Boone County Commission seeking removal of prosecutor

MADISON, W.Va. — The Boone County Commission in a unanimous vote Tuesday agreed to begin the process to seek the removal of Boone County Prosecutor Donna Taylor from office.

The commission agreed on a resolution citing “incompetence and neglect of duty, according to West Virginia Code 6-6-7.”

Commission President Brett Kuhn delivered a statement during the special commission meeting.

“This is not a happy day for Boone County,” Kuhn said. “The report from the Office of Disciplinary Council outlines a dysfunctional prosecutor’s office that endangers every single Boone County citizen.”

According to court documents, Taylor hired her boyfriend to be an assistant prosecutor at a salary of $80,000 a year. She is also accused of failing to prepare nearly 100 orders from abuse and neglect cases, 83 releases of judgment after payments were made in full, and filing insufficient indictments.

Additionally, the charges claim that Taylor violated the rules of professional conduct by, “preparing numerous flawed and legally insufficient charging documents in felony criminal matters.”

Commissioner Jeff Petry also gave a statement Tuesday, saying the more they looked into the allegations, the worse the story got.

“The findings by the ODC, as commissioner Kuhn indicated, are staggering,” Petry said. “One key point in this sticks out to me [in the ODC report]: ‘Ethical violations by a lawyer holding a public office are viewed as more egregious because of the betrayal of the public trust attached to the office.’ That’s the part right there that really drives it home for me.”

Taylor has until April 8 to submit a written response to the court documents. If she fails to do so, it’s ruled as an admission to the allegations outlined in the Statement of Charges.

“As commissioners and elected officials in this office, we have to do what’s right,” said commissioner Petry.

Lastly, Commissioner John Messser vowed that they would be better to all people and organizations involved in the county and who may have been affected by the prosecutor’s actions or lack there of.

“This has to stop,” he said. “Our citizens and communities deserve better. Our law enforcement officers and judicial system deserve better. The victims and their families, more than anyone else, deserve better.”

Messer also added, “In Boone County, there should be a term known as double victimization. It would ensure that no one would be victimized by the same crime twice. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening again and again here because of our current prosecuting attorney.”

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