Webster also accidentally dismissed a case involving Gary Wayne Mullins, who was tried, convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for kidnapping and bullying an elderly man out of thousands of dollars.
She said she intended to dismiss only certain charges attached to the case. Instead, the order included the entire criminal action.
Mullins has not been released from prison. It's not clear that the dismissal order would have affected him because the case had already been closed, Webster said.
Webster said that since she learned of the error in the Carter case, she went through the other dismissal orders to make sure she did not release anyone else from custody. Two courthouse staffers in Kanawha County confirmed that no one else has been released, she said.
Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said his office did not receive notice of any hearings in the cases and "was not aware of any legal reason for them to be dismissed."
Plants said he has not reviewed all of the dismissal orders yet, but said his office is concerned about the Carter case.
Carter has family in Tennessee, but it is not clear where he actually lives, said Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Ken Starcher.
"I was shocked, to be honest," Webster said, referring to the botched dismissal orders. "It does bother me because the judge is the only one who has the authority to put a person in jail and to let him out. It's one of the most powerful things that anybody can ever have."
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.