Court News

Court of Claims Orders WVDOH to Pay More than $22,000 to Motorists for Vehicle Damage

The Gilmer Free Press

Claims for vehicle damage caused by road conditions cost the West Virginia Division of Highways more than $22,000 in 2012.

The state Court of Claims awarded a total $22,416 to motorists who filed claims against the DOH.

The court also ordered the DOH to pay $12,601 to two people for claims related to maintenance failure.

The road-related claims included tires and wheels damaged by potholes.

Rachel Rinehart of Preston County filed a claim for damage after her car slid on a patch of ice and into an embankment in January 2011. She was awarded $375.

Rinehart says the accident wouldn’t have occurred if the DOH had treated the road with cinders.

Gilmer County Family Court Report - 01.23.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 Family Court Judge Whited heard cases in Cilmer County as Flollow:

•  One modification was withdrawn and dismissed.

•  One divorce was granted between Laura Peltry (33) of Spencer, WV divorcing Carlos Pettry (58) of Normantown, WV.

•  One Contempt Petition was heard.

•  Two domestic violence cases ware continued.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 02.01.13

The Gilmer Free Press

•  Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire cancelled his monthly motion day which was set for Monday, January 23, 2013.

He reset all matters for his Monday, February 25, 2013 motion day at the same times as previously set.

•  Judge Jack Alsop dismissed the indictment in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Catherine McGhee which had been set for trial on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Thus the jury trial was cancelled.

•  Judge Alsop did have a plea scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 1:30 PM, but was delayed in Webster County and was late arriving in Gilmer County.

However he took the plea of State of West Virginia vs. Larry Bush later in the afternoon.

Bush pled to a lesser included offense in count l of the indictment of unlawful wounding and to a misdemeanor charge in count 6 of the Indictment for 1st offense DUI.

The remaining counts of the indictments against him were dismissed on motion of the prosecuting attorney.

Bush was represented by attorney Ira Haught of Harrisville.

Bush will be sentenced on Monday March 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM.

There will be a pre-sentence investigation conducted by the probation officer.

•  One fugitive from justice waived extradition back to the state of New Jersey.

Jamie Arrogante was before the Court and represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton.

Authorities in New Jersey have until 4:00 PM on Friday, February 08, 2013 to pick Arrogante up or Central Regional Jail will release him.

On Friday, February 01, 2013 Judge Alsop again appeared in Gilmer County and heard several matters.

•  Another fugitive from Justice waived extradition back to his state (New York).

He was represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon and authorities in New York have until 4:00 PM Tuesday, February 12, 2013 to pick Irving Rodriquez up or Central Regional Jail will release him.

•  Also on Friday, February 0l, 2013, Jamie Arrogonte who waived extradition back to New Jersey on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 was releaseed by Judge Alsop because New Jersey no longer desired to extradite him.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Gerald Adkins

Was before the Court for pretrial motions, but there were none to be heard.

Hit attorney, Daniel Armstrong of Gassaway reported he and the prosecutor were working on a plea agreement, but the trial remains on for Thursday, February 21, 2013 at this time.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Tonya Ramsey

She was before the Court for sentencing which had been postponed from an earlier date.

Ramsey was late for her sentencing so the Judge had Karen Elkin, Circuit Clerk issue a warrant for her arrest with no bond to be placed in Central Regional Jail until later date.

Within minutes, Ramsay appeared and was sentenced to not less than 1 nor more than 4 years in the penitentiary with credit for time served.

She was represented by Christina Flanigan.

•  A juvenile hearing was held and reset for Monday, April 08, 2013 at 9:45 AM.

Judge Alsop will return to Gilmer County on Friday, February 08, 2013 at 9:00 AM for more hearings.

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Braxton County Resident Sentenced for Manufacture of Methamphetamine in Gilmer County

The Gilmer Free Press

A 37 year old Shock, West Virginia, resident was sentenced on January 29, 2013, in United States District Court in Clarksburg by Judge Irene M. Keeley.

DANIEL RAY KING was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment to be followed by two years of supervised release with the first six months of his supervised release to be served under home confinement.

