(10/07/2019)
A federal judge could issue an order on Monday whether to move forward with deferred prosecution agreements involving two magistrate judges.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Kleeh will hear motions beginning at 11 a.m. regarding the case of Lewis County Magistrate Roger Clem Jr. and Gilmer County Magistrate Alton Skinner II.

Clem and Skinner were previously indicted on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.

Clem allegedly took “favorable actions in the courtroom” for E-Z Out, a bonding company operated by Skinner’s spouse and where Clem’s son worked. Skinner is accused of making arrangements so the company would be at arraignments without detainees knowing of other options.

Clem and Skinner also allegedly transmitted funds outside of the country and mailed a contract and checks between Skinner’s spouse and the company’s underwriter, Dave Bourne Bail Bonds in Virginia. The men also face allegations of trying to obstruct a grand jury investigation, and Skinner is accused of lying to an IRS agent.

Kleeh will consider deferred prosecution agreements, in which Clem and Skinner would resign from their positions and be open to sanctions by the state Judicial Hearing Board and the Supreme Court. The men would also be unable to seek public office or appointment anywhere in the country, and Skinner could not be involved in the bail bonding business.

If the two do not enter any further legal trouble for one year, the indictments would be dismissed, and Clem and Skinner would avoid a sentence and conviction.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi recommended Kleeh deny a defense motion.


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