community outreach

 

Goodwin awards former Mingo pill mill bldg. and cash to the State Police

Total of more than $1.5 million has been seized from pill mill operators

On December 16, 2013, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, joined by U.S. Marshal John Foster, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Senior Supervisory Resident Agent in Charge Chris Courtright and other members of law enforcement, presented West Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers with a check in amount of $341,937.61 in front of the former West Third Avenue pill mill, shut down in 2010 following an extensive federal investigation that ended with several criminal convictions.     

“This pill mill did enormous harm across a wide swath of Mingo County and beyond,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. “Now we’ve put its operators in prison and hit them in the pocketbook, to the tune of more than $1.5 million.” 

Goodwin continued, “A few years back, I made a commitment to go after pill dealers, along with the proceeds generated from their illegal activities.  Today’s announcement is a result of that commitment.  Every time we put a pill mill out of business, it’s a big step toward getting this district’s biggest crime problem under control.”

A final order of forfeiture was entered in federal court in Charleston on Oct. 23 in the civil forfeiture case against Myra Miller, which concluded all forfeiture cases linked to Mountain Medical.  

Myra Sue Miller, a former office manager at Mountain Medical, agreed to forfeit her interest in the clinic’s two commercial buildings valued at approximately $610,000, along with $475,823.75 in cash seized from her residence.  Miller, 50, of South Williamson, Ky., previously pleaded guilty in March 2013 to misusing a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number that belonged to her former boss, Mingo County doctor William F. Ryckman. Miller, who gave out prescriptions for powerful narcotics in exchange for cash from individuals at Mountain Medical, was sentenced in September 2013 to six months in federal prison. 

Dr. Ryckman, 66, was previously convicted in March 2012 for his role in the conspiracy.  Ryckman was sentenced to six months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for conspiracy to misuse his DEA registration number. From February 17, 2010, until February 19, 2010, Ryckman caused numerous controlled substances to be prescribed using his DEA registration number to individuals who were not evaluated or seen by him.

A total of $413,050.89 from a Mountain Medical bank account listed in Ryckman’s name has been seized and forfeited by federal authorities. 

In a separate case, former Mingo County doctor Diane E. Shafer forfeited $134,550.  Shafer, 60, was previously sentenced in September 2012 to six months in prison for conspiracy to misuse her DEA registration number. She also prescribed powerful narcotics to individuals she did not examine.  
Records indicate between 2003 and early 2010, Shafer wrote more than 118,000 prescriptions for controlled substances. Though she was a solo practitioner, Shafer, by herself, wrote more prescriptions for controlled substances than several West Virginia hospitals did during that period.

The government also seized $88,029 from former Mingo County practitioner, Katherine Hoover.  Hoover, who did not work at Mountain Medical but had close ties to several employees at the clinic, has not been charged criminally to date.     

A total of $1,586,903.72 in assets held by former employees, clinic bank accounts and related commercial property tied to the former Williamson clinic have been forfeited to the government. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. 

Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.

The criminal cases were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the West Virginia State Police, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General. 

Pictured from left to right: West Virginia State Police (WVSP) Superintendent Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, FBI Senior Supervisory Resident Agent in Charge Chris Courtright, U.S. Marshal John Foster and WVSP Maj. Tim Bradley today in front of the former Mountain Medical Clinic in Williamson.

Mountain Medical announcement

 


Goodwin, child advocates announce 2nd annual Thanksgiving time luggage collection drive for foster children

"Give Thanks and Carry On" effort underway

On November 15, 2013, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, along with representatives from Mission West Virginia, Inc., the Children’s Home Society and other supporters gathered at the Charleston Civic Center for the first of four regional events designed to help children transitioning into foster care.  The second annual Thanksgiving time luggage collection drive dubbed “Give Thanks and Carry On”, was launched on Nov. 15 as part of Mission West Virginia’s Carry On Campaign, an effort aimed at collecting luggage, essential personal care items, and items of comfort for children who are in transition to the state’s foster care system. West Virginia currently has more than 4,000 children in the foster care system.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, "No child should have to use a trash bag to transport their belongings.” Goodwin continued, “That’s what was happening and that’s why the Carry On Campaign was formed a few years ago: to provide children with luggage and other items of comfort during a very difficult time.  We're asking all West Virginians: as you’re preparing for the upcoming holiday season, add a child in need to your list.”  

The Carry On Campaign began in October 2010 as a collaborative, multi-agency partnership that includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Mission West Virginia, Inc., the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Institute and the West Virginia Drug Endangered Children Task Force.  Items sought after as part of the Carry On Campaign include new and gently used luggage, duffle bags, stuffed animals, coloring books, journals, toothbrushes, toothpaste, as well as non-perishable snacks. Additional items being collected during the winter months include coats, gloves, mittens, hats, scarves, earmuffs, socks, and blankets.  All items collected will be distributed by Mission West Virginia.

This is the second year in a row that U.S. Attorney Goodwin has partnered with Mission West Virginia, and the West Virginia Children’s Home Society for a Thanksgiving collection drive in support of children in transition to foster care. Previous collection efforts have enabled Mission West Virginia to meet critical care needs for hundreds of young people.          

Three additional collection campaign announcements are upcoming: in Ona, W.Va., at the Hovah Hall Underwood Children’s Home on Nov. 25; in Daniels, W.Va., at the Southern West Virginia Exceptional Youth Emergency Shelter on Nov. 26; and the Easton Center in Parkersburg on Nov. 27.

