By THOMAS J. O'NEILL
CHARLESTON -- Poor Larry Starcher. He is under siege from a Freedom of Information Act request for his e-mails. The FOIA was filed by a West Virginia employer at the center of several cases the justice has heard on the Supreme Court.
Starcher may not have found his e-mails to be of interest had he not called the employer "stupid' and a "clown". Perhaps e-mails released through the FOIA could include one from federal District Judge John T. Copenhaver, the subject of which might read "strong personal bias." That's what Copenhaver ruled about Starcher's characterization of a party with cases pending before the West Virginia high court.
Another Starcher e-mail could display in the subject heading "window dressing" or "argument prop". Remember that's what Starcher said was the role of a Pakistani woman arguing a case before him.
"Admonished" could be the subject of another Starcher e-mail. He was for soliciting a campaign endorsement, a violation of judicial code.
Then there's "Reprimanded" for his coaching the prosecution on how to manage its case.
"Amnesia" would never be in the subject box of a Starcher e-mail because, according to an affidavit, Starcher told a lawyer with a case before him he would "remember who supported him and who did not support him" with campaign cash.
"Bitch" could make it into the subject heading of a Starcher e-mail, though. The Charleston Gazette reported that's what he called a former magistrate from the bench.
With audio enhancement, those reviewing Starcher e-mail might hear how he screamed at the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee because a bill with a pay raise for Starcher failed to pass.
By gleaning Starcher's phone records from his state issued cell phone, the flurry of calls over a January weekend before release of the chief justice's vacation photos make Starcher's e-mails all the more intriguing.
O'Neill is chairman of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.