August 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Sundee Honaker

She pled to delivery of Schedule I controlled substance and will be sentenced at 9:30 AM on Monday, September 24, 2012.

She was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton, WV.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Alicia Wine

She pled to 1 count of forgery and had 1 counts of her indictment dismissed.

She will also be sentenced on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 9:45 AM.

She was represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville, WV.

Two criminal cases were rescheduled for pretrial and motions to be heard:

•  State of West Virginia vs. Jimmie Stewart

This case will be heard on Tuesday, August 07, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Catherine McGhee

This case will have a pretrial hearing on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

She is represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway, WV.

It Is about Time: West Virginia PSC Developing Electric Reliability Targets

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia Public Service Commission and electric utilities are wrangling over proposed service reliability targets that the companies would have to meet.

The proposed targets stem from a Public Service Commission investigation of widespread power outages during a major snowstorm in December 2009.

They are based on three indices that grade how frequently electrical systems go down, how long those systems are down, and how long customers are without power.

The utilities say the targets proposed by the PSC’s staff are too stringent and could not be achieved.

In a recent filing, Mon Power and Potomac Edison say the PSC staff’s proposal contains several references to requiring individual circuits to meet the targets.

The companies say that would require major changes to their system that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, including new substations and rebuilding existing circuits.

“We’re still working our way through that proceeding to try to reach a point of agreement,“ said Appalachian Power spokeswoman Jeri Matheney told the Charleston Gazette, “We need targets that, if not achieved now, are achievable at some point.“

PSC staff and the Consumer Advocate Division say little, if any improvements would result from the utilities’ proposals, which are less stringent that the PSC staff’s targets.

“Very little, if any improvement over the current issues causing outages will change and the infrastructure will continue to deteriorate,“ Donald E. Walker, a technical analyst with the PSC staff’s engineering division, wrote in a recent filing.

Another filing by David A. Sade, the Consumer Advocate Division’s attorney, noted Walker’s report.

“Maintenance of, if not simply catching up to the status quo, should not be the ‘target’ which satisfies the requirements of the commission’s ‘electric rules’ and best protects utility customers from the disaster which befell them in the winter of 2009-2010,“ Sade wrote.

The filings were submitted before the June 29, 2012 storm and smaller subsequent storms that knocked out thousands of customers’ power across the state.

Lewis County Grand Jury Presents 16 Indictments – July 2012


The Lewis County Grand Jury has returned indictments against 16 people in July 2012 term:

•  Derick Eugene Ables, age 20 of Jane Lew, WV was indicted on two count of sexual assault in the first degree.

•  Thomas William Bonnell, Jr. , age 37 of Weston, WV was indicted on one count of fleeing from an officer, one count of breaking and entering, one count of grand larceny and one count of conspiracy.

•  Dezarae Nalani Bowyer, age 25 of Weston, WV was indicted on two counts of fraudulent use of assess device.

•  Angela Jean Burkhart, age 43 of Weston, WV was indicted on four counts of welfare fraud.

•  Eric Justin Cash, age 31 of Jane Lew, WV was indicted on seven counts of refusing to provide accurate sex offender registration information.

•  Ethan C. Goldsborough, age 20 of Adrian, WV was indicted on one count of breaking and entering and one count of malicious wounding.

•  Catherine Michelle Hayhurst, age 20 of Weston, WV was indicted on two counts of fraudulent use of assess device.

•  Michael Meadows, age late 20s of Rosedale, WV was indicted on one count of breaking and entering, one count of grand larceny and one count of conspiracy.

•  Bernard Lee Metz, age 22 of Jane Lew, WV was indicted on one count of breaking and entering, one count of destruction of property and one count of conspiracy.

•  Alex S. Parker, age 19 of Weston, WV was indicted on one count of breaking and entering, one count of grand larceny and one count of conspiracy.

•  Shane Daniel Posey, age 38 of Burnsville, WV was indicted on two counts of refusing to provide accurate sex offender registration information.

•  Amanda D. Pullin, age 25 of Orlando, WV was indicted on one count of breaking and entering, one count of grand larceny and one count of conspiracy.

•  Jimmy Richards, age 67 of Jane Lew, WV was indicted on three counts of sexual assault in the first degree and three counts of display to a minor of obscene matter.

