Kanawha magistrate recommended for 45-day suspension

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 28, 2017

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission, along with Kanawha Magistrate Jack Pauley’s counsel, recommended a 45-day suspension without pay for ethics violations.

A recommendation for Pauley to pay the costs of the proceedings and the investigation was also noted.

On Nov. 28, Pauley stood before Judge Alan Moats and agreed to the recommendations. Moats now has to report the JIC, which will then accept or change the recommended punishment. The recommendation then goes to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, who will then either accept or change the recommendations.

The JIC charged Pauley with 12 violations of judicial misconduct in August, claiming he signed a domestic violence protection order without required information, left the night shift early and improperly took a case from another magistrate.

The formal statement of charges was filed on July 21 in the W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals by Judge Ronald E. Wilson, the chairperson 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.

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.

When filling out the ensuing emergency protective order, Pauley did not list required information, such as the victim of the accused, and did not require the alleged aggressor, Keaton, to give up his firearms, despite indication in the petition that Keaton owned them, according to the complaint.

According to a story in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Keaton was found dead on his porch around 2:15 a.m. Aug. 26, 2016. Authorities said he died in a shooting.

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.

When the JIC interviewed him on the matter, he said he knew the case was not his, but he handles other judges cases on a regular basis. During the hearing, Pauley said he was just trying to help in a situation where the prosecuting and defense attorneys had already agreed.

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