by Ron Gregory
WILLIAMSON — A Charleston attorney said Friday that he had just “experienced the most outrageous miscarriage of justice in my 35-year career as a lawyer.” He was referring to action in Mingo County Family Court.
Former Kanawha County Prosecutor Mike Clifford, representing a Mingo County woman in a Domestic Protection Order (DPO), said, “I drove all the way from Charleston to Williamson for a hearing only to be told it had been held nine days early ex parte.” Ex parte is a legal term meaning a court action was taken with only one party in attendance.
According to court documents, another female received a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against Clifford’s client in November. The order was signed by a Mingo County Magistrate. Automatically, court action for such cases is transferred to Family Court for further hearings.
Mingo Family Court Judge Sabrina Deskins set a hearing in November that was continued because officials failed to notify the woman seeking the protective order in time for the hearing.
According to the continuance order, signed by Deskins, the case was continued until 11 a.m., Friday, December 18. Despite that order, a “final order” handed to Clifford and his client Friday and signed by Deskins said the hearing had actually been held on December 9.
Basically, in her final order, Deskins approved continuance of the protection order with all pertinent requirements.
Clifford said he was “shocked” when he learned the hearing was held without “any notification to me or my client.”
Upon being handed the final order and informed by Family Court employees that Deskins was “away on a cruise,” Clifford and his client proceeded to the courtroom of Circuit Judge Miki Thompson. After emerging from Thompson’s chambers, Clifford informed his client that the judge had scheduled an emergency hearing in the matter on Monday morning, December 21.
“I am hopeful justice might finally be done in this case,” Clifford said over the weekend. What’s happened until now is absolutely outrageous.”