WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (AP) — Scandal isn't new in the part of southern West Virginia where the Hatfields once battled the McCoys. But recent criminal charges against the longtime judge include allegations of corruption that now touch every level of Mingo County's justice system.
They also taint the legacy of a charming yet hard-charging sheriff killed in April, just three months into his war on drug dealers.
Charles "Butch" West, a defense attorney, says skepticism about the justice system is not limited to defendants.
Even he dreaded taking his clients before suspended Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury.
Thornsbury's attorney has declined comment. But the judge is cooperating with federal prosecutors in one of two cases against him and is expected to plead guilty.
And even longtime supporters of those involved predict the scandals aren't over yet.