Tommy Lewis, Jr. v. Municipality of Masontown

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Petitioner appeals the June 12, 2017, order denying his petition for a writ of prohibition that sought to prohibit the Town of Masontown from prosecuting its criminal complaint against him in Masontown’s Municipal Court. Petitioner was cited by the Masontown Police during a May 12, 2016, traffic stop, in lieu of arrest. The Masontown Police also filed a criminal complaint against petitioner in the Preston County Magistrate Court that resulted in petitioner’s arrest on May 12, 2016; however, the magistrate court case was soon thereafter dismissed. Eight months later, on January 10, 2017, the municipal court issued its criminal complaint against petitioner regarding the traffic stop. As of May 12, 2017, one year after the traffic stop and petitioner’s arrest in the magistrate court case, petitioner had not yet been tried in the municipal court. Petitioner argues that the municipal court does not have jurisdiction because (1) the municipal complaint alleged violations of the West Virginia Code, which the municipal court lacked jurisdiction to hear; (2) the criminal charges were initially filed in the magistrate court, therefore, that magistrate court had exclusive jurisdiction; and (3) the municipal court violated petitioner’s constitutional speedy trial rights when it failed to try him within three terms of court following his arrest.