CHARLESTON – A Putnam County man wants a family law judge's contempt order quashed because he says in his case, the judge lacked the power to even consider it.
Jarrell Gay Scott filed a writ of prohibition May 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Family Law Judge Mike Kelly. In his writ, Jarrell, 67, a Winfield resident, alleges Kelly erred in asserting jurisdiction in his divorce that was finalized by a circuit judge nearly 20 years ago.
According to the writ, Christy Dawn Scott-Cline, 40, filed for divorce from Scott in 1992. C. Page Hamrick III, the lawmaster who heard their divorce, recommended that Scott pay Cline $6,511.54.
The amount included $4,924.04 in medical bills, $257.50 for her share of their checking account, Hamrick's fee of $330 and her attorney's fee of $1,000. On May 4, 1993, then- Judge John Hey accepted Hamrick's recommendation, and entered a final divorce order.
When Scott failed to pay Cline the money by Sept. 28, 1993, she asked for, and received a suggestee execution from the Circuit Clerk's Office on Oct. 4. Records show, she filed it the next day in the County Clerk's Office.
Aside from filing her judgment against him, Scott alleges Cline has made no effort to collect on it in the last 18 years except file a motion for contempt against him on Nov. 18. During a final hearing held April 4, Kelly granted Cline's motion, and ordered Scott to post a bond while he appealed the decision.
According to the writ, during the hearing Scott made a motion to dismiss Cline's motion on the grounds Kelly lacked the jurisdiction to hear it. However, Kelly orally denied Scott's motion.
Since the hearing, Scott avers that he has yet to receive "an order finding him in contempt and ordering him to post a bond."
In his writ, Scott maintains Kelly overstepped his bounds by finding him in contempt because he shouldn't have heard Cline's motion in the first place. Despite family law judges replacing family law masters following passage of a 2000 constitutional amendment, Scott maintains, because they have limited jurisdiction, family law judges cannot rule on matters arising from a circuit judge's decision especially one that occurred prior to the family court's creation.
Also, Scott says state law allows for various remedies Cline can pursue to enforce her judgment against him without going to the extraordinary step of filing a motion for contempt. Among those are filing suit in circuit court.
As of presstime, a hearing has yet to be scheduled on Scott's writ. He is represented by St. Albans attorney Duane C. Rosenlieb Jr.
The case is assigned to Judge Tod J. Kaufman.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 12-MISC-260