When members of the West Virginia Supreme Court make the news, it is not usually for personal matters. Yet recently, Justice Margaret Workman has been getting some unwanted publicity after her son was arrested last week and charged with driving under the influence and marijuana possession.
On July 9 in the early morning, Sergeant J.M. Raynes of the Nitro Police Department pulled over a Jeep Cherokee on West 11th Street. He found 27-year-old Edward E. Gardner behind the wheel, reportedly exhibiting slurred speech and smelling strongly of alcohol, basic signs of intoxication. Raynes also reportedly saw a bag of what appeared to be marijuana on the Jeep’s floor. When asked about it, Gardner claimed that the marijuana did not belong to him and claimed that Raynes had planted the bag in the car.
Raynes then administered several field sobriety tests, all of which Gardner reportedly failed. At one point, Gardner allegedly consented to take a breath test but refused to blow into the breath tube once it was in his mouth. Gardner allegedly became combative after that and was arrested and charged with marijuana possession and driving under the influence.
Gardner was taken to the Nitro police station, where he reportedly refused to take a blood test and demanded to call his mother. Gardner reportedly kept exclaiming: “My mom’s a Supreme Court judge.” Raynes asked Gardner if that was supposed to have an influence on the way Raynes treated him, to which Gardner allegedly responded that Raynes was uneducated and had been bullied in high school. Gardner was given the opportunity to phone Justice Workman, but she could not be reached.
After the sixth attempt to give Gardner a breath test, he allegedly complained of having a panic attack and demanded medical attention. Though paramedics arrived at the scene and determined that Gardner was fine, he continued to claim that he needed oxygen. Gardner was then transported to Thomas Memorial Hospital, where he reportedly continued to refuse to answer questions or provide a blood sample. Police finally obtained a warrant to take a blood sample, and Gardner was taken to jail.
Gardner was originally charged through Nitro Municipal Court, but his charges were then transferred to Kanawha Magistrate Court. His next court appearance is scheduled for the end of July.
While it is tempting to find humor in this situation, there are many situations where police exaggerate their findings in a police report. Whether the criminal suspect is a Supreme Court Justice’s son or anyone else, under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, he is entitled to representation from a criminal defense attorney, hopefully one who is highly skilled and experienced. Once an attorney has investigated the case, more details may emerge that support the suspect’s account.
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia criminal defense attorney, contact us today.