Justice at Long Last

Judge's hands were tied by legal red tape

Finally, Michael Joe Adkins is headed to prison, where he should have been sent last year.

Adkins, of Cabell County, in 2015 entered a “Kennedy plea” to an incest charge. That type of plea permits a conviction without the defendant admitting wrongdoing.

But Adkins had done something terribly wrong. He had been having sex with his daughter. When she was 11, she became pregnant. Adkins forced her to have an abortion.

His now-estranged wife, Amanda, did nothing to stop the abuse. She helped force the child to undergo an abortion.

After one judge refused to accept Michael Adkins’ plea, another, Judge Paul Farrell, was handed the case. He complained that he had no choice but to pass the sentence he did — 50 years of probation.

“I’m just going to be blunt: I hope you screw up during those 50 years so I can send you to prison,” Farrell told Adkins.

Last week, Farrell got his wish. Adkins violated his probation by hitting his girlfriend. Now, he will spent 5-15 years in prison.

At least the little girl got some justice. West Virginians should be asking ourselves why that took so long.


So crazy has the lawsuit climate become that a court filing last week probably should have come as no surprise. Still, it is more than a little unsettling.

MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay casino-resort in Las Vegas, has filed suit against hundreds of victims of the mass shooting there last year.

Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds were wounded in the rampage by Stephen Paddock, who committed suicide as police closed in on his room at the Mandalay Bay.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed by and on behalf of Paddock’s victims. They allege negligence by various parties accused of not doing enough to prevent the massacre.

MGM’s suits are an attempt to avoid being held liable. Actions filed in Nevada and California courts maintain MGM has “no liability of any kind …”

The company’s lawsuit is complex. In essence, it argues it has no liability because it employed a security company that was certified by the federal government. For that reason, MGM insists, any liability lawsuit against the company is precluded.

A judge or judges will have to decide that, of course. But MGM clearly is seeking what amounts to a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The very fact such a possibility exists, without regard to any other action — or negligence — by the company, is disturbing.

So, too, is MGM’s decision that filing lawsuits against hundreds of shooting victims is a good idea for any reason.