Archive for the ‘West Virginia’ Category

Man Arrested for Allegedly Exploiting Elderly Landlord

June 10, 2013

Authorities said a Raleigh County man swindled thousands from an elderly woman in Fayette County.

Joey Scott Voiers, 44, of Beckley, was arrested Wednesday and charged with obtaining money under false pretenses and financial exploitation of the elderly after a lengthy investigation led by the Fayette Sheriff’s Department. Both charges are felonies.

Detectives investigated Voiers for months, and the charges against him allege he exploited the victim from 2008 to early 2013, when the matter was reported to deputies, according to a sheriff’s department statement.

“The information gathered during this investigation indicates that Joey Voiers began renting an apartment from this elderly female around 2008 and agreed to perform repairs and renovations to her residence in exchange for a reduced rate of rent,” Sheriff Steve Kessler said in the release.

“He apparently gradually won the trust of this elderly female and then began taking financial advantage of her.”

Full Article and Source:
Police Allege Man Financially Exploited Elderly Landlord

Judge William Watkins Accepts Discipline and Promises to Improve

December 5, 2012

Putnam County Family Court Judge William Watkins, who has been under fire for the way he treats people in his courtroom, testified at a hearing Tuesday that he wants to remain in his position. He also vowed to improve his court and his behavior.

Watkins was charged with misconduct after five individuals complained that he harassed them in his courtroom and that he didn’t handle domestic violence orders promptly.

He made headlines in June when a 16-minute video uploaded to YouTube depicted the judge screaming at a preacher involved in a divorce case in his courtroom.

The judge apologized to that preacher, Arthur Hague, in the hearing Tuesday and said he knew his behavior was unacceptable.

“I believe the 10 years I’ve served I’ve done an outstanding job and also believe I have made mistakes,” Watkins said. “And I’d like the opportunity to correct those mistakes.”

Full Article and Source:
Putnam Family Judge Watkins Accepts Discipline and Promises to Improve”

See Also:
Judge William Watkins’ Meltdown

Partisan Judicial Elections and the Distorting Influence of Campaign Cash

October 30, 2012
Today the Center for American Progress released “Partisan Judicial Elections and the Distorting Influence of Campaign Cash,” showing that the eight states that still elect or nominate judicial candidates in partisan races—Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan—all rank among the top 10 in total judicial campaign contributions. As the amount of money has increased, these states have seen more divisiveness and partisanship reflected in the justices’ votes. The problem could be spreading, as state parties are now intervening at an unprecedented level in judicial races in two states—Montana and Florida—that have nonpartisan elections.

“As voters across the country go to the polls and are asked to vote for judges just like any other political candidate for president or the legislature, you have to stop and think about how it’s possible that judges can be impartial and fair to everyone if they are elected in partisan elections and funded by special interests,” said Andrew Blotky, Director of CAP’s Legal Progress Program.

Judge William Watkins’ Meltdown

July 31, 2012

The judge went ballistic because he assumed, among other things, that pastor Hage published an article in the local on-line news outlet,, about Judge Watkins’ late payments to the condominium where he lives.

The judge was wrong: it was the publisher of PutnamLIVE, who wrote the article, entirely on his own volition. Judge Watkins screams at the pastor, “I will personally make sure that you will never see a free day in your life! You are going to jail!” While the pastor is silent, the Judge repeatedly screams, “Shut up!”

YouTube: Putnam County, WV, Family Law Judge, William Watkins, May 23, 2012 MELTDOWN!!!!! and Fathers and Children Coalition

Woman Says Past Mason Sheriff’s Mismanaged Estate, Breach of Fiduciary Lawsuit Filed

May 25, 2012

A Mason County woman is alleging the last four sheriffs have played a role in cheating her out of a family inheritance.

Former sheriffs David Lee Anthony II, Scott Simms, Troy “Shorty” Huffman and Paul Ernie Watterson are named as co-defendants in a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit filed by Gina M. Eads. In her complaint filed April 9 in Mason Circuit Court, Eads, 44, a Leon resident, alleges the four lawmen over the last quarter century mismanaged funds belonging to the estate of her grandmother, Grace M. Thornton, during their respective terms in office.

According to the suit, Thornton died on Oct. 8, 1986. In a holographic will dated Oct. 23, 1979, she directed that her entire estate, except for her home in Kenny Street in Point Pleasant, be liquidated and the proceeds placed in an interest bearing account with the interest paid monthly to her son, Richard D. Gaylor.

A holographic will is one that is his handwritten, and signed by the testator — the person making it — but not witnessed by someone else. Records show, the Mason County Clerk’s Office accepted the will into probate a week following Thornton’s death.

On an unspecified date following Thornton’s death, the Sheriff’s Office was appointed to serve as its administrator. Also, because of his incapacity, it was appointed to act as Gaylor’s guardian and conservator.

The reason for Gaylor’s incapacity is not stated.

According to the suit, Gaylor died in 2008. Pursuant to Thornton’s will, Eads was to receive the residual of her estate following Gaylor’s death.

However, Eads alleges during the last 24 years Watterson, Huffman, Simms, Anthony “and their fiduciary officers … paid over to Mr. Gaylor sums of money to which he was not otherwise entitled to receive.” Funds in Thornton’s estate, Eads alleges, “have dwindled almost to the point of non-existence.”

Specifically, Eads alleges at the time her suit was filed, she’s lost at least $67,615.31.

Full Article and Source:
Woman Says Past Mason Sheriff Mismanaged Estate

Judge Sets Bail in Alleged Death of Incapacitated Adult by Caregiver

March 10, 2012

Judge Thomas Keadle arraigned a Lewis County woman accused of one count of death of an incapacitated adult by a caregiver.