To find a drop-off location near you or to receive additional information regarding the Carry On Campaign, please contact Carrie Dawson at cdawson@missionwv.org or call toll free 1-866-CALL-MWV (1-866-225-5698).

 

Give Thanks and Carry On image

 


 

Goodwin, law enforcement leaders unveil permanent Putnam Co. prescription collection bin; Urge West Virginians to join prescription drug Take-Back on Saturday

On October 25, 2013, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, joined by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Resident Agent in Charge Suzan Williamson and Putnam Co. Sheriff Steve Deweese, asked West Virginians to reach into their home medicine cabinets and pull out any unused, unwanted or expired prescriptions and turn them in at a drop-off site on Saturday as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The three officials gathered in Winfield to unveil the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department’s new permanent prescription drug collection box.

The latest national Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  More than 130 locations across the state will serve as designated drop-off sites for Saturday’s event. This Saturday’s event is the seventh national Prescription Drug Take-Back. To date, the take-back initiative has removed more than 11 tons of unwanted prescription drugs from homes and medicine cabinets in the Mountain State, and more than 1,409 tons nationwide.

“We’ve seen overwhelming response in our first six take-back events,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “That strong public reaction tells us there’s a huge need for places to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. Putnam County has answered that need with this permanent collection box. I hope to see more local governments follow their lead.”

Goodwin continued, “For many people, particularly teenagers, the road to addiction starts with pills they find in their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets.  That’s why prescription drug take-back programs are so important. I urge everyone to clean out their medicine cabinets and drop off unneeded medications at a take-back site this Saturday.” 

Putnam County’s new permanent prescription drug collection box was made possible through a partnership between the Putnam Wellness Anti-Drug Coalition and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.  The collection unit, which will be accessible for citizen prescription drug drop-offs beginning Saturday, October 26 (Prescription Drug Take-Back Day), is located at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.  Citizens can drop off any unused and unwanted medications at the new site or any of the designated sites across the state with no questions asked.    

Saturday’s Take-Back event provides an opportunity for people who missed previous events, or who have accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs since the last take-back event, to safely dispose of those medications. 

DEA resident agent in charge Suzan WilliamsonU.S. Atty Goodwin and Putnam Co. Sheriff Steve Deweese

 

 


Goodwin announces three federally funded school resource officers in Parkersburg

On Sept. 30, 2013, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, joined by Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell, Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin and Wood County Schools Superintendent Patrick Law, announced a grant that will fund new school resource officer positions in Parkersburg.  The $343,940 grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, will permit the Parkersburg Police Department to hire three officers.  The new officers will be placed at middle schools in Parkersburg. 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Last December’s horrific murder at Sandy Hook Elementary was a national tragedy, and for me and a lot others—especially parents, educators, law enforcement—it was an urgent call to action on the issue of school safety.”

Goodwin continued, “It is proven that School Prevention Resource Officers play a critical role toward preventing and preparing for school violence. These officers are a significant part of the agenda that we’ve established for safe schools in West Virginia and that’s why today’s announcement is so important for Parkersburg and Parkersburg’s children—especially its middle school children.”

The COPS Hiring Program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides the salary and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. In total, the COPS Office funded awards to 263 cities and counties, aimed at creating 937 law enforcement positions. More than $125 million will be awarded nationally, including nearly $45 million to fund 356 new school resource officer positions.

Far left, Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Wood County Schools Superintendent Pat Law discuss the details of the COPS grant during a press conference in Parkersburg on Sept. 30

Goodwin and Parkersburg officials announce COPS grant for Parkersburg PD

 

 


 

Goodwin presents Kanawha County Commission and Kanawha Co. Sheriff's Dept. with U.S. Attorney's Guardian Awards

Goodwin presents U.S. Attorney's Guardian Award

On July 19, 2013, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin presented the Kanawha County Commission and the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department with the first United States Attorney’s Guardian Awards in recognition of leadership and innovation in making Kanawha County Schools safer. The award recognizes efforts that have been made to strengthen the bond between law enforcement, education, and the community at large. Kanawha County Sheriff Johnny Rutherford obtained a grant from the Kanawha County Commission to provide overtime for Kanawha County Sheriff’s deputies. The grant has allowed Sheriff's deputies to visit and spend time at each of the county’s schools.


 

 

Federal and State officials talk to Greenbrier, Mercer students about drugs and bullying

On April 18, 2013, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, U.S. Marshal John Foster and West Virginia National Guard Major Gen. James Hoyer met with faculty members and students from Western Greenbrier Middle School in Greenbrier County, W.Va. and Bluefield Middle School in Mercer County, W.Va., to talk about the dangers of illegal drug abuse, and especially prescription drugs. The three officials also spoke to students and faculty at both schools about safely using the Internet and social media, as well as school bullying. 

Prescription drug abuse is one of the leading causes of crime in the Southern District of West Virginia and the leading cause of death among the nation’s teen population.

Greenbrier and Mercer Counties have been particularly hard-hit by the prescription drug crisis. 

“As a prosecutor, I see hundreds of people every year who’ve thrown away their lives over drugs,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. “If we can persuade even one of these kids to stay off that path, it’ll make all the difference in the world to that person’s life. It’s vitally important to get out the message about the tragic consequences of drug abuse.” 

Goodwin continued, “My paramount goal as a prosecutor is to prevent crimes from happening in the first place. Educating students about positive choices is essential to making our communities safer.”

The officials also noted that roughly 60% of school bullies end up in prison by the time they reach their twenties. 

