Judging Judge McGraw

by The West Virginia Record |
May 27, 2011, 10:14am

"L'etat, c'est moi!" That's how Louis XIV, King of France from 1643 to 1715, summed up his humble opinion of himself. Were he speaking English King Louis would have said, "The state, it's me" or "I am the state."

In other words, to hell with parliament and the rule of law.

We don't have kings in this country, but there are lots of men trying to act like kings. Here in West Virginia, the McGraw brothers seem to aspire to absolute power from time to time.

What is it with Darrell and Warren McGraw? Do they both think they're above the law, that they can make it up as they go along -- or that they, in fact, are the law?

We frequently comment on the idiosyncratic, self-serving and usurpative practices of West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw, but his brother, Wyoming Circuit Court Judge Warren McGraw, exhibits similar arrogance and willfulness.

You'd think that Judge McGraw, as a former member of the State Supreme Court, would have a keen understanding of the law and its respected principles. But just last week, that very same Supreme Court dressed him down for asserting jurisdiction in a case that clearly did not belong in his venue.

The case, a fee dispute between two law firms arising from a collaborative effort, had no connection whatsoever to Wyoming County where Judge McGraw sits.

On May 16, the justices granted the Galloway Group a writ of prohibition against McGraw and dismissed a suit that R. R. Fredeking had filed in Wyoming Circuit Court. Fredeking lives in Cabell County, the Galloway Group maintains an office in Kanawha County, and the cause of action did not occur in Wyoming County.

"Fredeking had to show specifically that the contract between the parties was made in Wyoming County; breach of that contract occurred in Wyoming County; or that the manifestation of the breach occurred in Wyoming County," the high court explained. "Fredeking has failed to do this."

That's a simple, straightforward formula. Did one of those jurisdictional requirements confuse Judge McGraw, or were they not regal enough?

More News