Judge Keadle set Burkhart’s bail for $25,000.

Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Morris asked for a $50,000 bail but Burkhart’s attorney disputed it because she has a child in middle school and said she couldn’t afford $50,0000.

Angela Burkhart is the mother of Cory Burkhart, 19, who had Down syndrome and was killed a year ago.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Keadle Sets Bail for Angela Burkhart

Ohio Attorney Loses W Va. License

December 15, 2011

As he did in his home state a year ago, an Ohio attorney has lost his license to practice law in West Virginia.

The state Supreme Court on Nov. 22 annulled the license of James R. Henry. The Court’s action mirrored that of Ohio’s High Court when it ordered Henry’s permanent disbarment last December after an investigation found he mishandled the cases of eight former clients during a three-year period.

Records show in disbarring Henry, the Ohio Court said his failure to perform work on client’s cases after he was paid a retainer was “tantamount to theft of the fee from the client.”

‘A pattern of neglect’
According to the Ohio Court’s Dec. 22 order, Henry, a sole practitioner in Gallipolis, was charged with 25 violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct by its Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline. Though not specifically indentified, the order says Henry, among other things:

* Informed a father from Indianapolis in May 2008 four days too early about a hearing in Gallia Court of Common Pleas’ Juvenile Division on his petition for sole residential parent and guardian of his son. The father had to later file a pro se motion for immediate or emergency change of custody when Henry missed the deadline to file a motion for a final hearing or agreed order.

* Failed to keep a man updated on the status of a potential lawsuit against his former employer. The man paid Henry a retainer of $2,500 in February 2007, and did not hear from him after September 2009 due to Henry’s phone getting disconnected.

* Failed to return over $1,500 to a couple in July 2009 after they sent him certified letters saying they no longer wanted him to complete a trust for them. The letters were sent after repeated calls made to his office informed them his voice mailbox was full.

* Closed his office without giving a woman notice he failed to complete the estate settlement for her late husband’s estate after paying him $500. Between the time she retained him in April 2009, and he closed his office that December, the woman made repeated calls to his office only to have them go unanswered or him tell her he’d be completing the work soon.

Full Article and Source:
Ohio Atty Loses WVa License

>West Virginia: H.B. 2885 Talking Points

February 8, 2011

>The issue:

Since the beginning of the MR/DD Waiver program in WV, family members have been able to be the provider of Residential Habilitation services to their family member receiving MR/DD Waiver services. Agencies have typically not been able to hire other staff in most areas of the state to meet the need. This was not a problem when agencies contracted with family members to be the service provider. However, agencies have now determined that the Department of Labor regulations prohibit them from contracting for services and are in the process of making family members employees of the agency, rather than contractors.

The guardianship statute, as written, prohibits guardians/conservators being paid to provide services to the individual for whom they are the guardian/conservator.

· Approximately 4,482 people are currently served by the MR/DD Waiver program
· Of those, at least 1,375 families will be affected by the Guardianship issue because they are a guardian/conservator of the individual for whom they have been providing service
· Agencies have always had trouble hiring enough direct care staff to serve Waiver recipients, and do not have enough staff to fill the need that will exist if the language in the statute is not changed

H.B. 2885 would make two exceptions to this prohibition:

o When a family member seeks to be appointed guardian/conservator they could make written disclosure of the employment arrangement to the court and get the court’s approval; or
o If the family member has already been appointed
guardian/conservator of the Waiver recipient, the court would be made aware of the employment in writing.

Guardianship – H.B. 2885Talking Points

>Woman Sentenced to 2-10 Years for Beating Incapacitated Woman

December 11, 2010

>A young mother was sentenced to two to ten years in the penitentiary for an attack on an incapacitated woman she was caring for.

Natasha Grimes, 26, told a judge she was sorry she beat 29-year-old Christina Starcher in the home the women were sharing.

Grimes and her two children were living with Starcher and Grimes cared for the woman during her recuperation from back surgery. Police were called to the home September 25 and found Starcher lying in the doorway with cuts, bruises and missing clumps of hair.

She was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery after authorities said she attempted to steal prescription medications from the woman and left the house with her cell phone and debit cards.

The robbery charge was dropped when Grimes accepted a plea agreement from prosecutors and pleaded guilty to abuse.

She told the judge at her plea hearing that she was under the influence of alcohol when she beat Starcher. A prosecutor said then that Grimes threatened to kill Starcher, assaulted her and held her down with her knee.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Louis “Duke” Bloom told her, “It was an act of violence that has had an impact beyond you. I don’t know if an alternative sentence is appropriate for this kind of conduct.”

Full Articleand Source:
Young Mother Sentenced For Beating Incapacitated Woman

Lawyer Indicted Third Time for Meth

July 2, 2010

A courtroom drama stretching out over the past year took a new twist this week when a Ravenswood attorney was indicted for the third time on meth-related charges.

A Jackson County grand jury indicted lawyer Jessica Sullivan, 32, on 16 felony counts of possession of substances to be used as a precursor to manufacture methamphetamine, three counts of attempting to operate a clandestine lab and four counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.

Prosecutors have accused Sullivan of dropping off “care packages” of precursor material at a designated spot inside a Ravenswood bar. Co-conspirators allegedly would use those packages to manufacture methamphetamine in a lab located in an apartment above the bar.

The case has bounced in and out of the court system for a year – with Sullivan allowed to continue practicing law in the past few months.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer Indicted Third Time for Meth