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Scott Bias: Pace of court action should be speeded up

Oct. 07, 2012 @ 10:25 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one of a series of columns written by candidates in contested races in the Nov. 6 general election.

There are so many duties of a magistrate that it is difficult to choose one item to address. From being the first court to determine if someone deserves to be allowed out of jail on bond, or remanded, to trials for misdemeanor criminal cases, small monetary suits, landlord/tenant issues, to domestic violence petitions.

While I was on the Cabell County Commission, and to this day, by far the biggest complaint I hear is the long time that it takes to resolve cases. Whether it is the defendant who wants a speedy trial or the victim who wants the accused to be tried and sentenced. Cabell County has one of the highest pre-trial detainee rates in West Virginia.

As a magistrate I would only be responsible for one seventh of the cases, but I would do my part to set quicker trial dates and urge all parties to move the cases faster. Also I would be tougher on granting continuances and shorten the time for return court dates.

Another problem related to this subject is when a jury pool is called in for scheduled trials, the parties at the last minute reach plea deals, thus inconveniencing many people who have missed work, pay, or had to get babysitters, etc. It is my position that if a plea deal is going to be submitted that it would not be accepted at that point. There is no good reason that it couldn't be done before inconveniencing all those citizens.

If successful in my endeavors to speed up the system, then maybe others will follow. I would be very interested in other ideas and suggestions for improvement as well.

In closing, I would like to thank all the citizens who have trusted and supported me, and I promise to continue to use common sense and hard work!

Scott Bias, a resident of Lesage, is a Democratic candidate for Cabell County magistrate.



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