By Courtney Hessler, The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The delay of trials due to COVID-19 closures in the judicial system last year does not violate defendants’ rights to a speedy trial, West Virginia’s high court has ruled.
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruling, penned by Chief Justice Evan Jenkins, stemmed from a filing by Harold Radford Porter, 40, of Huntington, who has been jailed for more than a year and a half while awaiting a trial on murder charges.
Porter was jailed in November 2019 in the Sept. 21, 2019, shooting death of Sontezz Lomax, 39, of Charleston. Huntington police responded to a shooting at 2:51 a.m. Sept. 21 outside of a bar in the 800 block of 4th Avenue in Huntington to find Lomax dead and another person injured.
Porter was indicted on one count of murder, attempt to commit a felony and being a felon in possession of a firearm on Oct. 31, 2019. State law says he must be tried within a year. However, on order of the Supreme Court of Appeals, courts across the state shut down March 16, 2020, and the declaration was extended through June 29, 2020. Even once reopened, the courts were subject to specified pandemic protocols, which varied depending on the severity of the virus in each county…
To read more: https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/wv-high-court-rules-delay-of-trials-due-to-covid-19-does-not-violate-rights/article_798ada26-f22d-5e4a-b190-fdbbf1f64eca.html