CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission has filed a formal statement of charges against Kanawha Magistrate Jack Pauley, accusing him of multiple offenses.
The formal statement of charges was filed July 21 with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals by Judge Ronald E. Wilson, the chairman of the Judicial Investigation Commission.
The Judicial Disciplinary Counsel opened two judicial ethics complaints against Pauley — the first on Sept. 8, 2016, and a second on April 21.
The charges brought against Pauley include approving a domestic violence petition that lacked information necessary to establish clear and convincing evidence; leaving his post one hour early without informing anyone; and taking over a case from another magistrate and then letting a suspect go free.
Pauley has served as a Kanawha County magistrate for 26 years and most recently won re-election last year, when he ran uncontested for his seat.
On Aug. 25, 2016, Pauley was working the 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift in Kanawha County Night Court. Brandi Martin filed a DVP against Housein Keaton in magistrate court and only partially filled out the petition for a DVP and turned it in to Pauley’s assistant, Mary Frampton.
The petition lacked the information necessary to establish clear and convincing evidence of immediate and present danger of abuse, however, Pauley improperly relied upon Frampton to make sure the petition was filled out properly and inappropriately granted the petition.
Also, on Aug. 25, 2016, at approximately 11 p.m., Frampton and Pauley left night court an hour before their shift ended. Pauley did not contact the magistrate on sick-call duty or any other magistrate to cover the rest of the shift. There were no magistrates on duty, which violated administrative order.
Sometime after Pauley left, a Charleston police officer, Cpl. David Dalton, brought a criminal complaint and an arrest warrant against Keaton. Dalton was forced to leave the paperwork in a box outside the court to be reviewed the following morning.
The third charge stemmed from events that occurred on July 27, 2016.
On that day, Joshua Miles was arrested and charged with violating a DVP, obstructing an officer and battery on a police officer in Kanawha Magistrate Court and the case was assigned to former Magistrate Julie Yeager.
On Sept. 22, 2016, Miles entered a guilty plea to violating the DVP and Yeager sentenced him to six months in jail.
However, Yeager suspended the sentence and placed him on 12 months of unsupervised probation, including Day Report and a full assessment with Prestera for the Co-Occurring Program.
On Feb. 27, a Kanawha County assistant prosecuting attorney filed a motion to revoke probation for Miles based on him failing a drug test and being kicked out of the Day Report program. Yeager set a hearing for March 8.
On March 8, Yeager held the hearing and revoked Miles’ probation and ordered him to serve his sentence of six months in jail.
On April 12, Yeager called in sick and Pauley was working a day shift that day. Lisa Good, Yeager’s assistant, brought Miles’ file to Pauley and granted a motion and signed a jail release order for Miles, despite the fact that the case belonged to Yeager.
Pauley has been advised that he has the right to file responsive pleadings to the charges made against him within 30 days of the day the charges were filed. A hearing has not yet been filed in the case.