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Scott's eligibility questioned

by J.R. Brammer

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Harrison County Prosecutor John Scott was ineligible to take office Jan. 1 and should be removed, Chief Public Defender Nancy Ulrich said Friday.

Ulrich is one of eight attorneys whose signatures appear on a motion filed Friday in Circuit Court that seeks the dismissal of more than 70 indictments returned Jan. 5 because Scott's license was suspended during session.

"It is our position that John (Scott) is not eligible to be prosecutor and his ineligibility can not be corrected," Ulrich said. "This is not personal."

Three other public defenders, along with local attorneys Jim Pool, Jerald Jones, Tom Kupec and John Fittro, signed Friday's motion, according to court documents.

An argument outlining the details of the attorneys' claims is expected to be filed Monday, Ulrich said.

Scott's license was suspended as of Nov. 15 for unpaid membership dues to the West Virginia State Bar Association.

Scott was sworn into office Dec. 29 and conducted the grand jury between Jan. 2-5.

Scott, nor the court, received notice from the Bar of the suspension until after the grand jury session.

His license was reinstated Jan. 8 after paying the Bar $295.

"I believe I was duly elected and am eligible to serve as prosecuting attorney," Scott said Friday.

In a Jan. 9 letter to defense attorneys, Scott said he would nullify all indictments and present the cases for consideration to a recalled grand jury.

Grand jury proceedings are on hold until further notice. Scott's response to the defense attorneys' claims will be due Jan. 29.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 8 before Circuit Judge Thomas Bedell.

Staff writer J.R. Brammer can be reached at 626-1442 or by e-mail at jbrammer@exponent-telegram.com.

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