Gavel Grab

Trial Date Ahead in New Caperton Round Against Massey


Hugh Caperton, plaintiff in a landmark 2009 Supreme Court decision about runaway judicial election spending and impartial courts, may square off in a Grundy, Va. courtroom later this month with the former A.T. Massey Coal Company, with whom Caperton has had a long-running dispute.

Caperton’s 2010 lawsuit accuses Massey of “attempting to buy justice” in  West Virginia’s highest court. A year ago, the Virginia Supreme Court said Caperton and his coal companies could proceed with the lawsuit in Virginia (see Gavel Grab for background).

In  Caperton v. Massey, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that judicial campaign spending can damage a litigant’s right to a fair trial. It required a West Virginia Supreme Court justice to disqualify himself from an appeal involving then-Massey Chief Executive Officer Don Blankenship, a major campaign spender in support of the justice.

A jury trial in Virginia is set for April 21, according to the West Virginia Gazette.

You can read about Caperton’s speech to a Justice at Stake dinner in 2011, discussing how special-interest influence in the courthouse can have a shattering impact on real lives, by clicking here for Gavel Grab. To see a video of Caperton discussing big-money judicial elections, click here. You can learn more about Caperton v. Massey from a JAS resource page about the case.

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