Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Shaffer has released a letter highlighting his request for a special prosecutor in an alleged domestic violence incident involving a Clarksburg city councilman.
Shaffer recused himself from the case after comments from someone close to the situation were made on a Topix website forum that accused Shaffer of being involved in a cover up regarding allegations against Sam "Zeke" Lopez. Shaffer said the information posted on the Internet matched what was in the police report and only could have come from someone who had access to that report. Shaffer said in his statement that it seems someone close to the City of Clarksburg government posted the comments on the forum in an attempt to make a political issue out of the case. Shaffer said he recused himself in order to avoid a mistrial.
"It is a generally accepted principle in the criminal justice system that domestic violence cases are extremely difficult to prosecute when alleged victims change their statements and/or unwilling to cooperate with the case. This case appears that such a generalization may imply. Given that the character of the Prosecuting Attorney has been publicly called into question regarding the prosecution of a local elected official, and given that the circumstances are ripe for a possible acquittal, the Prosecuting Attorney seeks a Special Prosecutor to be assigned to this case to avoid any and all appearances of impropriety," said Shaffer in the letter delivered to Chief Judge James A. Matish on May 10.
You can read Shaffer's entire statement provided to Chief Judge James A. Matish here.