By Debbie Rolen
August 8, 2013
Mingo County Magistrate Deloris D. “Dee” Sidebottom has been fully reinstated after an investigation sparked by a motion filed by Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks in November 2012.
The motion asked for the disqualification of Magistrate Sidebottom, listing a number of allegations she had violated West Virginia Codes of Judicial Conduct and stating Magistrate Sidebottom had “engaged in a course of increasingly unprofessional and paranoid misconduct that potentially diminishes the public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and raises substantial questions as to Magistrate Sidebottom’s fittness for office.”
On November 30, 2012, an administrative order was entered partly granting and partly denying Sparks’ motion. The order disqualified Magistrate Sidebottom on a temporary basis, but allowed her to preside in all civil matters, criminal intake responsibilities and also “on call” civil and criminal duties.
After the investiation was completed, the Complaint and related Motion for Disqualification were dismissed on July 31, 2013.
By letter to Magistrate Sidebottom, the Judicial Investigation Commission dismissed the Complaint filed by Sparks and indicated that “…there did not appear to be any violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct…” on the part of the Magistrate.
The letter from the Judicial Investigation Commission went on to say that the Complaint should never have been filed, writing that there was “…no probable cause to file a Complaint before the Judicial Hearing Board so charging” and that “Mr. Sparks has been advised of the dismissal of his Complaint and of the Commission’s reasons for such action.”
Magistrate Sidebottom extends her thanks to all members of the Judicial Investigation Commission for a fair and complete investigation. She remained confident during the investigation that once all of the evidence was reviewed, she would be totally vindicated. She looks forward to returning to her full duties as Magistrate of Mingo County and serving the citizens who elected her to office.
The administrative order denying the Motion for Disqualification reads as follows: “This Court has fully reviewed all documentation in this matter, and after fully reviewing the evidence herein and finding tht good cause has been shown, it is hereby ORDERED that the Prosecuting Attorney’s Motion for Disqualification is DENIED and that Magistrate Deloris “Dee” Sidebottom shall immediately be reinstated to perform any and all functions of her office.”
The order was signed on August 6, 2013, by Chief Circuit Judge, 30th Judicial Circuit Michael Thornsbury.