•  Tracy Linn Riffle, age 33 of Buckhannon, WV was indicted on one count of welfare fraud.

•  Joshua T. Wilson, age 27 of Frametown, WV was indicted on one count of breaking and entering, one count of grand larceny and one count of conspiracy.

•  Marcus W. Wilt, age 20 of Weston, WV was indicted on one count of breaking and entering, one count of destruction of property and one count of conspiracy.

Doddridge County Grand Jury Indictments – July 2012


The Doddridge County grand jury has returned indictments against nine people in the July 2012 term:

•  James America, age 55 of West Union, WV was indicted on one count of third or subsequent offense driving while license suspended or revoked for driving under the influence of alcohol.

•  Tonalea Lahneen Chapman, age 52 of Salem, WV was indicted on one count of transporting a controlled substance onto the grounds of the North Central Regional Jail.

•  Justin Travis Flesher, age 23 of West Union, WV was indicted on one count of breaking and entering, one count of conspiracy to commit breaking and entering and one count of petit larceny.

•  Shane Michael Gray, age 38 of Greenwood, WV was indicted on one count of escape.

•  Ryan P. Lavoie, age 27 of Salem, WV was indicted on two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

•  Thomas Jay Smith, age 41 of West Union, WV was indicted on one count of accessory after the fact.

•  Amy Stickle, age 34 of Clarksburg, WV was indicted on one count of transporting a controlled substance onto the grounds of the North Central Regional Jail.

•  James Blair Strahin, Jr. , age 42 of Salem, WV was indicted on one count of burglary and one count of breaking and entering.

•  Alicia Williams, age 29 of Salem, WV was indicted on one count of entering without breaking and one count of petit larceny.

Analysis: Legal Eagles Redefine Healthcare Winners, Losers

By saying the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not allow Congress to penalize people for “inactivity” - such as someone’s decision not to purchase health insurance - the thinking went, the court opened the door to challenges to laws that might attempt to do the same.

But over the past few days a more nuanced interpretation of the ruling’s impact has begun to emerge in discussions on legal blogs, among lawyers and in the country’s ivory towers. In this conversation, voices on the left and right are saying the ruling on the Commerce Clause issue, no matter how important, is largely academic. It won’t affect any current laws, won’t have an impact on any pending lawsuits, and in the unlikely event that the opinion spurs any immediate legal challenges, those challenges will likely fail.

“I’ve yet to see a list of vulnerable statutes, and I don’t think there are any,“ said Jonathan Adler, a self-described libertarian and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, who on Thursday characterized the decision as “losing the battle but winning the war.“ In Adler’s view, imposing a new limit on Congress’ Commerce Clause powers is a victory, even if it isn’t “the first step toward reversing the New Deal.“

The Gilmer Free Press

The conservatives’ about-face echoes the experience of liberals who initially feared that the Commerce Clause was the healthcare law’s ticking time bomb, which could unleash legal attacks on both existing and future legislation. Instead, in recent days, progressives are coming to realize the Commerce Clause section is no slam dunk for the right.

The day the ruling came down, Neal Katyal, the former acting U.S. Solicitor General, warned in an op-ed article in the New York Times that the Commerce Clause holding could jeopardize some future federal legislation. The opinion was only the third time in 80 years that the high court struck down a federal law for violating the Commerce Clause, he noted. But by Tuesday, in an interview with Reuters, Katyal acknowledged that the effect may be delayed and that he didn’t see any litigation coming out of the holding in the near term.

Geoffrey Stone, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and a member of the National Advisory Council for the American Civil Liberties Union, had a similar reading. “The practical impact is, it won’t have much impact,“ said Stone. The conservatives “won an argument, but it’s not an argument that’s likely to occur very often. And when it can, it’ll be circumvented like it was here,“ he said.

It is fairly unusual for a ruling to have a delayed dramatic effect. The best example that Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar could come up with was Marbury v. Madison in 1803. In that ruling, the high court established the concept of judicial review - the practice that allows courts to uphold or invalidate legislative and executive action - but it took 60 years for the court to ever use that power, said Amar.