U.S. Marshal John Foster, who spoke to students about the harmful effects of bullying, said, “The point that I continually re-emphasize to students is that choices in life matter.”
Foster continued, "A person being put down or bullied today could very well grow up to work in a position to help others later in life.”

West Virginia National Guard Major Gen. Jim Hoyer said, “The students have to understand the importance of making wise choices.  Making poor choices or getting involved in illegal drugs will most certainly inhibit success and opportunities.”

U.S. Attorney Goodwin, U.S. Marshal Foster and Maj. Gen. Hoyer have visited numerous schools in the 23-county Southern District of West Virginia over the past year as part of ongoing awareness initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to educate faculty and students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and other issues. 

Western Greenbrier Middle School teachers and students look on as U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, U.S. Marshal John Foster and WV National Guard Adjutant Gen. James Hoyer arrive in Crawley, W.Va. via Black Hawk helicopter

Western Greenbrier students look on as Black Hawk arrives

 

Back row, WV National Guard Adjutant Gen. James Hoyer, U.S. Marshal John Foster and U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin spend lunch break with students from Western Greenbrier Middle School

Lunchtime photo at Western Greenbrier Middle

 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin speaks to Bluefield Middle School students during an afternoon assembly held in the schools gymnasium

Goodwin speaks to Bluefield Middle students



U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshal and Metro Drug Unit Commander discuss drug dangers with Cabell County students

On March 27, 2013, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, along with U.S. Marshal John Foster and Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) Commander Chad Napier today met with faculty and students from Huntington Middle School and Huntington High School in Cabell County, W.Va., to talk about the dangers of illegal drug abuse, and especially prescription drugs. The three officials also spoke to students and faculty about safely using the Internet and social media, as well as school bullying. 

Prescription drug abuse is one of the leading causes of crime in the Southern District of West Virginia and the leading cause of death among the nation’s teen population.

“As a prosecutor, I see hundreds of people every year who’ve thrown away their lives over drugs,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. “If we can persuade even one of these kids to stay off that path, it’ll make all the difference in the world to that person’s life. It’s vitally important to get out the message about the tragic consequences of drug abuse.” 

MDENT Commander Chad Napier said the increases in prescription pill abuse and increases in heroin use tend to go hand-in-hand.  MDENT saw a five-fold increase in illegal heroin seizures in just a year's time.  Lt. Napier also said the Metro Drug Unit has already seized more than 300 grams of heroin this year alone.   

“We’ve made arrests of young adults who, in just a short period of time, don’t resemble the photograph printed on their driver’s license because they’ve been so addicted to heroin or prescription pills,” Lt. Napier said.  “That alone shows how powerful these substances are and how quickly they can ruin a person’s life.” 

Officials also noted that roughly 60 percent of school bullies end up in prison by the time they reach their twenties. 

U.S. Marshal John Foster, who spoke to students about the harmful effects of bullying, said, “The point I wanted to stress to the students at Huntington Middle and Huntington High is that choices in life matter.”
Foster continued, "The person that you see being put down or bullied today could very well grow up to be a doctor, police officer, firefighter, paramedic or nurse.  You might need to call on them for help later on in life.”

U.S. Attorney Goodwin, U.S. Marshal Foster and Lt. Napier have visited numerous schools in the 23-county Southern District of West Virginia over the past year as part of ongoing awareness initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to educate faculty and students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and other issues. 


 

Federal officials speak to Alban Elementary School students about making responsible decisions

On March 8, 2013, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin and U.S. Marshal John D. Foster met with students from Alban Elementary School in St. Albans, W.Va. to discuss the importance of making responsible decisions.  Goodwin and Foster also commended the 44 students for their participation in a service learning project known as The Success Club at Alban Elementary.       

The Success Club, established by former Alban Elementary teacher Deb Austin Brown, teaches students a variety of success strategies, focuses on community service and inspires youth leadership.

“Educating our young people is one of the most effective ways that we can solve problems in our communities.” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Service learning projects, like the Success Club at Alban, are invaluable.  They provide more than just an outlet for students to interact with peers – they serve as a source where students can begin to develop a good ethical compass.”  

Goodwin created the United States Attorney’s Ambassador for Justice Awards program in April 2012 to honor West Virginia high school juniors who have shown outstanding leadership skills and a commitment to social justice.  The Ambassador for Justice program was formed following a tragic high school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, that claimed the lives of three young people and wounded two others in February of last year.  The Ambassador for Justice program was also established in response to a handful of reports that involved school bullying and attempted acts of violence by students within the southern district of West Virginia. 

U.S. Marshal John Foster said,“This program at Alban Elementary is an important way to equip young people with problem-solving techniques and leadership qualities.  The students, in turn, can use these qualities to add value to and strengthen their communities.”

Alban Success Club director Deb Austin Brown said, “It truly meant a great deal for our students to hear from U.S. Attorney Goodwin and U.S. Marshal Foster.  Our service learning club was created primarily to help students recognize the importance of community service.  This is a building block for their growth.  When students are motivated and set goals, they are bound to have success.”  

Over the past two years, Goodwin and Foster have visited several schools throughout the southern district of West Virginia speaking to students about bullying prevention, making responsible decisions and educating youth about the harmful effects of drug abuse.   

For more information about the Success Club at Alban, please visit: http://www.99successstrategies.com/

Alban students

 


 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin and Metro Drug Unit commander Lt. Chad Napier visit Lincoln County Schools to discuss the effects of illegal drug use

On January 24, 2013, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin and Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) Commander Chad Napier met with faculty and students from Duval Middle School and Lincoln County High School in Hamlin, Lincoln County, W.Va. to talk about the dangers and consequences of illegal drug use. The school visits provided law enforcement officials with the opportunity to talk one-on-one with students and faculty about the consequences associated with the region’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. 