KING entered a plea of guilty on October 05, 2012, to “Possession of Material used in the Manufacture of Methamphetamine” on February 01, 2012, in Gilmer County, West Virginia.

KING, who is on bond, will self-report to the designated Federal institution on March 04, 2013.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen D. Warner and was investigated by the West Virginia State Police.

Massachusetts Woman Sentenced for Traveling to WV to Have Sex with a Minor from Linn Area

The Gilmer Free Press

CARISSA HADS, age 25, of Quincy, Massachusetts, was sentenced on January 29, 2013, in United States District Court in Clarksburg by Judge Irene M. Keeley.

HADS was sentenced to 87 months imprisonment to be followed by lifetime supervision.

HADS entered a plea of guilty on October 10, 2012, to “Traveling in Interstate Commerce with the Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct” on February 23, 2012, when HADS traveled from Massachusetts to North Central West Virginia to have sex with a minor from Linn, WV.

Court documents indicate that HADS posed as an 18-year old man on a social media website and also took steps to change her appearance in order to deceive the victim as to her true identity.

HADS met the alleged victim online in 2010 and the two communicated for over a year before the first in-person meeting took place.

HADS traveled at least three times from Massachusetts to visit the alleged victim, and was arrested at the Pittsburgh International Airport by F.B.I. agents on May 25, 2012, on one of her visits to the area.

As part of her plea, HADS agreed to the forfeiture of the computer and electronic equipment seized from her and her residence.

HADS was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending designation to a
Federal institution.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn A. Morgan, Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and investigated by the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

WV DHHR Complies with Order to Raise Salaries in Weston and Huntington Hospitals

The Gilmer Free Press

Workers at West Virginia’s two state psychiatric hospitals are getting court-ordered pay raises.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Marsha Dadisman says the raises’ total cost and funding sources haven’t been determined.

The DHHR had until January 31, 2013 to provide the raises.

A Kanawha County judge warned the agency in December that it would be in contempt of court if it didn’t meet the deadline.

Circuit Judge Duke Bloom originally ordered the raises in 2009 for staff at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington and at William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston.

DHHR provided some raises but hadn’t fully complied.

The case began in 1981 and centers on the treatment of mental health patients.

West Virginia Redistricting Case Dropped from U.S. Court

The Gilmer Free Press

Critics of West Virginia’s redrawn Congressional districts must petition a state court to challenge the redistricting further.

A federal judge on Friday dismissed what remains of a lawsuit brought by the Jefferson County Commission and lawyer Thornton Cooper.

The dismissal follows a September ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, rejecting its arguments that the new districts violated the U.S. Constitution.

The 2010 Census prompted the Legislature to redraw the three U.S. House districts in 2011.

Lawmakers simply shifted Mason County from the 2nd District to the 3rd District.

Friday’s order would allow the plaintiffs to pursue alleged violations of the West Virginia Constitution in state court.

Among other arguments, the plaintiffs cite the state constitution’s call for compact districts.

The 2nd Districts, which includes Jefferson County, stretches across the state.

WV Convicted Felons Will Be Required to Undergo Assessments before Sentencing

The Gilmer Free Press

All convicted felons in West Virginia courts will be required to undergo presentencing tests under a new West Virginia Supreme Court policy.

Court administrator Steve Canterbury said the policy will become effective on August 01, 2013.

The policy was approved at the court’s administrative conference this month.

Canterbury says the assessments will give circuit judges more information about the likelihood of a felon committing another crime and what needs must be met to prevent that.

Canterbury calls the tests “another took at the judge’s disposal to help enhance public safety.“

He says every felon will undergo the assessment whether or not there is a pre-sentencing investigation. The tests will be included in those investigation reports.

Training probation officers to administer the tests will cost the court system about $25,000.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 01.18.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire of Sutton appeared in Gilmer County and heard 2 cases on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

•  He granted a bond reduction in the criminal case of State of West Virginia vs. Donald Skinner.

His bond was previously set at $25,000.00 cash only by Magistrate Alton Skinner and the matter was then bound over to Circuit Court for presentment to the grand jury in March, 2013.

