W.Va. attorney law license suspended, removed from APA position
ST. MARYS, W.Va. (WTAP) – Former Pleasants County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney (APA) Paul Marteney is suspended from practicing law in the Mountain State for three months.
The Supreme Court of West Virginia entered an order that suspended Marteney on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023.
Marteney must also refund the filing fee for the order and pay the costs of his disciplinary hearing.
Marteney served as the APA in Pleasants County for more than a decade. He was removed from his position when officials in the Pleasants County Prosecutor’s Office learned of the suspension.
According to an official with the Pleasants County Prosecutor’s Office, Marteney’s suspension was related to his private practice.
Marteney was hired in 2019 to represent an individual who was in a car crash. Marteney was paid a filing fee and retained as a lawyer to represent the client in a civil suit in February 2019.
Marteney’s client then lost contact with him for more than a year. According to documents from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, Marteney did not respond while the client attempted to contact him multiple times.
In August of 2020, the case was set to be dismissed due to inactivity, according to documents from the Supreme Court of Appeals, Marteney failed to send the notice of dismissal to his client. The client learned about the dismissal more than a year later.
In December of 2021, Marteney’s client filed an ethics complaint to the West Virginia Lawyer Disciplinary Board. This complaint resulted in the three-month suspension.
Marteney was also involved in the Slow Down for the Holidays Program incident.
In 2018, the Pleasants County Sheriff’s Office joined the effort and asked drivers if they wanted to donate instead of facing criminal prosecution. If the driver said yes, then the ticket would be run through municipal court instead of Magistrate Court. This continued through 2019 and 2020, according to investigators.
Also in 2018, Pleasants County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Carr and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Paul Marteney both began expanding the holiday ticket program to some of their criminal cases. In exchange for a donation to the police department’s toy drive, Carr and Marteney would make a motion for certain cases to be dismissed.
Offenses Carr and Marteney worked to excuse ranged from passing a school bus to second DUI offenses. They also upped the donations from $50 to anywhere between $200 and $5,000.
Between 2018 and 2020, Carr and Marteney offered to make motions to dismiss at least 19 defendants’ criminal cases in exchange for donations to the toy drive.
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