Successor Petitions Filed in Lavigne Case

By Nuzum, Lydia | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), December 12, 2013 | Go to article overview

Successor Petitions Filed in Lavigne Case


Nuzum, Lydia, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


A Hurricane man convicted of raping his then 5-year-old daughter nearly two decades ago is seeking to be released from prison for the second time, and his defenders say his "innocence is absolute."

West Virginia Public Defenders filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Joe Lavigne Jr. in Putnam County Circuit Court in November. The West Virginia Innocence Project, a branch of the nationwide Innocence Project, has filed a similar petition on Lavigne's behalf at the federal level.

Lavigne, 55, was found guilty in 1996 and sentenced to 22 to 60 years in prison. His first petition for a writ of habeas corpus, filed by the Kanawha County Public Defenders Office, resulted in the reversal of his sentence by former Putnam County Circuit Judge O.C. Spaulding in 2011.

Lavigne spent more than a year free before the state Supreme Court overturned Spaulding's decision last year. In his decision, Spaulding wrote: "No reasonable jury can find proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt where the only evidence as to an essential element of the crime are contradictory, out-of-court statements by the accuser."

Greg Ayers, the retired public defender who represented Lavigne in his last habeas case, contends that there are even more factors that point to Lavigne's innocence than those tried in the last case.

"Joe's innocence is the most compelling fact in this case," said Ayers, who has since retired but has taken on the case pro bono. "Judge Spaulding was correct in his decision, but the Supreme Court decided otherwise."

The latest petition contends the most recent habeas court to try Lavigne, which freed him from prison for more than a year before the Supreme Court reversed its decision, did not address all of the issues raised by Lavigne's counsel. Its three main contentions, according to court filings, are that Lavigne's accuser, his daughter Katie Haught-Kelly, should have been declared an incompetent witness for her contradictory testimony, that she has since filed an affidavit declaring Lavigne was not her assailant, and that the state presented false testimony of Mark Berry, who they consider another potential perpetrator of the crime.

Berry, a Lincoln County man who was the subject of a murder trial when Haught-Kelly was assaulted, knew Lavigne and his wife, Jamie, who were slated to testify against him in court. In the 1996 trial, Trooper Donna McNeely testified that Berry had been on electronically monitored home confinement at the time of the assault, and that no alarm was triggered indicating Berry had violated home confinement. McNeely later admitted that Berry was not on electronic home confinement at the time and was not wearing an ankle bracelet.

"They had believed that Mr. Berry was on electronic monitoring at the time, and he was not, so having no electronic monitor alarms go off the day of the crime is basically irrelevant," said Lori Waller, the other Kanawha County public defender working on the case. "To the best of my knowledge, they had simply checked whether any electronic monitors had gone off, and that was the end of it."

Waller said she took on the case because she has a background in psychology and believes Haught-Kelly's inability to stand up to cross examination should have made her testimony inadmissible in court.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Successor Petitions Filed in Lavigne Case
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.