Former Pleasants County magistrates admonished over holiday ticket scandal
PA Carr, APA Marteney accused of furthering scheme
ST. MARYS, W.Va. (WTAP) - Two former Pleasants County magistrates will no longer be allowed to serve in judicial office as part of agreements reached with the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission (JIC).
Randy Nutter and Lisa Taylor both signed agreements admitting to, and apologizing for, their involvement in a donation scheme which saw at least 17 criminal cases dismissed in exchange for charitable donations.
According to JIC documents, the program was started by the St. Marys Police Department in the late 2000s and was meant to give people pulled over for minor traffic offenses the option to donate to charity over paying a ticket. It was conducted during the last few months of the year and donations went toward toys for underprivileged children. St. Marys Police Chief Bill Stull has previously told us the program was mostly aimed at drivers caught speeding and was voluntary.
In 2018, the Pleasants County Sheriff’s Office joined the effort and would ask drivers if they wanted to donate instead of facing criminal prosecution. If the driver said yes, then the ticket would be run through municipal court instead of Magistrate Court. This continued through 2019 and 2020, according to investigators.
Also in 2018, Pleasants County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Carr and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Paul Marteney both began expanding the holiday ticket program to some of their criminal cases. In exchange for a donation to the police department’s toy drive, Carr and Marteney would make a motion for certain cases to be dismissed.
Offenses Carr and Marteney worked to excuse ranged from passing a school bus to second DUI offenses. They also upped the donations from $50 to anywhere between $200 and $5,000.
Between 2018 and 2020, Carr and Marteney offered to make motions to dismiss at least 19 defendants’ criminal cases in exchange for donations to the toy drive.
Both Nutter and Taylor agreed to dismiss every case they were asked to dismiss involving this program, investigators said.
Nutter told investigators he dismissed seven cases involved in the scheme and Taylor said she dismissed 10.
Nutter and Taylor were required to resign by Friday, August 13 per their JIC agreements. Both did so.
Copyright 2021 WTAP. All rights reserved.