Michael Volpe Investigates
Michael Volpe Investigates
Michael Volpe Investigates Podcast The Impromptu: Episode 77 an Interview with Nancy Layton

Michael Volpe Investigates Podcast The Impromptu: Episode 77 an Interview with Nancy Layton

Nancy describes how despite having no findings of abuse or neglect the courts in West Virginia have kept her away from her granddaughter.
West Virginia Judge Steven Shaffer

Nancy Layton is the latest to join me on the podcast.

Nancy with her granddaughter, from her Facebook page

Nancy has not been found by a court or by social services to have abused or neglected her granddaughter, but she hasn’t seen her in over a year.

The system has given her no explanation for this travesty.

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In 2021, Nancy told me that her daughter lost custody of her granddaughter under dubious circumstances.

Her granddaughter was placed with the paternal grandparents.

Nancy said it took approximately five months for her to get any visitation time.

Prior to her granddaughter being taken, Nancy said she saw her multiple times per week.

The visits began in October 2021 and lasted through December of 2021, when the guardian ad litem, Kristen Antolini along with social services cut off the visits with no explanation.

Kristen Antolini

Ms. Antolini and I had a cordial conversation in my previous article about Judge Shaffer where she politely told me to never contact her again.

“These cases are confidential, and per West Virginia Code, I am not authorized to speak about the cases. Nonetheless, I am not the Guardian ad Litem in this matter, and I would ask that you not refer to me as such in this matter. I kindly request that you not contact me moving forward.”


I told her politely that I would be reaching out to her again about other stories, but Ms. Antolini was proactive in her email.

Since Ms. Antolini has put my emails into spam, I called her office and left a voicemail which she did not return.

Nancy told me that Ms. Antolini has been a driving force in keeping her granddaughter from seeing her.

Part of a transcript of Antolini arguing to Judge Shaffer that Nancy should not see her granddaughter.

Nancy said that by April of 2022, she had received notice that Judge Shaffer had also ordered the visits stopped.

She was still given no explanation.

She finally appealed and, in the summer of 2022, Judge Shaffer said he would speak with Nancy’s granddaughter.

After this conversation, Judge Shaffer reinstated the visits because Nancy’s granddaughter had expressed a desire to see her grandmother.

Nancy had one more visit with her granddaughter, when Antolini and social services again blocked more visits.

Antolini and social services employees now claimed that her granddaughter did not want any more visits.

The visits stopped again and when this came in front of Judge Shaffer again, he refused to reinstate visits, claiming that Nancy’s social media posts were a problem.

“As long as these posts and this stuff continues, there will never be any contact.” Judge Shaffer said, “The choice is going to be up to you.”

Judge Shaffer, Nancy told me, also told her in a hearing that when he was an attorney, he had numerous people come into his office, “boo hooing because someone doesn’t love them anymore.”

I reached out to social services and to the court but received no response.

Check out the previous two stories on Judge Steven Shaffer.


After publication, I received this statement from the court.

I can’t comment on whether something is appropriate, but it you wish to file a complaint against any judicial officer you can do so by contacting the Judicial Investigation Commission. There is information about the commission and a complaint form online at Judicial Investigation | West Virginia Judiciary (courtswv.gov).

I’ve never dealt with South Carolina’s judicial oversight board, but I have dealt with several and they are generally feckless. More on that here.

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Michael Volpe Investigates
Michael Volpe Investigates
I give voice to the voiceless with true original reporting on topics the rest of the media is too afraid or lazy to cover.