Charleston attorney gets contempt order from Justices

By Steve Korris | Mar 10, 2010

CHARLESTON – Charleston attorney Scott Palmer Mason, who neglected a prisoner's appeal and stiffed the state Supreme Court, earned a contempt order.

The Justices had summoned him to a Feb. 10 hearing to explain why he didn't appeal Glenn Tanner's larceny conviction, but Mason didn't show up.

"This contempt finding is hereby certified to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for due consideration in connection with pending lawyer disciplinary matters," the Justices wrote March 5.

Tanner represented himself after Mason let him down, and succeeded spectacularly.

He won a Supreme Court order, left prison on parole, earned discharge, and secured the services of a new lawyer to see about clearing his name.

Clay County jurors convicted Tanner in 2005. Circuit Judge Jack Alsop sentenced him to at least a year but no more than ten years in the penitentiary.

Mason didn't represent Tanner at trial. Alsop appointed Mason to represent Tanner on appeal, but Tanner couldn't reach Mason.

In 2007, Tanner filed a Supreme Court motion "pro se," without counsel, pleading that Mason deprived him of his right to appeal.

His time to appeal had run out, so he asked the Justices to start the clock again by resentencing him.

The Justices ordered Mason to respond to Tanner's motion, and Mason didn't respond.

Last April, the West Virginia Parole Board discharged Tanner.

In October, the Justices granted his motion and remanded the case to Clay County so Alsop could resentence him.

They directed Alsop to appoint counsel "to contact and discuss with Mr. Tanner his rights on appeal and to pursue the same if directed to do so by Mr. Tanner."

Alsop appointed Timothy Gentilozzi of Clarksburg.

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