Judge asks for investigation into Pocahontas County prosecutor
Marlinton, W.Va. –
11th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Joseph Pomponio, Jr., has requested an investigation to determine if Pocahontas County prosecutor Donna Meadows Price should be removed from office. Pomponio filed a petition on October 18 in the Pocahontas County Circuit Court.
According to West Virginia code section 6-6, the petition must be forwarded immediately to the State Supreme Court of Appeals, which must appoint a three-judge panel consisting of three West Virginia circuit judges, within 20 days. No more than one judge can be from the 11th Circuit. Pomponio’s petition requests the Supreme Court appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the matter and the panel of judges must conduct a hearing within 20 days of the filing of the petition.
An order to remove the prosecutor or to not remove her could be appealed to the Supreme Court within 30 days.
Pomponio’s petition reads: “The Prosecuting Attorney for Pocahontas County, Donna Meadows Price, has failed to perform the duties of her office, honestly, faithfully and to the best of her ability. The public has a right to know why the attorney they have selected to represent them, and whose salary they pay with their taxes, is unfit for office.”
The petition also requests an investigation into the disqualification of the prosecutor from seven recent drug cases. The court requested a special prosecutor for those cases, after Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese expressed concern with Meadows Price’s willingness and/or ability to prosecute the cases.
Meadows Price is also under investigation by the state Lawyer Disciplinary Board. In January, the board charged Meadows Price with several violations of professional conduct, including failure of competence and diligence. The Lawyer Disciplinary Board scheduled hearings in that case for February 4,5 and 6.
AMR News will report Meadows Price’s response to Pomponio’s petition, as soon as available.