West Virginia Court System
2008 Annual Report
Honorable Elliott E. Maynard
Honorable Robin Jean Davis
Honorable Larry V. Starcher
Honorable Joseph P. Albright
Honorable Brent D. Benjamin
Rory L. Perry II
Clerk of Court
Steven D. Canterbury
Published by the Administrative Office of the
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Editor: Jennifer Bundy, Public Information Officer, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E.
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia State Capitol
Assistant Editor: April Harless, Public Information Specialist, Building One, Room E-100
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Charleston, WV 25305
Statistical Analyst: Autumn Johnson, Division of Court Services, Phone: (304) 558-0145
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia TTY: (304) 558-4219
Graphic Design: Michael Switzer DesignWorks Fax: (304) 558-1212
Photos of county courthouses on pages 86-195 by Jeff Gentner www.state.wv.us/wvsca
Information about the history of county courthouses from
West Virginia Courthouses, A Pictorial History, by Mary Thrash
The cursive font at the bottom of each page in this Annual Report is a replica of the hand of Thomas Jefferson, whose passage, “The true foundation of republican
government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management,” is in the frieze along the top of the Supreme Court Chamber.
Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals
of West Virginia
Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard
was born in Williamson in Mingo County, West
Virginia. He graduated from Belfry High School
in 1960. He earned his bachelor’s degree from
Florida Southern College in 1967 and his law
degree from West Virginia University in 1974.
He joined the United States Air Force in 1961,
and he was attached to a reconnaissance group
during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Thereafter,
he was assigned to the 306th Bomb Wing in
the Strategic Air Command and was honorably
discharged in 1966. From 1968 to 1970 he was
Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard Managing Director of the Tug Valley Chamber
of Commerce. He was engaged in the private
practice of law in Williamson from 1974 to 1981. In 1976, he was elected
Prosecuting Attorney of Mingo County and was re-elected in 1980. In 1981
then-Governor Jay Rockefeller appointed him Judge of the Thirtieth Judicial
Circuit. He was subsequently elected and re-elected Judge of that circuit until he
was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals in November 1996. He has been
involved for more than thirty years with the Boy Scouts of America and was
District Chairman of the Mingo-Pike District and District Chairman of the
Chief Cornstalk District. He has served on the Board of the Buckskin Council
and received the Silver Beaver Award, the highest volunteer award in scouting.
Chief Justice Maynard is a member of the American Judges Association, the
American Bar Association, the American Judicature Society, the West Virginia
Bar Association and is a former member of the National District Attorneys
Association. He is a member of the Charleston Rotary Club and other fraternal
organizations. He also served as Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme
Court of Appeals in 2000 and 2004.
Justice Robin Jean Davis was born in Boone County, West Virginia, on April 6,
1956. She is married to attorney Scott Segal and they have a son, Oliver. She received her
bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1978, and her master’s degree
and law degree from West Virginia University in 1982. She was engaged in the private
practice of law from 1982 until 1996. Before her election to the Supreme Court of Appeals,
she practiced law at the six-person law firm of Segal and Davis, L.C. She concentrated in
the field of employee benefits and domestic relations. In 1993, she became the first lawyer
in West Virginia to be inducted into the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
In 1991, the Supreme Court of Appeals appointed her to the seven-person West Virginia
Board of Law Examiners, on which she served until 1996. In 1996, she was elected to the
Supreme Court of Appeals to an unexpired term. She was re-elected in November 2000.
Justice Davis served as Chief Justice in 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2007. As Chief Justice,
she pursued a number of initiatives, including the Workers’ Compensation Mediation
Justice Robin Jean Davis
Program; the expansion of parent education programs; Rules on Mass Litigation; the
expansion of technology for the “Courtroom of the Future,” including the video initial appearance pilot project; and
the creation of the West Virginia Trial Court Rules. As Chief Justice, she also expanded the Supreme Court’s outreach
efforts by taking the Court for the first time in recent years to Wheeling and Charles Town, and leading the Court
in the establishment of the LAWS program (Legal Advancement for West Virginia Students). In 2000, Justice Davis
received the Distinguished West Virginian Award from Governor Cecil H. Underwood. Justice Davis is the author of
several West Virginia Law Review articles, including “A Tribute to Franklin D. Cleckley: A Compendium of Essential
Legal Principles from his Opinions as a Justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals”; “A Tribute to Thomas
E. McHugh: An Encyclopedia of Legal Principles from his Opinions as a Justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court
of Appeals”; and “An Analysis of the Development of Admitting Expert Testimony in Federal Courts and the Impact
of that Development on West Virginia Jurisprudence”; and is the co-author with Louis J. Palmer, Jr., of “Workers’
Compensation Litigation in West Virginia: Assessing the Impact of the Rule of Liberality and the Need for Fiscal
Reform.” She is the co-author with former Justice Cleckley and Mr. Palmer of the Litigation Handbook on West Virginia
Rules of Civil Procedure. Justice Davis is the most senior member of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Justice Larry V. Starcher was born at home in Roane County, West Virginia, on
September 25, 1942. He is married to the former Rebecca Wiles and has three children,
Mollianne, Victor, and Amy. Molli is a graduate of the West Virginia University College
of Law, Victor the West Virginia University School of Medicine, and Amy the West
Virginia University Masters of Public Administration program. Justice Starcher earned
his bachelor’s degree in 1964 and his law degree in 1967 from West Virginia University.
Prior to being elected Circuit Judge of Monongalia County in 1976, he served as an
Assistant to the Vice-President for Off-Campus Education at West Virginia University,
as Director of the North Central West Virginia Legal Aid Society, and as a private lawyer.
He served as Circuit Judge for twenty years, eighteen as Chief Judge. While sitting as a
Circuit Judge, Justice Starcher served as a special judge in twenty-three of West Virginia’s
fifty-five counties. He presided over the trial of twenty thousand asbestos injury cases
Justice Larry V. Starcher and a six-month state buildings asbestos trial. He held all offices in the West Virginia
Judicial Association, including president in 1992-93. As a trial Judge, he was active in the
area of juvenile justice, including establishing alternative learning centers for youths at
risk and a youth shelter. He also pioneered the use of work-release and community service as punishment for nonviolent
offenders. He has been a regular instructor at judicial conferences and has been honored by many civic and community
groups, including the NAACP, Jaycees, and Trial Lawyers. In 1978, he was a Fellow of the National Endowment for
the Humanities at Harvard University. Justice Starcher also has served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the West Virginia
University College of Law from 1992 to the present. In November 1996, he was elected to a full twelve-year term on
the Supreme Court of Appeals. He served as Chief Justice in 1999 and 2003, and he promoted action in several areas
of judicial administration, specifically the Court Facilities Committee, Public Trust and Confidence in the Judiciary,
Mental Hygiene Commission, Court Technology Summit, Self-Represented Litigants Task Force, State Law Library
improvements; and he reactivated the Gender Fairness Task Force. In 2004, in partnership with the Mountain State
Bar, West Virginia’s historic minority bar association, Justice Starcher and his senior law clerk, Thomas Rodd, initiated
the J.R. Clifford Project, a series of statewide community programs and publications based on the life and work of J.R.
Clifford (1848-1933), West Virginia’s first African American lawyer.
Justice Joseph P. Albright was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals in
November 2000 for a full twelve-year term. He was born in Wood County, West
Virginia, on November 8, 1938. He married the late Patricia Ann Deem in 1958. They
had four children, Terri Albright Cavi, Dr. Lettie Albright Muckley, Joseph P. Albright,
Jr., and the late John Patrick Albright. In 1995, Justice Albright married the former
Nancie Gensert Divvens. Mrs. Albright has three children, Susan Divvens Bowman,
Debbie Divvens Rake, and Sandy Divvens Fox. Justice Albright earned a Bachelor of
Business Administration degree, cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame and
a law degree from the Notre Dame Law School. At Notre Dame Law School, he won
Justice Joeseph P. Albright the Webber Prize for Appellate Advocacy and was a member of the Notre Dame Law
Review. Justice Albright practiced law in Parkersburg and surrounding counties from
1962 until September 1995. In September 1995, then-Governor Gaston Caperton appointed him to an unexpired
term on the Supreme Court of Appeals. He served through December 1996. After his former service on the Court, he
resumed his law practice in Parkersburg and Charleston. Since 1959, he has been an officer and director of Albright’s of
Belpre, Inc., a family corporation which owns and operates Belpre Furniture, a retail furniture business with locations in
Belpre, Ohio, and Parkersburg. A former assistant prosecuting attorney of Wood County and former city attorney for the
City of Parkersburg, Justice Albright was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1970 and to six more terms
commencing in 1974. He served as Chairman of the House Education Committee (1977-78), Chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee (1979-84), and as 52nd Speaker of the House of Delegates in 1985 and 1986. He has served on a
number of public and quasi-public boards and commissions, including the Parkersburg Charter Board from 1969-1970,
when Parkersburg adopted a new city charter. He is a member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Parkersburg. He
served as Chief Justice in 2005.
Justice Brent D. Benjamin was elected to a full twelve-year term on the
Supreme Court of Appeals in November 2004. He is a native of Marietta, Ohio.
After graduation from law school in 1984, he settled in Charleston, West Virginia.
He is married to the former Janice Taylor. They have five children, Paul, Mary, Laura,
Amanda, and Evan. Justice Benjamin is a graduate of The Ohio State University,
from which he holds both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree. Before his election,
he was a principal attorney with Robinson and McElwee, PLLC, in Charleston.
