WV Supreme Court annuls H. John Rogers’ law license - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

WV Supreme Court annuls H. John Rogers’ law license

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West Virginia Supreme Court justices recently annulled the law license of a New Martinsville attorney and former state Supreme Court candidate after he filed a false mental hygiene complaint against a Wetzel County businessman.

This case stems from a July 2009 incident when H. John Rogers entered Jeffrey Shade's coffee shop, Barista's Café.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel said in its brief to the state Supreme Court that Rogers started to "yell, cuss and gesture at Mr. Shade and other customers."

Shade also testified, the brief continued, that Rogers came back into the café later that day and started yelling and gesturing at people, saying things like, "hear no evil, see no evil and pure evil."

The following day, Rogers filed an application for involuntary custody for mental health examination, saying Shade was suicidal, taking psychedelic drugs and that he physically assaulted him twice without provocation.

Shade was then detained and taken to the Hillcrest Behavioral Health Center at Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, where the drug screen came up negative.

Justices affirmed the Office of Disciplinary Counsel's sanctions suggesting the annulment of his law license, a comprehensive psychological examination before petitioning for reinstatement and that he be supervised for one year upon reinstatement.

"These acts of dishonesty resulted in Mr. Shade being detained by a police officer in front of his son and being deprived of his personal freedom," the per curiam opinion states. "Additionally, Mr. Shade testified to his belief that Mr. Rogers was able to perpetrate these illegal actions against him because he was a lawyer."

In a previous interview with The State Journal after oral arguments, Rogers maintained Shade attacked him and he filed the mental hygiene complaint to shock him into recovery.

"If I was seeking vengeance, I would not have done something chicken s*** about getting a mental hygiene warrant. I would have knocked out a couple of windows," Rogers said then. "The thing they can't prove is motivation."

In January 2010, a grand jury issued a two-count indictment charging Rogers with false swearing and malicious application to declare a person mentally ill or inebriate.

A January 2012 order mandated Rogers to be sentenced to 90 days in the custody of authorities of Northern Regional Jail and ordered him to pay a $150 fine. This jail sentence was suspended, the brief states.

For his second charge, Rogers also was sentenced to 90 days with 80 days suspended and he was again fined $150. He also was placed on 24 months of unsupervised probation.

The Wetzel County Circuit Court later granted Rogers' petition for a stay of execution pending appeal of a sentence.

Rogers appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court; however, the court found there was not good cause to extend the period for perfecting the appeal. The court dismissed the appeal.

Rogers pleaded nolo contendere — which means "I will not contest it" — to both counts in Wetzel County Magistrate Court. In this type of plea, a person neither admits nor disputes guilt.

Rogers previously told The State Journal that the reason he entered the nolo plea was because he wanted "to get it over with."

"Because Mr. Rogers exploited his knowledge of the law and our legal system to carry out a personal vendetta that resulted in a citizen of this state being involuntarily confined in a mental health care facility, we must send a strong message to the bar and to the public that this conduct will not be tolerated," the opinion states.

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