MORGANTOWN- A former House of Delegates member has filed a petition against the West Virginia State Police claiming he does not have to register as a sex offender because he never was sentenced in a felony conviction in 1979.
Clyde H. Richey filed a petition March 19 in Monongalia Circuit Court, claiming there never was a sentence rendered in a third-degree sexual assault charge.
Richey spent five years on probation for molesting a legislative page. He was convicted of third-degree sexual assault for sexual activity with a 14-year-old boy at a Charleston motel in 1979.
On March 13, 2007, Richey was sent a letter stating he has 10 days to register as a sex offender or a warrant will be issued for his arrest. However, he claims that was done in contradiction to a ruling made by then-Monongalia Circuit Court Chief Judge Larry Starcher, on Oct. 28, 1982, which states that there was not a conviction in the 1979 guilty verdict since the Kanawha County Court Judge did not impose a sentence.
West Virginia Code states a conviction requires a guilty verdict by a jury and a sentence by the judge. However, Starcher, now a state Supreme Court justice, ruled that the Kanawha County judge did not give a sentence to Richey.
"The Starcher ruling stated that by "strict construction" interpretation of the legal meaning of "convicted" it takes both a finding of guilty of a jury and a sentence by a judge to establish a complete conviction," the petition says.
Following the Starcher ruling, all civil rights that are denied a person under conviction of a felony were returned to Richey, including his right to obtain a beer license and purchase a weapon.
Therefore, Richey seeks to have state agencies, departments and other entities recognize that Richey has not been legally convicted of a felony and for all state records and proceedings to recognize the non-convicted status to the Monongalia Circuit Court.
Monongalia Circuit Court case number 07-C-171