February 16, 2012
Prosecutor sues Berkeley magistrate in DUI dismissal
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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Berkeley County Prosecutor's Office says a magistrate exceeded her authority when she dismissed drunken-driving charges against two people and filed new charges to settle the case.

A circuit court complaint says Magistrate JoAnn Overington acted over the objections of the state.

It asks a judge to overrule her decision in the handling of the cases against a Virginia woman and a West Virginia man. 

Chief deputy prosecutor Christopher Quasebarth says there's no law giving a magistrate the power to initiate a complaint on her own.

Overington says she thought she could accept reduced pleas of reckless driving to settle cases but now realizes she made a mistake and needed a prosecutor's approval.

She tells the Herald-Mail it wasn't intentional, and she sees it as a lesson learned.

 

 

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