Court News

Court News

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 02.25.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire conducted a full morning of hearings in Gilmer County on his motion day, Monday, February 25, 2013.

•  He heard 3 fugitive from justice cases with, Andrew Roper waiving extradition to return to New York, James Greer waived to return to Pennsylvania and Kevin Robinson waived to return to Maryland.

All 3 individuals were represented by Daniel Armstrong of Gassaway and authorities in their states have until 4:00 PM on Wednesday, March 06, 2013 to pick them up at Central Regional Jail or they will be released.

Several juvenile matters were heard and reset as follows:

•  One on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM, one at 9:05 AM, one at 9:10 AM and one at 9:15 AM.

•  Another juvenile will be heard on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 9:40 AM.

•  Another juvenile will be heard on Friday, May 03, 2013 at 9:00 AM.

•  Another will be heard on Monday, March 25, 2013 at 10:00AM.

•  The civil case of Discover Bank vs. Jacob Dennison was before the Court asking leave to file an amended complaint against defendant, which motion was granted.

•  The civil case of Educap vs. Gary B. Jenkins and Charley Gregory was also before the Court for hearing.

Plaintiffs have 60 days to provide an itemized list of charges to defendant and the matter was reset for Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

•  A modification of child support hearing was before the Court and was granted due to the defendant being incarcerated in Central Regional Jail.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Casey Cottrill

She was before the Court asking for reconsideration of long term inpatient rehab, which motion Judge Facemire denied.

He said he would not approve outpatient rehab and ordered her to spend at least 6 months at an inpatient facility.

She did not appear for the hearing as she had an emergency involving her children, but her attorney Garth Beck appeared by telephone.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Alecia Wine

She was before the Court asking for release from home confinement.

She was represented by her attorney, Clinton Bischoff of Summersville and Judge Facemire granted her motion.

•  One name change petition was granted, changing Jodie Turner‘s name to Jodie Paugh.

•  Several other orders were entered removing cases from the active docket of the Court.

Judge Facemire will return to Gilmer County on Tuesday, March 05, 2013 for docket call to set criminal cases for the term.


Magistrate Pay Raise Clash May Set Tone for West Virginia House

The Gilmer Free Press

At least some Republicans in West Virginia’s House of Delegates believe their failed bid to block proposed magistrate court pay raises, and similar partisan clashes that are expected as the session continues, will pay off in the next election.

The GOP’s net 11-seat gain in November, increasing their ranks to 46 of 100 delegates, proved insufficient when the House voted 53-45 Wednesday to pass the pay bill to the Senate. With two Democrats absent, two Republicans broke ranks to support the measure while one Democrat opposed it.

A similarly narrow vote spoiled a Monday attempt by Republicans to derail the bill through a parliamentary procedure. With the session not even two weeks old, the pair of pitched battles over this measure may set the session’s tempo for the divided House.

“Is this the way this session is going to be, all year?” House Majority Whip Mike Caputo asked in a floor speech blasting Republicans over Monday’s unsuccessful gambit. The Marion County Democrat also said that he had never before seen that parliamentary motion attempted in his 17 years in the Legislature.

But that tone may work fine for Republicans seeking to add to their recent gains in 2014, and perhaps erase the Democrats’ majority after 82 years.

Delegate Larry Faircloth emailed fellow GOP lawmakers ahead of Wednesday’s vote to tout a game plan with an eye to the next election.

A copy of the email was forwarded to The Associated Press. The Berkeley County freshman wrote that party allies had sent a press release to more than 40,000 state voters, to spur them to warn bill supporters that they would vote for their opponents in two years if they helped pass the bill.

Faircloth referred to the online campaign as an Internet “sniper attack” in his email.

“(It’s) used to reach a point anonymously and efficiently without getting (one’s) hands dirty,” the email said.

House officials on Friday said they were unaware of an unusual volume of emails or phone calls to Democratic lawmakers before the vote. Asked about his email, Faircloth estimated that he fielded around 30 such contacts.

“I assured them that I was against it,” Faircloth said Thursday. “I’ve heard through constituents in conversation that many others received emails and phone calls as well.”

Party-line fights aren’t new for the House. Starting with the 2006 session, GOP delegates have repeatedly sought to force measures idling in committees toward votes on passage through parliamentary procedures.