His twenty-year practice at that firm involved general civil litigation in state and
Justice Brent D. Benjamin
federal courts, including toxic torts and complex litigation. His civil rights practice
Justice Brent D. Benjamin focused on protecting children from physical and sexual abuse. He has practiced
in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the United States
District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, and
the Commonwealth of Kentucky Supreme Court. Since his election, Justice Benjamin has been a regular presenter
and instructor in a variety of public forums and legal conferences, including a speech on judicial elections at the
National Press Club, in Washington, D.C. He is a 1999 graduate of Leadership West Virginia. Away from his
judicial duties, Justice Benjamin is also a current member of the Hocking College Archaeological Mission, and he
has participated in archaeological excavations in the United States and Egypt. Justice Benjamin attends Christ
Church United Methodist, in Charleston.
Senior Status Justice Thomas E. McHugh was elected to the Supreme
Court in 1980 and was re-elected to a second twelve-year term in 1992. He
served as Chief Justice in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1995, and 1996. He retired on
December 31, 1997. After his retirement, he practiced law in the Charleston law
firm of Allen Guthrie McHugh and Thomas. Since 2003 he had been of counsel
and had restricted his practice to mediation. He began sitting by Designation
as Senior Status Justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia on
September 11, 2008, when Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard appointed him to serve
Senior Status Justice during the illness of Justice Joseph Albright. Senior Status Justice McHugh was
Thomas E. McHugh born in Charleston on March 26, 1936, and is a 1958 graduate of West Virginia
University and a Distinguished Military Graduate and a 1964 graduate of West Virginia University College of
Law. In law school he was a member of the Order of the Coif, a legal honorary, and was associate editor of the
West Virginia Law Review. He served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1958 to 1961. He was
a law clerk to West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Harlan Calhoun from 1966 to 1968. He was elected Judge in
the Circuit Court of Kanawha County in 1974, re-elected in 1976, and served as Chief Circuit Judge from 1974
to 1980. Senior Status Justice McHugh was President of the West Virginia Judicial Association in 1981-1982. He
is a former member of the Judicial Review Board of West Virginia and was a member of the Visiting Committee
of the West Virginia University College of Law from 1991 to 1995, serving as Chairman of that Committee from
1994 to 1995. He was a member of the Dean Search Committee of the West Virginia University College of
Law from 1991 to 1992 and from 1997 to 1998. He is the recipient of the Mountain Honorary, Distinguished
West Virginian Award, the 1996 Special Award of Achievement in the Administration of Justice from The West
Virginia State Bar, the 1996 Public Service Award from the Mountain State Bar Association, a 1998 Certification
of Completion of Mediation Training from Duke University Private Adjudication Center, the 1998 Outstanding
Achievement Award from the Kanawha County Bar Association, and the 1998 Justicia Officium Award from
the West Virginia University College of Law. Senior Status Justice McHugh is a West Virginia Bar Foundation
Fellow; and an Emeritus Member, Judge John A. Field, Jr., American Inns of Court. He is Director Emeritus of
the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Thomas Memorial
Hospital. He is a member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. He and his wife, Judy, have four children,
Karen, Cindy, James, and John; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
West Virginia Judicial System
Court Of Last Resort
Original jurisdiction in proceedings of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition and certiorari. Appellate juris-
diction in civil cases at law over $300 or in equity, in cases involving constitutionality of a law, in felony and
misdemeanor matters appealed from circuit court. Appeals of divorce and other domestic relations decisions in
family court if both parties agree not to appeal first to circuit court. The Supreme Court also receives workers’
compensation appeals directly from the state administrative agency and receives other state administrative ap-
peals from the circuit court.
Trial Court Of General Jurisdiction Trial Court Of Limited
Civil cases at law of $300 or more in equity. Jurisdiction:
Felonies and misdemeanors. Juvenile matters. Divorce, annulment, separate
Appeals de novo or on the record from magis- maintenance, family support,
trate court and municipal court. Appeals from paternity, child custody, visita-
state administrative agencies, excluding workers’ tion. Final protective orders
compensation. Appeals from family court deci- in domestic violence appeals
sions. Child abuse and neglect. from magistrate court.
Trial Court Of Limited Jurisdiction
Civil actions of $5000 or less. Felony preliminary hearings.
Misdemeanors. Landlord-tenant matters. Traffic violations.
Emergency protective orders in domestic violence cases.
Trial Court Of Limited Jurisdiction
Ordinance and traffic violations. Municipal courts are organized and operated at the local level.
he Administrative Office of the Courts provides support to the
Supreme Court of Appeals and the entire state court system. The
administrative director, a Constitutional Officer, is appointed by the
Supreme Court and oversees the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Office of Bar Admissions Administrator Deputy Administrative Director
Oversees daily operations and bi-annual meetings
of the Board of Law Examiners, which is in charge of Office of General Counsel
administering the Bar exam to prospective lawyers;
provides records maintenance and monitoring Provides legal counsel to administrative director
throughout the Bar application process; reports to
administrative director for matters of administration Division of Special Projects
Provides administrative and advisory counsel to
Office of Judicial Investigation Commission task forces, boards, panels, and commissions dealing
Determines whether probable cause exists to charge primarily with social and equal justice issues;
judicial officers with violations of the Code of Judicial studies and reports on comparative state judicial
Conduct. Commission’s counsel reports to the administrative policies and procedures
administrative director of the courts for administrative
matters, and the administrative director may seek Division of Court Services
advisory opinions on whether contemplated actions may
constitute violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct Provides circuit clerks’ liaison, jury management,
Americans with Disabilities Act coordination,
Division of Judicial Education statistical analysis, and fatality review team
Oversees training programs for all judicial officers management; oversees family court facility leases,
and court staff grants management, and systems improvement
Division of Fiscal Management Division of Court Security
Oversees court system budgetary matters, Oversees judicial system security and support
including cost allocation, appropriations,
purchasing, and credit card administration Division of Public Information
Issues publications and provides press relations
Division of Family Court Services for judicial system
Provides training and support services to family courts,
judges and their staff
State Law Library
Division of Human Resources Provides research and reference service and instruction,
document delivery, and legal workshops for the public
Oversees court system personnel issues,
payroll processing, and employee benefits Division of Mental Hygiene
and Treatment Court Services
Division of Magistrate Court Services
Oversees involuntary commitment,
Provides administrative support for magistrate courts, guardianship/conservatorship, and
magistrates, clerks, and assistants West Virginia’s problem-solving courts
Division of Technology Services Division of Probation Services
Oversees Unified Judicial Application information system, Oversees circuit court probation services,
networking, e-mail, hardware, software, including policy development;
technology systems, management and support administers Interstate Compact for Juveniles
Division of Children’s Services Division of Administrative Services
Assists with initiatives to improve outcomes for children Oversees facilities, inventory and surplus,
and families involved in child abuse and neglect and youth recording, and provides court reporting support
services cases, including the Court Improvement Program;
coordinates Supreme Court civic education programs
A year of progress
By Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard
he West Virginia court system in 2008 In 2008, there
continued to be on the cutting edge on many were 35,366 new cases
fronts. I am exceedingly proud of our justice filed in family courts in
system, and I want to take this opportunity to enumerate West Virginia. Of those,
some of our accomplishments this year, many of which 15,290 were domestic
you can read more about in this annual report. violence, 11,768 were
The year 2008 has been a year of innovation. We divorces, and 8,308
have made numerous advances in the use of technology were other domestic
throughout the state and at all levels of the court system. relations. There also
We have made improvements in family court services were 10,539 modifi-
and are prepared for the addition of ten new family cation and contempt
court judges on January 1, 2009. And we are ready to proceedings in cases
take on new challenges in 2009 in the daunting area of reopened during the
supervising sex offenders, a new task the Legislature has year, which were not
required of our probation officers. counted as new cases Chief Justice
filed. Those proceed- Elliott E. Maynard
West Virginia’s Supreme Court in 2008 remained
ings accounted for 29.8
the busiest appellate court of its type in the nation,
percent of the family court judges’ statewide workload.
according to the National Center for State Courts. In
2005, the most recent year for which comparative infor- The total number of new cases filed in family
mation is available, our Court reviewed 2,983 petitions courts has remained relatively steady since the family
for appeal and other filings, exceeding the next-busiest courts were established. There were 35,165 cases in
state, Nevada, by almost 2002; 35,118 in 2003; 36,224 in 2004; 39,180 in 2005;
fifty percent. Our Court 36,479 in 2006; and 34,556 in 2007.
ranked third overall in the Our judges work hard, and they deserve to be
number of appeals filed per paid better for their work and their expertise. Our
100,000 population, behind family court judges, especially, deserve better. Their
the District of Columbia and annual salaries of $82,500 are the lowest in the nation.
Louisiana. According to a National Center for State Courts
After an all-time record survey, our circuit judges’ salaries of $116,000 rank
number of filings in 2007, forty-second in the nation.
the number of new cases filed (Our Supreme Court justice
in 2008 decreased by thirty- salaries of $121,000 rank
nine percent to 2,411. In forty-third.) I hope the
Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard 2006 the Court considered Legislature sees fit to rectify
greets House Sergeant at Arms Oce 3,566 appeals. There were this sad situation soon.
Smith before Smith introduces the
Court at Governor Joe Manchin 3,954 new petitions filed in The Supreme Court
III’s 2008 State of the State our Court in 2007. All those in October approved rule
address. Photo by Bob Wojcieszak,
Charleston Daily Mail. cases receive a full consider- changes for mass litiga-
ation in conference, even if tion that will improve case
they are not granted. The Court now considers almost management and streamline
four times the number of appeals as it did twenty-five the process in this important
years ago. area of complex litigation.
