Failed To Issue Divorce Ruling Within 20 Days
Another judge is being accused of failing to rule on a Putnam County divorce in a timely manner. This time it's Kanawha County Family Court Judge Michael J. Kelly.
In the case of Halburn vs. Halburn (11-D-516), the final hearing was held October 15th, 2012, in Charleston. Rule 22 of the West Virginia Supreme Court Family Law Rules states, "All orders shall be entered by the court within 20 days of the hearing," which means the order should have been entered in early November.
The Respondent is PutnamLIVE.com's Publisher, Mark Hallburn, who says he is taking a "zero tolerance" policy towards Kelly and other judges that fail to comply with the law.
"Kelly needs to be tossed off the bench and into prison," says Hallburn. "Judges that don't follow the rules need to be incarcerated and heavily fined."
On January 8th, 2013, another complaint was filed against Kelly with the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission which has failed to take action against Kelly with prior complaints.
"Let's call it what it is," says Hallburn. "The JIC is a sham that steals taxpayer dollars to protect the 'Good Old Boys' while pretending to do work for the people. It needs to be shut down and replaced with civilians that punish judges like Kelly and Watkins."
"You're making more headway than anyone has on this issue in the history of the State of West Virginia," says Robert M. Werner, of Fathers4Justice.org.
PutnamLIVE.com is inviting anyone with videos of Kelly, Watkins, or any other judges misbehaving to contact the news web site at News@PutnamLIVE.com or 304-415-NEWS.
Complaints against judges can be filed with the West Virginia Judicial Investigative Commission. "If they get deluged with complaints, maybe they will hold judges accountable," says Hallburn. The JIC complaint can be downloaded by going to its website, http://www.courtswv.gov/legal-community/judicial-investigaion.html.
Nibert Appointed As Interim Family Court Judge
The Putnam County Screamer is gone-for now.
Twenty Sixth Family Court Circuit Judge William M. "Chip" Watkins, III, drove away from the Putnam County Courthouse, Friday, January 4th, 2013, in his Audi-perhaps for the last time.
Earlier in the day, Watkins wrote a letter to new West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin that states, "Due to my deteriorating health, my doctor has ordered me to take medical leave immediately. I recommend that Shawn Bayliss be appointed in my place. Very truly yours, William M. Watkins, III."
However, Benjamin declined, the
recommendation of Watkins, and appointed former Mason County Family Court Judge Deloris Nibert as Interim Judge, a position she held in December when Watkins took a paid vacation. His medical leave is also paid.
Rumors have been flying around the courthouse all week that Watkins would retire on Friday. However, PutnamLIVE.com declines to publish rumors and waited until the West Virginia Supreme Court published a news release that only confirms a medical leave by Watkins. The release was emailed at 6:06 p.m., too late to make this the lead story on the evening news on a weekend night. This is an old gimmick in the public relations game of burying a story that makes someone look bad.
A February 5th, 2013 hearing on the four-year suspension recommended by the West Virginia Judicial Disciplinary Board remains scheduled for Watkins before Benjamin and the other four West Virginia Supreme Court Justices. However, it is expected that Watkins will take an official disability retirement before the hearing rather than face suspension.
Watkins has been under fire since PutnamLIVE.com released an audio recording of him threatening free-lance reporter Lawrence J. Smith over our report about Watkins admission of being behind on his homeowner's association fee.
The next day, Watkins screamed at Hurricane Bible Church Pastor Arthur D. Hage, in court, leading us to publish that video, which went viral, including a Fox News "Kelly's Court" feature. The subsequent embarassment to West Virginia led to formal charges against Watkins.
"Praise the Lord. Thank you, Brother Mark," says Hage. "I think everything's going in the order of God's will."
"Mazel tov," says Robert Werner of Fathers4Justice.org. "This is a great day."
"This would not have happened without some courageous people," says PutnamLIVE.com Publisher Mark Hallburn. "Pastor Hage, Robert Harper, Tammy Jo Lambert, and Mary Wysong risked a lot to release their videos of Watkins screaming at them."