Topics of these discharge motions have included abortion, gay marriage and taxes. House Republicans lacked the numbers to prevail in any of these attempts — but they then became fodder for election attack ads.

The GOP has targeted the magistrate pay bill as ill-timed, given a lean budget picture that led to recent cuts totaling $75 million. The House Republicans also have declared jobs the top priority of their agenda this session. During Wednesday’s debate, they questioned how hiking the pay of elected officials and public employees helps the nearly 60,000 West Virginians seeking work.

Democrats argued that such talk amounted to grandstanding. They also cited several pending GOP-sponsored bills that would increase the budget, and recent requests from Republican delegates for special funding for district projects.

“This has nothing to do with unemployment. We can’t change that by this bill whether we pass it or not,” said House Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley, D-Harrison. “What concerns me the most is you want to vote against things that occur in other people’s counties while you have your hand out for your own county.”

While not a major session topic, raising magistrate court pay has been a recurring issue in recent years after the 2010 Census showed population declines in a handful of the 55 counties. As pay is linked to population, the resulting drop in court salaries has spurred a push to equalize all pay — at the high end of the current scale.

The state Supreme Court estimates the increased pay and benefits would cost $737,000, but also says it already has the needed money. The five justices have endorsed the bill, and Chief Justice Brent Benjamin — a Republican — is scheduled to discuss the court’s budget before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 02.13.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry Whited held Family Court on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 and heard several matters as follows:

•  Two domestic violence cases were continued.

•  One divorce was granted as follow: Alyssa Waddell (33) of Weston, WV divorced Brent Waddell (24) of Glenville, WV on February 13, 2013.

•  One domestic violence case was dismissed for failure of petitioner to appear at beating.

•  Another domestic violence was continued with an order of publication issued.

•  A final hearing was heard in another divorce but attorneys were involved in the matter so no final outer has yet been entered.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 02.13.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday, February 11, 2013 Judge Jack Alsop held his regular monthly motion day in Gilmer County.

•  Five juvenile cases ware heard and reset as follows:

Four for Monday, April 08, 2013 at 10:00, 10:10, 10:20 and 10:30 AM and the fifth juvenile case was dismissed.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Randall Lambey

He was before the Court for pre-trial motions and his attorney, Daniel Grindo of Gassaway, asked to be relieved from representing him due to a conflict that he had recently discovered.

Grindo had represented another party in this matter previously and Judge Alsop also felt that since Mrs. Grindo works for the Child Advocate Bureau this might also pose another conflict.

Thus Grindo was relieved and Judge Alsop appointed Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon to represent Lambey in the future.

His trial was also continued to the March, 2013 term of Court.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Gerald Adkins II

He was before the Court and pled to 2 counts of his 11 count indictment, being count 1-forgery and a lesser included offense in count 11-petit larceny.

The prosecuting attorney, Gerry Hough moved to dismiss the remaining 9 counts of the indictments.

Adkins will be sentenced on Monday, April 08, 2013 at 10:30 AM.

He was represented by Grindo for the plea hearing.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Daniel Riffle

He was before the Court to answer a 2002 indictment handed down against him.

He had turned himself in previous week after discovering there was an active warrant out for his arrest on this charge.

He asked for a court appointed attorney and Judge Alsop appointed Grindo to represent him.

However, upon reading the indictment to the defendant Judge Alsop discovered it was flawed.

Gerry Hough made a motion to amend the indictment, to which motion Grindo objected and Judge Alsop dismissed the indictment without prejudice to the state of West Virginia.

•  The trial of State of West Virginia vs. Shane Posey was set for Tuesday, February 11, 2013, but instead a motion to continue to next term will be heard at that time.

All petit/magistrate jurors for the November term were dismissed since all cases set for trial in February have either pled or been dismissed.

•  A magistrate trial scheduled for Friday, February 15, 2013 before Magistrate Wolfe was also settled and no jury trial was held.

•  The Circuit Clerk thanks all jurors from the November term for their service.

Jury questionnaires are in the mail for March grand and petit jury.

Please complete and return them as soon as possible to the Circuit Clerk Office.

•  On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, Judge Alsop took a plea in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Rodney Singleton at 11:45 AM.

