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Report: #1469707

Complaint Review: Gerald B. Hough, Gilmer Co., W. Va. prosecuting attorney - Glenville WV

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Lawrence — South Charleston WV United States
  • Gerald B. Hough, Gilmer Co., W. Va. prosecuting attorney 7 N. Court St. Glenville, WV United States

Gerald B. Hough, Gilmer Co., W. Va. prosecuting attorney Gerry Hough, A+ Law Clinic, LLC denied access to public records Glenville WV

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In February 2014, I began requesting documents from Mr. Hough regarding the operation of the prosecutor’s office.  This inquiry came after noticing on prior visits to Glenville, the Gilmer County seat, the prosecutor’s office was located in a building on North Court St. I learned this where Mr. Hough operated his real estate business prior to his admission to the state Bar in October 1998, and election as county prosecutor in 2000.

I made an open-records request in February 2015 from Mr. Hough for documents related to true bills of indictment returned by the Gilmer Couty grand jury sinice he took office in 2001.  He timely responded denying my request citing irrelevant, and outdated state Supreme Court opinions.

Earlier this year, I challenged Mr. Hough’s denial of not only the true bills of indictment, but also other Freedom of Information Act requests I made.  In response to the indictments FOIA request, he said I could have the records, but only after remitting to his office a money order for $5,000.  The figure constituted photocopying an estimated 2,500 pages at $2/page.

The year I initially made the indictments FOIA request, a bill revising the state open-records law went into effect.  In addition to prohibiting research, the bill,  HB 2636, restricted the fee a records custodian could charge for reproduction of records to a “reasonable” one based on the “actual cost“ of reproduction. 

The West Virginia Association of Counties, a trade association of county governments, lobbied to defeat HB 2636.  Mr. Hough is active member of WVACo. serving on its board of governors, and, for a truncated period, its president in 2011.

Since the open-records law is clear that a records custodian must make available for inspection during normal business hours where they are kept, I made an appearance at Mr. Hough’s office on May 1 to look at all the documents I requested to-date via FOIA.  Unfortunately, I was unable to view them as the two women the Gilmer County Commission assigned to assist Mr. Hough in his duties as the prosecutor never acknowledged my presence, and acted deaf and dumb the entire time of my visit.

The failure of Mr. Hough to not only provide the records I previously requested, but also the legal fees, and expenses he incurred in a dispute with the county commission over cuts to the 2018-19 budget (Case no. 18-P-4) prompted me to file suit against him, the prosecutor’s office and the commission last month (Case no. 18-C-22).  In addition to compelling release of the documents request, the suit seeks an order deeming the $2/ page photocopy fee unreasonable as it constitutes a 10,000 percent increase over the actual cost of reproduction.

The full text of my suit, including all correspodence exchanged between myself and Mr. Hough, can be found on my Scribd account. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/17/2018 08:12 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/gerald-b-hough-gilmer-co-w-va-prosecuting-attorney/glenville-wv-26351/gerald-b-hough-gilmer-co-w-va-prosecuting-attorney-gerry-hough-a-law-clinic-llc-1469707. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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