"I'm just glad that he's not on the bench for whatever reason it is," says Lambert. "I don't want to see him on the bench. If they were to put him back on there, I would have to continue fighting."
"Troy Sexton risked a lot by processing the videos for us" Hallburn adds. "And the Disciplinary Hearing Board risked a lot by standing up to Watkins after Rachael Fletcher Cipoletti kissed Watkins' butt with her embarassing offer of a 90-day stayed suspension."
Hallburn says getting rid of Watkins is only the first step:
"Now the West Virginia Supreme Court needs to fire her, Steve Canterbury (who refused to charge Watkins after the first video was released), and Teresa Tarr who defends the broken process that still has Watkins collecting a pay check months after he should have been suspended without pay.
"The next judges that need to go are
Michael J. Kelly and the 2012 West Virginia Supreme Court Justices that allow judges like Kelly and Watkins to stay on the bench-with pay-long after they should be removed."
Count on PutnamLIVE.com to publish the rest of the Watkins saga as things develop.
If you have video of an out-of-control judge, PutnamLIVE.com wants to hear from you. The email address is News@PutnamLIVE.com. The telephone number is 304-415-NEWS.
Finally, PutnamLIVE.com has learned that the Briarwood Estates Homeowner's Association Fees bill went out this week. We will let you know if Watkins is listed as "not in good standing" again-or if Watkins takes the same advice that he gave Mary Wysong and sets aside $2 per day of his lunch money to pay his HOA bill.
Wants To Keep His Job For Remaining Four Years
To the surprise of no one, Putnam County Family Law Judge William M. "Chip" Watkins, III, is fighting to keep his job.
In documents filed January 2nd, 2013, Watkins objects to the West Virginia Judicial Investigative Commission/Office of Disciplinary Counsel Hearing Board's recommendation that he be suspended through December 31st, 2016-without pay, which is the remainder of his elected term.
"The Judicial Hearing Board opted to ignore the joint recommendation of its own counsel and counsel for Judge Watkins, who had spent months examining and detailing the fact and circumstanceds of these Complaints and produced a recommended disposition based upon the knowledge so gleaned and did so without explanation, findings, or conclusions," is objection Number 3 in the multi-page document.
Watkins is referring to a 90-day suspension
that would allow him to stay on the bench if he served, without incident, during the first 90 days. It was negotiated by Special Counsel Rachel Fletcher Cipoletti, who prosecuted the case in which Watkins admitted to all of the charges of wrongdoing. Watkins' victims all objected to the 90-day proposed suspension as too weak considering Watkins' conduct.
In a 5-0 vote, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals rejected Watkins request to stay the proceedings against him and ordered a hearing on February 5th, 2013.
"Upon consideration of the motion to stay, the Court is of opinion to and doth hereby refuse said motion," states the order.
Reaction to Watkins objection to the four-year suspension came quickly.
"Based on everything that he's done, and the media coverage, I think that Watkins should have hung himself low and kept his (censored) mouth shut," says Robert Werner, of Fathers4Justice.org. "Judges like Watkins should retire, take his money and run, and go on disability and know what that person feels like who Watkins ordered to give up two-dollars a day for lunch and use that money to for his homeowner's association fees."
It was Watkins' objection to this article by PutnamLIVE.com about his late HOA fees that led to his screaming at Pastor Arthur D. Hage, in his courtroom, in May of 2012. Hage had nothing to do with the article and sat, stunned, as Watkins verbally abused Hage. That video, published first on PutnamLIVE.com, "went viral" and was featured on Fox News, the Huffington Post, the Glenn Beck Show, even The London Daily Mail as well as West Virginia news organizations.
"He would do everybody a favor by resigning," says the softspoken Hage, of Watkins. "That would be the best.
Robert Harper, one of Watkins' victims, vows to stay on Watkins until his law license is revoked. "He put me in jail for 21 days, improperly," says Harper.
"The Supreme Court should have kicked Watkins off the bench months ago," says another victim, Mark Hallburn, who also publishes PutnamLIVE.com. "They are failures for allowing this to drag on this long. A February 5th hearing is a ridiculous time frame. Watkins continues to get paid while the 'Good Old Boys' cover for him. It's time to kick them all off the bench and start over with a Judicial Investigative Commission that consists of civilian review boards-not judges that refuse to prosecute another judge in a timely manner. The current system is a sham and a disgrace."
