McDowell assistant prosecutor, 19 other attorneys lose licenses

By Steve Korris | Aug 17, 2007

CHARLESTON – McDowell County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dannie Barie has lost his law license.

CHARLESTON – McDowell County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dannie Barie has lost his law license.

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals suspended his license and 19 others Aug. 2 for failure to earn credits for continuing education.

In July, McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Sidney Bell said Barie would meet requirements to keep his license.

Last week, Bell did not respond to calls on Barie's status.

The Court had given Barie and the others plenty of chances to preserve their licenses.

In July, the Court turned up the heat by giving news organizations names of 33 attorneys whose licenses the Court would suspend on Aug. 2.

By deadline day, 13 of the 33 saved their licenses.

Barie didn't, and neither did other lawyers of high profile.

The Court suspended Millard Jewell of Williamson, who once struck a blow for indigent criminal suspects.

Twenty years ago, when public defenders made $25 an hour in West Virginia, Jewell sued the state for better pay.

The Supreme Court of Appeals in 1989 found portions of the public defense system unconstitutional.

Legislators in 1990 raised rates to a range from $45 to $65.

Jewell did not respond to phone messages seeking a comment.

The Court suspended Deborah Eddy, daughter of former West Virginia legislator and liquor control commissioner Jim Hall.

Eddy has copied her father's career but she has done it 2,500 miles away. She represents a legislative district in suburban Seattle.

She said she would seek reinstatement in West Virginia.

She said if she decided to let the license go she would prefer to deactivate it rather than have it suspended.

The Court suspended Robert Shostak, former mayor of Athens, Ohio. He has testified all over West Virginia as a mining expert.

In Greenbrier County he testified on attorney client privilege.

"I'm going to take care of it in the next few days," Shostak said.

The Court suspended James Harkness of Wheeling, former senior attorney at the Social Security Administration in Morgantown.

Wife Sharon Harkness said he retired for health reasons.

The Court suspended Bonnie Fleming, who until 18 months ago worked for the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Some West Virginia license losers will carry on in other states.

Stephen Test, a Virginia Beach construction attorney with a suspended West Virginia license, said he voluntarily let it lapse.

Norman Coliane of Wexford, Pennsylvania, said he practiced primarily in Pennsylvania but he would like to keep his West Virginia license.

James Hanratty of Akron, Ohio, said he didn't know that West Virginia suspended his license.

"It was an administrative error on my part," he said. "I will get it back."

According to a Web site, he represents State Farm and others in medical malpractice and product liability suits in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Kenneth Komoroski of Pittsburgh said he knew he lost his license.

"I went back and forth with them quite a bit," he said.

According to a Web site, he advises on Superfund and other environmental permits in Ohio, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

License loser Michael Pytel apparently cared enough about West Virginia to travel 2,000 miles for the State Bar's annual meeting last year.

The Bar's registration list on the Internet showed that Pytel signed up from Carlsbad, N.M. Google yielded no more about him.

Google showed law firm phone numbers for license losers Gordon Chin, Paul Roman and John Sfarnas, but all three had left those firms.

Google showed a number for Paul Heironimus, but a recording stated that it had been disconnected.

Google yielded nothing on license losers Raymond D. Brown, C. Peter Hitson and Amy A. J. Lewis.

"I don't live in West Virginia any more," license loser Allen Bildstein said.

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