Shirley pleads not guilty

MARTINSBURG — Jefferson County Sheriff Robert E. “Bobby” Shirley was arraigned Monday in the same federal courthouse that weeks earlier was the setting for the sentencing of the man who Shirley now stands accused of beating during an arrest almost a year and half ago.

Shirley, 60, pleaded not guilty at the U.S. District Court in Martinsburg on charges stemming from the arrest in December 2010 of convicted bank robber Mark Daniel Haines.

Jefferson County Sheriff Robert E. “Bobby” Shirley leaves the U.S. District Court in Martinsburg Monday following his arraignment
before Magistrate David Joel. Shirley was indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury on charges related
to an arrest in December 2010.

Shirley faces one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, which carries a 10-year prison term, and one count of destruction, alteration or falsification of a record in a federal investigation, which carries a 20-year term. Each also carries a fine of up to $250,000.

A jury trial has been set for Aug. 7.

Shirley’s attorney Kevin Mills said he will request that that date be moved back.

“We expect to take a lot more time to understand this case,” he said.

Shirley is accused of using excessive force during the arrest of Haines — who later pleaded guilty to bank robbery and is currently serving a 19-year sentence — as well as falsifying documents in order to obstruct an FBI investigation into the incident after Haines led police on a high-speed chase through Jefferson and Berkeley counties following a failed attempt to rob a bank in Ranson.

Haines has also filed a civil suit against Shirley and 14 other officers, seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

At Monday’s appearance, U.S. Magistrate David Joel released Shirley on a personal recognizance bond with the condition that he not be allowed to carry a firearm or other weapon while on duty.

As part of the terms of the bond, Shirley is also not allowed to leave the Northern District of West Virginia without permission. The district encompasses 32 counties in West Virginia, and includes the greater Eastern Panhandle, the Northern Panhandle and the Potomac Highlands.

In requiring Shirley to not carry a firearm on duty, Joel sided with federal prosecutor Paul T. Camilletti over a request by Mills, who sought to allow Shirley to retain the use of his firearm during work hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but to leave his weapon at the office at the end of his work shift.

Mills said to surrender his gun would have interfered with Shirley’s duties as sheriff.

“It keeps the court out of the position of interfering with the will of the electorate,” Mills told Joel at

Joel, who offered to allow Shirley to have a hearing about being allowed to continue to carry a firearm, said the sheriff must be treated the same as any other citizen facing such charges.

Mills, who said Shirley will continue to serve out his term as sheriff, is still considering whether to request that hearing.

“(Shirley) is generally a supervisor of law enforcement officers. His job is to make sure the county is safely policed, not to police it himself,” Mills said. “But it is reasonable that he be permitted to carry a firearm.”

Shirley held off a primary challenge in May from former Jefferson County sheriff, Everett “Ed” Boober, and would face Republican challenger Earl Ballenger in November.

— Marla Pisciotta contributed to this report.

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