CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two days after a reporter from WSAZ-TV filed a complaint against Kanawha County Magistrate Tim Halloran for locking his courtroom during a hearing, a WSAZ vehicle was ticketed twice outside the Kanawha County Courthouse Annex at Halloran's request.
Halloran is the apparent subject of an investigation by the state Judicial Investigation Commission after WSAZ-TV News Operations Manager Mike Waterhouse reported that Halloran locked the door while arraigning Charleston Police officer Sean Phillip Patrick, 30, on charges of soliciting sex with a minor.
Patrick waived his right to contest extradition to Virginia in a hearing on Thursday before Kanawha Circuit Judge Jim Stucky. Patrick allegedly sent a sexually explicit picture to a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl in an online chat room. The person was actually a detective from Loudoun County, Va.
WCHS-TV reporter Bob Aaron said he also got a ticket Wednesday, the same day the WSAZ vehicle was ticketed. He said he's been parking between the courthouse and the annex since 1982.
"And this is the first time we had a ticket in all that time," he said.
Warnings had been issued recently to crack down on police cars parking in the area, he said, but his vehicle had the proper permit.
Still, when Aaron, the husband of Kanawha County Magistrate Kim Aaron, was leaving the courthouse Wednesday afternoon, there was a city parking ticket on his car.
Aaron said his ticket was turned over to Charleston Mayor Danny Jones' office.
"We asked if there was a change in police enforcement of that area and they weren't aware of that," he said.
WSAZ-TV News Director Scott Saxton said he got a call from the mayor. "He asked to see the tickets," Saxton said. "We've never been issued parking tickets in the loading zones before. We have the permits."
Courthouse sources say Halloran first requested a bailiff, who is a Kanawha sheriff's deputy, to issue the tickets. The bailiff told Halloran that he couldn't because the loading zone was the city's jurisdiction.
Kanawha County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Johnny Rutherford said he couldn't confirm or deny that story.
"The conversations we have between us and the judges ... things they ask us to do, we can't comment on because it's part of security," Rutherford said.
Jones said he was told Halloran called the city parking authority to complain about the vehicles and that city Parking Director Alana Minear was caught in the middle.
"Here was a magistrate judge who calls the parking director. She's not sure of the dynamics here and she had to do her job. She directed the parking tickets to be given," Jones said.