CHARLESTON – A Marion County man is suing over claims he was incarcerated for 433 days after he was supposed to be released.
Greg E. White filed a lawsuit Nov. 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court against: West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority; Joe DeLong, individually and as executive director of the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority; North Central Regional Jail; George Trent, individually and as administrator of North Central Regional Jail Authority; the Marion County Commission; Rhonda Starn, individually and as circuit clerk of Marion County; Pat Wilson, Marion County prosecuting attorney; Leanne Hawkins, individually and as former assistant prosecuting attorney for Marion County; David Anderson; and Jane Doe counselors with the North Central Regional Jail, citing wrongful detention.
According to the complaint, White pleaded guilty to one count in Marion Circuit Court, and in 2008 was sentenced to 2 years incarceration which was suspended for 3 years' probation, including six months' home confinement. The complaint states that in 2010, defendant Anderson was appointed to represent White, and he accepted, but on March 30, 2011, a probation violation was filed, which resulted in the revocation of White's probation with the allowance of his 2-year sentence to be served through home confinement.
The lawsuit states White was arrested by West Virginia state police Aug. 25, 2011, and charged with the same criminal complaint that caused the revocation of his probation. White says on Oct. 11, 2011, his home confinement was revoked and his underlying sentence from the first case was imposed, placing White in the custody of the commissioner of corrections.
The lawsuit states White was indicted Feb. 7, 2012, and arraigned Feb. 27, 2012, but his original trial date of March 28, 2012, was continued to the June 2012 term per Anderson's motion, and no bond was posted. According to the lawsuit, on March 29, 2012, White was moved from Huttonsville Correctional Facility to the defendant jail after discharging his sentence in the first criminal case, meaning he was only incarcerated due to the detainer in the second criminal case and his inability to post bond.
White says on Sept. 17, 2012, he wrote to the judge to complain he had not heard from attorney Anderson since Feb. 27, 2012, and had no idea what was happening with the case but the judge replied she would not appoint him another attorney. The lawsuit states a nolle order, presented through assistant prosecuting attorney Hawkins, dismissed the indictment in White's second criminal case on Nov. 9, 2012, meaning he should have been released that day, but no one informed White that the case was dismissed.
White says he again wrote the court on May 24, 2013, complaining that Anderson had still not contacted him since Feb. 27, 2012, and a May 30, 2013, response stated that Anderson was being directed to contact him. After no communication, White says, he again wrote to the court on June 28, 2013, requesting a new attorney, still not aware that he should have been released Nov. 9, 2012, and he received no response. White says he wrote again July 20, 2013, requesting a new attorney and stating that he believed he was being incarcerated on a detainer he had no information about, and a judge responded that Anderson was being directed to contact him.
White says he filed a complaint against Anderson, which was dismissed, and on Jan. 16, 2014, he sought advice from a Morgantown attorney who, working pro bono, discovered White should have been released Nov. 9, 2012. According to the lawsuit, White was released Jan. 16, 433 days after he should have been freed.
The defendants are accused of violating White's civil rights pursuant to procedural due process and substantive due process, violating White's constitutional rights, including his right to be free from false imprisonment or wrongful detention, and infliction of severe emotional distress. The Marion County Commission and circuit clerk, Wilson and Hawkins are accused of violating White's civil rights pursuant to Title 42, for failing to ensure the communications and files were properly maintained and failing to serve a copy of the nolle order to the jail, which would have triggered White's release. Anderson is accused of legal malpractice.
The Jane Doe counselors, jail counselors from whom White sought help, are accused of breaching their duty to White for telling him it was not in their job duties when he requested help obtaining information about his case as he'd had no contact with his attorney.
White seeks compensatory, special, general and punitive damages. He is represented by attorney Edmund J. Rollo of Morgantown. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King Jr.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-2002