Prescription drug abuse is one of the leading sources of crime in the Southern District of West Virginia.  

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Education and awareness are the most essential tools that we have in our toolbox.”

Goodwin stated that reaching young people as early as possible is one of the most important ways to turn the tide against our state's prescription drug epidemic.

“The Metro Drug Unit saw a five-fold increase in illegal heroin seizure's in a year's time.” Goodwin continued, “That staggering statistic alone illustrates the battle that we are facing with opiate-based drugs.  It is critical that students understand how incredibly addictive these substances can be if they head down the destructive path of drug abuse."

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2,500 youth (age 12 to 17) abuse a prescription pain reliever for the very first time every day.  The Office of National Drug Control Policy research also found that the vast majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from friends or relatives. 

MDENT Commander Lt. Chad Napier stated that Lincoln County has been particularly hard-hit by the prescription drug crisis. 

Lt. Napier said, “We are losing an entire generation to prescription drug abuse.  If today's presentation reached just one student, then it was well worth the effort.”

In November 2012, Goodwin and Napier also visited schools in Boone County as part of an ongoing awareness initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District to educate faculty and students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.  Goodwin and Napier have also previously visited several schools in Jackson County as part of the awareness effort. 

Pictured below, U.S. Attorney Goodwin speaks to students at Duval Middle School in Lincoln County, W.Va.

Goodwin speaks at Duval Middle School in Lincoln County, W.Va.

Pictured below, Metro Drug Unit Commander Lt. Chad Napier speaks to students at Lincoln County High School in Hamlin, Lincoln County, W.Va.

Metro Drug Unit Commander Lt. Chad Napier speaks to students at Lincoln County High School in Hamlin, Lincoln County, W.Va.

 

 


 

Federal and State officials visit Logan County Schools to discuss the effects of illegal drug use and the importance of making good choices

On December 4, 2012, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, United States Marshal John D. Foster, and West Virginia National Guard Major Gen. James Hoyer met with Logan County Middle and High School faculty members and students to discuss the effects of illegal drug use, bullying and social media misuses.

The school visits were held in conjunction with Logan County High School’s student behavior intervention program known as the A3 model which encourages positive student attitude, action and achievement.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, "The reason we are here today is to encourage students to make the right choices – to be ambassadors for justice and change. It can make a tremendous difference in their lives as well as the lives of their peers.”

Goodwin continued, “My paramount goal as a prosecutor is to prevent crimes from happening in the first place. Educating students about positive choices is essential to making our communities safer.”

U.S. Marshal John Foster, who spoke to students about the harmful and long-term effects of bullying said, “The point that I wanted to emphasize to the students at Logan is that their choices in life matter. It takes courage to stand up for the weak.”

Foster continued, "A person that you might know who is being put down or bullied now could very well grow up to be a police officer, firefighter, paramedic or nurse.  You might need to call on them for help later on in life.”

West Virginia National Guard Major Gen. Jim Hoyer said, “I have had several very capable young men and women approach me with aspirations of joining the military.  However, I’ve had to turn them away because they’ve made poor choices or have gotten involved in illegal drugs.” 

Hoyer continued, “The students have to understand the importance of making wise choices.  The choices that they make now can significantly limit their opportunities as an adult.”

In March, U.S. Attorney Goodwin and U.S. Marshal Foster met with Parkersburg High School (W.Va.) faculty and students to discuss school-based violence, bullying and social media. Goodwin began meeting with students throughout the Southern District to discuss school-based violence after a February school shooting in Chardon, OH, claimed the lives of three young people and wounded two others. Over the past several months, Goodwin has met with faculty and students concerning violence, Internet safety, bullying, and other issues facing schools.

 

Logan Schoollogan school visitlogan middle school

 


 

Give Thanks logo

 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin and child advocates announce holiday collection drive for children

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, along with representatives from Mission West Virginia, Inc., the Children’s Home Society and other sponsors gathered in November 2012 to announce Give Thanks and Carry On, a holiday collection drive aimed at meeting personal care item needs of children currently in transition to the state’s foster care system.  Give Thanks and Carry On was launched as part of Mission West Virginia’s Carry On Campaign benefit which collects items for children who have been removed from their homes. 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Thanksgiving is ordinarily a time where we pause and give thanks.  An unfortunate reality is that there are children who will have little to be thankful for because they’ve had to cope with an overwhelming family-life situation.” 

Goodwin continued, “Carry On was organized a few years ago precisely to help children.  So, if you’re out shopping during Black Friday or at some point this holiday season– take a moment and pick up an essential item or two to benefit a child in need.” 

The Carry On Campaign began in October 2010 as a collaborative, multi-agency partnership that includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Mission West Virginia, Inc., the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Institute and the West Virginia Drug Endangered Children Task Force.  The campaign is designed specifically to support children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect by providing them with essential personal items upon their transition to the foster care system.  Items collected on behalf of the campaign include new and gently used luggage, duffle bags, stuffed animals, coloring books, journals, toothbrush & toothpaste, and other essential personal care items. All items collected will be distributed by Mission West Virginia, Inc.

Goodwin is encouraging citizens to lend their support by dropping off items at one of the designated sites across the state.  Additional items being collected during the winter months include: coats, gloves, mittens, hats, scarves, ear muffs, socks, and blankets.  Items can be dropped off during regular business hours at one of the locations listed. 