Singleton was represented by privately retained attorney Jerome Novobilski from Clay.

He pled guilty to count 1 of the indictment charging 3rd offense domestic battery and guilty to unlawful wounding, a lesser included offense in count 2 of the indictment.

Nine remaining counts of the indictment were dismissed upon motion of the Prosecuting Attorney.

Sentencing will be held on Monday, March 11, 2013 at 10:30 AM.

•  The motion to continue the trial of Shane Posey was heard and granted.

A multi county plea agreement is being considered in the case.

He will need to appear on Monday, February 25, 2013 before Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire for setting of the docket for the upcoming March, 2013 term.

•  A juvenile rawer was heard and reset for Monday, April 08, 2013 at 10:45 AM.

WV Board of Education Sued by Fired Superintendent Marple

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia Board of Education is being sued over its decision to fire former state school Superintendent Jorea Marple.

The lawsuit was filed Friday afternoon in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

Marple’s attorney Tim Barber says the board’s November14, 2012 decision was done in secret and brought to a close a nine-month effort by school board President Wade Linger to get rid of Marple.

Barber says Marple was denied the due process guaranteed her in both the U.S. and West Virginia Constitutions.

“You may bring charges against somebody. You put them in writing. You give them an opportunity to read that, to have a lawyer, to have a hearing in front of an independent tribunal. That’s how you do that,” Barber said. “That never was done. It’s completely absolutely at odds with every piece of jurisprudence there is.”

Barber says Linger and his allies threw Marple out for no reason. He says it is an outrage.

“How can you do that?” Barber asked.

Lawsuit alleges state Board of Education President Wade Linger worked for nine months behind the scenes to fire Marple.

He says Linger was working behind the scenes to fire Marple even during a review of the former superintendent last summer when she was given glowing marks.

“Not a word. Not by Linger or any other board member ever said anything negative at all to her. Never brought anything up to her at all until they go into executive session on November14 and throw her out,” Barber said.

The lawsuit seeks among other things, compensatory and punitive damages, a full hearing to establish the exact charges as to why Marple was fired and a jury trial where applicable.

Barber added he found Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s State of State of Address earlier this week on education reform amusing.

“Every single line, every word, everything that they propose Dr. Marple had addressed that before she was dumped by this board,” Barber said. “For them to have this to be some revolutionary thing that is wonderful is a joke.”

To Read the Lawsuit Click H E R E.

WV AG Files Brief in Gun Case Pending before U.S. SUPREME COURT

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia joins 19 other states in filing friend of the court brief supporting the Second Amendment

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced that West Virginia has joined with 19 other states this week in filing a “friend of the court” brief in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawsuit concerns the constitutionality of a New York statute that limits an individual’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The lawsuit, Kachalsky v. Cacace, challenges a New York law that requires a person to show a particular need to obtain a permit to carry a firearm outside the home. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, ruling that the Second Amendment’s core protections do not extend outside of the home. Attorney General Morrisey said the Second Circuit’s decision is troublesome because it concludes the Second Amendment’s protections end at a person’s front door.

In 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the private ownership of handguns. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects a law-abiding individual’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Heller recognizes that a law-abiding individual has the right to bear arms for self-defense. Under the text of the Second Amendment itself, this right necessarily extends outside of the home,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We have the right to ‘keep and bear arms’; one ‘keeps’ arms inside the home, but one ‘bears’ arms outside of the home. Any ruling to the contrary simply ignores this plain language.”

Attorney General Morrisey said the Second Circuit’s decision in the Kachalsky case runs counter to the Supreme Court’s instruction in the Heller case that the text, history, and tradition of a law should determine whether it passes Second Amendment muster.

“The Kachalsky decision affects West Virginians because the Second Circuit’s interpretation of the scope of the Second Amendment was incorrect, and that decision could impact future court decisions. Such a narrow view of the Second Amendment will chip away at this core constitutional right,” Morrisey said. “The Second Circuit’s decision also affects West Virginians in a more narrow sense, particularly when it comes to West Virginia’s reciprocity agreements with other states. The ability of other States to restrict law-abiding citizens to carry weapons outside of the home means that the permits issued in West Virginia will not be recognized in those States.”