Our circuit court and family court judges’ caseloads The Mass Litigation Panel,
crept up. In 2008, a total of 51,216 cases were filed in under the chairmanship of
West Virginia’s circuit courts. Of that, 33,573 filings Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats
were in civil cases, 9,554 were criminal cases, and 8,089 of the Nineteenth Judicial
were juvenile matters. The total case filings compare to Circuit of Barbour and
total filings of 44,170 in 2002; 47,772 in 2003; 46,890 Taylor Counties, has hired a
in 2004; 48,535 in 2005; 47,998 in 2006; and 49,589 coordinator, Mass Litigation
Manager Kimberley R. Fields, Esq. The Panel in the
future will require electronic filing of documents
for flood lawsuits, asbestos cases, and other mass
litigation. West Virginia will become one of the
most advanced states in this area; twenty-one states
use electronic filings, but only two use it statewide.
In 2008 the Supreme Court Administrative
Office, under the direction of Administrative
Director Steve Canterbury, continued to
make great progress toward implementing the
Court’s case management system, named the
Unified Judicial Application (UJA). The UJA Governor Joe Manchin III signs a law creating a second circuit judge
is now in full use as the active case data system in position in the Twenty-Fourth Judicial Circuit of Wayne County.
Standing to the governor’s left are Circuit Judge Darrell Pratt and
the Greenbrier County Magistrate Clerk’s Office, Senior Status Judge Robert Chafin. Photo by Steven Wayne Rotsch
including both docket and financial processing. The
financial data portion of the UJA in that county was
In September Justices Brent Benjamin and Larry
converted in 2008.
Starcher joined Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Judge
Supreme Court Administrative Office personnel Donald Cookman, Governor Joe Manchin III and
also worked with county commissions around West Hampshire County officials in Romney for the opening
Virginia to improve the facilities in which courts do their of the new Hampshire County Judicial Center. The
work. We will welcome ten new family court judges to state-of-the-art building will provide new quarters for
our ranks on January 1, 2009, and it has been our task magistrates, family court judges, Judge Cookman, and a
this year to make sure that, when they start work, they new circuit judge, Jerry D. Moore, whom Governor Joe
have offices, courtrooms, and equipment. The Division Manchin III appointed on December 19.
of Family Court Services has been working on facility
Judge Moore was appointed to one of three new
upgrades and additions with Monongalia, Harrison,
circuit judge seats created by Senate Bill 291, which
Logan, Kanawha, Mason, McDowell, Randolph,
passed during the 2008 regular session. The other
and Boone Counties. The Division of Family Court
two positions are in the Ninth and Twenty-Fourth
Services was proud to open new facilities in Mason,
Judicial Circuits. The governor on December 5
Jefferson, Hampshire, and Preston Counties.
appointed Omar J. Aboulhosn to the position in the
Ninth Circuit and James H. Young, Jr., to the position
in the Twenty-Fourth Circuit.
Because Judge Aboulhosn had been
elected in November to a position
as a Family Court Judge in the
Twelfth Family Court Circuit of
Mercer and McDowell Counties,
Governor Manchin on December
19 appointed Anthony Bisaha
to fill the vacancy created by the
elevation of Judge Aboulhosn to
the Circuit Court bench.
Governor Joe Manchin III signs a law creating
a third circuit judge position in the Ninth
Judicial Circuit in Mercer County. Standing
behind the governor are, from left, Senator
John Pat Fanning, D-McDowell; Delegate
Michael Burdiss, D-Wyoming; Senator Don
Caruth, R-Mercer; Tom Colley, Editor of
the Bluefield Daily Telegraph; and Circuit
Judge Derek C. Swope. Photo by John Nelson,
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Also in 2008, Division of Court Services Director in the state – and they are primarily operating due to
Angie Saunders used her grant-writing abilities to help the countless hours of volunteerism on the part of
land millions of dollars in federal funds for West Virginia committed public servants and other interested parties
court programs. For example, she secured an $815,000 in the communities.
grant that made it possible to purchase technology for a In fact, the foundation for each of these drug courts
domestic violence registry and to pay for training to use is community corrections. In West Virginia, three
it. The grant also provided funding to hire a full-time people are typically given credit for founding commu-
data manager and a full-time programmer. Under this nity corrections, and all three now work for our judicial
grant, twenty-seven state and federal agencies have come branch – First Circuit Judge Martin Gaughan, First
together to work collaboratively on the registry and Circuit Chief Probation Officer Jim Lee (who has also
training in domestic violence-related cases. served as the Chairman of the Community Corrections
Angie Saunders and Division of Family Court Committee since its inception), and Steve Canterbury
Services Director Lisa Tackett have spent the year (who was Director of the Regional Jail Authority
working with the West Virginia State Police on the very when he worked with the others to found Community
complicated details of creating the statewide domestic Corrections). The Community Corrections day report
violence registry. The Legislature in 2001 directed the centers are used for drug testing, life skills training,
State Police to create the automated, statewide regis- group and individual counseling, and community work
try of domestic violence protective orders. Work was assignments. Close to a thousand people are now in
hindered by a lack of funding and dedicated staff, and community corrections programs throughout the state,
problems developing technology. Legislation enabling offenders who would otherwise be in West Virginia’s
the Court to house the database was effective June 6, already overcrowded jails.
2008. During the next several months, the registry will Children’s issues continued to take center stage for
be a reality. the Court in 2008, following Justice Robin Jean Davis’s
Since Steve Canterbury became Administrative “Year of the Child” in 2006 and “Year of the Child, Too”
Director on July 1, 2005, he and Ms. Saunders have in 2007. The Court-sponsored Court Improvement
worked collaboratively with various judges and division Program, led by Twenty-Eighth Judicial Circuit Judge
staff in the Administrative Office to obtain a number of Gary L. Johnson, completed several projects, includ-
federal grants. Indeed, when Mr. Canterbury arrived, ing a comprehensive study of multidisciplinary treat-
the Court had two grants totaling approximately ment teams training on the electronic Child Abuse
$225,000. Currently, the federal grants committed to and Neglect database, which tracks more than twenty
the Court total approximately $6.1 million! performance measures in child abuse and neglect cases.
Grants have made possible a dramatic expansion in The Court Improvement Program also participated
the use of drug courts throughout the state. At the end in three annual child abuse and neglect cross-training
of 2008, four adult drug courts – serving the Northern conferences in July, approved a uniform child and family
Panhandle (Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, and case plan for child abuse and neglect cases to be imple-
Wetzel Counties), the West Central region (Wood, Wirt, mented in December, completed a study of the Interstate
Doddridge, and Ritchie Counties), Mercer County, and Compact for the Placement of Children, and added
the Southwestern region (Lincoln, Logan and Boone information to the CIP Web site: www.wvcip.com.
Counties) – are successfully operating. Two juvenile In 2007, the Division of Family Court Services
drug courts – in Cabell and Wayne Counties – are also began training providers for the newly developed
up and running. Eight more are in the process of being “Advanced Child-Focused Parent Education” Program.
established – in Kanawha, Cabell, Monongalia, Preston, This program was developed to target high conflict
Raleigh, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, and the Southwestern parents and assist divorcing or divorced parents in reduc-
region (including Logan, Lincoln, and Boone Counties). ing parental conflict and the risk factors that influence
The circuit judges, family court judges, magistrates, the child’s post-separation adjustment. In 2008 ten
prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, regional programs began holding classes and helping
and law enforcement officers who are involved in parents throughout the State.
making these problem-solving courts work do so with The Court also decided that the issues of protecting
absolutely no additional compensation. Keeping these West Virginia’s children needed their own focused staff.
courts running is one of the most important missions Thus, to coordinate the Court’s collaborative efforts
Senior Status Justice
to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of
McHugh fills in
children in the court system, the Court created the during Justice
new Division of Children’s Services this year. A young,
enthusiastic lawyer who began her work with the Court
in the Division of Family Court Services, Nikki Tennis,
is the perfect choice to be the division’s first director. n September 11, 2008, West Virginia Supreme
C ou r t Chief Justice Elliott E . Maynard
The Supreme Court’s Division of Probation
appointed Senior Status Supreme Court
Services spent 2008 preparing to carry out the provi-
Justice T h o m a s E . M c H u g h to serve in the
sions of the Child Protection Act of 2006 (House Bill
seat of Justice Joseph P. Albright during Justice Albright’s
101, passed June 14, 2006). In fact, the first probation
absence after surgery.
officers hired specifically to supervise sex offenders
under provisions of the Act were sworn in on November Justice Albright notified
7 in the Supreme Court. Those five probation officers Chief Justice Maynard on
will operate a pilot program to carry out provisions of September 9, 2008, that his
the new law, which requires extended supervision for doctors had advised him that
sexual offenders, especially those convicted of crimes he should not participate in
against children. After the pilot program runs for the fall term of court. In a
approximately nine months, the supervision program letter to the Court, Justice
will be expanded one region at a time throughout the Albright said, “While my
state over the next two or three years. A total of thirty powers of analysis are fully
probation officers eventually will be hired to carry intact, it appears preferable
Justice Thomas E. McHugh
out provisions of the law. A new position already has for me to concentrate on the
been created within the Administrative Office of the healing of my body and the restoration of my physical
Supreme Court of Appeals to oversee the Sex Offender abilities.”
