Braxton County Magistrate Carolyn Cruickshanks is in a bind, according to her attorney. She is unable to adequately defend herself since she is suspended without pay.

Her attorney, James Douglas of Sutton, told the Supreme Court of Appeals "We need the money to be able to mount a defense."

Cruikshanks attorney did not challenge the decision of the Justices to suspend Cruickshanks.

Douglas said she should continue to receive her pay, indicating he would hate to think she would be convicted because she could not afford a defense.

State Police charged Cruickshanks in February with conspiracy to intimidate a witness. The felony charge carries a sentence of one year to five and a fine up to $10,000.

State Police contend Cruickshanks delivered an envelope to her son, Jordan Grubb, an inmate at Central Regional Jail in Flatwoods.

They say the envelope contained a statement of inmate Philip Dailey, who had agreed to testify against Grubb on a drug delivery charge.

Cruickshanks and her son Grubb had arranged the delivery in a telephone conversation that jail personnel recorded.

In March, the Justices suspended her without pay.

The WV State Police have filed charges against the Braxton magistrate before, claiming she either violated her position with unethical or illegal conduct.

Those changes were not sustained.

Justice Brent Benjamin asked Douglas if she did not know what was in the envelope. Douglas said Grubb's attorney sent the envelope.

Douglas said no one proved that her act put a witness at risk.

Douglas said Cruikshanks gave the envelope to jail personnel. He said jail personnel opened it and scrutinized it.

"The documents themselves never surfaced so no one knows what they are," Douglas said, saying there is no conspiracy.

Justice Spike Maynard indicated a prosecutor would say that carrying documents was an act of conspiracy.

"For us to be able to litigate that, we have to have money... For all she knew, she could have been delivering...gingerbread cookies," said the attorney.

Skip Garten, West Virginia judicial disciplinary counsel, maintained the Justices should stick to their decision to suspend without pay, citing six court decisions as precedents for suspending without pay.

"Now you've got me scared," Justice Maynard said, asking if speeding tickets would count.

In rebuttal, attorney Douglas said the integrity of the judicial system depends on fairness.

"You've got a pretty good shot at getting her acquitted," Maynard said.