Lewis County: Missing Little Girl’s Mom Loses All Parental Rights

The Gilmer Free Press

The mother of a 3-year-old West Virginia girl who vanished without a trace in September 2011 will not regain custody of her other six children when she gets out of prison later this month.

The West Virginia Supreme Court this week unanimously upheld a Lewis County judge’s order terminating Lena Lunsford’s parental rights — a decision backed by child welfare workers and the unidentified father of one of the children.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons website shows Lena Lunsford is set to be released February 26, 2013 from a facility in Baltimore, MD where she has been serving an eight-month sentence for welfare fraud.

The high court’s ruling notes that the Lewis County court also terminated the parental rights of Ralph Lunsford, whom one of Lena’s attorneys had previously described as Aliayah’s stepfather. While Ralph Lunsford is identified as the father of “most” of Lena’s children, the ruling says one, identified only as T.C., was fathered by another man.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources filed an abuse and neglect petition with the courts in October 2011, alleging the Lunsfords’ remaining children were in imminent danger. They had been neglected to the point that some had irreversible tooth decay, case workers said.

That complaint also noted that Lena Lunsford had previously reported to DHHR that her husband had attempted to cut her throat, “yet she and the children continued to live with him.“

At a termination hearing in May 2012, the circuit court judge “found that the parents had more knowledge about A.L.‘s whereabouts than they revealed but refused to provide that information to the court,“ the high court wrote.

Lena Lunsford fought for her children, arguing that “evidence was not clear and convincing that she harmed or threatened her children’s well-being,“ and that she appropriately notified police when she couldn’t find her daughter.

But the Supreme Court cited witnesses who say she gave conflicting statements about Aliayah’s disappearance and noted that she and Ralph Lunsford have “vaguely accused” each other in the 16 months since.

Lena Lunsford’s lawyers also argued that the circuit judge erred in deciding there was “no reasonable likelihood” that the abuse and neglect would stop under a court-supervised improvement period.

The DHHR successfully argued that without an explanation of Aliayah’s disappearance, “there can be no assurance that the other children in the home can be safe in their parents’ care.“

Aliayah disappeared September 24, 2011 from a rented home near Bendale. She has never been found.

Lena Lunsford told police her daughter had been ill and was vomiting the night before. Aliayah was in her bed at 6:30 AM, her mother claimed, but missing when she went to check on her a few hours later.

Authorities have made no arrests and identified no suspects. The FBI has refused to say whether agents believe Aliayah is still alive, but it has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to her recovery or an arrest.

Lena Lunsford was indicted weeks after Aliayah’s disappearance on charges that she illegally swapped welfare benefits for cash five times in two months. She pleaded guilty to selling $114 worth of credit on her food-stamp card for $50 cash and reported to prison last June.

During one of the hearings in that case, a judge ordered her to live apart from Ralph Lunsford after he acknowledged on the witness stand that he had bought and used synthetic drugs called bath salts that are known to cause extreme agitation, hallucinations and violent and bizarre behavior.

Ralph Lunsford also acknowledged in his testimony that police had considered him a person of interest and repeatedly questioned him in Aliayah’s disappearance.

Lena Lunsford gave birth to twins after Aliayah disappeared and before she went to prison. They were taken into state custody with the other children. She later filed for divorce.

Magistrate Reduces Bond for ‘BUCKWILD’ Cast Member

Imprisonment Status:  Pre-Trial Felon
Full Name: Amin,  Salwa
Height: 5’  2"
Weight: 115 lbs.
Birth Date: 05.29.1988
Gender: Female
Booking Date: 02.11.2013
Facility: Central Regional Jail
Imprisonment Status: Pre-Trial Felon

Offender Court Order Information

Court Info Number Issuing Agency Location

NICHOLAS COUNTY - Bail Amount: $200,000.00  -  $100,000.00

A Nicholas County magistrate has cut reality show “BUCKWILD” cast member Salwa Amin’s bond in half.

The 24-year-old Amin had been held on $200,000 bond at the Central Regional Jail since her arrest late Sunday night.

She is charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Her lawyer, Michael Callaghan, says Amin’s bond was reduced Wednesday to $100,000 cash.

She waived a preliminary hearing.

Callaghan says he expects Amin to be released within a day or so.

