A man widely known to West Virginians for his crime fighting was recently charged with breaking and entering. Andrew Palmer, the former host of “West Virginia’s Most Wanted,” was found armed and driving a minivan. He allegedly threatened to shoot anyone who tried to arrest him because he feared going back to jail.
Palmer is a former convict who started “West Virginia’s Most Wanted” in 2005 in order to track down local criminals and provide tips to police for unsolved crimes. Palmer is also considered to be a gang expert and is the founder of Chainbreakers, an anti-gang group. “West Virginia’s Most Wanted” was credited with bringing to light details about a sniper shooting in 2003. In 2007, Palmer brought a source onto the show that said the attacks could be traced to a gang known as the “Charleston 5.”
However, Palmer’s own criminal record has not been spotless since 2005. In 2007, Palmer pleaded guilty to beating a man after he refused to buy Palmer drugs. In 2008, He pleaded guilty in Kanawha Circuit Court to breaking and entering E&H Manufacturing, making off with a GPS unit worth $100, as well as using a credit card stolen during the break-in to buy gas in the amount of $47. Palmer later claimed that he never committed those crimes, but pleaded guilty to avoid a longer prison sentence. In 2009, in response to these claims, the Kanawha Circuit Court judge adjusted Palmer’s sentence, ordering him to serve three years on home confinement, along with drug testing and community service. Finally, in 2009, Palmer allegedly led police on a high-speed chase down Interstate 64. Given this history, it is sad, though unfortunately not surprising, that Palmer might have committed another crime.
Palmer is currently being held at the South Central Regional Jail. We at the Wolfe Law Firm hope that the charges against Palmer prove to be baseless, and he can remain among his loved ones. It is for people like Palmer that West Virginia criminal defense attorneys exist. Enshrined in the Sixth Amendment is the provision that a criminal suspect must have the assistance of counsel. If a criminal suspect is too poor to hire an attorney, one will be appointed.
Defense attorneys are charged with ensuring that whatever the suspect’s past record, the suspect gets a full and fair hearing at trial. The criminal defense attorney also tries to ensure that the suspect gets the best possible terms, and may plea bargain for a lighter sentence prior to trial. A defense attorney may only do this with the suspect’s informed consent — he or she cannot simply act alone, even if the defense attorney believes that a plea bargain leading to a lesser charge, rather than a full trial on the more severe charges, would be the better option.
Regardless of Palmer’s alleged actions, he deserves praise for attempting to use his past to do good, aiding West Virginia law enforcement officials in their search for potentially dangerous individuals. Let us hope that regardless of the outcome, Palmer is able to return to the good work that countless West Virginian’s know him for.