Suits against Montgomery, former cop settled

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 25, 2012

CHARLESTON – Civil rights lawsuits two Fayette County women filed against the city of Montgomery and one of its former police officers last year have come to a conclusion.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin on Oct. 21 dismissed Rachael Jett’s and Amanda Pancake’s lawsuits against the city and Conrad M. Carpenter. Goodwin dismissed the suits after the sides announced they reached a settlement.

The terms of the settlements were not disclosed in court records.

The settlements come a month after Goodwin granted a motion by Conrad’s attorney, Vaughn T. Sizemore, to withdraw from the cases. In his motion, Sizemore said despite multiple phone calls, letters, e-mail messages and personal visits, he had no contact with Carpenter since early May.

Records show Sizemore made his motion following Goodwin’s order granting a motion filed by Jett’s and Pancake’s attorneys, Michael T. Clifford and Rachael Garlow, to compel a response to discovery requests.

In their suits, which were filed separately last October, Jett and Pancake allege Carpenter improperly stopped them on Oct. 26, 2009, and searched their belongings. According to the suits, Carpenter cited another passenger in their vehicle they picked up at 151 6th Ave. as reason to pull them over.

In the course of the search, Jett alleges Carpenter asked her to “pull out her bra and shake her breasts.” According to the suit, Carpenter issued her no citations.

In her suit, Pancake alleged Carpenter later showed up at her home with a search warrant. According to the suit, he obtained the warrant, signed by Mayor James T. Higgins Jr., after the search during the traffic stop found traces of marijuana in her purse.

Though she was issued a citation, Pancake says she was never allowed to see the supposed marijuana Carpenter discovered.

In early 2011, Carpenter resigned in the midst of an internal investigation on an unspecified incident. Last September, he was indicted by the Fayette County grand jury for fraudulent use of a government purchasing card.

The indictment alleged he used the card to purchase fuel for his personal vehicle. According the Fayette Circuit Clerk’s Office, the indictment was dismissed in February, and he was re-indicted later on the same charges.

The case remains open.

In 2007, while employed as a Charleston Police officer, Carpenter was charged with illegal possession of wildlife, shooting within 500 feet of a building and hunting from an automobile. A year later he was fired after an internal investigation, and entering a no contest plea to the charges.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case numbers 11-cv-793 (Jett) and 11-cv-799 (Pancake)

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