UPDATE (October 7, 6:10 p.m.):
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The trial for two area magistrates who have been accused of multiple fraud charges will continue after a judge rejected an agreement.
Judge Thomas Kleeh denied the motion that would have allowed magistrates Roger Clem Jr. and Alton Skinner II to leave their offices and agree to never seek any public office in the future. That same deal would also have kept both men out of prison.
The denied motion would have continued the case for a year to allow the state’s Judicial Investigation Commission to complete its work.
Kleeh allowed a new oral motion to push the trial back, since attorneys on all sides said they would need more time to prepare for the case.
The trial is set to begin February 18.
ORIGINAL (September 26, 6:21 p.m.):
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The United States Attorney’s Office filed a motion on September 25 to continue trials against two West Virginia magistrates based on conditions outlined in submitted deferred prosecution agreements.
A federal grand jury indicted Roger Clem Jr. and Alton Skinner II on charges involving wire fraud, mail fraud and obstruction. They are accused of working to arrange bond for detainees with a bonding company operated by Skinner’s spouse, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In the motion to continue the trials, the U.S. Attorney’s Office moves for a continuance for 12 months, during which time Clem and Skinner must meet specific requirements. The indictments would then be dismissed.
Clem and Skinner each accept responsibility for the conduct set forth in the indictment by entering into the deferred prosecution agreement, according to court documents. The agreement also mentions their willingness to take remedial actions, their full cooperation and their agreement to fulfill all of the undertakings they made in the agreements, including complying in the future with all federal and state criminal laws.
The following remedial actions are included in Clem’s agreement:
- Within seven days of the agreement, Clem will resign as magistrate in Lewis County.
- Clem agrees never again to seek public office by election or appointment anywhere in the United States.
- Clem agrees to cooperate with the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission by entering into an agreement with the Judiciary Disciplinary Counsel within 30 days of execution of the agreement.
The following remedial actions are included in Skinner’s agreement:
- Within seven days of the agreement, Skinner will resign as magistrate in Gilmer County.
- Skinner agrees never again to seek public office by election or appointment anywhere in the United States.
- Skinner agrees never again to be involved in the bail bonding business anywhere in the United States.
- Skinner agrees to cooperate with the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission by entering into an agreement with the Judiciary Disciplinary Counsel within 30 days of execution of the agreement.
Clem and Skinner also each agree to a continuing obligation of cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, according to court documents.
In exchange for Clem’s and Skinner’s acceptance of responsibility; continued cooperation; compliance with federal and state criminal laws; and otherwise complying with all of the terms of the agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will file a joint motion with each defendant to defer prosecution for 12 months, according to court documents.
If Clem and Skinner each remain in compliance for the 12-month period outlined in their separate agreements, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will, within 30 days of the expiration of each agreement, move to dismiss their individual indictments with prejudice. The dismissals of the indictments are independent of one another. Except in the event of a breach of the agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will bring no additional charges against Clem or Skinner relating to or arising out of the matters set forth in the indictments, according to court documents.
A judge still needs to decide whether or not to accept the agreements.