CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Saying that she might be to blame for the premature release of a jail inmate accused of trying to kidnap a baby, the state Supreme Court has ordered an inquiry into Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster's docket.
Kanawha officials disagree over who is responsible for releasing Jeremy Carter, who was being held on a charge of attempted kidnapping, from South Central Regional Jail last Thursday.
In a three-page statement issued Sunday, Webster laid the blame on a worker in Circuit Clerk Cathy Gatson's office.
Gatson and Kanawha Prosecutor Mark Plants told the Daily Mail on Monday that they didn't agree.
"The clerk was just doing what the judge said," Plants said.
Gatson stood behind her staff and said Webster prepared the case dismissal without a representative of the prosecutor's office present.
An administrative order handed down by the high court Tuesday also directs Steve Canterbury, court administrator, to inquire into the procedures used in Gatson's office.
It authorizes Canterbury to initiate an official inquiry "matters related to the administration of the docket of the Honorable Carrie Webster, Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, including but not limited to the procedures of Judge Webster's office and the office of the Circuit Clerk of Kanawha County, to ensure that fair and appropriate standards of procedure are being maintained, and to report the same to the Supreme Court of Appeals."
Canterbury said it's too early to tell what the inquiry might turn up. He said it could end quickly with nothing found or it could lead to an investigation by the Judicial Investigation Commission.
"All I know at this point is that there was an erroneous release, which implies there was an error," Canterbury said. "Who, what, well we know when, and perhaps why, remains to be seen."
He said Webster's letter was interesting and "very telling," but that it was his job to look into what really happened.