Judge Davud W. Hummel, Jr. heard from several defendants in Tyler County Circuit Court.
Amber Lewis, who was granted probation following a conviction in April, 2011 on charges of felony delivery of a controlled substance, also appeared for revocation. Lewis, who served 60 days in NCRJ as a condition of probation, was found to have failed a random drug screen when she tested positive for marijuana, and oxycodone.
Lewis's attorney, Patricia Kurelac, told the court that Lewis was successfully complying with terms of her probation until Lewis's father died.
"She was under stress," Kurelac explained, "and she reacted to the stress."
"Ms. Lewis is now pregnant, and has had high risk pregnancies in the past," said Kurelac. "She is asking the court for alternative sentencing, in the form of home confinement."
"She's a user, but she's also a drug dealer," argued Prosecuting Attorney D. Luke Furbee. "I have a moral objection to (Lewis) being granted probation, then coming back here and effectually asking for the same thing, in the form of home confinement."
"The State recommends the original sentence be imposed." Furbee ended.
Lewis addressed the court and stated, "I don't feel I can get the nutrition I need (during pregnancy) in jail.
"I am willing to stay clean. I am willing to go to meetings, I will do anything I have to do."
"Willing, willing, willing," countered the Judge. "Willing doesn't get the job done. The Prosecuting Attorney was gracious in agreeing to probation, the first time. You are a convicted drug dealer."
"I'm going to help you stay clean and take care of your unborn baby," Hummel informed Lewis, "at the Judge Hummel 'Detox Center' at the DOC."
Lewis was ordered to serve the remainder of her original sentence and remanded into custody.
Robert E. Carpenter, indicted on five felony counts in connection with a break-in at a property owned by Bens Run Land Company, agreed to a plea offered by the State.
Carpenter pleaded guilty to one count, entering without breaking a building other than a dwelling; the remaining four counts were dismissed by the court.
Carpenter was arrested when he unwittingly walked into a police stake-out at the company property.
"What was your master plan?" Judge David W. Hummel, Jr., asked Carpenter.
Carpenter answered, saying, "I was there to get high," when explaining his actions to the court.
"On what?" asked Judge Hummel.
"Heroin and bath salts," mumbled the defendant, admitting he had been an addict for five years.
Carpenter was sentenced to not less than one, nor more than ten years in the West Virginia Dept. of Corrections, with credit for time served, plus court costs, and remanded to North Central Regional Jail to await transfer to DOC.
Natasha Dunn, who also was arrested at the Bens Run Land Co. by the officers on stake-out, pleaded guilty to one felony count, entering without breaking a building other than an dwelling.
At the time of the break-in, Dunn had been in the company of Robert Carpenter and the two had gone to the upstairs of the building "to do drugs."
Dunn admitted to entering the building when entering her guilty plea.
A pre-sentencing report was ordered by the court and a sentencing date of March 15 was set.
"At this time, you are a convicted felon," Judge Hummel told Dunn. "The same conditions that applied to your bond, are continued until sentencing."
Hobart Powers, age 61, appeared to answer charges of felony driving on suspended/revoked license (DUI), third offense.
Powers entered a guilty plea to the charge, after telling Judge Hummel he "snuck out and drove" his vehicle while taking prescription medication, which resulted in a rear-end collision at a traffic light. Upon arrival at the scene, officers ascertained that Powers had no license due to two previous DUI charges.
Powers was sentenced to not less than one nor more than three years incarceration, and given alternative sentencing of home confinement. Powers was also ordered to pay $3,000 in fines to the State, plus court fees.
Several defendants appeared in front of Judge Hummel for the purposes of probation revocation.
Christopher L. Olszewski, who was granted probation in December, 2010 after serving one year of his sentence for felony possession with intent to deliver (heroin), appeared to answer charges of multiple probation violations. The case was presented by Special Prosecutor Tim Haught.
According to John Lantz, Chief Adult Probation Officer for the county, Olszewski had violated the terms of his probation by using narcotics, failing a drug screen, failing to report, and leaving the state without permission.
Olszweski allegedly was arrested in Pittsburgh, PA, on drug charges and neither reported the fact he'd gone to Pennsylvania or had been arrested. According to Lantz's statement, Olsweski was found with 72 'stamp bags' of heroin when arrested.
Olszewski reportedly also tested positive for codeine, morphine, and hydrocodone during a drug screen ordered by Lantz. A hearing date of March 15 was set by the court to determine Olsweski's status with the court.
