Jefferson attorneys receive reduced sentences on drug, alcohol charges



CHARLESTON -– Records show two eastern panhandle attorneys, who also serve as mental hygiene commissioners, have entered pleas, and received reduced sentences on their respective drug and alcohol charges.

Court records show Kirk Bottner, and his partner, David Skillman, both 42, were arrested, and charged with separate and unrelated drug and alcohol offenses during the last two years. Bottner was charged with possession of marijuana in Loudon County, Va. in June 2008, while Skillman was charged with aggravated DUI in Jefferson County this June.

According to the uniform summons issued by Loudoun County Sheriff's Deputy R.R. Ortutay, Bottner was arrested on June 29, 2008, at 19661 Belmont Manor Ln. in Ashburn, Va. Ortutay provides no narrative of what led him to arrest Bottner.

Records show after initially appearing in Loudoun General District Court two months later, Bottner appeared again on Nov. 25, 2008, and plead guilty to an amended charge of trespassing.

On condition he complete 50 hours of community service by May 23, 2009, and undergo a substance abuse evaluation, the Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office agreed to defer his sentence. Records show Bottner's diversion period ends Dec. 1.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Jefferson Magistrate Court, Trooper First Class M.J. Glende stopped Skillman on June 11 after he noticed the 2006 GMC truck Skillman was driving on W. Va. 9 "cross[ed] over the white fog line several times almost running off the roadway." After asking to see his license and registration, Glende said he noticed Skillman's "eye's to be extremely bloodshot and glassy."

Later, Glende asked Skillman to exit his vehicle, and perform three field sobriety tests which he failed. After also failing a preliminary breath test, Glende placed Skillman under arrest, and took him to the State Police's Charles Town detachment.

Less than an hour after he was stopped, Skillman was administered a breathalyzer test in which he blew a .211. Thereafter, Glende says he charged Skillman with aggravated DUI, and defective equipment.

Records show, Skillman plead no contest to a reduced charge of reckless driving on Sept. 22, and ordered to pay $261 in fines, and court costs. The defective equipment charge was dismissed.

In addition to having their own law firm, Bottner and Skillman also serve as mental hygiene commissioners for Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties. Usually appointed annually by the chief judge of each judicial circuit, mental hygiene commissioners are attorneys who hold hearings to determine if people should be committed to mental health facilities due to mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction.

According to their firm's Web site, Bottner has served as a commissioner since 2002, and Skillman since 2006. Last year, the state Auditor's Office reported they earned $24,000, and $17,000, respectively, performing mental hygiene work.

The West Virginia Record attempted to obtain comments about the charges, and plea agreements. Neither Colleen Hardy, assistant Loudon County Commonwealth's Attorney nor James Casimiro III, assistant Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney, returned repeated telephone calls.

When contacted, Bottner's attorney, Thomas Mulrine in Leesburg, Va., declined comment. An attempt to reach Skillman, whose counsel of record is not listed, was unsuccessful as a woman who answered the telephone at this office said he was out of town with Bottner for a legal education seminar.

Loudoun County, Virginia General District Court, case number GT-08032995-00 (Bottner); Jefferson Magistrate Court, case numbers 10-M-2056-57 (Skillman)

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