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Official: Asst. Prosecutor Failed to Notify WVSP in Drug Case

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UPDATE 5/7/14 5:30 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- We have obtained new information surrounding the case of an accused major drug dealer that was dismissed in Kanawha County.

According to a dismissal order filed by Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster, the case against suspected drug dealer Timothy Basham was thrown out because the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office repeatedly failed to submit evidence or even respond to the court in a timely manner.

On Tuesday, the Prosecutor's Chief of Staff Daniel Holstein said his office sent in all the reports requested by the defense in the case. The report reveals the court ordered the prosecutor's office to send additional evidence to the defense on June 24, 2013. However, the court says the prosecutor did not respond in all of June, July and August. The report says the prosecutor waited until September 25, four days before the trial, to send evidence. According to the dismissal report, other than information on a confidential informant, the prosecutor basically sent the same evidence the defense had received all the way back in April.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Holstein contacted WSAZ.com. He says after reviewing the situation, the failure in the case occurred because the assistant prosecutor in the case failed to notify the State Police crime lab that the drugs seized in the crime needed to be tested before the trial date.

Holstein says this was not a failure of the State Police crime lab. He says it's a rare occurrence, and the office is working to make sure it never happens again.

To read more on the case, and what St. Albans Police have to say about the dismissal, scroll down to the story below.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/6/14 7:30 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- St. Albans Police Capt. James Agee says he wants answers after his department's case against suspected drug dealer Timothy Basham was thrown out.

Basham was arrested last year after police say he sold prescription pain pills to an undercover informant.

But last September, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster threw out the case with prejudice, meaning the charges could not be brought up again.

"We have hundreds of man hours wrapped up in this case, and now it's gone," Agee said. "The judge ordered and found the (Kanawha County) Prosecutors Office didn't submit proper paper work, didn't answer motions, and failed to answer repeated requests for information."

Officers say they did everything right, and blame the Kanawha County Prosecutor's office, and a lack of communication.

"If this would have happened in the last couple of weeks, that'd be one thing," Agee said. "We would kind of understand that, but apparently this was dismissed back in November. To me, that's inexcusable. That's a passage of far too much time."

WSAZ.com took officer's concerns to the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office to get answers. Chief of Staff Daniel Holstein blames the West Virginia State Police crime lab. He says the backlog of drug testing kept them from presenting evidence in the case in time.

"The hold up in this case is the physical evidence, the suspected drugs had not been tested by the state police," Holstein said. "The lesson is we have to keep after the state police lab, and try to get the drugs tested. There isn't a thing St. Albans Police could have done differently. There isn't anything that we could have done in court differently."


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