Intensive Supervision Program. Ms. Caren Bills, a Justice Albright previously had indicated he would
veteran probation officer, began work September 1, participate via computer monitoring in cases during the
2008, in this vital and difficult job. fall term. Justice Albright’s letter to Chief Justice Maynard
Also in 2008, the Court’s Division of arrived as the Court was preparing to return to the bench
Technology Services continued to rebuild the for a Tuesday afternoon argument docket. Chief Justice
court’s network domain and directory structure Maynard then postponed the argument docket for that
from .org to .gov. This new structure allows a afternoon, and the motion docket and the argument
timelier and more efficient system operation and docket scheduled for the next day, September 10, 2008, to
allows the public to identify the Court’s domain allow him time to find a replacement for Justice Albright.
as a government entity in electronic data exchange Justice Albright’s letter said he hoped to return to
and communication, including e-mail. New the bench in the January term. Justice Albright had an
programs and policies were implemented in 2008 esophagectomy on July 28, 2008, at the University of
greatly to enhance the security and reliability of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital.
the Courts network. The division also developed a Chief Justice Maynard entered an administrative
centralized depot for technology equipment order- order appointing Senior Status Justice McHugh to replace
ing, storage, and disbursement. This will signifi- Justice Albright during his absence. Senior Status Justice
cantly reduce the cost of equipment and reduce the McHugh began work at the Supreme Court on Friday,
time to replace and install equipment. September 12.
These are only a few of the highlights of our “I greatly respect the Court. It is an honor to serve
year at the Supreme Court. We are keeping up in Justice Albright’s place during his period of recovery,”
with the need to change in the post-modern era, Senior Status Justice McHugh said.
working hard to maintain an efficient court system
Senior Status Justice McHugh was elected to the
that provides justice to every litigant and defen-
Supreme Court in 1980 and was re-elected to a
dant in a timely manner. I hope as you read the
second twelve-year term in 1992. He served as Chief
2008 Annual Report you will agree with me that
Justice in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1995 and 1996. He retired
West Virginia has a judicial system and a judiciary
on December 31, 1997.
in which it can take pride.
Justice Menis E. Ketchum sworn in during
ceremony in Supreme Court chamber
enis E. Ketchum was sworn in as a Justice fortunate the walls of the conference room don’t talk.”
of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West But, he said, “There really is a sense of camaraderie.
Virginia during a ceremony on Thursday, When a justice leaves the Court, rarely does a justice
December 18, 2008, in the Chamber of the Supreme criticize the Court because of that camaraderie and
Court. Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael sense of unity. It’s very important the public have confi-
Thornsbury delivered the oath of office. dence in the Court. You will be very instrumental in
Justice Ketchum was elected to a full twelve-year keeping up that public confidence.”
term on the Supreme Court of Appeals on November Representing the executive branch, Governor Joe
4, 2008. His term begins on January 1, 2009. Manchin III said Justice Ketchum has a passion for the
The ceremony began with Justice Ketchum’s six law and compassion for his fellow man.
grandchildren walking in and sitting at the Courtroom During the campaign for the Court, Justice
attorney’s table, between their grandfather and Judge Ketchum got to know the state like few others, the
Thornsbury. The children are M.E. Ketchum, 7; Philip governor said. “Menis has done it all,” he said.
Ketchum, 8; Jacob Ketchum, 11; Kirsten Ketchum 9;
The governor also acknowledged the justice’s wife,
Annie Morgan, 7; and Elizabeth Morgan, 10.
Judy Ketchum, saying, “Without a strong partner, you
The invocation was given by Chaplin (Major can’t do it. It’s a true commitment.
Retired) Pablo Gonzales. Justice Brent D. Benjamin
“Menis, we expect great things. Only great things
welcomed the overflow crowd, Justice Ketchum, and
are expected of great people,” the governor said. “With
challenges come opportunities. I see more opportuni-
Representing the judicial branch of government, ties than I ever have.”
Senior Status Justice Thomas McHugh welcomed
Representing the legislative branch, House Speaker
Justice Ketchum, saying that over the history of the
Rick Thompson, a Wayne County attorney, said, “From
Supreme Court, justices have always disagreed on
the earliest days of law school, we are taught to revere
issues, sometimes very strongly. He joked that, “It’s very
and honor the Supreme Court.”
Speaker Thompson noted that when King
Solomon ascended the throne of Israel, he prayed for a
listening heart. “That is what I want for you,” Speaker
Thompson told Justice Ketchum. “If you do so, I am
confident you will be blessed.”
Judge Robert King of the U.S. Fourth Circuit
Court of Appeals represented the federal judiciary. A
longtime friend of Justice Ketchum, he recalled that
Justice Ketchum was one of the top students when
they were in law school together.
Judge King reviewed the highlights of Justice
Ketchum’s career, and noted his willingness to
represent indigent criminal defendants in court-
“He’s done it all as a lawyer. I’m proud to say, he’s
about to become a judge’s judge,” Judge King said.
“Menis will be an exemplary leader on the Court and
of the state’s judiciary.”
Judy Ketchum helps her husband, Justice Menis Ketchum, into his robe for
the first time. Photo by Michael Switzer
Judge David Pancake of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in
Cabell County represented the West Virginia Judiciary.
The Ketchum family. Top row from left: Lisa Ketchum, Chad Ketchum, Justice Menis Ketchum, Judy Ketchum, Jim Morgan, Kelli Morgan,
Bert Ketchum, and Sheryl Ketchum. Bottom row from left: Philip Ketchum, M.E. Ketchum, Jacob Ketchum, Kirsten Ketchum, Elizabeth
Morgan, and Annie Morgan. Photo by Michael Switzer
“This man is unparalleled in the state as a trial and hard work throughout their marriage and his
lawyer,” Judge Pancake said. “It’s not because of his campaign.
innate intelligence. It’s because he works like a dog.” Mrs. Ketchum noted that the date of the swearing-
Cases involving small properties counted in ceremony, December 18, was the birthday of Justice
as much to Justice Ketchum when he was an Ketchum’s late father, Chad W. Ketchum, who died in
attorney representing a client as cases involving 1998. “I know he was here today. He would be so proud
large corporations, Judge Pancake said. of his son,” she said.
“He’s unexcelled as a father, a granddad, a person. Justice Ketchum was then sworn into office by
He’s cared enough to invest his life into ours for the Judge Thornsbury, a longtime friend. The Justice’s
next twelve years. For that, I am grateful and I’m proud family helped him into his robe.
to have you as my friend,” Judge Pancake said. “I will work hard and I will be fair and impartial.
Justice Ketchum joked that, “I’m not going to give Thank you very much. And thank you, West Virginia,”
a speech because I don’t have to anymore.” Instead, he Justice Ketchum said.
introduced his wife, and thanked her for her support
Justice Margaret L. Workman sworn in during
ceremony in Supreme Court Chamber
argaret L. Workman was sworn in to her “This country stands for two things, sovereignty
second term as a Justice of the Supreme of the people and the rule of law,” Justice Benjamin
Court of Appeals of West Virginia during said, adding that Justice Workman’s election repre-
a ceremony on Monday, December 29, 2008, in the sents both.
Chamber of the Supreme Court. Senior Status Supreme After being sworn in, being helped into her
Court Justice Thomas E. McHugh administered the robe by her children, and taking the bench, Justice
oath of office. Workman said, “I will be strong and tough when
the time requires it.
I will show compas-
sion when the time
And she said she
would “accept the
mantle . . . to speak for
the voiceless and the
weak. This is a sacred
place for me, because
of all it represents.”
reminisced about the
late Justice T homa s
Miller, with whom he
and Justice Workman
served during her first
term on the Supreme
“He would be very
proud of this day,”
Justice McHugh said.
Senior Status Justice Thomas E. McHugh delivers the oath of office to Justice Margaret Workman as her son,
Christopher Gardner, holds the Bible. Photo by Michael Switzer
a nd Justice L a rr y
Starcher passed along congratulations from Justice
Justice Workman was elected to a full twelve-year
Joseph Albright, who had been on medical leave since
term on the Supreme Court on November 4, 2008. She
September. Justice McHugh was appointed to fill
previously was elected to the Court in November 1988.
Justice Albright’s seat during his absence.
Her term will begin on January 1, 2009.
Justice Starcher joked that, “It’s a pleasure to be
The swearing-in ceremony began with the
here at Justice Workman’s second coronation.”
Appalachian Children’s Chorus singing “God Bless
America” in honor of American troops serving overseas. Justice Starcher said he has known Justice
Workman since he was a candidate for Monongalia
Justice Brent D. Benjamin welcomed Justice
County sheriff and she was a campaign volunteer.
Workman, her family, and a Chamber full of guests.
They later served as circuit judges at the same time, he
He noted that in 1988 Justice Workman was the first
in Monongalia County and she in Kanawha County.
woman elected to the Supreme Court and the first
And then they served on the Supreme Court together
woman elected to statewide office, and now she and
during her first term.
Justice Robin Jean Davis are the only women to be
elected to statewide office twice.
“My greatest source “Just as she
would for anyone
of pride are my she loves, I’m
confident my mom
will throw herself,
three children.” her energy, and her
Justice Workman her job. We love
then delivered the
“Peggy was interested in seeing that justice was oath of office, while
done,” Justice Starcher said. “Peggy has never forgot- Justice Workman’s
ten her roots. She was a protector of people’s rights. son, Christopher
She tries to see that everyone gets a fair shake.” Gardner, held the
Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Irene Justice Margaret Workman’s daughter,
Lindsay Gardner, spoke at the swearing-in
Berger spoke as a representative of the West ceremony. Photo by Michael Switzer
Virginia judiciary. the bench, Justice
Workman said, “It’s kind of a weird feeling to be
“I’m very happy for you,” she told Justice Workman.
back here in the same position.”
“I’m happy for the State of West Virginia.