Click here to learn more about the Carry On Campaign   

 

 


 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin delivers opening remarks at the statewide Victim Assistance Academy

On September 11, 2012, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin spoke during the fourth annual West Virginia Victim Assistance Academy held at Coonskin Park in Charleston, W.Va.  Goodwin commended the crime victim advocates and service providers for the outstanding and tireless work that they perform each day.

“A conviction is not the end of the story for crime victims,” U.S. Attorney Goodwin said. “All too often horrific crimes leave behind shattered lives with feelings of hurt, sadness, violation, anger, and you, as gifted advocates, are thankfully there to help those victims pick up the pieces.”

U.S. Attorney Goodwin’s address to Victim Assistance Academy advocates also reflected on the tragedy of September 11, 2001.   Goodwin said, “Today, we remember the victims, their families, and the heroes who stood up during one of our country's darkest moments.

Goodwin continued, “And every day, through your service, you show that America's sense of common purpose so evident in the aftermath of September 11 was not a fleeting moment, but a lasting virtue -- not just on one day, but every day.”

The West Virginia Victim Assistance Academy is a comprehensive set of courses designed to provide education on victims’ rights and victim services.  The weeklong academy will provide essential training for crime victim service providers and allied professionals who assist the needs of crime victims throughout West Virginia.

The state’s Victim Assistance Academy, much like training academies held in 34 other states, is modeled after the National Victim Assistance Academy. 

Victim Assistance Academy partners include: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia; Federal Bureau of Investigation; West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence; West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services; West Virginia Division of Corrections; West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Institute; West Virginia Court Appointed Special Advocates; and West Virginia Sheriff’s Association.

 


 

 

Goodwin honors school-based police officer for preventing school shooting

Officers Tom Speece of Ravenswood receives United States Attorney's Award for Distinguished Service

On July 13, 2012, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin presented the U.S. Attorney’s Award for Distinguished Service to Officer Tom Speece of the Ravenswood Police Department. Speece is a Prevention Resource Officer based at Ravenswood High School. Earlier this year, he learned a Ravenswood student had made a hit list of fellow students and intended to bring a shotgun to school to attack those on the list. Speece rapidly intervened, preventing the student from carrying out his plan.

PRO award

“Officer Speece’s heroic work at Ravenswood High School saved lives,” said Goodwin. “He’s built a level of trust with Ravenswood students that allowed him to find out about a problem before it turned into a tragedy, and he handled that problem superbly. His work highlights the enormous value of the Prevention Resource Officer program, which places police officers in schools around the state.”

Goodwin presented the award after delivering remarks to the statewide Prevention Resource Officer conference at the Charleston Conference Center in South Charleston, W.Va.  Goodwin commended 75 PROs for their efforts to prevent school-based violence, bullying, misuse of social media such as Facebook, prescription drug abuse and other problems that affect student well-being.

Goodwin began meeting with schools throughout the Southern District to discuss school-based violence after a February school shooting in Chardon, OH, claimed the lives of three young people and wounded two others. Over the past several months, he has met with faculty and students concerning school-based violence prevention, Internet safety, bullying, and other issues facing schools.  In April, Goodwin spoke to 129 school administrators during the West Virginia Center for Professional Development’s Principals’ Leadership Academy for new principals. Also in April, Goodwin named 40 high school juniors Ambassadors for Justice. The Ambassadors for Justice are students from high schools through southern West Virginia who have demonstrated strong character and a willingness to stand up to bullying and injustice in their schools. 

The weeklong Prevention Resource Officer conference and training in South Charleston was hosted by the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services.

The Prevention Resource Officer program is a cooperative effort between schools and law enforcement. 

The program places certified West Virginia police officers who are also certified Prevention Resource Officers in middle and high schools across the state.  The officers maintain an office in the school and are on duty a minimum of 35-40 hours per week.  In addition to a regular school day, PRO's typically attend extracurricular activities throughout the school year.  For more information on the Prevention Resource Officer program, please visit: http://www.djcs.wv.gov/pro/Pages/default.aspx.

 


 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin applauds collaborative law enforcement and domestic violence advocacy efforts

Goodwin Calls Recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Decisions Upholding Firearms Convictions Involving Domestic Violence Offenders ‘Vital’

On February 1, 2012, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin honored federal and local law enforcement agencies and domestic violence awareness advocates during an awards presentation at the Charleston Marriott Hotel in Charleston for their collaborative work involving three domestic violence cases in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Law enforcement efforts lead to two recent federal appellate decisions issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholding firearms convictions in the Southern District of West Virginia.

These decisions validate the important role that the federal domestic violence laws play in prosecuting dangerous individuals.  The appellate decisions were made in United States v. Mark A. Staten and United States v. Ronald Mark Chapman.  A third decision in a similar matter, United States v. William Samuel Chester currently awaits ruling in federal district court.  

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin stated, “These very important cases underscore the importance of federal, state and local law enforcement working together to better protect our communities and its citizens.  The appellate decisions are vital and will go a long way in helping to protect domestic violence victims not just here in West Virginia, but across the country.”

Goodwin presents a distinguished service award to West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence co-founder Sue JulianDuring the evening ceremony, Goodwin presented West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence co-founder Sue Julian with an award for distinguished service.

The advocacy group was recognized for its statewide efforts to increase safety and options for victims of domestic violence. The coalition, led by Julian, provides various services to victims – from shelter and court advocacy to helping victims attain economic self-sufficiency.

