LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Magistrate Court is one-sided

By The West Virginia Record | Aug 25, 2011

Dear Editor:

There is definitely a missing link in our magistrate court system.

My son was assaulted -- police got witness statements and issued arrest warrant. The defendant posts bond and later arrives in court with his attorney and the case is heard before the magistrate. No prosecutor, no police officer, no victim. None of whom were notified of the hearing date or requested to attend.

I'm wondering how the magistrate can make a decision with only hearing the defendants version of events? And all this time I was under the impression that Lady Justice was holding scales to demonstrate balance in our judicial system.

The magistrate only has the criminal complaint to go from. A piece of paper vs. the criminal and their attorney just doesn't seem like fair representation. I'm not asking for a trial, just an opportunity to speak to the magistrate just as the defendant does. What if the magistrate has a question about what transpired?

And what about the victim's actual medical expenses as a direct result of the assault? Apparently those expenses are totally disregarded by the magistrate and we have to file a separate civil suit (in magistrate court of course).

So the defendant gets his charges dismissed and my son is in the hospital and all is well in the magistrate court system.

This is justice?

Wilbert Randolph

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