Long before the Affordable Care Act made its divisive national debut, the Commerce Clause had been a source of friction between the left and right. Starting in the 1820s, Congress had relied on the provision to pass laws addressing issues ranging from interstate transportation to worker safety to civil rights. But while liberals celebrated the use of the Commerce Clause to expand protections for citizens, the provision became a bete noire for conservatives, who viewed it as an instrument for government overreach. In the 1930s and ‘40s, Congress relied on the Commerce Clause to bulletproof everything from federal labor laws to milk price regulations.

Although conservatives tried many times after the New Deal to narrow the reach of the Commerce Clause, it wasn’t until 1995, in U.S. v. Lopez, that they were successful. In that case, the court ruled that the Commerce Clause did not give Congress the right to ban the carrying of guns in school zones. There have been a handful of cases since then seeking to rein in the Commerce Clause, though none as definitive as the healthcare ruling.

Challengers conceivably could bring lawsuits under the newly redefined provision, but experts say it’s unlikely they would hold up in court.

The Gilmer Free Press

David Driesen, a law professor at Syracuse University College of Law, writes for an environmental blog run by the Center for Progressive Reform. In a post on Friday, he raised the prospect of challenges brought under the Clean Air Act, which gives the government the authority to require companies to install pollution control devices. Asked Driesen: What would happen if a business argued that the Clean Air Act was forcing it to purchase a product in violation of the healthcare ruling?

Not much, he concluded. Such a challenge would be unlikely to topple environmental regulations because the pollution-control requirement would not be the same as regulating inactivity. Rather, it would regulate an ongoing activity -pollution-generating production - even as it required companies to purchase a product, Driesen wrote.

In a slightly more fanciful scenario, Andrew Koppelman, a liberal law professor at Northwestern University, posited an example of a deadbeat dad who could mount a creative legal argument to dodge child-support payments under interstate enforcement laws. The dad could challenge the federal enforcement laws on grounds that they penalize him for failing to pay for something.

That argument, too, would likely fail, suggested Andrew Pincus, a partner with the national law firm Mayer Brown who has argued in front of the Supreme Court many times. The deadbeat dad already had a legal obligation to support the child, and the court would simply be enforcing an obligation that already existed.


Meanwhile, yet another group of legal thinkers pontificating in the blogosphere has pronounced the will-it-or-won’t-it prognostication a waste of time. In this view, the debate is moot because the Commerce Clause section is not legally binding.

Under the concept of precedent, the reasoning and comments in legal opinions fall into two categories: material that’s critical to the outcome, which is precedent-setting, and material that is ancillary, which isn’t precedent-setting. Identifying the ancillary bits, referred to as dicta, can be a guessing game, and debates often arise among lawyers and judges over whether portions of decisions qualify as dicta.

In the healthcare opinion, a majority of the court found that Congress could require people to purchase health insurance under its power to tax. Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion upholding the healthcare law, also wrote that the Commerce Clause couldn’t be used to pass the individual mandate. Now, scholars are debating whether his Commerce Clause statements are dicta or not.

Some, such as Georgetown University Law Center professor Randy Barnett - one of the main legal architects of the healthcare challenge - say Roberts tried to couch his Commerce Clause finding as essential to the outcome and not dicta. He points to one clause in particular in the chief justice’s opinion: “Without deciding the Commerce Clause question, I would find no basis to adopt such a saving construction” under the tax power, Roberts wrote.

That rhetorical move does not necessarily make the Commerce Clause part of the ruling binding precedent, said Deborah Pearlstein, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “That part of Roberts’ opinion was completely unnecessary to the holding of the court,“ she said.

What’s more, the language may not be precedent without the backing of a majority of the justices, according to common law. In the 5-4 ruling upholding the law, none of the other justices signed onto the section of Roberts’ opinion dealing with the Commerce Clause.

The four conservative justices found that the Commerce Clause would not apply, but they had a different reasoning than Roberts. So it’s unclear whether the dissenting votes could even count toward a binding holding of the court.

That would give Roberts’ Commerce Clause comments even less weight under a strict legal analysis, said Steven Schwinn, a constitutional law professor at the John Marshall Law School.

“He really was out there on his own,“ Schwinn said.

Gilmer County Courthouse Closed July 04 and 05, 2012 (Wednesday and Thursday)

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer County Courthouse will be closed on Wednesday, July 04 and Thursday, July 05, 2012 in observance of Independence Day.

