Judge orders mental evaluation for Charleston attorney in client beating

By Lawrence Smith | Jun 3, 2010

CHARLESTON -- A judge wants a Charleston attorney to undergo a mental evaluation before deciding on what sentence to impose on him for battering a former client.

Joshua Robinson was scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday May 27 by Kanawha Circuit Judge Louis H. "Duke" Bloom. In April, Robinson agreed to pled guilty to a charge of unlawful wounding after he struck David Lee Gump Jr. several times with a baseball bat in December.

Initially, police arrested and charged Gump who Robinson accused of breaking into his home on Lee Street, and accosting him about missing money from his grandfather's estate. Charges against Gump were later dismissed in Kanawha Magistrate Court, and a further investigation led to a grand jury indicting Robinson in February on charges of malicious wounding, embezzlement and obstructing.

In exchange to pleading guilty to unlawful wounding, the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office agreed to dismiss the embezzlement and obstructing charges. The deal was made due in part to Gump's subsequent arrest on unrelated drug charges, and refusal to cooperate as a witness against Robinson. Shortly after he entered the courtroom, Bloom said after reading the Kanawha County Adult Probation Department's pre-sentence report, he wanted Robinson to undergo a complete psychological review. Noting that Robinson applied for and received the assistance of court-appointed counsel, Bloom said it appeared he would have to order Robinson to a 60-day commitment since he couldn't afford to pay the normal $5,000 associated with an evaluation.

However, Robinson said he does have the money and would pay for the evaluation.

"I'm working now," Robinson said. "I will make it work, your honor."

Assistant Kanawha County Prosecutor Fred Giggenbach Jr. was skeptical, and said Robinson should pay the cost upfront before undergoing the evaluation.

Robinson said he had no problem with that.

"I'll do it your honor. I'll sell my car and furniture if I have to."

Once Robinson proved he had the money, Bloom ordered him to be evaluated by Dr. Ralph Smith, a Charleston psychiatrist, and the report turned over to the probation department. He also ordered Robinson to remain on home confinement until a new sentencing date could be scheduled.

Following his indictment, the state Supreme Court in March ordered the immediate suspension of Robinson's license. He still faces pending ethics charges relating to his dealings with Gump.

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