Coach penalized for alleged disruption to court
An assistant football coach from Shepherd University faced the consequences of failing to serve jury duty when he was summonsed to appear before Circuit Court Judge David Sanders last week.
Wayne Wilson, who had been called for jury duty, had, according to court documents, submitted a letter notifying the court that he could not serve because of his duties at the university.
Circuit Court Clerk Laura Storm said that the letter was delivered the day Wilson was to appear as part of a jury and he was not excused. She explained that the court proceedings had to be delayed partially because of Wilson, as well as others who did not appear to serve during their scheduled time.
Wilson appeared before Sanders to answer allegations that in addition to not appearing to serve, he had also caused significant disruption to the Clerk’s office.
Court clerks testified before the judge that Wilson called numerous times on the day he was to appear to state that he could not come in. Clerk Becky Chalk shared that Wilson had indicated that the judge’s secretary had excused him from jury duty; however, Chalk said in court that it is not the role of the judge’s secretary to excuse a juror. The secretary denied the comment made by Wilson. Chalk indicated that Wilson was less than polite in his conversation with her.
Shayna Mason, another deputy clerk, shared that Wilson had called back and apologized later for his treatment of staffers saying it was not his “normal personality.” However, Ashtyn Wimer, deputy clerk now in charge of jury duty notifications indicated that Wilson had been “argumentative” in his dealing with her as well.
Wilson indicated to the judge that he assumed he would not have to come in after he brought the letter stating his need to be at Shepherd. He said that he had attempted to call in but that the answering machine was not working and during the time the court attempted to call him, he was on the football field and unavailable.
Wilson apologized to Sanders and the court saying, “I know it’s my responsibility and it helps the community to serve. I am sorry it happened that way. I would love to be on a jury after football,” he said.
While Sanders accepted the apology, he also said that many citizens get called to serve on jury duty and the majority show up despite conflicts and the taking away from their daily lives.
“We had to turn ourselves inside out for you because of your personal schedule,” Sanders told Wilson. “I accept your apology, but it is disconcerting to me the week’s disruption you caused in my clerk’s office,” he continued. To that end, Sanders assessed a $300 fine which Wilson was expected to pay.
When asked about an appeal process for the sentence, Wilson was told that he has 40 days to appeal to the West Virginia State Supreme Court.
Storm indicated that Wilson did pay the fine in her office following his court appearance.