Tony C. Givens



Claimant appeared in person.

Benjamin F. Yancey, III, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of West Virginia.

An application of the claimant, Tony C. Givens, for an award under the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Act, was filed December 2, 2003. There was no report by the Claim Investigator, the mater having been presented directly to the Court, which issued its Order on December 23, 2003, denying the claim. The claimant's request for hearing was filed January 5, 2004. This matter came on for hearing March 25, 2004, claimant appearing pro se and the State of West Virginia by counsel, Benjamin F. Yancey, III, Assistant Attorney General.
The claimant testified that an incident occurred in 1997 in Marion County while he was driving home. He was stopped by the police, arrested, and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, and driving without insurance.
According to the claimant, he was sentenced to time served and fined $3,442.00 on the drunk driving charge in Fairmont Municipal Court. The other two charges were later dismissed. The claimant appealed the drunk driving conviction to Marion County Circuit Court, where he was represented by attorney Conrad Gall. The conviction was upheld. It is the claimant's position that he was the victim of ineffective assistance of counsel, because his attorney failed to obtain a copy of the video surveillance tape which allegedly would have exonerated him.
The claimant then filed an appeal of the conviction with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, which refused to docket the matter. He went back to circuit court for a writ of habeas corpus, represented by attorney George P. Stanton, III. The claimant asserts that he was denied a hearing on the writ because of a "conspiracy." When asked if he had been incarcerated or was out on bond during these appeals, the claimant stated that he was out on bond.
The claimant sought to challenge the denial of the writ of habeas corpus in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, filing his complaint against the State of West Virginia. It was denied on the basis of sovereign immunity, and the claimant was directed to file his action in the West Virginia Court of Claims against the Division of Motor Vehicles. That claim, CC- 03-149, was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
The claimant was asked if he had a valid West Virginia driver's license. He replied that he did not, because of a "conspiracy." The claimant's theory is that for two years the City of Fairmont concealed from the Division of Motor Vehicles information about the two charges that had been dismissed against him, resulting in the DMV's refusal to reinstate his license.
Appearing for the claimant in this matter was Deputy Attorney General Dawn E. Warfield, who testified that she was in fact the attorney for the State. Also present was attorney George P. Stanton, III, who confirmed that he had served as court-appointed counsel for the claimant in the habeas corpus proceeding.
It is clear from the record in this claim that the claimant was indeed a victim. However, he was not the victim of "criminally injurious conduct" under the Crime Victims Compensation Act, nor did he suffer any injury which would be deemed compensable thereunder. He seems to have been the victim only of bureaucracy.
The claimant has done an admirable job of pursuing his rights under the law, seeking justice for what he considered to be wrongs perpetrated against him by his own government. Unfortunately, his efforts have not produced the results he desired. This Court is unable to effect those
results. The Court understands the claimant's frustration, but encourages him to put these experiences behind him and move on.
Since the claimant did not meet the burden of establishing eligibility under the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Act
, no award may be granted.

ENTER: _____________________________________________