State ex rel. Forbes v. Canady
In State ex rel. Forbes v. Canady, 197 W.Va. 37, 475 S.E.2d 37 (1996), the Court discussed Rule 8(a) of the West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure at length.
The defendant in Canady was involved in a bar fight and subsequently charged with public intoxication and destruction of property. No additional charges were brought against the defendant prior to his trial in magistrate court in which he was acquitted of both misdemeanors.
Thereafter, the defendant was charged with malicious assault, a felony, arising from an injury suffered by another person in the same bar fight which gave rise to the earlier misdemeanor charges.
On the day scheduled for trial, the trial court announced that the failure to join all offenses growing out of the same transaction was fatal to the malicious assault charge. The prosecuting attorney then sought to prevent the trial court from entering an order dismissing the malicious assault charge by filing a petition for a writ of prohibition in this Court.
The Court granted the writ as moulded and remanded the case to give the circuit court the opportunity to learn whether or not the prosecuting attorney knew or should have known of the information related to the malicious assault charge prior to the defendant's trial in magistrate court.
Rule 8(a) of the West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure compels the prosecuting attorney to charge in the same charging document all offenses based on the same act or transaction, or on two or more acts or transactions, connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or plan, whether felonies, misdemeanors or both, provided that the offenses occurred in the same jurisdiction, and the prosecuting attorney knew or should have known of all the offenses, or had an opportunity to present all offenses prior to the time that jeopardy attaches in any one of the offenses.