She noted that in her first term she served with
“You wanted the position. You got up, you got
thirteen different Justices. “We had our arguments
out, and you worked for it. You bring what I consider
over issues. It was always very collegial. It was fun.”
a unique perspective of a circuit judge, a justice, and a
recent practitioner,” Judge Berger said. She thanked her family for a lifetime of support.
She recalled that she met Justice Workman when “My greatest source of pride are my three children,”
Judge Berger was a young attorney and Justice Workman Justice Workman said. Son Ted Gardner, a student
was a much more experienced attorney. in California, could not attend the ceremony, so she
showed a photo of him to the crowd. “They have always
As an attorney, as a female circuit judge, and as the
been my inspiration and my greatest source of joy.”
first woman on the Supreme Court, “You opened doors for
us to come behind,” Judge Berger said. “Welcome back.” She said she learned a lot during her years in private
practice that she will put to good use as a justice.
Justice Workman’s daughter, Lindsay E. Gardner, said
of her mother, “She cares about people, justice, fairness, “I thank you for your continued support. I thank
and equality. She’s a great mom, whether it’s supporting us, you for your continued prayers.”
or giving us the courage to support ourselves.” The program closed with more music by the
She joked that during her mother’s first term, “It Appalachian Children’s Chorus, including “Almost
was very strange reading about her in my sixth-grade Heaven.”
textbooks and coming home to see her cook dinner.
Supreme Court of Appeals
of West Virginia
2008 Statistical Report
After an all-time record number of filings in 2007, the number of new cases filed in 2008 decreased by thirty-
nine percent to 2,411. Filing rates returned to levels seen in 1994 and 2004. As illustrated in Figure 1, the number
of petitions filed in 2008 remains high when compared to years prior to 1990.
The decrease in the number of new petitions filed in 2008 is attributable in large part to a fifty percent drop
in the number of workers’ compensation petitions filed. The all-time high of 2,894 filed in 2007 decreased by half
in 2008, to 1,447. This decrease may signal the emerging stability in the decision-making body at the agency level,
following a period of transition as the Office of Judges and the Board of Review became part of the Office of the
Apart from workers’ compensation cases, filings in 2008 remained steady or declined across most case types,
with domestic relations filings showing the only significant increase. (See Table 1.)
In 2003, appeals from family court orders and appeals in abuse and neglect cases began to be counted as part
of the domestic case type. These cases were previously counted as part of the general civil case type, thus explain-
ing the apparent dip in civil filings in 2003. After taking this adjustment into account, general civil appeals have
shown a steady decline in the past six years, dropping twenty-seven percent since 2003.
The number of habeas corpus petitions filed in 2008 was the lowest number in the past twenty-five years. The
number of certified questions filed also continued a declining trend since 2004.
In non-compensation cases, filing trends have been steady in certain areas, while fluctuating in other areas,
as seen in Figure 2. Criminal filings have remained largely steady since 1985, while requests for extraordinary
remedies have declined in recent Figure 3
years. The trend in domestic
cases has been on the rise each
year since 2003. The category
“Other” includes ethics cases,
certified questions, and petitions
for bail. This category has been
largely steady since 1985, apart
from a spike in ethics filings in
1994, and a spike in certified
questions in 2004.
The overall composition of
cases filed in 2008, as shown in
Figure 3, continues to reflect the
breadth and scope of the Court’s
workload. Although in 2007
workers’ compensation cases
made up nearly three-quarters
of all new filings, in 2008 that
figure fell to sixty percent. This
downward trend is expected to
continue in 2009.
The Court can dispose of cases by a variety of methods, resulting in opinions and orders. Because the Court’s
review of all petitions is discretionary, some cases are disposed by entry of a refusal order.1 Other cases are granted
and set for argument, but later withdrawn, dismissed, or otherwise disposed by order. After being granted,
most non-compensation cases are disposed by written opinion. Most compensation appeals that are granted are
ultimately disposed by memorandum order.2
The case clearance percentage is a practical measure of the Court’s workload in 2008, and its ability to keep
pace with recent filing levels. Because of the extraordinary workers’ compensation filings in recent years, combined
with delays associated with new statutory changes, the case clearance percentage fell to below one hundred percent
in recent years.3 In 2008, however, the Court disposed of 4,102 cases, for a clearance rate of 170 percent, nearly
triple the percentage reached in the prior year. The overall breakdown of the number of cases by disposition
method is shown in Table 2. 4
Other components of the Court’s workload are not reflected in Table 2. In addition to disposing of cases filed,
the Court considered 106 pre-petition matters, which was down from last year’s total of 201. Pre-petition matters
often involve emergent questions for litigants, such as whether a stay should be granted pending appeal.
The number of petitions for rehearing fell slightly in 2008. In 2000, thirty-one petitions for rehearing were
filed. In 2001, that number more than doubled, to sixty-three. In 2002, that number increased again, to eighty-
seven, nearly three times the number filed in 2000. In 2003, forty-three petitions for rehearing were filed. In 2004,
that number fell again, to thirty-six petitions for rehearing filed. In 2005 the number rose slightly to forty-five. In
2006, the number fell by almost half, to twenty-three. That figure held steady in 2007, with twenty-four petitions
for rehearing filed, and fell only slightly in 2008, with twenty-one filed.
1. See W.Va. Const. Art. VIII, sec. 4. (An “appeal shall be allowed . . . only upon a petition assigning error. . . and then only after the
court . . . shall have examined and considered the record and is satisfied that there is probably error in the record, or that it presents
a point proper for the consideration of the court.”)
2. It is important to note that granted cases are not concluded until the mandate issues under Rule of Appellate Procedure 25. Issuance
of the mandate typically occurs thirty days after the opinion or memorandum order. However, for purposes of clarity and consistency
with previous statistical reports, and to conform with national reporting standards, the issuance of an opinion or a memorandum order is
reported as a case closing event.
3. Two main factors combined to cause the clearance rate to fall below typical levels. First, dispositions in workers’ compensation cases
were held in abeyance for about a year beginning in late October 2003, while the Court considered cases involving the impact of the
adoption of Senate Bill 2013, and to what extent the statutory changes could constitutionally be applied retroactively to cases filed before
July 1, 2003. See Wampler Foods, Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Div., 216 W.Va. 129, 602 S.E.2d 805 (July 1, 2004). The clearance rate
was only 78 percent in 2003. In 2004, as the Court began to clear pending cases after the Wampler decision was issued, the clearance
rate rose to 95 percent. The second factor occurred over the next three years, when the extraordinary increase in workers’ compensation
petitions made it increasingly difficult to keep pace with new filings. Despite the fact that the Court in 2007 reviewed more than double
the number of compensation petitions than it reviewed as recently as 2005, the overall clearance rate fell to 64 percent in 2007.
4. In 2008, the Court disposed of 50 cases in 48 signed opinions, and disposed of 78 cases in 73 per curiam opinions. The number of
opinions issued and the number of cases disposed in a given year may differ, because a single opinion can dispose of multiple cases. Table
2 reports the number of cases disposed, not the number of opinions issued.
Discretionary petition disposition
By narrowing the focus to the disposition of discretionary petitions, rather than the broader area of case dispo-
sition, it is possible to determine the percentage of petitions for appeal in several categories that were granted by
the Court in 2008. The petition grant rate is based upon the total number of petitions of a given type actually
considered by the Court in a given year (which will differ from the number of petitions filed in a given year). Table
3 sets forth the total number of discretionary petitions considered over the past ten years in each category, along
with a percentage of the petitions that were granted for full briefing and argument.
Notable is the significant increase in the number of workers’ compensation petitions reviewed. In addition,
the percentage of petitions granted rose in the civil and workers’ compensation categories, yielding an overall
twenty-two percent of petitions granted in 2008. (For a graphical representation of these data, see Table 5 on page
seven: “Percentage of Discretionary Petitions Granted - Major Case Types - 1999-2008.”) As recognized by the
National Center for State Courts, “most discretionary petitions filed in both intermediate appellate courts and
courts of last resort are denied.”5
5. R. LaFountain, R. Schauffler, S. Strickland, W. Raftery, & C. Bromage, Examining the Work of State Courts, 2006: A National
Perspective from the Court Statistics Project at 74 (National Center for State Courts 2007). See . . . Among twenty state courts of last
resort, West Virginia had the fifth-highest percentage of petitions granted in 2005. This ranking would be higher if the National Center’s
percentage was calculated based upon the number of cases actually considered, versus the number filed in a given year. The Web site
of the Court Statistics Project, a joint effort by the Conference of State Court Administrators, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the
National Center for State Courts, contains a wealth of resources and publications related to court statistics. <http://www.ncsconline.
Caseload comparison with comparable courts
The steady increase of filings in West Virginia is consistent with the increase of filings nationally over the
second half of the twentieth century. In response to the steady increase in filings, the number of states with inter-
mediate appellate courts (IACs) tripled in the same time period; thirteen states had IACs in 1950, compared with
thirty-nine states in 2001. In the past decade, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Utah have created IACs, despite having
caseloads smaller than that of West Virginia.
No other comparable appellate court in the country handles as many cases as West Virginia’s court of last
resort. The most recent (2006) data from the National Center for State Courts6 continues to confirm West
Virginia’s position as the busiest appellate court of its type in the country. In 2006, West Virginia’s caseload
exceeded by nearly 1,500 cases that of the next-busiest state, Nevada, and was more than the states of Delaware,
Maine, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Wyoming combined.