It will reopen on Friday, July 06, 2012.

Closings & Delays Due to Storm - Tuesday 07.03.12



Status of Area Closings and Delays on Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Glenville State College All Closed
Gilmer County CourthouseAll Closed

Please Send Us Your Closings and Delays

Braxton Woman Blames Dollar General for Injuries


The WV Record Reports:

A Braxton County woman is suing Dollar General after she claims she was injured while in one of its stores.

Dolgencorp is doing business as Dollar General.

On June 12, 2010, Opal Fox was at Dollar General when she slipped on water that had accumulated in one of the aisles and sustained injuries, according to a complaint filed June 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Fox claims the hazard imposed by the accumulated water was due to the defendant’s negligence in failing to provide for a reasonably safe place of business.

As a result of the defendant’s negligence, Fox sustained injuries to her left knee, great pain of body and mind and mental anguish and distress, according to the suit.

Fox is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by Sean W. Cook.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-1076

~~  Kyla Asbury - WV Record ~~

Analysis: Why Chief Justice Roberts Saved President Obama’s Healthcare Law

The Gilmer Free Press

In the end, it all came down to Chief Justice John Roberts, the sphinx in the center chair, who in a stunning decision wove together competing rationales to uphold President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan.

Roberts’ action instantly upended the conventional wisdom that he would vote with his four fellow conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and undercut the agenda of a Democratic president, who as a senator in 2005 had opposed Roberts’ appointment to the bench.

But Thursday’s extraordinary conclusion to the bitterly fought healthcare battle was quite ordinary in some ways. Roberts hewed to a traditional Supreme Court principle that if the justices can find any constitutional grounds on which to uphold a law, they should do so. The 57-year-old chief justice also followed a stated principle of his own: narrowly deciding cases and trying to preserve the integrity of the judiciary in polarized Washington.

While he has voted consistently with the conservative bloc on social issues, such as abortion rights and racial policies, Roberts in his public remarks has suggested that he seeks, as chief, to transcend an ideological label. He routinely refers to the court’s place in history and has bristled at polls and public commentary that suggest the high court acts in the same political realm as the two elected branches of government.

Indeed, in his comments during oral arguments in the healthcare case, Roberts hinted that he could be open to siding with the government. He expressed concern that the court over which he presides might be seen as ignoring more than 75 years of precedent and rolling back U.S. law to the New Deal era. The last time the Supreme Court struck down a major act of Congress was in 1936, when the court invalidated a federal law that limited work hours and prescribed minimum wages for coal workers.

“He is positioning the court as the one, competent, principled institution in Washington,“ said Pamela Karlan, a Stanford University law professor. “The chief justice’s opinion is designed to appear thoughtful, measured. He is in this for the long haul.“


As the lone conservative standing with four liberals, Roberts defied recent history, most people’s expectations, and the deepest held hopes of the right-wing and Tea Party opponents of the law. He also rejected the prevailing view of Republican politicians, who had been his strongest backers when President George W. Bush nominated him five years ago.

“The court avoided, despite an enormous amount of pressure to invalidate this law, staining itself as excessively partisan,“ said Bradley Joondeph, a law professor at Santa Clara University. “Think of the people who supported Chief Justice Roberts, who put him on the court, who were rooting for him.“

On the Roberts court, the swing-vote role has often been played by Justice Anthony Kennedy, not the chief himself. For example, Kennedy, a conservative appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, was crucial to its 1992 decision to uphold the right to abortion. Thursday’s case marked the first time that Roberts joined the liberal bloc as the deciding fifth vote in a major case.

On Thursday, Kennedy fell in with the conservatives and read their joint dissent. In it, he took a swipe at Roberts’ claim that the court was acting cautiously. “The court regards its strained statutory interpretation as judicial modesty,“ Kennedy wrote. “It is not. It amounts instead to a vast judicial overreaching.“


Roberts did hand the conservatives a pyrrhic victory. He rejected the Obama administration’s main argument that the core of the law, a mandate that requires most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty, was covered by Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce. Roberts said that power, while broad, does not extend to “inactivity,“ such as the choice not to buy insurance.

