RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Raleigh County Family Court Judge Louise Goldston is now facing charges from the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission.
This comes after a video surfaced six months ago of Judge Goldston conducting a search of federal agent Matt Gibson’s home during a divorce hearing.
According to the court documents, she has been found in violation of seven rules including compliance with the law, confidence in the judiciary, impartiality and fairness, external influences, competence, diligence and cooperation and extrajudicial activities in general.
In her interview with investigators in July, the documents say that Judge Goldston was unable to provide statutes, rules or cases that gave her that authority to do a home visit and admitted that it was not within her contempt powers to conduct this type of at-home hearing.
She did say that she believed it was proper to hold a home visit and that it was similar to a court viewing and that it was necessary to determine whether a party could be held in contempt for not producing items in question.
Even though Gibson is representing himself in the divorce case, he did hire John Bryan for action taken against the judge after the at-home search.
“Apparently this has been going on for 20 years and at least 10 other times this was done upon the motion of an attorney without the object of the other attorney,” Bryan said. “And what does that tell me? That maybe they were scared to challenge the judge, to challenge the system. I don’t know. I think that there are a lot of questions there that need to be answered.”
In March, Judge Goldston was presiding over Gibson’s contempt hearing as the opposing party alleged that Gibson did not turn over several items in the settlement.
According to court documents, Judge Goldston then asked for Gibson’s address who was representing himself. That is when she gave everyone 10 minutes to get there.
Once everyone got to the house, he verbally refused to allow anyone in. Judge Goldston threatened to arrest him if he did not let them in.
Judge Goldston now has 30 days to file her response and the Supreme Court will make the final call as to the charges and her punishment.
Original Story: March 12, 2020
BEAVER, WV (WOAY) – We had several people reach out to us about a video posted by a local attorney with over 20,000 views.
The video shows Raleigh County Family Court Judge Louise Goldston coming to a home on March 4 in Beaver to do a hearing on a contempt case following a finalized divorce.
She also began going through the home without a warrant, and now the legality of it is being questioned.
Judge Goldston is presiding over a case involving Matt Gibson and his ex-wife.
The ex-wife filed a contempt after the divorce was finalized to get more of the items they agreed upon like DVDs and pictures.
When Gibson stated in the courtroom that he wasn’t sure if he had them or wasn’t sure where they were, the judge decided to take the hearing to his home and began searching through it with Raleigh County deputies and his ex-wife.
Gibson, a federal agent himself, says it felt wrong and that is why he began recording as the judge and the officers pulled up.
Gibson said he was told in court he had ten minutes to get back home before they were coming.
He said the judge along with three police officers, his ex-wife and her attorney entered the home without a warrant and began seizing items threatening arrest if he did not comply.
“They seized the photos off the wall. They searched this closet,” he said. “They came through here to the kitchen. They searched the cabinets in here.”
His phone was taken outside of the home as he was caught recording which can also be seen in the video.
Gibson still submitted what he had recorded to local attorney John Bryan who then put it up on YouTube.
He said he handles lots of illegal search and seizure cases but never one like this.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever really heard that my house was illegally searched by a judge and the reason for that is because that’s not what judges do. Judges do not search houses. Judges do not search anything,” Bryan said.
Bryan said he has not been able to find other cases in his research dealing with this where this has happened before, but he believes it is in strong violation against the 4th Amendment.
“The information that I have as of right now is that there was no warrant and there wasn’t consent you can see that from the video. And I’m unaware of any information as to any exigency existing. I also haven’t found any court order, any sort of seizure order.”
Bryan also believes that there could be some 1st Amendment violations after he was asked to turn his phone off as he was recording on his own property.
Bryan also expressed concern over the fact that Gibson received a call from his ex wife’s attorney, Kyle Lusk, the day before, offering a $5,000 settlement.
In the recorded voicemail, Lusk says he was asked to do that by the court but Bryan believes that that was in violation of “ex parte communication,” which is why he also put the voicemail online.
Bryan said he wanted to put the all of this out to shine light on this as he believes his client is not alone in what he’s gone through.
“If we allow the integrity of the judicial system to be bent in any way, it’s just a ripple effect. It’s a slippery slope. The courts are nothing without their legitimacy.”
We reached out to Judge Goldston who cannot comment on ongoing litigation. We also reached out Kyle Lusk who said he also couldn’t comment but did say there was a contempt hearing and Gibson failed to comply.
We will update this story as more information becomes available. For now, Bryan is gathering evidence for this case.