However, Judge Facemire modified the bond to be $25,000.00 good and sufficient surety to be approved by Circuit Clerk Karen Elkin and also ordered he be placed on home confinement at the home of his father in Lewis County, WV.

Judge Facemire also heard a juvenile matter before leaving Gilmer County for the day.


On Friday, January 18, 2013 Judge Jack Alsop spent most of the day in Gilmer County hearing cases.

•  First on his docket were 2 juveniles, the first of which commenced at 8:45 AM.

It was reset for Friday, February 08, 2013 at 11:00 AM and the second one was reset for Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Shane Posey

He was before the Court for pretrial motions, and neither side had any to be heard.

Judge Alsop continued his trial from Tuesday, January 29, 2013 to Tuesday, February 12, 2013, because the Supreme Court had scheduled the Judge to be in Charleston on that date.

Posey was represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway, WV.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Catherine McGhee

She had several motions heard during her pre-trial and Judge Alsop took them under advisement and will issue a ruling at a later date.

Trial is still set for McGhee on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at this time.

She is represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway, WV.

State of West Virginia vs. Larry Bush

He was before the Court for pretrial hearing, but subsequently decided to accept a plea agreement offered by the prosecutor.

His plea will be taken at 1:30 PM on Wednesday, January 30, 2013.

He is represented by Ira Haught of Harrisville, WV.

State of West Virginia vs. Elsie Tingler

She pled to count 2 of her indictment charging her with manufacturing marijuana.

All other counts of her indictment will be dismissed.

Judge Alsop ordered the Probation Officer to do a presentence investigation and set sentencing for Monday, March 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

She was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton, WV.

State of West Virginia vs. Jeremy Knicely

He was before the Court for pretrial.

He was represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville, WV.

Two plea agreements were rejected by the Court.

However, Judge Alsop did grant the continuance of his trial to the March, 2013 term of Court and readmitted him to the bond heretofore posted.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 01.17.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Wednesday, January 16, 2013 Family Court Judge Larry Whited heard several cases in Gilmer County Family Court.

•  Two domestic violence cases were continued, and one was dismissed.

Four final divorces were heard, and 2 were granted as of 01.16.13 as follows:

•  Angela Linger (41) of Glenville, WV divorced James L. Linger (50) also of Glenville, WV.

•  Kenyon Warner (35) of Harrisville, WV divorced Stacy Nelson (40) of Glenville, WV.

•  He also heard a contested child support case.

Later on Thursday, January 17, 2013 another divorce was granted as follows:

•  Alysia Moody (55) of Elkview, WV divorced Arnold Drew Moody (age unknown) of Glenville, WV.


Gilmer County Family Court Report – 01.09.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Wednesday, January 09, 2013 Family Court Judge Whitedpresided over Family Court in Gilmer County.

•  A Domestic Violence case was dismissed.

•  A contested modification in a divorce case was heard and was still ongoing at 4:00 PM when the Court House closed.

•  One divorce was granted on January 10, 2013 between Kelly Hacker (36) of Glenville, WV DIVORCED Robert Hacker (48) of Belington, WV.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report - 01.15.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Thursday, January 10, 2013 Judge Jack Alsop presided over 2 matters beginning at 1:00 PM.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Randall Lambey

He was before the Court for arraignment.

He was indicted in November 2012 Term of Court for Failure to meet an obligation to provide support to a minor.

He is represented by Daniei Grindo of Gassaway, but his partner, Daniel Armstrong appeared for the arraignment.

He will have a pre-trial at 10:00 AM on Monday, February 11, 2013 and his trial will be at 9:00 AM Wednesday, February 27, 2013.

Later Lambey posted $15,000.00 bond and was released from Central Regional Jail.

•  A juvenile matter was heard and rescheduled for 1:00 PM Friday, February 01, 2013.

Judge Alsop’s regular motion day was Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

On Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Judge Jack Alsop completed a 3 page docket on his motion day, which had been rescheduled from Monday, January 14, 2013.

Five fugitives from justice, all being represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway, waived extradition to their respective states and authorities have until 4:00 PM Friday, January 25, 2013 to pick them up at Central Regional Jail or they will be released.

