By STEVE COHEN
CHARLESTON -- The gall of Larry Starcher to call for an investigation of "extremely serious legal and ethical issues" on the West Virginia Supreme Court.
This is the same Larry Starcher, a video star on YouTube for calling a C.E.O. "stupid" and "a clown," yet refuses to recuse himself from any cases before his court involving the business leader.
This is the same Larry Starcher the Charleston Gazette reported (January 21, 1996) was seen dining with Jim Humphreys "a plaintiffs' lawyer in a hundred civil asbestos cases pending before Starcher and stands to make a lot of money."
Did Starcher recuse himself from all of these cases? Nah.
This is the same Larry Starcher who refused to recuse himself in a 2000 lawsuit over former fellow Justice Warren McGraw's ballot eligibility despite Starcher's sworn political allegiance to McGraw. After fellow Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard recused himself for supporting a court candidate, Starcher went ahead and voted in McGraw's favor, then had the audacity to attack Maynard for recusing himself.
This is the same Larry Starcher who campaigned for 1996 gubernatorial candidate Charlotte Pritt, then refused to recuse himself when a case involving her campaign was brought before the court. Starcher had even made a public statement about the case that was blatantly impartial. Starcher flung his nose at a motion from a respected former U.S. attorney that he recuse himself.
This is the same Larry Starcher who initially refused to recuse himself when it was brought to the court's attention that Starcher campaign contributors were plaintiffs in a pending case. Counsel for the defense relates that after a hearing Starcher pulled him aside to berate him for the lack of "significant contributions" from the defense bar. Said the lawyer, "Judge Starcher stated that he was going to review the list of contributors ... He informed me that while he would not do anything illegal with respect to any decisions he would make while on the bench, he would remember who supported him and who did not support him." Starcher denied any bias in his comments.
If Larry Starcher is looking to investigate serious legal and ethical issues, his own conduct on the bench is the place to start.
Steve Cohen is executive director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. Visit CALA's Web site at www.WVJusticeWatch.org.