From a local resident who was negatively impacted by your actions prior to resigning your newly elected post in 2020.
Letter to the Editor - 04/27/2022
Dear Mrs. Hurst,
I am the first person in the history of the State of West Virginia to be charged for criminal election interference. I was exonerated because the charges brought forth were unconstitutional; They infringed upon my First Amendment Rights to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Nearly two years ago, you and (former Magistrate) Michael Coffman both recused yourselves from these first ever criminal election interference cases, each citing a conflict of interest given personal relationships to a family of one of the accused.
During those cases (and all the chaos that ensued), I allowed a bogus personal protective order to go unchallenged given its nature; I had no interest in throwing money away to 'fight' an imaginary threat.
Notwithstanding, a supposed 'violation' of that protective order was issued within weeks, using the exact same syntax that was used to obtain the initial order (verbatim!). It was your signature that executed those charges. The Prosecuting Attorney's office can verify this information.
My question to you is this:
Why did you sign off on a bogus PPO violation that was obtained using the exact same verbiage as the initial order when you had recused yourself from criminal cases involving the party who had filed both complaints against me? You can understand how it would convey a conflict of interest, or, at the very least, gross negligence on your part.
Due to whatever may have caused you to act in your official capacity to sign off on such an order, I was forced to be bonded, pay money due to no fault of my own and report to a bail bondsman on a weekly basis.
I am a small business owner and have three small children. I wasn't even permitted to leave the state for nearly a year, based on your actions. An oversight would not be within the scope of valid reasoning given the totality of the situation and your recusal from the previous criminal cases.
How would you feel if someone had apparently abused their position of power to obtain a bogus violation charge against you on behalf of someone who was involved in a case where you had previously been recused?
I'm open to an explanation, hence, this letter.
Why should the voters of Upshur County re-elect you to the position of Magistrate when you have demonstrated such questionable actions in my particular case? If this happened to me, then who else?
Let's not forget that you were elected to the position during the last election cycle and resigned shortly thereafter. You cited the reason via social media:
"I wholeheartedly believe in the judicial system and had every intention of fulfilling this term and running for one more term after this one.
My decision to take an early retirement was a very hard decision to make as I was very dedicated to my position but my personal principles, ethics and morals is what I live by.
Shortly after being elected, rumors in the Courthouse were that (newly elected) Mike Coffman was going to leave as Magistrate to move into the position as Chief Deputy with the Sheriff Department in January when the newly elected Sheriff stepped into office and further rumors that Mark Davis would be appointed to fill the vacant seat of Mike Coffman. I discussed this with Mike who did confirm of his transition to Deputy Sheriff but that he was unaware of Mark Davis being appointed to replace him.
In the position of Magistrate you observe and work through many situations (many of which are confidential). During my four years as Magistrate I became aware of situations causing me concern in certain matters of which I will not discuss.
A few months prior to the beginning of the new term I spoke with both Judge Hall and Judge Reger (on separate occasions) to make them aware of my concerns and advised if the rumors were true that Mark Davis was to be appointed I would probably be retiring.
Again, it was my honor and pleasure to serve the citizens of Upshur County and I had every intention of fulfilling this term and hopefully one more. However, my personal principles, morals and ethics would not let me continue as Magistrate once the announcement was made of the appointment to replace the vacant seat of Mike Coffman.
I am not a negative person but when “red flags” are right in front of me I pay attention."
But, as a Magistrate Judge, would it not be your duty to heed the will of the voters and fulfill your term, regardless of your feelings or personal conflicts? This is about the voters who elected you!
Essentially, you ended up choosing to leave a vacant seat to be filled by someone who may not follow your moral compass. That alone doesn't really ere to the side of standing by one's own personal convictions, does it?
You used the words "red flags" while mentioning an individual directly. Was that individual made aware of your concerns regarding their principles or morals? It is never fair to assert or insinuate wrongdoings without having the other side of the story. If something unethical or questionable in nature is/was going on, then why would you not want to call it out? Do you not have a responsibility to do so as an officer of the court? Does your confidentiality blanket cover wrongdoings? This is why we have whistleblower laws in place!
I understand that certain items are to remain confidential in the judicial system, but when you publicly address supposed 'red flags' in our Magistrate Court and address an individual directly, as a Magistrate, one would think that those red flags would be addressed and transparency would ensue.
If elected, what happens if another 'red flag' comes up in the middle of your term? Are you going to resign, cite vague reasoning around moral and ethical conflicts regarding your constituents and run again the next cycle?
These are legitimate concerns that should be addressed in the public forum. I am doing nothing more here than attempting to engage in civil discourse in hopes that transparency will prevail. There may be difficult questions to answer, but they need answered. That's all I'm asking. Nothing more, nothing less.
Answers. It's only fair for me to ask, is it not?
Buckhannon Resident and Voter
P.S. This letter has not addressed the clerical errors in ALL of the paperwork I received from your office during that time. Every document contained the incorrect Plaintiff's name and stated I was being charged in Lewis County Magistrate Court, Lewis County, WV. Those were the more significant errors contained within the paperwork. Again, if this has happened to me, then who else?
Editor Note: To date, Mrs. Hurst has not provided the courtesy of a response upon receiving the letter electronically.
"An Open Letter to Kay Hurst" - Originally Published on 04/29/2022
Related Article: Buckhannon Politics
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