It is entirely possible a man accused of attempting kidnapping, stalking and domestic battery may go free because someone in Ohio County Magistrate Court doesn't do a very good job of filing.
During the man's arraignment before Circuit Judge James Mazzone last week, his attorney, William Galloway, told the court a cassette tape used to record the man's preliminary hearing in magistrate court is missing. Galloway said he is considering filing a motion for dismissal of charges because of the missing audio record of the hearing.
His client is accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend's car. Then, when she got in, he allegedly grabbed her and used his hand to muffle her screams. Fortunately, she was able to escape.
Perhaps Galloway will not file a motion for dismissal. And no one can say how Mazzone would rule on it. The case may very well proceed.
But this apparently is not the first time such cassette tapes have been lost in Ohio County Magistrate Court, Galloway said last week. And Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gail Kahle also expressed frustration at the "horrendous" way in which such material is handled.
Mazzone and his fellow circuit judges should look into the problem. Not being able to find the record of a criminal charge hearing is serious business. If it occurs regularly, it should be deemed unacceptable - and judges should order the problem be rectified.