Whether this apparent limiting of the Commerce Clause will hinder Congressional power in the future remains to be seen. In their briefs and arguments, both sides characterized the health insurance mandate as distinctive, and it is unclear whether another Congressional regulation could be struck down under the Roberts “inactivity” rationale. Roberts’ judgment on the Commerce Clause issue was endorsed by fellow conservatives Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

But in turning to another constitutional ground on which to uphold the mandate, Congress’ taxation power, Roberts embraced the Obama administration’s secondary argument - and delivered a victory to the President. Roberts reasoned that even though Congress had shied away from calling the penalty for not buying insurance a “tax,“ it effectively is one.

Roberts stressed that the court was not endorsing the administration’s approach. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass on its wisdom or fairness,“ he said.

As he read excerpts from the momentous decision Thursday, Roberts seemed to downplay the drama of the morning. His voice was steady and even. He kept to his script. There were few rhetorical flourishes. He occasionally looked out at the spectators. Among them was Justice John Paul Stevens, a liberal who had served with Roberts until he retired two years ago at the age of 90.

Following the usual decorum in the white-marble and crimson-draped room, the nearly 300 people listening to the chief justice gave no audible response. Roberts then named the justices who had joined him in various parts of the decision, and those who had not. All told, it took about 20 minutes.

G-otcha™: Massachusetts Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Linn, WV Sex Case

The Gilmer Free Press

The Massachusetts woman accused of posing as a boy and crossing state lines to prey on a Linn, West Virginia girl has pleaded not guilty.

Twenty-five-year-old Carissa Hads of Quincy, Massachusetts was indicted last week on one count of traveling in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual conduct.

She entered a plea Thursday, June 28, 2012 before U.S. Magistrate John Kaull, who ordered her held until trial.

Jury selection is set for Monday, September 24, 2012 before U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley in Clarksburg, WV.

Investigators say Hads pretended to be a 17-year-old boy and began an online relationship with the victim in 2010.

She visited the teen at least three times and had a sexual encounter with her in February.

Investigators say her disguise included a back brace to cover her chest.

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ODC Withdraws Motion to Suspend Lewis’ License

The Gilmer Free Press

The WV Record Reports:

A Morgantown attorney accused of shooting and wounding a homeless man at his camp in Clay County will, for now, be allowed to continue practicing law.

The day following his June 13 arrest on charges of wanton endangerment and malicious wounding, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the arm of the state Supreme Court that investigates attorney misconduct, petitioned the Court for the immediate suspension of Hiram C. Lewis IV’s license. In its petition, ODC said Lewis’ “current incarceration creates a clear disability to represent and protect his clients’ interest at this time.“

“At this time, [Lewis] poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public at this time.“

Along with the suspension, ODC asked the court to appoint an attorney to act as trustee for Lewis’ clients. The next day the Court granted ODC’s motion, and ordered Chief Clay Circuit Judge Jack Alsop to appoint the trustee.

Later, the Court scheduled a hearing on Aug. 7 to allow Lewis to contest the suspension.

However, the Court on June 27 announced it granted a follow-up motion by ODC to withdraw its petition and cancel the Aug. 7 hearing. The petition came as a result of Lewis’ release from the Central Regional Jail in Sutton after posting a $70,000 bond.

Despite withdrawing its motion, ODC said it is still considering bringing disciplinary action against Lewis relating to his actions that day.

Since his arrest, Lewis, who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2004 and U.S. Senate in 2006, has maintained he shot Steven Bogart, a homeless veteran he befriended shortly after moving to his camp in Procious in early June, in self-defense following an altercation between them. At his preliminary hearing on June 19, Lewis testified the altercation was a result of Bogart becoming agitated at Lewis telling him to turn down the music he was playing because it was disturbing a neighbor.

According to Lewis, after the two exchanged words inside the cabin, Lewis ordered Bogart outside to the screened in porch where Bogart was residing. When Bogart kicked in the door, and assaulted him, Lewis said he used a pistol to shoot him in the knee.

Lewis’ case is awaiting presentation before the Clay County grand jury.

~~  Lawrence Smith - The WV Record  ~~

Governor Tomblin Issues Statement on Supreme Court’s Decision on Federal Health Care

The Gilmer Free Press

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling to uphold the individual insurance requirement of the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA).