Table 4 illustrates the comparable caseload figures for 2006 across jurisdictions without a permanent inter-
mediate appellate court.7 Other measures appearing in the chart, such as the number of cases filed per 100,000
population, are used to compare judicial workloads across diverse jurisdictions.
6. R. LaFountain, R. Schauffler, S. Strickland, W. Raftery, & C. Bromage, C. Lee & S. Gibson, Examining the Work of State Courts,
2007: A National Perspective from the Court Statistics Project at 63 (National Center for State Courts 2008). The National Center
reports 2006 filings in West Virginia as 3,631 rather than 3,544.
7. North Dakota has a temporary intermediate appellate court that can be called up from time to time by the North Dakota Supreme
Court to handle overload matters. Because its IAC is temporary and not usually activated, North Dakota is counted as a jurisdiction
without an intermediate appellate court. See Examining the Work of State Courts, 2006, Id., at 68.
Percentage of Discretionary Petitions Granted
— Major Case Types: 1999-2008
2008 Court board and committee members
West Virginia Board of Law Examiners: Mass Litigation Panel
Members evaluate educational background, credentials, The panel develops and implements case management and
character and fitness and competence of each applicant for trial methodologies to resolve mass litigation referred to it by
admission to the practice of law in West Virginia under the the Chief Justice. The panel also develops and implements
Supreme Court Rules for Admission. plans for central organization for managing mass litigation.
Rule 1.0, Rules for Admission to the Rule 26.01, West Virginia
Practice of Law Trial Court Rules
Lawrence M. Schultz, President, of Martinsburg Chairman, Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats, Nineteenth
Ancil G. Ramey, Vice President, of Charleston Judicial Circuit of Barbour and Taylor Counties
Ward D. Stone, Jr., Esquire, of Morgantown Circuit Judge Jay M. Hoke, Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit of
Sarah N. Hall, Esquire, of Welch Boone and Lincoln Counties
John R. Cyrus, Esquire, of Huntington Circuit Judge John A. Hutchison, Tenth Judicial Circuit of
Sue A. Howard, Esquire, of Wheeling Raleigh County
Bradley J. Pyles, Esquire, of Logan Circuit Judge James P. Mazzone, First Judicial Circuit of
Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties
Judicial Hearing Board Circuit Judge Booker T. Stephens, Eighth Judicial Circuit
Members have the authority to conduct hearings on formal of McDowell County
complaints filed by the Judicial Investigation Commission Circuit Judge Derek C. Swope, Ninth Judicial Circuit of
and make recommendations to the Supreme Court of Appeals Mercer County
regarding disposition of those complaints.
Rule 3.6, Rules of Judicial West Virginia Court Security Board
Disciplinary Procedure Board members make decisions on how money in the court
security fund is spent to enhance the security of courts.
Circuit Judge John W. Hatcher, Jr., Chairman, Twelfth W. Va. Code § 51-3-15
Judicial Circuit of Fayette County
Circuit Judge Rudolph J. Murensky, II, Vice-Chair, Eighth Chairman, Steven D. Canterbury, Supreme Court
Judicial Circuit of McDowell County Administrative Director
Circuit Judge Irene C. Berger, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Circuit Judge Jack Alsop, Fourteenth Judicial Circuit of
of Kanawha County Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, and Webster Counties
Family Court Judge Beth Longo, Twenty-First Family Family Court Judge William Sinclair, First Family Court
Court Circuit of Barbour, Preston, and Taylor Counties Circuit of Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties
Magistrate Tina M. Mouser of Barbour County Raleigh County Magistrate Stephen D. Massie
Royce B. Saville, Esquire, of Romney Preston County Circuit Clerk Betsy Castle
Michael D. Lorensen, Esquire, of Martinsburg Ritchie County Sheriff Ron Barniak
Joan Chappelle of Huntington First Lieutenant Kevin Foreman, West Virginia State Police
George Poole of Williamson Headquarters
Staff: Danny C. Staggers, Esquire, of Keyser Patrick S. Casey, Esquire, Ohio County
Staff: Charles R. Garten, Esquire, of Charleston Staff: Angie Saunders, Director of Court Services for the
Supreme Court Administrative Office
Judicial Investigation Commission Staff: Arthur Angus, Director of Court Security for the
Members determine whether probable cause exists to charge a judge Supreme Court Administrative Office
with a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct promulgated by the Staff: Leslie Boggess, Associate Deputy Director of
Supreme Court of Appeals to govern the ethical conduct of judges or Criminal Justice Services
that a judge, because of advancing years and attendant physical and
mental incapacity, should not continue to serve. West Virginia Wiretapping and Electronic
Rule 1, Rules of Judicial Surveillance Act
Disciplinary Procedure The Act requires the Chief Justice to designate five active
circuit court judges individually to hear and rule upon
Chairman, Circuit Judge Fred L. Fox, II, Sixteenth Judicial applications for orders authorizing the interception of wire,
Circuit of Marion County oral, or electronic communications.
Circuit Judge Ronald E. Wilson, First Judicial Circuit of W. Va. Code § 62-1D-7
Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties
Circuit Judge John S. Hrko, Twenty-Seventh Judicial Circuit Judge Mark A. Karl, Second Judicial Circuit
Circuit of Wyoming County of Marshall, Taylor, and Wetzel Counties
Family Court Judge Cynthia Jarrell, Tenth Family Court Circuit Judge Irene C. Berger, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
Circuit of Boone and Lincoln Counties of Kanawha County
Magistrate Gail C. Boober of Jefferson County Circuit Judge David R. Janes, Sixteenth Judicial Circuit
Senior Status Judge John R. Frazier, Ninth Judicial Circuit of Marion County
of Mercer County Circuit Judge Donald H. Cookman, Twenty-Second
Philip A. Reale, Esquire, of Charleston Judicial Circuit of Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton
Daniel Crockett, Esquire, of Dunbar Counties
Alice A. Chakmakian, Esquire, of Charles Town Circuit Judge Darrell Pratt, Twenty-Fourth Circuit of
Staff: Charles R. Garten, Esquire, of Charleston Wayne County
Staff: Nancy Black
Court System Budget
Fiscal Year 2009
July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009
State of West Virginia
Fiscal Year 2009 Budget
Supreme Court of Appeals
Supreme to of Appeals
Money ReturnedCourtCounties in 2008
Money Returned to Counties in 2008
Circuit Court Magistrate Family Court County Total
Barbour $ 43,578 $ 335,343 $ 314,769 $ 693,690
Berkeley 3,062,566 1,031,328 533,842 4,627,736
Boone 944,449 440,405 315,757 1,700,611
Braxton 938,027 387,078 324,342 1,649,447
Brooke 1,238,596 405,993 15,195 1,659,784
Cabell 4,295,265 1,324,139 655,118 6,274,522
Calhoun 136,289 326,469 40,173 502,931
Clay 158,760 336,301 18,024 513,085
Doddridge 581,249 345,750 15,444 942,443
Fayette 1,690,519 782,965 426,006 2,899,490
Gilmer 44,950 247,629 5,350 297,929
Grant 501,539 330,973 2,169 834,681
Greenbrier 1,645,404 698,449 280,815 2,624,668
Hampshire 876,290 365,523 300,269 1,542,082
Hancock 826,850 576,932 52,216 1,455,998
Hardy 385,028 320,272 145,668 850,968
Harrison 2,792,975 956,778 516,394 4,266,147
Jackson 764,453 442,166 162,555 1,369,174
Jefferson 837,878 640,086 386,351 1,864,315
Kanawha 7,501,012 2,051,556 1,565,241 11,117,809
Lewis 405,354 410,028 51,997 867,379
Lincoln 960,316 385,718 186,326 1,532,360
Logan 1,888,342 728,558 494,541 3,111,441
Marion 1,733,080 782,769 262,639 2,778,488
Marshall 1,521,388 633,565 64,802 2,219,755
Mason 808,442 426,448 335,679 1,570,569
McDowell 1,354,849 558,232 109,304 2,022,385
Mercer 2,674,135 997,989 936,144 4,608,268
Mineral 845,539 358,126 3,922 1,207,587
Mingo 948,665 632,575 312,154 1,893,394
Monongalia 1,860,596 950,423 486,936 3,297,955
Monroe 525,990 315,109 33,856 874,955
Morgan 378,607 351,227 16,737 746,571
Nicholas 907,163 581,636 305,682 1,794,481
Ohio 1,672,800 853,949 681,100 3,207,849
Pendleton 265,521 346,379 17,187 629,087
Pleasants 182,579 357,552 3,956 544,087
Pocahontas 46,970 322,372 206,099 575,441
Preston 994,313 561,834 43,852 1,599,999
Putnam 1,502,061 635,136 423,479 2,560,676
Raleigh 2,688,853 1,068,043 736,758 4,493,654
Randolph 862,887 542,008 311,024 1,715,919
Ritchie 226,696 343,306 2,906 572,908
Roane 251,395 407,813 280,167 939,375
Summers 327,285 312,827 52,463 692,575
Taylor 957,466 320,955 7,092 1,285,513
Tucker 327,945 317,409 933 646,287
Tyler 18,763 335,006 3,567 357,336
Upshur 846,562 443,203 30,855 1,320,620
Wayne 1,474,740 576,021 309,817 2,360,578
Webster 612,781 329,291 138,088 1,080,160
Wetzel 359,481 365,046 220,324 944,851
Wirt 15,753 347,580 1,306 364,639
Wood 3,105,152 935,895 646,721 4,687,768
Wyoming 833,137 621,067 42,834 1,497,038
TOTAL $ 63,651,283 $ 30,801,230 $ 13,836,945 $ 108,289,458
2008 Visiting Judges
hen a Supreme Court Justice is unable to serve in a case due to reasons such as illness or disquali-
fication, Article VIII Section 2 of the West Virginia Constitution allows the Chief Justice to
assign a circuit court judge to serve. The visiting judge then participates in all private conferences,
hearings, and votes on that case. The following is a list of judges who were assigned in 2008 and the cases in which
Judge Jack Alsop, Fourteenth Judicial Judge Russell M. Clawges, Jr.,
Circuit of Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of
and Webster Counties Monongalia County
- February 13 Argument Docket: - April 16 Argument Docket:
Connie Sue Whiteside v. Michael In Re: Flood Litigaton – Upper
Brent Whiteside, No. 33514 Guyandotte River Watershed, Nos.
