Friday, September 16, 2011
Gilmer County Prosecutor Gerry Hough cautioned for ‘98 FERPA violation
WV Record Reports:
Records show very early in his legal career, Gerry Hough was scolded by the Lawyer Disciplinary Board for violating federal law when he improperly accessed a Glenville State College student’s academic records in the course of representing her accused attacker in a sexual assault case.
The Board on December 09, 2000, filed a one-count statement of charges against Hough for committing three violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct when he asked for, and received, a copy of Anita Phillips-Wiseman‘s transcripts on November 13, 1998. At the time, Hough was representing Wilkie Perez, a GSC student and quarterback of the football team, on charges he raped Phillips-Wiseman.
In the statement, which acts as an indictment for disciplinary purposes, the Board stated that Hough was also a member of the GSC faculty at the time he was representing Perez. Hough, the statement alleged, used his position on the faculty to mislead the GSC Registrar’s Office into getting a copy of Phillips-Wiseman’s transcripts for the sole purpose of aiding in Perez’s defense.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, strict limits are placed on disclosure of a student’s academic records, and who has access to them. Among those who are permitted access to a college student’s records, including his or her transcripts, is the student’s advisor.
According to the statement, at the time he requested her transcripts, Hough was not Phillips-Wiseman’s advisor. Because of that, the Board charged Hough with violating Rules dealing with truthfulness in statements to others, respect for the rights of third persons and misconduct.
Eventually, the Board on August 04, 2004, opted to dismiss the charge, and “caution” Hough, who by this time had become Gilmer County’s prosecutor, for his conduct, and fine him $400. The reason for the Board’s decision was due to the fact that at the time of the incident, Hough had been a member of the state Bar for only a month, and, upon learning of his actions, Thomas Powell, GSC’s then-president, reprimanded Hough, and denied him a pay raise given to other GSC faculty and staff.
As part of the agreement to dismiss the charges, Hough, despite his initial denial, had to admit to them, and express remorse for his actions.
Records show the sexual assault charges against Perez were dismissed.
~~ By Lawrence Smith – WV Record – 09.16.11 ~~
Ohio man appeals dismissal of ethics complaint against Gilmer prosecutor
9/16/2011 7:40 AM By Lawrence Smith -Kanawha Bureau
CHARLESTON – Citing a failure to consider new evidence, an Ohio man is asking a state ethics panel to reconsider his complaint of improper conduct by Gilmer County’s prosecuting attorney in his 2005 criminal case.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel on Sept. 6 dismissed the complaint Dan Bingman filed against Gerry Hough. In her dismissal letter, Lawyer Disciplinary Counsel Jessica Donahue Rhodes, said the information Bingman included in his Aug. 24 complaint of Hough paying one of Bingman’s relatives to testify against him, and advertisements Hough placed in the Glenville Democrat-Pathfinder accusing Bingman of “cyberbulling,” not only failed to show a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, but was also time-barred.
“Nothing in those two (2) documents reflect [sic] any violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct,” Rhodes said. “Furthermore, you have not provided any proof that Mr. Hough paid Mrs. Rafferty to testify during the trial.”
“Those allegations are far too vague and unclear to discern what actions you believe Mr. Hough has taken that amount to an allegation of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct,” Rhodes added. “It appears you have been aware of most of what you allege in your second complaint when your first complaint was filed and two (2) years before the first complaint was filed.”
“Thus, your complaint appears to be time-barred,” Rhodes said.
Records show, Bingman, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was indicted in March 2005 by the Gilmer County grand jury on a charge of grand larceny, a felony. He was accused of stealing, and later selling farm equipment, a brush hog, valued at nearly $2,500 on Jan. 31, 2002.
However, a jury on Dec. 14, 2005, convicted Bingman of petit larceny, a misdemeanor. Bingman maintained he should’ve never been indicted, let alone convicted, since the brush hog was valued at less than $400, and sat idle for over 20 years on property belonging to his family.
In his complaint, Bingman accused Hough of suborning perjury by getting Roanna Rafferty, Bingman’s aunt, to testify falsely she had a 1/6th interest in the property. Also, Bingman maintains Hough was aware the value of the brush hog was well below the $1,000 threshold for a grand larceny charge.
The allegations raised in his Aug. 24 complaint were similar to ones raised in a complaint he filed against Hough on Dec. 20, 2007, that was dismissed a month later. However, in his response dated Sept. 8 to their dismissal letter, Bingman said ODC failed to consider two new pieces of evidence included in his recent complaint that came to light last year.
One was a title opinion that was introduced last July in a civil suit showing Rafferty did not own the 1/6th share of the property she claimed. Another was bills received in October for back taxes on the property that, Bingman said the county previously refused to let his family pay.
The title opinion and tax tickets, Bingman says, show that his new complaint against Hough not only falls within the statute of limitations, but also he had no business prosecuting him in what amounted to a family squabble.
“The new evidence in this case proves that it should not be time-barred,” Bingman said. “It proves that due diligence was not practiced and a human being suffered severely as a result.”
“A case should never be brought to court by a Prosecutor who has not used due diligence to establish the facts,” he added. “When Hough could not locate the 1/6th claimed, the court should have been notified (despite his embarrassment) a mistrial declared and perjury charges brought against the Prosecutors [sic] witness in my opinion.”
“Because there was no title proof of ownership, the jury, and the court could not know that there was equal ownership in a property dispute that somehow turned into a criminal case, although experts say it should have been a civil action all along.”
In response to his letter, Chief Lawyer Disciplinary Counsel Rachel L. Fletcher Cipoletti said ODC was treating Bingman’s dissatisfaction of their dismissal of his complaint as an appeal and would be placing it on the agenda for the next meeting of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board’s investigative panel. Though she did not say when the next meeting would take place, Cipoletti said she would notify Bingman in writing of their decision.
When reached for a comment about Bingman’s complaint prior to its dismissal, Hough said he had yet to see it. However, he said this was Bingman’s latest attempt to retry his case.
“Every citizen has a right to complain and have their voice heard somewhere,” Hough said. “He’s been busy for the last four years reinventing the trial that took place, and his conviction, which was found by a jury of his peers guilty of larceny from his family.”
*** RGW statement regarding West Virginia Record article!
As we all know HOUGH brought false charges in this case knowingly, and it has been PROVEN Hough paid witnesses to lie on the stand and now many concerned friends and relatives even in another state are lodging complaints in Columbus that the long arm of the Crooked Crooks from Crooked County that live down by the Crooked River can reach out and put innocent people in chains and drag them across state lines even with fabricated evidence!