Small Town Refuses To Follow Written Rules
There is a scam, going on, in Dunbar, that targets hundreds of drivers that receive traffic citations – including some Putnam County residents.
PutnamCountyNews.com has exclusive video of a telephone call with the Municipal Court Clerk, Judie Wheatly, refusing to take a not-guilty plea, before the designated court date, despite the citation clearly stating that the “Violator Responsibility” is to “Appear On or Before,” the court date.
However, when PutnamCountyNews.com telephoned Wheatly, she refused to take a not-guilty plea, stating we had to appear before the judge– who refused a Motion to Dismiss. However, those that receive citations are allowed to appear before her, in advance of the hearing, plead guilty, and pay the fine.
Translation: In Dunbar, they want your money easily, but make you “jump through hoops” to fight a simple traffic citation.
There is even a payment drop box for fines outside of the Municipal Court Clerk’s office.
The citation was for driving 30 miles per hour in a 15 miles per hour zone. Where is this speed trap? We are glad you asked. On 19th Street, where Mayor Terry Greenlee lives at the corner of Myers. The citation also was for failing to provide proof of insurance – DESPITE the fact that proof was provided. It’s a nice set-up to add extra money to a citation.
When we asked to be transferred to Greenlee’s office, Wheatley said she couldn’t do that. Our video shows that our subsequent call went to voicemail – during the business hours stated on the Mayor’s outgoing recording.
Eventually Greenlee asked that Wheatley dismiss the insurance citation – but only after we had to waste an hour of time to meet with him over an issue that was clearly a bogus charge! In fact, Wheatley’s first dismissal letter had the wrong citation number. Greenlee laughed that off as “an honest mistake” but won’t forgive an “honest mistake” of speeding on a city street while also calling it “An honest mistake” when Mason fabricated the “No proof of insurance” charge. Greenlee also refused to discuss the fact that Mason pulled into traffic, without signalling, after issuing the citation.
In Dunbar, the rules apparently do not apply to city employees and police officers. We call this the Dunbar Double Standard.
Our video shows the rest of the story. Greenlee’s street is the only north-south street in the area with a 15 miles per hour speed limit – despite being wider than streets with no posted speed limit, which, in West Virginia, is automatically 25 miles per hour.
On 19th Street, down the road from the Mayor’s home, one of the signs is blocked by a tree. Do you think it is a coincidence that Corporal Mason was writing tickets on the mayor’s street?
The attorney representing Dunbar’s “cash cow?” Putnam County’s Jennifer Scragg-Karr. She didn’t return calls for this article.
It should be noted that other municipalities allow people to plead not-guilty without having to take the time to see a judge during night court.
In 2014, Dunbar had this publisher arrested when he wanted to plead not-guilty in municipal court.
A telephone call to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s Consumer Protection Division reached a clerk who refused to take a complaint. We are hoping that Morrisey will intervene after this article is published and that all citation convictions issued by Dunbar, over the past several decades, will be reversed and that the city will be forced to Cease and Desist from this revenue scam and that those convicted will be provided punitive damage payments.
In addition to the fine associated with citations, West Virginia cities are allowed to charge an extra fee to pay for police equipment and training. The maximum is $50 – which is what Dunbar charges. This gives the town incentive to have officers writing citations and a court system that pushes guilty pleas.
The 14th Amendment of The United States Constitution is clear. Everyone is provided “equal protection” under the law. If someone is allowed to plead guilty – without a judge present – Dunbar must also take a guilty plea.
Prior to publishing this article, PutnamCountyNews.com tried to telephone Greenlee. Voicemails were left. Greenlee has not returned a call. The same goes for Dunbar Chief of Police Jess Bailes.