He says they will address the charges at the appropriate time.

West Virginia State Police say a multi-agency task force arrested Amin and two other people at a Summersville residence after receiving a tip from an informant.

A search found oxycodone pills, heroin and $3,000 in cash.

Doddridge County: 14 Indicted by Grand Jury – 02.11.13

The Gilmer Free Press

•  Joseph Spencer, age 16, faces three counts of murder.

•  Jerrel Jacob Jones, age 19 of Parkersburg, faces three counts of imposition of sexual intercourse on an incarcerated person.

•  Pamela Nicole Hoskinson, age 36 of West Union, faces one count of wanton endangerment involving a firearm.

•  Paul Nicholas Murray, age 30 of West Union, faces one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

•  Russell Damron, age 60 of Pennsboro, faces three counts of wanton endangerment involving a firearm, and one count of assault during the commission of a felony.

•  Eddie James Sykes, age 35 of Clarksburg, faces one count of failure to meet an obligation to provide support to a minor.

•  Joshua Edwin Mylar, age 23 of Paden City, faces two counts of transport a controlled substance onto grounds of North Central Regional Jail, and one count of possession of tobacco by inmate of North Central Regional Jail.

•  Jeremiah Ater, age 22 of Wileyville, faces one count of grand larceny.

•  Michael Lee Sharp, age 21 of Paden City, faces one count of grand larceny, and one count of conspiracy to commit grand larceny.

•  Amanda Marie Glendenning, age 21 of Paden City, faces one count of grand larceny, and one count of conspiracy to commit grand larceny.

•  Nathan Leggett, age 22 of West Union, faces one count of receiving stolen property, one count of nighttime burglary, one count of conspiracy to commit nighttime burglary, one count of grand larceny, and one count of forgery.

•  Harley Dakota Gray, of Greenwood, faces one count of nighttime burglary, one count of grand larceny, and one count of conspiracy to commit nighttime burglary.

•  Brandon Marshall Dennison, age 20 of Greenwood, faces one count of nighttime burglary, one count of conspiracy to commit nighttime burglary, and one count of grand larceny.

•  Robert Gordon Pumphrey, of West Union, faces one count of failure to provide change of sexual offender registration information.

Arraignments are scheduled for Tuesday, February 12, 2013.

WV Record: Court Ruled Man Owed Gilmer Public Service District’s Court Costs

The Gilmer Free Press
The WV Record Reports:

The state Supreme Court ruled last year that a magistrate was correct to not only dismiss a Gilmer County man’s breach of contract suit against the county’s public service district, but also order him to pay court costs.

The court on May 29 upheld Gilmer Circuit Judge Richard A. Facemire’s ruling affirming Special Magistrate Richard G. Postalwait’s October 07, 2010, decision dismissing John Zsigray’s suit against the Gilmer County Public Service District.

In a unanimous, four-page memorandum opinion, the court agreed with Facemire that Postalwait properly determined Zsigray, 58 and a Glenville resident, lacked standing to sue GCPSD, and did not abuse his discretion in ordering Zsigray to pay $671.

Memorandum opinions are issued by the Court in cases that would not be significantly aided by oral arguments and present no new or significant questions of law.

According to court records, Zsigray’s wife, Jeannie Marsh, on an unspecified date signed a contract to have GCPSD install a tap on their property. Only Marsh’s signature was on the contract.

After the tap was installed on the wrong property, Zsigray on January 28, 2010, filed suit for recovery of the fees Marsh paid GCPSD. When he filed the suit, Zsigray only listed himself as a plaintiff.

Following motions filed by GCPSD, Gilmer magistrates Robert Minigh and Carol Wolfe voluntarily recused themselves from the case. On an unspecified date, Postalwait, a magistrate from neighboring Calhoun County, was appointed to hear it.

According to court records, at a July 19, 2010, pre-trial conference, Postalwait entered a scheduling order that included a trial date for later in October. On September 22, 2010, Zsigray filed motion to include Marsh as a co-plaintiff.

On the day of trial, GCPSD objected to Zsigray’s motion on the grounds it was not served with it. Postalwait dismissed the case, and ordered Zsigray to pay the $671 tab to summons a jury.

