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Magistrate under investigation

March 25, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Berkeley County Magistrate Kristy Dyroff has asked to take a voluntary leave of absence from her job while a police investigation concerning "alleged improprieties" is under way, according to her attorneys.

A statement issued Thursday evening to The Herald-Mail by the Martinsburg law firm of Kevin D. Mills and Harley O. Wagner indicated that the leave of absence took effect at 5 p.m. Thursday.

"Magistrate Dyroff is presently under investigation regarding alleged improprieties stemming from a recent personal domestic court proceeding. In order that she be able to defend herself against these allegations, Magistrate Dyroff has elected to take a voluntary leave of absence from her position as Berkeley County Magistrate," the statement reads. "On her own accord, she has asked that the Supreme Court enter an order noting her voluntary leave of absence and staying any judicial responsibilities she may have under law at this time."

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Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely confirmed Thursday that officers with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department launched an investigation Monday.

Arrest warrants were issued Thursday charging Dyroff with unspecified crimes, Games-Neely said.

Games-Neely said a request was made Wednesday that the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals temporarily remove Dyroff from her position until the case against her was resolved.

"The integrity of the court has to be preserved," Games-Neely said.

Abiding by a request from the Supreme Court, copies of the arrest warrants were forwarded to the state Supreme Court in Charleston, W.Va., at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, Games-Neely said.

No Supreme Court decision had been made by late Thursday, Games-Neely said.

Dyroff's attorneys said she will continue cooperating with police.

"Like any citizen, Magistrate Dyroff is presumed to be innocent of any wrongdoing and would only ask that any judgment be withheld until the facts are fully developed," the release said.

Dyroff, a Republican, started serving a second term as a magistrate after receiving more votes than any other candidate in last November's election.

She was named the chief magistrate for this year.

The case that sparked the investigation involves her ex-husband, David Greer, 43, of Martinsburg.

On April 7, 2004, Greer was charged with domestic battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he allegedly tried to forcefully pull his daughter from a car and earlier provided alcohol to her and her friends, court records state.

Greer is fighting the charges.

A prosecutor and magistrate from Morgan County are hearing the case after Dyroff's fellow magistrates and those in the prosecutor's office recused themselves.

It was during a Monday hearing on David Greer's case that a questionable court document - a subpoena issued to Dyroff's son, Wesley Greer - surfaced, according to David Greenberg, who is representing David Greer.

Copies of the subpoena in question and copies of other subpoenas were obtained by The Herald-Mail.

There are obvious differences in the subpoena forms issued in Morgan County and the one in question issued to Dyroff's son.

Also, there are clear differences in the signatures. Morgan County magistrate assistant Doreen L. Peer's signature on the Morgan County forms and the signature purported to be hers on the subpoena for Wesley Greer are notably different.

Greenberg said the subpoena for Dyroff's son was issued for 3 p.m. Monday. The hearing was not scheduled to begin until 4 p.m.

The Morgan County prosecutor assigned to handle the case looked at Wesley Greer's subpoena and said she had nothing to do with it, Greenberg said. Magistrate Kermit Ambrose then looked at the subpoena and said that the form was not the one used in Morgan County, and that the signature was different than his assistant's, according to Greenberg.

"At that point, the alarms just start going off," Greenberg said.

Dyroff and her assistant were then called to testify. Greenberg declined to detail their testimony, saying he would prefer that a tape recording made of the proceeding be used to recount their statements.

That tape recording was not available.

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