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Judge Karl suggests treatment

By Staff | Feb 11, 2015

In Tyler County Circuit Court Thursday Judge Mark A. Karl let a man who had violated his probation know it was a serious matter.

James V. Wells, 26, of Middlebourne had appeared before Judge Karl on Oct. 29 for a hearing to revoke his probation. At that time his attorney, John Gainer from the Public Defender Corporation, said his client was ready to admit to violating his probation, having been charged with public intoxication.

Wells had previously been convicted of driving on a license suspended for DUI and a shoplifting charge. He was placed on home confinement and later found guilty of violating home confinement; he was remanded to jail. After his release he was placed on probation, to which he is accused of violating by being intoxicated in public.

Prosecutor D. Luke Furbee had argued at that time that home confinement and probation had both failed for Wells. He said it was the state’s position for the court to impose the original sentence. He said every opportunity Wells had been given had failed.

On Thursday Judge Karl said, “I believe we had been here last in January and there had been a motion to continue and my recollection was Wells indicated through his counsel he was going to get into an inpatient rehabilitation facility, that was in November 2104.”

Gainer said, “Your Honor, my client continues to attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings and he’s doing counseling through Westbrook. He’s trying to get into inpatient treatment, but hasn’t been able to yet.

“He is going to a counsel meeting this afternoon to see if he’s eligible for inpatient treatment and he informs me that even if they say he doesn’t need it, he still wants to go to it to make sure he’s okay.”

Karl replied, “Well let me ask why he has not been able to get into an inpatient facility. This was on Nov. 24; he indicated he was going to do so two-and-a-half months ago!”

When asked the state’s position, Prosecutor Furbee said he didn’t know why Wells hadn’t been able to get into a facility, perhaps he can expand on that.

Wells then went on to explain that he has been trying to get into an inpatient program, but at one point he didn’t have insurance and later when he got insurance he started receiving outpatient help. But he is waiting to hear from Westbrook to see exactly what help he does need, whether it is inpatient or outpatient.

“Let me tell you something Mr. Wells, this is not going to just go away, I found that you had violated your probation and if you think I’m going to keep coming back here every month just to see what your doing, you’re sadly mistaken,” said Karl. “I’m not going to do that, you are either going to get into an inpatient facility or outpatient facility. I’ll continue this until the March motion day. If you’re not in treatment one way or another, you’re gone. You hear me?”

“I understand,” replied Wells.

Karl said, “You better understand!”

Stephanie Moore, assistant probation officer for Wetzel and Tyler counties, offered that the drug court may be an alternative that would receive Wells for treatment. Judge Karl told Wells to see Moore before he left court that day.

“We’re not going to do this dance. You’re going to be gone if you don’t get into a treatment facility,” said Karl. “I’ve given you a lot of breaks and I’m not going to do it again. See her before you leave here today.”

Wells was ordered to return to court on March 5.

Also in court on Thursday was Daniel S. Finley, 26, of 201 Dodd Street, Middlebourne, for a status hearing.

Finley, pleaded guilty on Nov. 6, 2014, in Tyler County Circuit Court to sexual assault in the third degree. He was sentenced per a plea agreement to one to five years in the state penitentiary for men with credit for time served. The sentence is to be suspended and he is to be placed on probation for a period of three years and will also be required to register as a sex offender for life. After the probation is served, he will be placed on supervised released for a period of 10 years.

Finley will also be required to pay $50 per month and be prohibited from residing or working within 1,000 feet of a school or child care facility.

Judge Karl had passed this matter from the last appearance so to have a sexual offender evaluation. He asked Brent Clyburn, counsel for Finley, if he had an opportunity to review the report. Clyburn said Dr. William Fremouw, a forensic psychologist in Morgantown, determined that Mr. Finley is a good candidate for community treatment and believes he can benefit from outpatient counseling. Fremouw recommended a doctor in Wheeling that provides outpatient treatment. Clyburn said he had not had a chance to talk to the doctor about the treatment, so he would ask the court that the matter be passed. He also said it was brought up at the last meeting about mandated HIV testing. “We need to get that sorted out as to where to get that done,” said Clyburn.

Prosecutor Furbee told the court the law requires Finley submit to HIV testing as well as a DNA sample. He said the law also requires until the HIV testing is completed the defendant’s bond is to be revoked. But in any event, the DNA needs to be taken and the HIV testing needs to be done.

Judge Karl then asked where Finley lived. His mother answered that he lives with her in Alma. Judge Karl said he needs to go to the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department to have the testing done. Karl also said Finley needs to participate in a structured constructive activity other than playing video games. He needs to get into a sheltered workshop. Clyburn spoke up and said he would find out from the doctor recommended if he has a workshop in the northern panhandle. It was then mentioned that Northwood should have some. Judge Karl passed the case to March 5. He said he was not going to revoke bond at this time, until he hears back in March from Clyburn about his conversation with the recommended doctor. He said he would note the objection of the state.