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WV Supreme Court launches inquiry into Kanawha County judge

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The West Virginia Supreme Court's administrative director will launch an official inquiry into Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster's docket after she entered a dismissal order that may have resulted in the release of a criminal defendant.

This inquiry will look into matters including procedures in Webster's office and in the Kanawha County circuit clerk's office to "ensure that fair and appropriate standards of procedure are being maintained," the March 12 state Supreme Court document states.

Jeremy Carter was released last week from South Central Regional Jail before his attempted kidnapping charge was heard, according to WOWK reports. He was arrested a second time shortly after the court realized its mistake. 

Carter is accused of trying to kidnap a child near South Charleston last year. 

In a statement, Webster said it was misinterpretation of her order, directed at a psychiatric evaluation, rather than the kidnapping charges. 

"The Court never intended to dismiss the attempted kidnapping charge against Mr. Carter," Webster said in her statement. 

Webster says the release should have been confirmed with her office before officials at South Central Regional Jail released Carter.

"At the very least, there should have been communication with the Court regarding its intent, particularly since the underlying felony number WAS NOT contained in the Dismissal Order, and in light of the fact that the Jail Release Form was executed six days AFTER the Dismissal Order was entered and filed."

It is not clear, according to Webster's statement what caused the mistaken release, but she said there is an investigation underway.

"While questions still linger regarding why or how this inadvertent mistake occurred, it is abundantly clear that the Court DID NOT enter an order directing dismissal of 12-F-2685 or authorizing Mr. Carter's release on that charge. It is equally clear that his release resulted from a document other than the Dismissal Order, and was specifically authorized by someone other than the underlying judge," Webster said.