Jeremiah Anderson was next to appear for purposes of revocation of probation. Anderson was convicted in a jury trial in September, 2010, on two felony counts: breaking and entering a building and attempted breaking an entering a building; and one misdemeanor charge of destruction of property.
Anderson, who was on probation after being paroled from the DOC after one year of imprisonment on the breaking and entering charges, allegedly broke probation by failing a random drug screen in January of this year.
Anderson claimed his failed drug screen was the result of being on prescribed medications that he failed to report to his probation officer.
"I have a little trouble with, 'I had a prescription the PO didn't know about'," remarked the Prosecutor. "I believe it is the probationer's responsibility to notify the officer of the prescriptions."
"In fact, isn't there a place on the probation report where all prescribed drugs should be listed?" asked Furbee.
Anderson's case was continued until March 15.
Joshua Berryman, convicted of one felony count, delivery of a controlled substance, in September, 2011, was also in court for the purposes of probation revocation. Berryman tested positive for marijuana in a random drug screen performed in January of this year, according to Chief Probation Officer John Lantz.
When called to testify about the violation, Lantz informed the court he had been a probation officer for 19 years.
"How many drug screens have you supervised?" inquired the Prosecutor.
"Over the years, thousands," replied Lantz. "Once I got a confirmed result from the lab (in Virginia), I filed a petition to revoke."
"I asked the defendant if he'd been using marijuana, and he said 'yes'," continued Lantz. "I asked him why, and he said he'd been having some problems."
Berryman's defense to the allegation was he had contracted walking pneumonia and went to the hospital but couldn't afford the prescribed medications.
"I tried over the counter medicine, but it didn't help. I used 'pot' to feel better. I'm not trying to justify my behavior," said Berryman.
"Walking glaucoma?" remaked Judge Hummel after hearing Berryman's explanation. Judge Hummel found Berryman's admission of drug use was sufficient cause for revocation and therefore revoked by the court. The balance of his original sentence was re-instated.
"We're going to try something a little different today," Judge Hummel remarked at last Thursday's session of Tyler County Circuit Court. before calling several defendants and their attorneys in front of the court for the purpose of a mass arraignment.
Brandie Forrester, Joseph Seckaman, Jessica Seckman, Ryen Archer, Abdul-Kahar A. Al-Janaby, Nocha Brewer, Lionel Gore, and Mitchell Kelley, with their attorneys stood in front of Judge Hummel to enter pleas to the court.
Brandie R. Forester entered a plea of not guilty to two counts; felony entering without breaking and misdemeanor petit larceny, stemming from an incident in August, 2011. A trial date of April 2 was set for the hearing.
Joseph Seckman entered a not guilty plea to one count, felony aiding or abetting concealment of a child from a person entitled to visitation. A trial date of April 5 was set.
Jessica Seckman entered a not guilty plea to one count, felony concealment of a child from person entitled to visitation.
The Seckmans were charged after allegedly fleeing the state with Mrs. Seckman's minor child in early September of 2011. She and her husband, Joseph Seckman, were apprehended in Flagstaff, Arizona, in October, 2011. The children were taken into the custody of child protective services at the time and later returned to the custody of family members.
Ryen Archer entered a not guilty plea to one count, felony delivery of a controlled substance. Archer will appear in court April 16 to answer the charge. A $5,000 surety bond was ordered by the court.
Abdul-Karhar A. Al-Janaby entered a not guilty plea to two counts, felony child abuse resulting in injury and one count, misdemeanor domestic battery. A court date of April 18 was set, and Al-Janaby was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
Nocha Brewer appeared before Judge Hummel and entered not guilty pleas to three counts: count one, felony malicious assault; count two, misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury; and count three, misdemeanor domestic battery. Brewer is alleged to have deliberately caused injury to another by "striking to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill." Brewer allegedly struck her victim with a vehicle on December 24, 2011. A court date of April 16 was set by Judge Hummel.
Lionel Gore entered not guilty pleas to the following charges: count one, entering without breaking a building other than a dwelling; count two, conspiracy to commit an offense against the State; count three, attempted grand larceny; count four, conspiracy to commit an offense against the state; and count five, fleeing from a police officer.
Mitchell Kelley entered not guilty pleas to one felony count grand larceny; and one count, misdemeanor entering without breaking (automobile). A court date of April 20 was set by the court.