Judge Blasts Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County's chief judge criticized prosecutors for not extraditing a probation violator because they said it costs too much.

The case against Rebecca Niven ended in an outburst Thursday in open court. Judge Duke Bloom questioned a decision prosecutors say was in the public's best interest.

Niven's name has appeared on Bloom's docket time and time again. She's charged with two felonies for breaking in a home and attacking a homeowner in Kanawha County, according to court documents.

"So why do we indict and take the court's time on these matters if you're not going to pursue them?" Judge Bloom asked.

Niven was put on probation, violated it and failed to appear and was in jail in Florida on other charges until now.

Bloom blasted prosecutors for not maintaining the hold on Niven and bringing her back to West Virginia to face the charges.

"I guess the important lesson we're sending here is if you get a break and you get probation and you want to take off just take right off the prosecutors office doesn't care," Bloom said.

Prosecutors defended themselves citing the cost. In two months, prosecutors have spent more than $5,000 in extraditions.

"You have to draw the line somewhere with how far we're going to bring someone," Prosecutor Dan Holstein said.

"How much do you have in your travel budget for out of state travel by the prosecutor's office?" Bloom asked."

"I don't know, your honor," Holstein responded.

"Why don't you go call somebody and find out the answer to that?" Bloom said. "Because my question to you...is it more important that you get your CLE in Las Vegas or some other place like that or is it that you do your job and extradite people back to West Virginia?"

The judge says it sends the wrong message to career criminals, but prosecutors stand by their decision saying Nevin is far from West Virginia's borders.

"That's just a red herring and I'm not sure why that's brought up," Prosecutor Mark Plants said. "It has nothing to do with the fact that this defendant was put on probation and in Florida where she was serving her time."

Judge Bloom dismissed the case and requested a copy of this year's and last year's budget for the prosecutor's office. He also wanted a list of all out of state travel expenses.

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