“We know what the law is but as I’ve said before, I will continue to do what is best for West Virginia. We all know health care costs continue to rise and our health care system must be more efficient. We’re going to review the Supreme Court’s ruling, and work with our federal delegation on how we move forward.”

McKinley Reacts to Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding Bulk of ObamaCare

The Gilmer Free Press

Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) is criticizing today’s decision in upholding President Obama’s health care plan.  The nation’s highest court handed down the decision just minutes ago in Washington, D.C.

“I am disappointed the Supreme Court upheld a health care plan that clearly goes against our Constitution,” said Rep. McKinley.  “Not only is ObamaCare a bad policy that has increased healthcare costs, exploded the deficit and hurt small businesses, it is based on dubious Constitutional authority.”

ObamaCare costs America $1.76 trillion over its first 10 years and adds 17 new taxes or penalties.  In addition, it will punish small businesses with more red tape and the employer mandate will cause the elimination of 1.6 million jobs, with 66% of those coming from small businesses.

“We will continue our fight to fully repeal ObamaCare,” said Rep. McKinley.  “All Americans should have the right to make their own health care choices. Restricting choice and punishing individuals and employers is the wrong way to reform health care, whether the court agrees or not.“

“Once ObamaCare is fully repealed, we will not rush into the same mistakes made by President Obama and the Democrats,” said Rep. McKinley. “We need to listen to the American people to get health care reform right, and we should take the time to do so.”

The court was divided on a number of provisions in the health care law.

Manchin Statement on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

The Gilmer Free Press

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued the following statement about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the health care law.

“We should all recognize that the health care challenges that many West Virginians and Americans face are not going to go away unless Congress takes additional action to repair this bill. Now that the Court has ruled, we can move forward with fixing what is wrong with this bill and saving what is right. I have always been determined to reduce the burden on states from the Medicaid expansion, and this ruling affirms my position – and makes clear that states must have the flexibility to live within their means by determining Medicaid eligibility as each state sees fit. I have always said one size doesn’t fit all.

“In addition, I believe there are several parts of this bill that are good for West Virginians: especially ending discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, improving access to preventive care and eliminating the prescription drug donut hole for seniors. Looking ahead, we must work to find common ground on the individual mandate, which doesn’t make sense to West Virginians. I am determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward with a solution.”

OddlyEnough™: Court Video Details Angry Outburst of WV Judge during Divorce Proceeding

A judge’s rant during a court proceeding in Putnam County is drawing attention after it was posted to YouTube this week.

The video is court surveillance from a May 23rd divorce proceeding.  Hurricane Pastor Arthur Hage and his estranged wife are before Family Court Judge William Watkins for a hearing over the pending sale of their home.

As the proceeding gets started, Judge Watkins addresses Hage and grows increasingly angry over a story posted to an internet news site which featured a picture of the judge’s home.

“Mr. Hage if you say one word out of turn, you’re going to jail,“ Watkins starts his address.

......  Now You be the Judge ......

Judge Watkins then proceeds to berate Hage over the pictured and the negative attention it’s drawn to his family.

“A picture of my home, on the front page, SHUT UP! DON’T EVEN SPEAK,“ Watkins can be heard screaming on the video. “My wife is disabled and you.. you disgusting piece of ...“

Watkins says his windows were broken and his home vandalized after the picture was posted. He holds Hage personally responsible.

Eventually, Watkins says he’s so angry he will recuse himself from the case.  However, he reconsiders and continues with the hearing.  Now that a month has passed, Watkins has removed himself from the case and it’s been assigned to another judge.

Officials with the Judicial Investigation Commission are aware of the video and have watched it. However, whether they’ll investigate the judge’s actions are unclear.  Hage says he’s filed several complaints with the commission about Watkins during his divorce case.

G-otcha™: Lewis County Resident Enters Plea to Use of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence

The Gilmer Free Press

An 18 year old Lewis County, West Virginia, resident entered a plea of guilty on June 26, 2012, in United States District Court in Elkins before Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that: CHRISTOPHER BILLS entered a plea of guilty to “Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence.”

BILLS was charged with using the firearm during the robbery of a 7-Eleven store in Weston, West Virginia.

The charge stems from a robbery of a 7-Eleven store in Weston, West Virginia, on November 27, 2011.