Watkins faced charges for failing to file Domestic Violence Registry reports and for screaming at people in his courtroom.
Putnam County Day Care Owner Accused Of Violence
By Mark Hallburn
The owner of a pair of PJ's Day Care and Pre-Schools, in Teays Valley and Winfield, is accused of Domestic Violence, against a step-child, PutnamLIVE.com confirmed.
Pamela Samantha Greathouse Johnson Osborne Simpkins Matusic, of Peach Ridge, is under a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order issued by Putnam County Magistrate Linda J. Hunt.
According to the order, "The Respondent (Matusic) did: during a verbal argument throw shoe at Petitioner, come at Petitioner with her hands near her (petitioner's) neck, attempt to hit her, father pulled her off but Respondent (Matusic) was still pulling Petitioner's hair."
Matusic has not been charged with any crime.
The alleged attack is said to have taken place at Matusic's home, pictured above.
She moved into it after her previous home, in StoneGate, burned down in a fire that, according to West Virginia Fire Marshal Sterling Lewis, Jr., is being investigated for arson.
Unless they step forward, PutnamLIVE.com does not publish the names of alleged Domestic Violence victims.
This is a temporary order. A permanent order hearing will be held at a later date.
PutnamLIVE.com is told Pamela Matusic is in Florida for her family's annual Disney World vacation and that the alleged victim remained home and is staying with her mother. Friends say that's because she wasn't allowed to travel and lost her Christmas gifts for calling Child Protective Services and filing for the Emergency DVP.
It is most important to note that Matusic is not accused of any wrongdoing involving any of the children who attend any of her day cares and pre-schools.
For unexplained reasons the case has been transferred to Kanawha County where Matusic's husband, Joseph Matusic, Jr., is a practicing pediatrician. The alleged incident did not happen in Kanawha County.
Shortly after this article was published, a woman identifying herself as Dr. Matusic's mother, Dorothy A. Matusic, telephoned PutnamLIVE.com and left a voice mail. During the return call, she accused PutnamLIVE.com of being biased. When the call was disconnected, we called back. Then another woman called from the same number and said we were "idiots" before hanging up. PutnamLIVE.com filed a police report and will request a personal protection order.
On December 28th, we received this email:
A copy of the email will be provided to the magistrate court when the personal protection order is requested.
West Virginia American Water Company Offers You Tips
By Mark Hallburn
Winter weather means more than sledding and snowballs. It can also mean frozen pipes. Worse, those pipes can burst, wreaking havoc in your home.
West Virginia American Water Company wants to help. The utility is offering the following tips to keep the water running without freezing pipes:
Before cold weather sets in:
• Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
• Eliminate sources of cold air near lines by fixing windows, insulating walls, closing crawl spaces and eliminating drafts.
• Protect exposed pipes by wrapping them with heat tape or insulation available at hardware stores. If you have installed heat tape on exposed pipes, inspect the tape for cracks or fraying and make any needed repairs.
• If your meter is outside, make sure your meter lid is closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don’t disturb it.
• Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut-off valve is and how to turn it off and on. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
• Disconnect garden hoses and, if you have an indoor valve for the outside faucet(s), shut it off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
• To save wear and tear on your cooling system, drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes and check for excess water pooled in the equipment.
• Keep your water heater temperature around 120 degrees and install inexpensive low-flow shower heads to reduce hot water use. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees could reduce water heating costs too.
• Turn off and drain your irrigation systems.
• If no one will be home for an extended period of time during extreme winter weather,
consider turning your main valve off altogether and hiring a plumber to drain your system. That way, if your furnace quits working, there will be no water in your pipes to freeze. When temperatures consistently fall below freezing:
• Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is typically low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
• Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
If your pipes freeze:
• Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints that will leak when thawed.
• Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
• Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.
To learn more, please visit us online at www.WestVirginiaAmWater.com or telephone 1-800-685-8660.
To view a video about keeping your pipes from freezing, please click here.
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