Roselle: Jailed and Released

Sgt. M.A. Smith fingerprints Mike Roselle, April 2, 2009, in Beckley, WV.
Sgt. M.A. Smith fingerprints Mike Roselle, April 2, 2009, in Beckley, WV. photograph (c) antrim caskey, 2009

Rock Creek, WVa — Yesterday morning State Trooper Bowers pulled up in front of our Rock Creek office and honked his horn. He doesn’t usually come to the door. “How can I help you?” I ask.

“Sgt Smith wants you to meet him at 1:00 at his office in Whitesville” he says.

“Can you tell me what this concerning?”

“No” Officer Bowers replies, and slowly drives off.

In Sgt. Smith’s office I am informed that the Magistrate has put out an arrest warrant on me and that he will have to take me into custody and drive me to Beckley. After a short conversation, we agree that I can surrender myself the next day at 9:00 AM in Beckley and I went home.

This morning at nine I met Sgt. Smith at the State Police headquarters and was fingerprinted and taken into custody. He drove me to the Magistrate’s office where I met Mr. Massie in the lobby. When he saw me he said to Sgt. Smith, “I’d be happy to put him in the holding cell.”

He gave the keys to Sgt. Smith and he locked me up in the holding cell with one other poor fellow chained at the waist and foot. I said down on the cold steel bench and waited for my chance to see the Magistrate.

Sgt. Smith unlocked the cell door 10 minutes later and took me to see Massie.

Massie immediately began to scold me for missing my last scheduled appearance in front of him and laid down the law: $500 bond, no contact with Massey Energy, no leaving the state, bla, bla, bla… I said “Your Honor, I cannot accept these conditions”.

“Then you’re going to jail” he replied, and Sgt. Smith put handcuffs on me and the Magistrate left the chambers.

Twenty five minutes later Massie returns with a slip of paper in his hand and without looking at me asks again, “So, you’re not going to sign this release?”

“No sir, I cannot.” That was my final answer. Then things happened very quickly. Massie hands me and Officer Smith a copy of Judge Kirkpatrick’s order to release me with a warning not to do anything prohibited in the order or I would face arrest. Then he turned quickly and exited his chambers.

I did not get a chance to reply.

Sgt. Smith motioned with his key so I held my hands up and he retrieved his handcuffs. Then he left through the back door and I was standing in an empty courtroom holding a piece of paper.

I ask you, is this justice.