Category Archives: WOFFGATE

NC Court of Appeals to Review Judge Pope’s Orders (Court Docs +)

Update in the Matthew Fenner Case:
The NC Court of Appeals granted the request for writ of certiorari submitted on September 15th by Josh Farmer on behalf of the three defendants, Brooke Covington, Justin Covington and Sarah Anderson. reported this ruling on Monday. From the article which quotes the order:

“Defendants’ petition for writ of certiorari is allowed for the purpose of reviewing the order entered on 6 August 2015 by Judge Marvin Pope, Jr. granting the State’s motion to disqualify counsel and the order entered on 27 August 2015 by Judge Pope denying the Defendants’ motion for reconsideration. It appearing the defendants have retained appellate counsel and are not seeking court-appointed counsel, the appeal shall be deemed taken as of the date of this order. The record on appeal shall thereafter be settled as provided in Appellate Rule 11 and filed in the Court as provided by Appellate Rule 12.

Defendant’s petition for writ of supersedeas is also allowed… and all further trial court proceedings are hereby stayed pending the outcome of defendants’ appeal to this Court.”

Included in the quoted article is a copy of the docket sheet for the case showing 10/5/15 as the date of the ruling.

What does this mean? From a layman’s perspective, this means the trial could actually be delayed for several months at a minimum. It appears to me that the first step will be to acquire the transcripts from the Superior Court sessions on August 3rd and August 27th. Those could take up to 60 days from the date of the initial request for the transcripts. After those are submitted to the appropriate parties, there comes a set time frame for each party to the appeal to agree on the accuracy of the submitted materials.
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Summary of Events in Matthew Fenner Case as of Sept. 18, 2015 (court docs)

Court ROom #2
Court Room #2

This week brought more motions and notices in the Matthew Fenner case.

September 15th- reported Attorney Beeker withdraws from Fenner Case. They also reported Ms. Beeker filed a continuance for the three defendants, Brooke Covington, Justin Covington and Sarah Anderson for more time for them to find counsel. Beeker included Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. in the list of defendants. Walker’s attorney of record, Matthew Cabe, did not sign the motion. Could this just be sloppy paperwork? It is not clear how this will be treated during Monday’s session.

On the same day, the disqualified Josh Farmer filed a Petition for Writ of Supersedeas and Motion for Temporary Stay on behalf of Brooke M. Covington, Justin B. Covington and Sarah C. Anderson in the North Carolina Court of Appeals (19 pages). Mr. Farmer along with Mark Morris also filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari (157 pages). The review of these documents is too long for this post. We will look at them in an upcoming post. There is a lot of feedback to offer about what was put in and what was left out of these documents. There is a docket entry for the filings, the fee has not been paid and it is unclear whether the Court will review and act on these filings.

September 18th, a motion from Adam Bartley’s attorney Robert Denton arrived in the mail and the clerk’s time stamped it into the records. We review this Motion to Continue All Motions below. Also, just before 5:00PM, Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers filed a response to Denton’s Motion. I do not have a copy, but will review it in a later post. For now, it is enough to look at Denton’s Motion.
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More Appeals Filed in Fenner Case (Court docs)

At the very end of the fourteen day period allowed for filing an appeal, Brooke M. Covington, Justin B. Covington and Sarah C. Anderson each filed appeals this past Thursday, during the last half hour that the court was open. Each defendant filed two notices. One notice was appealing Judge Pope’s order “entered August 27, 2015 granting the State’s motion to dismiss the notice of appeal filed by (each) defendant on August 20, 2015.” The second notice was to appeal the order of Judge Pope “entered August 27, 2015 denying defendant’s motion to reconsider order disqualifying counsel.” (Use BACK ARROW to retunr to this post)
Brooke Covington appeals
Justin Covington appeals
Sarah Covington Anderson appeals

Questions pop up all over the place from these notices. Who helped prepare them? What is the goal for these filings? What is the purpose of filing without representation? Rule 4 of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure is used to justify these appeals. A layman’s reading does suggest that the defendant’s CAN file these appeals, but should they? How will Judge Pope view them in light of his most recent Order which contain these words pertaining to the Motion to Reconsider;

“After a review of the Court file, review of the State’s and the Defendant’s Memorandum, case law, consideration of legal arguments by counsel for the State and the Defendants, it is HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED AS FOLLOWS: The Defendant’s Motion to Reconsider the Order of August 6, 2015 filed by the Defendants on August 20, 2015 be and is hereby DENIED. “
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Summary of Events for Week of 9/4/2015 (Court docs)

This past week included disclosure of documents outlining several events in the Matthew Fenner case. As a review, five defendants from the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) were indicted earlier this year on several charges including felony assault and second degree kidnapping stemming from events on January 27, 2013. The five defendants include Brooke M. Covington, Justin B. Covington, Sarah Covington Anderson, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. and Adam Bartley.

Pre-trial events have included a show stopping disqualification of Joshua Farmer, Mark Morris, Andrea Farmer of Tomblin, Farmer & Morris (TFM) and their associates from representing any of the five defendants. Judge Marvin Pope issued the order on August 6th and also confirmed his Order after a hearing on August 27th. During the August 27th session, attorney Angela Beeker argued the case against disqualification on behalf of TFM. This disqualification came into focus after TFM refused to present Adam Bartley with a plea deal offered by Assistant District Attorney, Garland Byers. In a hand written refusal of the plea, Bartley said, “…I did nothing wrong.” Adam Bartley and Robert L. Walker, Jr, each have secured separate counsel from TFM. Mr. Bartley’s attorney is Robert Denton and Robert Walker’s attorney is Matthew Cabe. Both of these attorneys have their office in Morganton.