 

Goodwin also presented representatives from the following law enforcement agencies with a United States Attorney's Award for Distinguished Service:

  • Milton Police Department
  • St. Albans Police Department
  • Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office
  • Cabell County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

 


 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin, criminal justice representatives tour Marshall University's Forensic Science Center

Goodwin Says Forensic Center Instrumental in the Prosecution of Child Exploitation Crimes

On January 10, 2012, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, Marshall University (MU) President U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Marshall University President Dr. Stephen Kopp shown together during a tour of Marshall's Forensic Science Center in HuntingtonStephen Kopp and state criminal justice representatives met for a guided tour of the school’s Forensic Science Center in Huntington.

The tour, hosted by MU Forensic Science Center director Dr. Terry Fenger and West Virginia State Police Forensics analyst Cpl. Robert Boggs, provided officials with in-depth look at the state-of-the-art West Virginia State Police’s Digital Forensic Laboratory, along with several other units housed within the university’s Forensic Center. 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin said that protecting children from exploitation has been one of the top priorities of his office during his now 18 months as the chief federal law enforcement official for West Virginia’s Southern District.

“The West Virginia State Police (WVSP) Digital Forensics unit at Marshall is instrumental in our ongoing fight against child exploitation,” Goodwin said.  “The unit provides a broad spectrum of tools and technology which enables law enforcement to effectively investigate and my office to win convictions against the individuals who commit these despicable crimes.”

The West Virginia State Police Digital Forensics Laboratory unit works closely with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force which investigates crimes involving child exploitation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, pornography, prostitution, and undercover operations.  The State Police Forensics unit has also been a key affiliate working in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and has played an important role in its ability to prosecute criminals.  U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin talks with West Virginia State Police Forensics analyst Cpl. Robert Boggs. The West Virginia State Police’s Digital Forensic Laboratory which is housed inside of the Forensic Science Center provides a broad range of tools and technology used by law enforcement to effectively investigate and convict crimes

The Digital Forensics Unit, working closely with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force since March 2006, has achieved a conviction rate of almost 100%.  The unit also assists the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the ongoing fight against crimes involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

The Forensic Science Center and the WVSP Crime Lab have been partnering to build digital forensics capabilities for the agency since 2005 when the WVSP Digital Forensic Unit was first established at the Center. The unit’s new laboratory in the MUFSC Annex building became operational in April 2011. The new laboratory was created through a partnership with the Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC) and grant funding administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

The Center’s digital forensics area has two components comprised of the WVSP Digital Forensics Unit and a research laboratory. The center also provides a full-time and a part-time employee to assist the unit.

A video of the tour can be viewed at the Web address below (Provided Courtesy of Marshall’s Office of University Communications/Mike Powers).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioXI81PqEWg

 

 


 

Officials host community celebration in recognition of Kee Federal Buildings 100th anniversary

U.S. Magistrate Judge Clark VanDervort (left) pictured with U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin during the 100th Anniversary of the Elizabeth Kee Federal BuildingElizabeth Kee Federal BuildingSenior United States District Judge, David A. Faber, speaks during the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Elizabeth Kee Federal Building in Bluefield

U.S. Attorney R. Booth Goodwin II, U.S. District Judge David A. Faber and U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort Pay Tribute to Bluefield's Federal Courthouse

On December 29, 2011, federal, state and local officials gathered in downtown Bluefield, W.Va. to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Elizabeth Kee Federal Building .  U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, along with U.S. District Judge David A. Faber and U.S. Magistrate Judge Clarke VanDervort spoke during the centennial celebration of the longtime Bluefield federal facility.  The U.S. District court, located within the Elizabeth Kee Federal Building, opened in 1911.

The Kee Federal Building is named in honor of the late Elizabeth Kee (born Maude Etta Simpkins).  Kee is documented in West Virginia history as the state’s first congresswoman.  Elizabeth was married to Bluefield lawyer John Kee, who was first elected to Congress in 1932. She was elected to fill her husband’s seat in Congress upon his death in 1951. She was subsequently re-elected to six terms and retired in 1964.  The congresswoman died on February 15, 1975.  

 


 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin's Office presents holiday gifts in support of foster care program

Carry On Campaign logoU.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin presents items to Carrie Robey of Mission West Virginia during a holiday luncheon at the Robert C. Byrd Courthouse in CharlestonCarry On Campaign logo

On December 16, 2011, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin presented holiday gift items to Mission West Virginia, Inc. representative, Carrie Robey, during a Christmas luncheon held at the Robert C. Byrd Courthouse in Charleston.  The assortment of gifts provided by United States Attorney’s Office staff members, helped meet essential clothing needs of children currently residing in the state’s foster care system. 

“The holiday season is a special time of year, and even more so when people are willing to share what they have to help a neighbor.”  U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “As part of an extensive partnership that my office has maintained with Mission West Virginia, this is a great opportunity to lend our support to such a great endeavor and help provide necessities for abused and neglected children.” 

The holiday clothing drive led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, was held in conjunction with Mission West Virginia’s Carry-On Campaign.  The Carry-On Campaign began in October 2010 as a collaborative, multi-agency effort to support children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.  The campaign provides children with essential personal items upon their transition to foster care. 

 


 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin honors outstanding achievement of law enforcement & victim assistance leaders during 2011 awards ceremony

 

USA awards ceremonyUSA awards ceremony

On October 6, 2011, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin presented awards to more than 80 honorees at the 2011 United States Attorney’s Law Enforcement and Victim Assistance Awards ceremony held at the Marshall University Foundation Hall, Erickson Alumni Center in Huntington, West Virginia.