•  Willie Ballard will be returned to Michigan

•  Jamie Lee will be returned to Virginia

•  Richard Peake will be returned to New Hampshire

•  Robert Morgan will be returned to Kentucky

•  Timothy Frye will be returned to Michigan

Several Juvenile matters were heard and rescheduled as follows:

•  One Is being dismissed

•  One will be heard Tuesday, March 05, 2013 at 9:00 AM

•  One will be Monday, April 08, 2013 at 9:00 AM

•  Another will be Monday, April 08, 2013 at 9:15 AM

•  One will be Friday, February 08, 2013 at 10:20 AM

•  One will be heard Monday, February 11, 2013 at 9:45 AM

•  Motions ware heard In the case of State of West Virginia vs. Robert Hacker

In which the Court took under advisement.

Upon motion of defense attorney, Daniel Grindo, Hacker will have a psychological evaluation performed.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Tonya Ramsey

She was before the Court for sentencing, but her attorney, Christina Flanigan, of Buckhannon asked for the sentencing to be continued for several reasons.

Judge Alsop reset her Sentencing for Friday, February 01, 2013 at 1:00 PM.

•  One name change was granted.

•  One Infant guardianship was heard and granted.

•  In the case of State of West Virginia  vs. Kenneth Fraker, who was before the Court earlier as a Fugitive From Justice from the state of Ohio, the Judge staved his extradition until his 93 count Indictment from Ritchie County, WV is resolved.

Fraker was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton, WV.

WV Supreme Court Will Not Hear Marple’s Firing Case

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Supreme Court will not consider a petition that challenged the firing of former state Schools Superintendent Jorea Marple.

The justices voted unanimously last Friday to refuse to hear the petition filed by Mountain State Justice on behalf of the parents of a special-needs child.

The petition claimed the state Board of Education violated the state’s open meetings law when it fired Marple last November.

It asked the court to void the decision and to temporarily reinstate Marple until a hearing could be held.

Mountain State Justice attorney Bren Pomponio says the law firm has not decided how it will proceed with the case.

Marple’s attorneys notified the board in late December that she plans to sue over her firing.

West Virginia Court Sets 7% Rate for Judgments

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Supreme Court has set an interest rate of 7% on monetary judgments and decrees for 2013.

A 2007 law requires the court’s administrative office to determine the interest rate.

The law says the rate will be 3 percentage points above the secondary discount rate in effect as of January 02, 2013 at the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, but it cannot be less than 7% or more than 11%.

The Fed rate last Wednesday was 1.25%, so the additional 3% would have produced a rate less than the statutory minimum.

Consequently, the court imposed the 7% minimum.

OddlyEnough™: WV Judge Accused of Misconduct Seeks Disability

The Gilmer Free Press

A Putnam County Family Court judge accused of judicial misconduct has lost a bid to delay disciplinary proceedings against him.

The state Supreme Court denied Family Court Judge William Watkins’ request on Thursday, the Charleston Gazette reported.

Watkins’ lawyer, Robert Martin, filed a motion earlier this week asking the court to delay the proceedings. Martin said Watkins has filed for disability and plans to retire.

Martin also asked the court to dismiss the complaints against Watkins.

Martin and Watkins would not comment on the filings.

The state Judicial Investigation Commission alleges that Watkins delayed rulings, failed to enter domestic violence orders into the state’s tracking system and screamed and cursed at litigants.

The Judicial Hearing Board recommended that Watkins be suspended without pay until his term ends on December 31, 2016.

The hearing board rejected a proposed 90-day suspension without pay that would be stayed while Watkins addressed deficiencies and underwent counseling and judicial training. It cited the number of violations and Watkins’ “apparent failure to take meaningful responsibility for his misconduct.“

Martin argued that the hearing board’s actions harmed Watkins’ reputation. He said the board wrongly cited quotes from a sealed psychological report in its recommendations.

Martin said the hearing board also allowed unsworn testimony from complainants during a November hearing without allowing cross-examination.

Also, the hearing board’s recommendation to suspend Watkins for the remainder of his term is unconstitutional and disenfranchises Putnam County voters, Martin said.

The Supreme Court will make the final decision. The justices will hear Watkins’ case February 05, 2013.

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