Magistrate recuses self in David Jones case

HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va. - It's a case that's sparking debate about First Amendment rights.
A Hancock County man accused of retaliating against officials on Facebook remains in jail after Friday's court appearance. Some, including a West Virginia delegate, are calling for David Jones' release, saying he had every right to post what he did on Facebook.
But Jones remains in jail as Hancock County Magistrate Michael Powell stepped away from the case, citing the alleged victims. Jones is accused of using Facebook to retaliate against officials -- retired judge Martin Gaughan and former state representative Randy Swartzmiller.
"He needs to be released immediately with the court's deepest apology," West Virginia Delegate Pat McGeehan said.
McGeehan has joined the fight for Davis in the name of defending the Bill of Rights.
"Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court -- the highest court in the land -- ruled 8-to-1, that Facebook and social media rants and speech and language, even if it's cruel and malicious, is protected free speech under the First Amendment so they have no ground to hold this man in jail any longer," McGeehan said.
But for now, jail is where Davis will stay.
"Well I think it's very disappointing, and I think that something needs to be done right now because I will be taking further action if nobody else does," McGeehan said.
It's not clear how long it will take to assign a new magistrate.


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