Judge denies heroin dealer’s presentencing motion

Anthony Seal

FRONT ROYAL – A circuit judge denied a pre-sentence motion Tuesday from a local man who pleaded guilty to the distribution of heroin.

Anthony Scott Seal, 28, through his attorney, William Olien, requested that the pay the hourly fee for a counselor who would testify on Seal’s behalf and has visited Seal in jail seven times at his family’s expense.

Olien said the counselor, Robert Brown, would testify regarding his conversations with Seal and where the defendant would be going with his life.

“It would not do justice to not have Mr. Brown here,” Olien said.

Brown charges $80 per hour for his services and would be compensated at 55 cents per mile for driving from Winchester. Olien said Brown’s testimony would be critical to Seal’s defense, though his family could not afford to cover it.

Assistant Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Fleming objected to the state funding the testimony. He said because Brown is a counselor and not a psychologist, he does not qualify as expert testimony on Seal’s behalf.

“I don’t think the state should pay for a witness the family has been paying for,” Fleming said. “He’s a fact witness, not an expert witness.”

Circuit Judge Ronald Napier ruled in favor of the prosecution. When Olien asked the judge for his rationale, Napier said he sided with the prosecution’s reasoning.

Seal’s alleged offense occurred May 6, 2015. He was indicted Nov. 6, 2015 and arrested Dec. 8, 2015.

Seal will return to the court for his sentencing hearing at 9 a.m. March 28.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com