33711, 33664, and 33710
Judge J.D. Beane, Fourth Judicial Judge Dona ld H. Cook ma n,
Circuit of Wood and Wirt Counties Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit of
- October 7 Argument Docket: SER Hardy, Hampshire and Pendleton
Prosecuting Attorney of Kanawha Counties
County v. Bayer Corporaton, No. - January 24 Rehearing Conference
33871 and March 12 Argument Docket:
- October 8 Motion Docket: Mylan A.T. Massey Coal Company, Inc., et
Laboratories, Inc., et al. v. American al. v. Hugh M. Caperton, et. al., No.
Motorists Insurance Co., et al., No. 081073 33350
- October 8 Argument Docket: Choice Lands, LLC v. - April 16 Argument Docket: SER Stephen Wesley
Nondus Tassen, et al. v. Old Colony Company, et al., Hatfield v. Howard Painter, Warden, No. 33668
- October 8 Argument Docket: West Virginia Judge N. Edward Eagloski, Twenty-
Department of Transportation, Division of Highways Ninth Judicial Circuit of Putnam
v. Parkersburg Inn, Inc., et al., No. 33882 County
- October 7 Argument Docket:
Judge Paul M. Blake Jr., Twelfth Lawyer Disciplinary Board v. William
Judicial Circuit of Fayette County H. Duty, No. 33069
- October 28 Motion Docket: Carl
and Terry Milam v. Fleetwood Senior Status
Homes of North Carolina, Inc., J u d g e L . D . E g n o r , Sixth
No. 081160 Judicial Circuit of Cabell County
- October 28 Argument Docket: - April 1 Argument Docket: Richard
Paul E. Forshey & Melissa L. C. Rashid, M.D. v Muhib S. Tarakji,
Forshey v. Theodore A. Jackson, M.D., No. 33834 M.D., No. 33596
Judge Duke Bloom, Thirteenth
Judicial Circuit of Kanawha County
Judge Fred L. Fox, II, Sixteenth
- September 3 Motion Docket: John Judicial Circuit of Marion County
Frederick Jochum, et al. v. Waste
- March 12 Argument Docket: A.T.
Management of West Virginia, et
Massey Coal Company, Inc., et al.
al., No. 080362
v. Hugh M. Caperton, et al., No.
- October 28 Argument Docket: 33350
William T. Smoot, II v. AEP, No.
Jud ge M a r t i n J. G au g h a n , Judge Thomas H. Keadle, Twenty-
First Judicial Circuit of Brooke, sixth Judicial Circuit of Lewis and
Hancock, and Ohio Counties Upshur Counties
- February 27 Motion Docket: - October 9 and November 12
Darrell V. McGraw, Jr., Attorney Requests for Oral Presentation
General, et al., v. The American and Petitions for Appeal: Rocky
Tobacco Co., et al., No. 072347 Allen Burns v. Independence Coal
Company, Inc., No. 081402
Judge Joh n W. Hatcher, Jr.,
Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Fayette Judge Charles E. King, Thirteenth
County Judicial Circuit of Kanawha County
- March 12 Argument Docket: SER - April 2 Argument Docket: R.
Blue Eagle Land, LLC, et al. v. West Brooks Legg, Jr., D.D.S. v. Richard
Virginia Oil & Gas Conservation D. Rashid, M.D., No. 33521
Comm., et al., No. 33705
Judge John A. Hutchison, Tenth
Judicial Circuit of Raleigh County Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick III,
- September 23 Argument Docket: Tenth Judicial Circuit of Raleigh
Davis Memorial Hospital v. West County - May 22 Requests for
Virginia State Tax Commissioner, Oral Presentations and Petitions
No. 33862 for Appeal: Estate of Garrison
G. Tawney, by Lela Ann Goff,
Executrix, Lela Ann Goff and
Judge Gary L. Johnson, Twenty- Vernon B. Goff, husband and wife,
Eighth Judicial Circuit of Nicholas Janice E. Cooper and Clifford R. Cooper, husband
County and wife, Larry G. Parker, John W. Parker, Orton A.
April 2 Argument Docket: R. Jones, Ancillary Administrator of the Estate of Richard
Brooks Legg, Jr., D.D.S. v. Richard L. Ashley, and Orton A. Jones, Administrator of
D. Rashid, M.D., No. 33521 the Estate of Alice Myrtle Ashley Jones v. Columbia
May 22 Request for Ora l Natural Resources, LLC, a Delaware corporation,
Presentation and Petitions for f/k/a Columbia Natural Resources, Inc., a Texas
Appea l: Diana Mae Savi l la , corporation; NiSource Inc., a Delaware corporation;
Administratrix of the Estate of Linda Sue Good Columbia Energy Group, a Delaware corporation; and
Kannaird, deceased v. Kanawha County Commission, Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., an Oklahoma Limited
No. 080347 Liability Company, No. 080482
Senior Status Judge Frank E. Judge James A. Matish, Fifteenth
Jolliffe, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Judicial Circuit of Harrison County
of Greenbrier and Pocahontas - February 13 Argument Docket:
Counties Billy J. Watson, et al. v. Sunset
- May 22 Requests for Oral Add ition Propert y O wners
Presentation and Petitions for Association, Inc., No. 33338
Appeal: Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel
v. Central WV Energy, Nos. 080182,
Judge Alan D. Moats, Nineteenth
Circuit of Taylor and Barbour
- September 24 Motion Docket:
Lenora Perrine, et al. v. E.I. duPont
deNemours and Company, et al.,
Nos. 080721, 081461, and 081462
Judge Dan P. O’Hanlon, Sixth Judge Derek C . Swope, Ninth
Judicial Circuit of Cabell County Judicial Circuit of Mercer County
- May 22 Requests for Oral - April 3 Petition Conference:
Presentations and Petitions for Josephine Morgan v. Ford Motor
Appeal: Estate of Garrison G. Co., No. 080210
Tawney, by Lela Ann Goff, Executrix, - April 16 Motion Docket: Douglas
Lela Ann Goff and Vernon B. Goff, R. Jackson v. Power Mountain Coal
husband and wife, Janice E. Cooper Company, et al., No. 072598
and Clifford R. Cooper, husband - May 21 Motion Docket: Secretary
and wife, Larry G. Parker, John W. Parker, Orton A. of WVDEP v. Goals Coal Co. and Coal River Mountain
Jones, Ancillary Administrator of the Estate of Richard Watch, No. 073938
L. Ashley, and Orton A. Jones, Administrator of the - May 21 Motion Docket: Josephine Morgan v. Ford
Estate of Alice Myrtle Ashley Jones v. Columbia Natural Motor Co., No. 080210
Resources, LLC, a Delaware corporation, f/k/a Columbia - May 21 Motion Docket: Sprouse v. Sprouse, Nos.
Natural Resources, Inc., a Texas corporation; NiSource 080278, and 080618.
Inc., a Delaware corporation; Columbia Energy Group, - September 24 Motion Docket: Lenora Perrine, et al.
a Delaware corporation; and Chesapeake Appalachia, v. E.I. duPont deNemours and Company, et al., Nos.
L.L.C., an Oklahoma Limited Liability Company, No. 080721, 081461, and 081462
- October 9 and November 12 Requests for Oral Judge William S. Thompson, Twenty-Fifth Judicial
Presentation and Petitions for Appeal: Rocky Allen Burns Circuit of Boone and Lincoln
v. Independence Coal Company, Inc., No. 081402 Counties
- October 9 Requests for Oral
Judge Darrell Pratt, Twenty-Fourth Presentations and Petitions for
Judicial Circuit of Wayne County Appeal and October 28 Motion
- April 16 Argument Docket: Docket: Samantha Lewis, et al. v.
In Re: Flood Litigaton – Upper International Coal Group, Inc., et
Guyandotte River Watershed, Nos. al., No. 081448
33711, 33664, and 33710
Judge Jennifer Bailey, Thirteenth
Judge O. C. “Hobby” Spaulding, Judicial Circuit of Kanawha County
Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit of - April 1 Argument Docket: Richard
Putnam County C. Rashid, M.D. v Muhib S. Tarakji,
- April 16 Argument Docket: M.D., No. 33596
In Re: Flood Litigaton – Upper - October 30 Requests for Oral
Guyandotte River Watershed, Nos. Presentations and Petitions for
33711, 33664, and 33710 Appeal: Paul Cremeans, Ronald
Booth, Michael Holley, and Joseph Trimble v. Riedel
Wilks Building Structures, Inc.; Our Jobs, Our
Children, Our Future, Inc, dba Huntington Area
Development Council; Huntington Industrial Council;
Wayne County Commission; The Wayne County
Economic Development Authority, Inc; and The City
of Huntington, No. 081522
Judges from Turkmenistan visit Supreme Court
our judges from
Tu r k m e n i s t a n visited
the S u p r e m e C o u r t
o f A p p e a l s of West Virginia
on Monday, October 20. They met
for over an hour with Justices Brent
D. Benjamin, Thomas McHugh,
and Larry Starcher and then for
about two hours with Supreme
Court Administrative Director
Steve Canterbury. The four men
talked about how they administer
justice in the former Soviet Republic
in Central Asia, while West Virginia
justices and the administrative Supreme Court Administrative Director Steve Canterbury talks to four judges visiting from
Turkmenistan, with the help of an interpreter sitting to Mr. Canterbury’s right. In the photo below,
director talked about the American Justice Brent D. Benjamin and Senior Status Justice Thomas E. McHugh talk to the visiting judges
and West Virginia court systems. about the West Virginia judicial system. Photos by Michael Switzer
The visit was sponsored by the
U.S. Congress’ OPEN WORLD Rule of Law Program accompanied by program facilitator Aleksandr
and arranged by Sudhakar R. Jamkhandi, President of Vladimirovich Jumayev and Russian interpreters
the Center for International Understanding in Princeton, Kirill Savinski and Igor Beckman.
