"The prosecution lost a major battle in the case of Joseph A. Buffey late last year. That’s when the state Supreme Court ordered that Buffey be allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas to sexual assault and robbery after spending close to 15 years in prison. But if Buffey and his attorneys had hopes that the state’s lawyers would go quietly into the night, four filings this week in circuit court appear to indicate that’s anything but the case. In those court documents, Harrison County Assistant Prosecutors Dave Romano and James Armstrong revealed their plans to try to prosecute Buffey fully on the 2002 rape/robbery indictment. They also signaled they will seek convictions in another indictment obtained against Buffey in 2002 that involved three separate alleged break-ins. And one of their motions contains a footnote asserting “the Defendant is at risk for additional charges based on evidence and admissions which the State is investigating and may charge once such investigations are complete.” It doesn’t elaborate further. Buffey’s lawyers, of course, aren’t standing idly by. Attorneys Mike Hissam and Allan Karlin are trying to get all the charges thrown out. If not, they believe Harrison Circuit Judge John Lewis Marks Jr. must suppress a statement Buffey gave law enforcement. Buffey, 33, of Clarksburg, was released from prison earlier this year, but he remains under house arrest. That means he’s been in some form of detention ever since he was taken into custody in early December 2001. The next hearing for Buffey is set Thursday. In allowing Buffey to withdraw his pleas, the state Supreme Court ruled the prosecution failed a duty to turn over potentially exculpatory DNA test results prior to Buffey’s sentencing. The justices also were apprised that a separate individual, Adam Derek Bowers, a juvenile at that time, had been convicted after DNA pointed to him as having raped and robbed the 83-year-old victim, whose son was a high-ranking Clarksburg police officer at the time of the attack. Hissam, Karlin and Innocence Project attorneys Nina Morrison and Barry Scheck believe the evidence is clear that Bowers was the sole perpetrator. They also insist that Buffey was coerced into giving the statement to police in which he said he broke into an old woman’s house that evening with a knife and that he couldn’t remember whether he had sex with her, then ended by saying, “I didn’t do it.” Armstrong and Romano, however, believe Buffey and Bowers acted together.........Of all the evidence, the most important still appears to be Buffey’s statement to Clarksburg Police Detectives Robert Matheny and Dave Wygal.
Hissam, Karlin and the Innocence Project lawyers say Buffey only told officers what they wanted to hear after being badgered for hours and having gone a substantial amount of time without food and sleep. Defense counsel has pointed to studies about coerced testimony and say Buffey’s is a classic case of that.........Bowers, 30, of Clarksburg, was convicted by a jury of burglary, sex assault and robbery; he was sentenced to the same 70-year term that Buffey received. Bowers insists he is innocent, and he has never said a word to implicate Buffey."