Ralph B. DavisManaging Editor
December 4, 2012
WILLIAMSON — An administrative order granting in part and denying in part the motion made by Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks asking for the disqualification of Magistrate Deloris D. Sidebottom from hearing any criminal cases involving his office was entered in the Circuit Clerk’s office on Friday.
The order reads in its entirety, as follows:
This court has fully reviewed the Prosecuting Attorney’s Motion for disqualification and the response of Magistrate Sidebottom pursuant to WV Administrative Rules of Magistrate Courts 1B(c)(1). After fully reviewing the motion as well as the ancillary complaint, the court does hereby grant in part and deny in part the motion for disqualification.
1. Magistrate Sidebottom is hereby disqualified on a temporary basis, in order to avoid an appearance of impropriety and bias in matters in which the Prosecuting Attorney or one of his assistants is counsel of records. The disqualification will continue until the ancillary complaint is resolved.
2. The motion for disqualification is denied in part as it relates to all criminal matters. Magistrate Sidebottom may continue to preside in all civil matters as well as criminal intake responsibilities and also “on call” civil and criminal duties. The disqualification becomes effective upon the filing of a criminal of a criminal proceeding and at the point of time the Prosecuting Attorney or one of his assistants becomes counsel of record. Magistrate Sidebottom may continue to issue criminal warrants and criminal process as part of intake and “on call” responsibility.
3. The parties shall notify the court of the decision and completion of the ancillary complaint so that the court can enter a supplemental order in this matter.
4. That Magistrate Court Clerk shall accordingly reassign cases in an equitable fashion consistent with this order to fairly distribute the caseload among all three magistrates. This action may include assigning additional civil cases during the pendency of the disqualification to Magistrate Sidebottom. The temporary disqualification also applies to juvenile referee duties.
This order was entered on Nov. 30, in the office of Grant Preece, Mingo County Circuit Clerk, and was signed by the Honorable Michael Thornsbury, Circuit Judge of the 30th Judicial Circuit.