Immediately, Zsigray appealed Postalwait’s decision to Gilmer Circuit Court. Following a Nov. 29, 2010, status conference hearing, Facemire not only upheld Postalwait’s decision, but also ordered Zsigray to pay an additional $145 for appealing it.

In upholding Facemire’s and Postalwait’s rulings, the court made reference to its opinions in the 2002 and 2010 cases of Findlay v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and Carper v. Watson. Since Zsigray not only lacked standing to file the suit, but was also warned at the pre-trial conference about it, the court said Postalwait correctly dismissed the suit when Zsigray failed to add Marsh by the trial date and assess him court costs for essentially filing a frivolous suit.

“In the present case,” the court said, “[Zsigray] had neither standing nor a legally protected interest.

“Moreover, [his] pro se motion to add his wife as a plaintiff was not filed in accordance with the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure for Magistrate Courts, as he did not serve the motion on opposing counsel.”

“Given the facts of this case, this Court finds no error in the circuit court’s decision to affirm the magistrate court’s dismissal of this action.”

GCPSD was represented by former Gilmer County Prosecutor Shelly Morris DeMarino. She was paid $1,803 to defend it in Zsigray’s suit.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, case number 11-0577
Gilmer Circuit Court, case number 10-CAP-30


Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 02.08.13

The Gilmer Free Press

•  On Friday, February 08, 2013 Judge Jack Alsop heard a fugitive from justice case.

Rafael Ruiz waived extradition bock to the state of New York.

He was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton and authorities in New York have until 4:00 PM on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 to pick him up from the Central Regional Jail or he will be released.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Rodney Singleton

He was before the Court for a pre-trial.

He is now represented by Jerome Novobilski of Clay and will enter a plea on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM.

•  Three juvenile matters were heard and reset for Friday, April 05, 2013 at 9:00 AM, Friday, April 05, 2013 at 10:00 AM, and the last case was rescheduled for February Tuesday, 12, 2013 at 2:00 PM.

•  Judge Alsop will return on Monday, February 11, 2013 for motion day in Gilmer County and currently has a jury trial set in Gilmer County for Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Shine Posey.

Posey is represented by Daniel Grindo of Gassaway.

Gilmer County Family Court News – 02.08.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry Whited presided over hit regular Wednesday docket in Gilmer County on February 06, 2013, hearing about 10 cases.

•  In child advocate bureau cases or where attorneys are involved, no orders have been made.

Orders were entered in the following cases:

•  Temporary orders were entered in2 modification cases.

•  A generic testing order was entered in a paternity case.

•  Temporary orders were entered in two child support cases.

•  One allocation case was not heard due to being dismissed previously.

•  On Friday, February 08, 2013 one divorce was finalized between:
Charlotte Miller, age 58 of Shock, WV divorced John C. Miller, age 60 of Shock, WV.

G-otcha™: Area Convict Indicted by Federal Grand Jury for Having Illegal Firearms

The Gilmer Free Press

A federal grand jury indicted Robert Starcher, 29, of Spencer on illegal firearms possession charges.

A two-count indictment against Starcher charged him with possessing stolen firearms and being a felon in possession of guns.

Starcher allegedly had six firearms in his possession on January 01, 2012 near Walton.

He was convicted multiple times, including in 2007 for transferring stolen goods in Ritchie County, again in 2007 in Calhoun County for grand larceny and in Gilmer County in 2006 for obtaining property under false pretenses.

Embattled WV Judge Contests Ethics Punishment

The Gilmer Free Press

A West Virginia judge alleges an ethics panel is illegally trying to remove him from office.

The Judicial Hearing Board asked the Supreme Court to suspend Putnam County Family Court Judge William Watkins for the rest of his term Tuesday.

But Watkins’ lawyer argued that he must be impeached before he can be removed.

Lawyer Robert Martin said the board lacks the power to impeach but is attempting as much by recommending the multi-year suspension.

Watkins is accused of delaying rulings, failing to file domestic violence orders properly and screaming and cursing at litigants.

That prompted the board to recommend consecutive one-year suspensions until his term ends after December 2016.

A board lawyer said the evidence clearly supports the allegations.

Lawyer Rachel Fletcher Cipoletti said consecutive suspension terms are also allowed.

Court News

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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.

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