BILLS, who is in custody pending sentencing, faces up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Zelda E. Wesley and was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 06.26.12

The Gilmer Free Press

Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over his motion day on Monday, June 25, 2012 in Gilmer County finishing before Noon.

•  Two fugitives waived extradition back to their respective states.

Juan Carlos Gomez (who required an interpreter) waived to return to Texas and Jason Lee McAdoo waived to return to his state of Virginia.

Both defendants were represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon.

When Judge Facemire called the criminal docket for the July term of Court he directed the Clerk to reissue warrants for 25 persons who were not present, some of the cases date back to the year 2000.

Several cases were set for trial as follows:

•  State of West Virginia vs. Charles Emerson

He is represented by Kevin Duffy of Clay.

Case is set for trial on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Gary Ferrell

He is now represented by Daniel Armstrong of Gassaway.

Case is set for trial on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 and his pretrial is set for Monday, August 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Tonya Ramsey

She is now represented by Christina Flanigan.

Case is set for 2nd trial on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Jimmie Glen Stewart

He is now represented by hired attorney, Steve Nanners

Case is set for 3rd trial on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Catherine McGhee

Case is set for trial on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM with pre-trial on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

She is represented by Daniel Armstrong of Gassaway also.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Alicia Nichole Wine

Case is set for plea hearing on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

She is represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Sundee Honaker

Case is set for plea hearing on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

Her attorney is David Karickhoff of Sutton.


•  One juvenile case was set for Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

•  Another juvenile is set for hearing on Friday, July 06, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

•  Another juvenile case was dismissed.

•  Several other juveniles were set for Monday, September 24, 2012 at 9:05, 9:10, 9:15 and 9:20 AM.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Cason Jones

He was before the Court for expungement and was granted by the Court.


•  A civil case was reset for Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM due to party failing to appear.


•  A wedding was performed between Rose Greenlief and Jeff Harper after the Judge completed his docket.


Chief Judge Jack Alsop appeared in Gilmer County on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 with the petit jury reporting to try one or two criminal cases.

After discussion between the prosecutor and defense attorney, Judge Alsop released the jurors to call back on Wednesday regarding a final trial set for June 28, 2012.

Then he took 2 pleas as follows:

•  State of West Virginia vs. Shane Posey

He pled to failure to register as a sex offender and will be sentenced Monday, August 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM.

He was represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Timothy Furr

He pled to attempted burglary and possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana).

Fur was represented by Adkins of Sissonville and will also be sentenced on Monday, August 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM.


•  Also Brittany Thompson, a witness, failed to appear after being duly subpoenaed and served.

Prosecuting Attorney Gerald Hough asked for a rule to show cause to be issued against her and the clerk issued it returnable for Monday, August 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM for her to explain to the Court why she failed to appear.

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Gilmer County Family Court Report – 06.22.12

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry Whited recently granted a divorce between Heather Yeager (26) of Jane Lew, WV who divorced Joseph Yeager (39) of Cox’s Mills, WV on 06.22.2012.

Gilmer County Receives $37K Grant

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, the administrative agency for the Court Security Fund Grant Program, has informed the Gilmer County Commission that it will be the recipient of a $37,676.00 grant.

The grant serves the purpose of enhancing the county court security.

These upgrades will help to make Gilmer Counties Magistrate Courts, Family Courts, and Circuit Courts safer, as well as courthouse employees and county citizens.

WV Supreme Court Weighs in on Medicaid Recovery

The Gilmer Free Press

A divided West Virginia Supreme Court has awarded the state’s Medicaid program a somewhat larger reimbursement from a medical malpractice settlement.

The Department of Health and Human Resources sought to recover around $289,000 spent on behalf of a severely brain-damaged child after his family received the $3.6 million settlement.

A circuit judge in 2010 instead awarded around $79,000. This week’s ruling increased that amount to $96,000 minus lawyer fees and costs.

Chief Justice Menis Ketchum and Justice Margaret Workman issued separate dissenting opinions.

Each said that as Medicaid will continue to cover the child, the program should be allowed to recover future costs.

Both also urged the Legislature to strengthen state laws governing Medicaid reimbursements.

Ketchum wrote that Thursday’s ruling will cost West Virginia millions of dollars annually.

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