The annual awards ceremony, hosted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, recognized exemplary service of federal, state and local law enforcement officers, as well as other community organization leaders who have made significant contributions on behalf of the criminal justice system. 

Below lists the award category, along with the name of each individual and/or agency honored:

Victim Assistance Awards
Mark Plants, Kanawha County, Prosecuting Attorney
Felicia Bush, Kanawha County Victim Services Center
Cpl. Adam Scott, WVSP
Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action
Mission West Virginia, Inc.
Mt. Olive Correctional Complex

Law Enforcement Awards
Significant Contribution to Project Safe Childhood
Sgt. Dave Eldridge, West Virginia State Police

Outstanding White Collar Crime Investigation
 Sherry Payette, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Karen Atkinson, Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Outstanding OCDETF Investigation
“Evergreen”
 Wren Ray, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Gant Montgomery, Beckley Police Department
Jason McDaniel, Beckley Police Department

“Green Mountain”
E. H. Kennedy, DEA
B. S. Burner, West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations (WVSP BCI)
J. S. McCarty, WVSP BCI
D. L. Cook, Wyoming Co. Sheriff's Dept.
A. R. Iafolla, McDowell Co. Sheriff's Dept.
J. J. Ruble, Mercer Co. Sheriff's Dept.
J. C. Whitt, BPD
E. T. Pugh, PPD
M. R. Crowder, WVSP BCI
Laura J. Cecil, WVSP BCI
J. Centeno, WVSP BCI

“Up in Smoke”
Dennis Bolum, DEA
Tom Bevins, DEA
Brian Hofmann, DEA
Leann Baker, DEA
K. O’Brien, DEA
Curt Nethercutt, HPD 
J. T. Combs, HPD
Chris Powell, CPD
Donnie Herdman, PCSD
Jack Luikart, PCSD
Bryan Hall, PCSD
Dean Wildauer, Indiana State Police
Aaron Brown, Kentucky State Police
Aaron Bollinger, Lawrence Co. (OH) SO
Matt Wilhite, Muskingam Co. Drug Task Force
Amy Thompson, Muskingam Co. Drug Task Force
Kenny Burner, AHIDTA
Kari Sams, AHIDTA

USA awards ceremony

Outstanding Violent Gang Crime Investigation

Rob Cunningham, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Don Sager (retired), ATF
Linwood Smith, FBI
Chris Courtright, FBI
Rose Chestnut, FBI
Jack Luikart, PCSD
Donald Herdman, PCSD
Xerxes Rahmati, Formerly with PCSD

Outstanding Gun and Violent Crime Investigation

ATF Representatives: Todd Willard, Ryan McComas, Tom Crawford, Ron Sabotchick, Jason Lawler, Jeffrey Baker, Scott Kirchner;
Huntington Police Department Representatives: J. T. Combs, Curt Nethercutt, John Franklin, Craig Preece, Eric Corder;
Tom Bevins, DEA

Outstanding Implementation of District Initiative

Drug Market Intervention Initiative (DMI) Huntington
 Huntington Police Department Representatives: Chief W. H. “Skip” Holbrook, Hank Dial, Ray Cornwell, Dan Underwood, Darrell Booth, Paul Hunter, Shane Bills, Sid Hinchman, Eric Corder, John Franklin, Craig Preece, Scott Lemley;

Chris Dean, Western Regional Day Report Center
Chris Chiles, Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney

Outstanding Conference Collaboration Prescription Drug Abuse Summit Working Group

Leslie Boggess, WVDJCS
Kenny Burner, AHIDTA
Michele Burnside, WV PRC
Melissa Crawford, WV PRC
Jo Beyer, WV PRC
Judy Hall, WV PRC
Kim Walsh, WVDHHR
Mary Aldred-Crouch, WVDHHR
Dave Potters, WV Board of Pharmacy              
Michael O’Neil, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
Rebecca King, WV Dept. of Education
Shelly Stalnaker, WV Dept. of Education
Mary Johnson-Rochee, DEA 
Dominic Grant, DEA 
Mike Smith, WVSP BCI
Andrea Darr, WV PAI
Kim Miller, Prestera
Anne McGee, United Way River Cities
Greg Puckett, Community Connections

USA awards ceremony

Drug & Violent Crime Task Force of the Year

Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team

Law Enforcement Agency of the Year

Huntington Police Department

USA awards ceremony

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin (right) with Huntington Police Department Chief W. H. “Skip” Holbrook. The Huntington Police Department was nominated as the 2011 Law Enforcement Agency of the Year.


Not in Our Town logoNIOTNIOT imageNIOT image

Public television documentary film premieres in Charleston

On Sept.19, 2011, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin joined several Charleston-area citizens, law enforcement representatives and faith-based leaders for a panel discussion following the local premiere of the PBS documentary Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness. NIOT tells the story of residents of Patchogue, New York, a Long Island village, where a local immigrant was killed in a hate crime attack by seven teenagers. While revealing the trauma of hate, the film provides a blueprint for people who want to act before intolerance turns to violence.

The film was shown at Grace Bible Church, located on the corner of Kanawha Blvd and Vine Street in Charleston. The documentary was followed by an open discussion focusing on how community members can work together to heal divisions and ensure that all local residents can be safe and respected.

The film was sponsored by OneKanawha, a group dedicated to building a more inclusive community in the greater-Charleston area, and co-sponsored by more than a dozen organizations and agencies including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.

