Charleston attorney sues county commission for home confinement injury
Lawrence Smith May. 4, 2012, 2:50am
CHARLESTON – A Charleston attorney convicted for beating a former client with a baseball bat is complaining he was harmed by the device used to monitor his whereabouts.
The Kanawha County Commission is named as a defendant in a personal injury suit filed by Joshua Robinson. In his complaint filed April 23 in Kanawha Circuit Court, Robinson, 40, alleges an ankle bracelet he was ordered to wear following his conviction two years ago caused his leg to get infected.
In December 2009, Robinson was involved in an altercation with former client David Lee Gump Jr. Though Robinson maintained he beat Gump with a baseball bat in self-defense when Gump came to his home on Lee Street inquiring about missing money from his grandfather's estate, an investigation discovered Robinson was the aggressor.
The next month, Robinson was indicted on charges of malicious wounding, unlawful wounding, obstructing and embezzlement. In April 2010, Robinson agreed to plead guilty to the unlawful wounding charge in exchange for the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office agreeing to dismiss the remaining counts.
The plea offer came after Gump, who was later arrested on unrelated drug charges, refused to testify against Robinson. Records show, Judge Louis H "Duke" Bloom on Aug. 2, 2010, sentenced Robinson to a period of 1-5 years of home confinement with credit for time served of 145 days, plus court costs.
On an unspecified date, Robinson says an employee of the home confinement division of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department fitted him with an ankle bracelet. In West Virginia, county commissions jointly administer the home confinement program with the county sheriffs.
According to his suit, Robinson alleges "in the course of wearing the ankle bracelet," he suffered an infection in the area it was placed. As a result, Robinson maintains that the infection required him to have surgery.
An examination of the ankle bracelet, Robinson says, discovered the presence of bacteria and mold. The bacteria and mold accumulated as a result of the division "failing to implement and apply hygienic procedures in the use and reuse of ankle bracelets."
In his suit, Robinson maintains the division had a duty "to ensure the use and reuse of 'ankle bracelets' did not constitute a health hazard to the people within their custody or purview." Because precautions were not taken to keep the bracelets sanitary, Robinson alleges, due to the infection and subsequent surgery, he has suffered pain, including scarring and chaffing of his ankle and "substantial medical expenses which remain unpaid."
Robinson seeks unspecified damages. He is represented by Charleston attorney Dana Eddy.
The case is assigned to Judge Carrie Webster.
Following his indictment, the state Supreme Court ordered the immediate suspension of Robinson's license. Shortly after entering his guilty plea, the Lawyer Disciplinary Board returned a statement of charges against Robinson seeking his disbarment based on both his plea in the Gump case, and one in October 2009 in Kentucky to two counts of second degree wanton endangerment.
The Court has yet to rule on the Board's recommendation or schedule it for oral arguments.
He was first admitted to the Bar on Dec. 5, 2002.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 12-C-720 (Robinson civil)