W.Va. SC issues mandate suspending former prosecuting attorney’s license

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Mar 12, 2014

CHARLESTON -- The law license of a former Randolph County prosecuting attorney officially has been suspended.

Last week, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals entered a mandate order taking away Richard Busch’s license for three years.

Busch must have a mental health evaluation before seeking reinstatement, and he must undergo 12 hours of continuing legal education focusing on ethics.

If he is reinstated, he will be on probation for two years under the supervision of a practicing attorney.

He also must reimburse the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel $6,589.80, according to the mandate.

In an opinion filed Feb. 5, the state’s high court said Busch was guilty of misconduct during his tenure in office from early 2009 to late 2011.

In particular, the court said Busch ignored a defense request for documents in one case and obstructed defense access to a victim’s recorded statements in another case. He also gave false statements to the circuit court in both cases about the location of evidence.

“There is simply no justification for permitting Mr. Busch’s ability to practice law to go unimpeded after he engaged in such egregious conduct as a public official,” the court wrote last month.

Busch had sought a lesser suspension. He argued his conduct was negligible but not intentional.

“If Mr. Busch’s actions were truly negligent and not intentional, he had numerous opportunities to make amends. He made a conscious choice, however, to maintain his misrepresentations to the lower court,” the opinion stated.

“We find that Mr. Busch’s pattern of misconduct, coupled with his habit of continuing his dishonest behavior even when provided opportunities to remedy the same, was a detriment to the public office, to the state of West Virginia as his client, to the public who deserved efficiency and protection from the public office, to the legal system, and to the legal profession.”



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