“This documentary is a story about what can happen in any town in America, if intolerance and hatred are not  addressed,” said Deb Weinstein, a member of OneKanawha and the Executive Director of the Charleston YWCA, a group committed to ending racism.  “We hope that Monday’s event– both the screening of the documentary and the public discussion which follows – will help make it less likely that such a thing would happen here.”

“This is an important story ,”said Margaret Pomponio, a member of OneKanawha and the Executive Director of WV Free.  “It can help further a conversation about building a community which is safe for everyone who calls this place home.”

Not In Our Town began in 1995 when a media group called The Working Group produced a PBS documentary that told the story of how people in Billings, Montana joined together to respond to a series of hate crimes in their town. This story of people banding together in their community struck a chord with audiences across the country, and created a model that inspired viewers around the country to hold their own campaigns against intolerance. 

Not In Our Town has grown from a PBS documentary into a national effort to connect people working together to take action against hate and create safe, inclusive communities.

“We learn from other communities when they tell us about how they have responded successfully to hate,” said Jim Cohn, Rabbi of Temple Israel and a member of OneKanawha.  “We also have our own unique success stories that, in turn, can teach other communities some important tools for cooperative living.”

NIOT imageNIOT imageNIOT

 


 

City Leaders host Fairfield Community Celebration in Huntington

Fairfield Community Leaders Recognition Ceremony

Pictured (left to right): Chief W. H. “Skip” Holbrook, Huntington Police Department; Leon White; Reverend Reginald Hill; Thomas Kincaid; Casey Williams; Jenn Williams; Yvonne Jones; Sandra Clements; Marcella Murphy; Linda Jackson; and U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

U. S. Attorney Booth Goodwin recognized members of the Fairfield community in Huntington, W.Va., for their leadership and invaluable participation in Weed & Seed and Drug Market Intervention Initiatives.  The presentations were made at a Community Anti-Violence event on June 13, 2011.  As a result of the community and law enforcement collaboration, the Fairfield Community has seen a significant reduction in drug and violent crime.

 


 

Drug Free Day event hosted at Mount View High School

Drug Free Day at Mt. View High School in McDowell County, W.Va.

In May 2011, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin joined Adj. Gen. James Hoyer (pictured second from right) along with several members of the West Virginia National Guard during Drug & Violence Awareness Day at Mount View High School in McDowell County, W.Va. 


 

National Crime Victims' Rights Week Ceremony recognition held at Federal Courthouse in Charleston

victims rights ceremonyvictims rights ceremony

On April 8, 2011, The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, along with various federal, state and local advocates of crime victims’ hosted a prelude event and awards ceremony in recognition of National Crime Victims' Rights Week . The event was held in conjunction with the national observance honoring National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW). The ceremony also marked the 11th Annual Operation Reach Out event. Operation Reach Out is a collaborative group of federal, state and local organizations that was formed to raise awareness for National Crime Victims’ Rights in West Virginia.



 

U.S. Attorney's Office, ATF and Huntington Police Department announce major drug and weapons roundup

Fifty-five Individuals Charged; Undercover Agents Seize Hundreds of Illegal Drugs and Weapons from the Huntington Area as a Result of a Long-Term, Multi-Agency Law Enforcement Effort

On March 3, 2011, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Paul J. Vido and Huntington Police Department Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook, along with several members from the law enforcement community joined to announce a major, long-term undercover law enforcement effort that has resulted in numerous drug and weapon-related charges in the Huntington area. 

A total of 55 defendants were charged with federal crimes including illegal firearm possession, drug trafficking and other offenses.   Arrest warrants were issued for each individual involved in the criminal activity. drug sweep press conference

The criminal probe began in April 2010, targeting numerous traffickers of stolen firearms and individuals who participated in illegal drug transactions in and around Huntington. 

The investigation conducted by federal and local agents seized illegal drugs with a street value close to $500,000 and more than 100 firearms. 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin stated, “When I took office the middle of last year, I made fighting violent drug crime in Huntington my top priority. This operation, charging 55 defendants, underscores the substantial ongoing effort that we are making to help the citizens of Fairfield West and the city of Huntington take back their streets.”



 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin honors state Corrections Division for its support of Carry-On statewide collection campaign

One-thousand donated duffle bags go toward charitable campaign for foster children

On February 10, 2011, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, along with representatives from Mission West Virginia, Inc., and various project sponsors joined to honor the West Virginia Division of Corrections staff for its support of the Carry-On campaign during an awards ceremony at the Correctional Industries facility in Charleston.  The state Correctional Industries donated 1,000 duffle bags filled with essential personal items that will support children entering the foster care system. 

Carry On awards ceremonyU.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin presented the state Corrections Division representatives with an award during Thursday’s ceremony and commended the agency for its support of the charitable campaign.  “It is truly a good day when people get involved and give of their time and energy to make the lives of fellow West Virginians better. Carry-On has had broad support and I am pleased to see that the Division of Corrections has not only been a partner in this effort, but they have truly made a substantial contribution that will make a difference for a child.” 

Attendees at today’s event included West Virginia Division of Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families Assistant Commissioner Doug Robinson, along with representatives from several Charleston-area child advocacy network agencies.

The Carry-On campaign began in October 2010 as a collaborative, multi-agency effort that includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office (West Virginia Southern and Northern Districts), the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Mission West Virginia, Inc., the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Institute and the West Virginia Drug Endangered Children Task Force. 

The campaign is designed specifically to support children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect by providing them with essential personal items upon their transition to the foster care system.  Items collected on behalf of the campaign include new and gently used luggage, duffle bags and other essential items that are distributed through Mission West Virginia, Inc.     

 

 

 

 

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