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W.Va. Attorney General Asks High Court About Helping Prosecutors

Patrick Morrisey, W. Va. Attorney General
Janet Kunicki
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is asking the West Virginia Supreme Court if his office can help county prosecutors with their criminal cases.

In a petition Monday, Morrisey asked the court to prohibit enforcement of a legal opinion by two state entities stating his office's lawyers can't serve as assistant prosecutors.

The state Office of Disciplinary Counsel and Lawyer Disciplinary Board, both respondents in the petition, have said the attorney general has no statutory or constitutional authority to assist county prosecutors in criminal cases.

Earlier this month, Preston County Prosecuting Attorney Mel Snyder asked Morrisey for additional help. Snyder wrote to Morrisey that sexual assault, drug crime and public corruption cases have overwhelmed his office.

The petition says Mingo County Commissioner Greg "Hootie" Smith also asked for Morrisey's help last year.

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