This is where we pick up our summary of this week. In court documents, a letter dated August 25th from Bartley’s counsel,in response to the previously reported Motion to Revoke Bond, Robert Denton included these words in regards to the Motion for his client,

“I am saddened to receive the same (motion) and had hoped to have a more professional relationship with you…Do you really intend to tell the Judge that it is a coincidence that approximately a week after he turned your plea down that you decided to file a motion to revoke his bond?… You may want to consult the Rules of Professional Conduct on a prosecutor abusing his calendaring authority for these types of shenanigans. …As you know I do not even have discovery in the case… It seems to me that you are taking this case very personally… I would request you withdraw your motion and we discuss your concerns over the phone…If these are the types of games you play… Perhaps you should recuse yourself from this case?”
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Denton letter to Byers
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Motions, Commotions, WOFFGATE Palaver

This past Monday, Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers filed two Motions in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning filings were a Motion to Dismiss Defendant’s Motion to Reconsider Disqualifying Counsel and a Motion to Strike the Documents Captioned “Notice of Appeal” and “Motion to Stay Proceedings”. These motions were in response to the Tomblin, Farmer & Morris (TFM) filings the previous Thursday which attempted to secure an appeal of the Disqualification from Judge Marvin Pope on August 6, 2015. (use the BACK ARROW to return to post)
Motion to Dismiss Motion to Reconsider
Motion to Strike

In summary of the Motion to Dismiss, Mr. Byers contends that the “substantial change of circumstances” were “…all the result of acts which were in violation of the Court’s lawful order. (to disqualify TFM) He also included that the conflicts were “…concurrent non waivable conflicts of interest that are actual conflicts and not merely possible conflicts…”

In summary of the Motion to Strike, Mr. Byers reasons “…that there is no basis in law or fact for the documents to be filed and that the documents are of no legal effect.” He then lists the “A total of 9 separate acts of representation appear(ing) in the official record as filings on the part of the disqualified counsel after the entry of the Court’s Order of August 6 which disqualified them all as legal counsel in these matters.”

Additionally, “7. A total of 24 separate acts of representation that are reflected and appear in the official record as exhibits which were prepared by disqualified counsel after entry of the Court’s Order…”

“25. Disqualified counsel and defense counsel did not follow the proper procedure in attempting to obtain appellate review. The defendants’ aforesaid filed documents should, therefore, be stricken.”
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Adam Bartley -“…I did nothing wrong.” (Court docs)

Thursday, August 20, 2015, several motions and notices were filed in the Matthew Fenner case. reported this while including a copy of Adam Bartley’s signature to a handwritten (printed) statement including the words at the bottom of the plea offer, “I reject any plea offer as I did nothing wrong.” (Use the BACK ARROW to return to this post)
exhibit 5 handwritten rejection

Before we get into the rest of the filed documents, let me say right here in Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) language, “I did nothing wrong,” is not the same as “I am innocent of the charges.” Why? In WOFF-think, which we must presume still affects Bartley, you can do “nothing wrong” in God’s eyes and still be guilty of breaking the law. In effect, I did nothing wrong- in the sight of God. In WOFF-think, God’s ways are higher than man’s ways and if He said to pray a certain way or “help someone get back in their place”, you better do it or “you will be in sin.” How do I know? I have heard it over and over. God’s ways are higher than man’s ways. This is how WOFF members can look you straight in the face and tell you “Truth” which is contrary to the facts. Jane speaks Truth as she “hears it from God.” It may be contrary to facts – but she cares not. “Truth” as she hears it protects her from any negative outcomes…right? We shall see. Did it work May 29th?

Included in the filed documents were the following:

Motion to Stay Proceedings- Asking the court to “stay”- stop proceedings until the appellate proceedings are decided. This could take a while. The Daily Courier reported a “tentative hearing for August 27th at 9:30AM to review this request and the Notice of Appeal.
motion to stay proceedings during appeal
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Summary of Events for the Matthew Fenner Case

One struggle I find in writing this blog for the last several years is making the ongoing story lines understandable for new readers. I have learned that readers may visit here for a time and move on to other interests. Weeks, or months later, they return and find it hard to take in the drama during their time away. That is one reason I made the “Quick Links” page. There certain posts are grouped by subject. Take time to visit that page as you can. Pages are listed between the most recent post and the banner at the top of the home page.

The post will recount the events surrounding the Matthew Fenner case. This was first posted in Portuguese and it caused some confusion. I apologize as that was not my intent. The purpose was to bring our new Brazilian readers up to speed on these events. Because of translating logistics, we did not explain the result of the disqualification hearing in that post, but we will in the near future as there will be more to add to the description of the continuing events. Thank you to our English readers for the understanding. Please, share this news with our friends in Brazil. I appreciate many who made me aware of the need to add this feature. So, excited to add Portuguese to this blog!

We will not have space to retell every detail; however we will review the pivotal events ending with the recent court events.
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