Feds: Indicted W.Va. Sheriff Abused Power Before

By: West Virginia AP Email
By: West Virginia AP Email

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- A judge is postponing the civil rights trial for a sheriff accused of beating a bank robbery suspect so his lawyers can survey potential jurors and decide whether pre-trial publicity justifies a change-of-venue request.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey ruled Tuesday that the defense has good cause to delay the proceedings against Jefferson County Sheriff Robert Shirley.

Prosecutors had filed public documents with the court about evidence they intended to present next week, including a transcript from an unrelated court case that Shirley's lawyer called inflammatory.

In it, Shirley admitted firing a gun while on duty during a personal dispute with another man.

Prosecutors called it evidence of Shirley's readiness to abuse his power.

Defense attorney Kevin Mills said it could compromise his client's right to a fair trial.

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