West Virginia Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Charges filed against Raleigh magistrate for violating judicial conduct code

Attorneys & Judges

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 21, 2019

Wvstatecapitolabe

CHARLESTON — Raleigh Magistrate Judge Stephen Massie has been charged with violating the state's judicial code of conduct.

The formal statement of charges was filed Oct. 7 against Massie, and it included seven charges.

Massie has worked as a magistrate judge in Raleigh County since Jan. 1, 2005, after he was elected in November 2004.


Massie

A complaint was filed against Massie by Joe Armstrong, the administrative director for the state Supreme Court of Appeals on Jan. 14.

Armstrong's complaint raised concerns about Massie's alleged improper involvement in a Domestic Violence Petition what was filed against his magistrate assistant, Donnie Plumley in November 2018, as well as separate misdemeanor charges brought against a friend who worked for the West Virginia State Police as a dispatcher.

When Raleigh County Deputy F.K. Myers went to serve Plumley with the DVP, Massie was there with Plumley and told Myers that Hellen Shreve was trying to manipulate the system when she filed the DVP and that it was done so out of spite and should be considered harassment, according to the charges.

Myers felt pressured into filing harassment charges against Shreve because of Massie telling him to do so and he felt Massie's presence at Plumley's home affected the service of the DVP, the document states.

The Judicial Disciplinary Counsel took sworn statements from Massie on June 7 in which he testified he was only at the residence for five minutes, claiming he was concerned about what would happen with Plumley's guns in light of the DVP and that he was only there to retrieve the keys to Plumley's gun safe.

The charges state that Massie "lacked candor" when he told the JDC that he was only there for five minutes.

"Respondent also lacked candor when he denied ever encouraging Deputy Myers to investigate harassment charges against Ms. Shreve," the document states.

Another incident occurred in August 2018, when Mark Keaton, a West Virginia State Police dispatcher, was involved in an altercation and called a senior state police trooper, Shane Milam, to respond to the scene. Keaton then called Massie, who agreed to come to the scene.

Milam and Trooper First Class Kevin Mollohan arrived before Massie and when Massie arrived, he spoke with the officers. 

"After a short discussion, Trooper Milam purposefully left Trooper Mollohan with Respondent to keep him busy so Trooper Milam could take written statements from several witnesses," the charges state.

Both troopers were surprised Massie had come to the scene and both claimed it was the first and only time they ever had a judge come to an active crime scene. They claimed Massie's presence changed the "whole dynamic" of the investigation and even family members commented that Massie's presence was inappropriate.

Massie spoke with other magistrates, Assistant Prosecutor Ben Hatfield and Keaton's defense attorney, Robert Goldberg regarding the incident and even was present at Keaton's pre-trial conference.

Massie denied trying to influence the case or the negotiations, the charges state.

Other charges against Massie are similar in nature, claiming he attempted to influence others with his position.

Massie has 30 days to file a response if he chooses to do so.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Case number: 19-0915

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