West Virginia. During their stay in West Virginia, they also were
The judges, all appointed by the President of scheduled to meet with Congressman Nick Rahall’s
Turkmenistan, as are all judges at every level in Legislative Liaison Kate Denman; the Counsels
that nation, were Mr. Charykuli Atayev, Chairman, to the West Virginia Senate and its Judiciary
Geok-Tepe District Court of Ahal Velayat Region; Mr. Committee; West Virginia Attorney General Darrell
Begench Shadurdyevich Chariyev, Judge, Dashoguz McGraw; Princeton City Court; Mercer County
Velayat Court; Mr. Toynazar Annanazarovich Circuit Court Judge William Sadler; Mercer County
Hudaynazarov, Judge, Bayram-Ali City District Sheriff Danny Wills; Chief Federal District Judge
Court of Mary Velayat; and Mr. Arazgylych Nazarov, Joseph R. Goodwin; Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
Chairman of Ashgabat City Court. They were Judge Robert E. King; U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge
Ronald G. Pearson; U.S. Attorney
Charles Miller and his colleagues
who are responsible for law enforce-
ment; Mercer County Teen Court
and ChildLaw Services; Mercer
County Drug Court; and the Mercer
County Day Report Center.
The judges from Turkmenistan
toured the Federal Correctional
Institution and the Federal Court
in Beckley, and had a session at the
Princeton Times to learn about its
role in informing the public about
the law and legislation pertaining to
Adoption Month focuses on older
children in foster care
est Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin “We hope that West Virginians will consider taking
Jean Davis held a press conference on on the challenge of adopting an older child whose life
Friday, November 14, in the Supreme has not been a fairy tale. You don’t have to be perfect to
Court Chamber to commemorate National Adoption be the perfect parent,” Justice Davis said.
Month. She was joined by Joan Ohl, Commissioner of Bobby Miller spoke about her experience adopting
the Administration for Children, Youth and Families two boys.
in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S.
“Five or six years ago, I was single. I thought I was
Department of Health and Human Services; Nicholas
fairly intelligent,” Ms. Miller said. She joked that her
County Circuit Judge Gary L. Johnson, Chairman of
two teen-age sons now tell her how much she doesn’t
the West Virginia Court Improvement Program; and
know, as all teens do.
Nikki Tennis, Director of the
Supreme Court’s Division of She was too old to have a child, and most of her
Children’s Services. Adoptive immediate family was deceased. She was tired of spend-
parents Sallie Harrington and ing holidays alone.
Bobby Jean (B.J.) Miller also “I learned you didn’t have to be rich to adopt a
spoke. child. I learned it was not difficult to adopt a child,” she
Of the 115,000 said. She looked on the state adoption Web site and fell
children in foster care nation- in love with an eleven year-old boy.
ally who are available for “It hasn’t always been easy. There hasn’t ever been a
adoption, the average age is time when I have regretted it,” she said.
8.6 years. About a third of About a year later, Ms. Miller decided Michael was
those children are African getting spoiled. She realized she had gone overboard trying
American and fifteen percent to make up for his years of abuse and neglect and his time
Bobby Miller talks about her are Hispanic. in foster homes. He needed a brother; that’s when then-
experience as an adoptive
mother. Photo by Michael In West Virginia, fourteen year-old Matthew joined their family.
there are more than one “I now have a family to spend Thanksgiving with. I
thousand children whose parental rights have been now have a family to spend Christmas with,” Ms. Miller
terminated and who are waiting for adoption. Most of said. “I highly recommend [adoption] to anyone.”
those children have prospective families; but at the time
of the press conference, there were sixty-six children Judge Johnson said children make up both the
who were not so lucky and whose profiles appeared on saddest and the happiest parts of his docket. About
the state adoption Web site www.adoptawvchild.org. thirty to forty percent of any circuit judge’s caseload is
comprised of abuse
The goal of National Adoption Month in 2008 was
to encourage the adoption of older children. Nationally,
“I now have a family to and neglect cases.
“We try to get a child
each year about 24,000 children “age out” of the foster spend Thanksgiving a permanent home as
care system without being placed with a permanent quickly as possible,”
family. w i t h . I n o w ha v e Judge Johnson
“We want to affirm how essential permanency is to a fa m ily to s pe nd said. “If we can give
a child,” Justice Davis said. “There were approximately children the help they
4,500 children in foster care in West Virginia at the end Christmas with,” need while they still
of 2007. In 2007, 473 children were adopted through accept that help, we
the West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families, an
Ms. Miller said. can make a difference
increase from 419 children in 2006. The total number “I highly recommend in their lives.”
of adoptions in West Virginia in 2007 was 913. As a judge, “the
“Even with all of the strides we are making, we [adoption] to anyone.” happiest cases you do
know that the system is not perfect. Some children still are adoptions. It’s
need loving, permanent homes,” Justice Davis said.
Circuit Judge Gary L. Johnson talks about the
importance of finding safe, permanent placements for
children. Photo by Michael Switzer
have timely hearings, achieve permanency
for children, and place children with close
relatives or near their own communities
West Virginia circuit courts also
have improved their compliance with
the wording of Title IV-E forms, which
provides funding for children in out-of-
home placements, to one hundred percent
“Because of our circuit court judges
something that is very fulfilling for a judge,” he said. and their dedication, we are receiving every penny of
“It makes you want to go to work every day.” federal dollars,” Justice Davis said. Full compliance
The adoption process is fairly straightforward. with Title IV-E means millions more in federal funding
Anyone can adopt: individuals, spouses together, or one for West Virginia. “I am so proud of our circuit judges,”
spouse with the other spouse’s consent. Once the petition Justice Davis said.
is filed, a hearing can take place after forty-five days of Commissioner Ohl noted the strides West Virginia
the filing of the petition or after the child has lived with has made since she was the Secretary of the West
the adoptive parent or parents for six months. Before Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
the adoption is finalized, consents, relinquishments, or The compliance with Title IV-E form language is an
termination of parental rights of the birth parents must be important milestone, she said.
obtained. Even adults may be adopted if the adult consents
“West Virginia has done a wonderful job on the
and the adoptive parent is a resident of West Virginia.
Court Improvement Program,” she added. “We have
“We think every child deserves a home as quickly as a lot to recognize and celebrate.” Still, she said, more
possible,” Judge Johnson said. needs to be done to help children find adoptive homes.
Judge Johnson is Chairman of the Court “Ultimately, the true heroes in the world of adoption
Improvement Program, which works to improve the are adoptive parents,” the Commissioner said.
child welfare system and secure safety, timely perma- Circuit Judge Gary L. Johnson and Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis
nency, and well-being for children. listen as Joan Ohl talks at a press conference about National Adoption
Month. Ms. Ohl is Commissioner of the federal Administration for
Justice Davis said the Children, Youth and Families. Photo by Michael Switzer
court system and DHHR are
working together in many
ways to improve the child
welfare system. The collabora-
tion was evident in the recent
Child and Family Services
Review that the federal
Administration for Children
and Families Children’s
Bureau conducted this year
in West Virg inia . West
Virginia judges participate d
in unprecedented numbers as
reviewers and interviewees.
The federal agency found that
West Virginia courts largely
LAWS draws audience of hundreds
at Mercer County Courthouse
he West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals In 2008 students from Montcalm High School,
heard arguments in three criminal cases and Bluefield High School, Pikeview High School, Princeton
one civil case on April 15, 2008, at the Mercer High School, Concord University, and Bluefield State
County Courthouse in Princeton in front of an College attended. Their instructors came to a train-
audience of about 570 Mercer County high school and ing session with Supreme Court personnel and Mercer
college students. County Circuit Judges Derek Swope and William Sadler
in February where they received information
about the state and federal court systems,
suggested exercises for students, and summa-
ries of the cases their classes were to hear.
Later, volunteer attorneys from the area also
met with students to discuss the court system
and the cases.
On April 15, students heard oral
arguments in the case they studied and met
with the attorneys who argued the case in
a “debriefing” session. The attorneys and
students also had an informal lunch with the
Supreme Court Justices.
The Supreme Court held the first
LAWS program in Beckley in 1999.
Other LAWS programs have been held
in Clarksburg, Huntington, Wheeling,
Summersville, Martinsburg, Parkersburg,
Senior Status Circuit Judge John R. Frazier and Family Court Judge Mary Ellen Griffith
watch Supreme Court proceedings in Mercer County. Charleston, and Romney.
Students from Montcalm High
School and Concord University heard the case
The argument docket in Princeton was part of
of Coleman v. R.M. Logging et. al., No. 33452.
LAWS, an acronym for Legal Advancement for West
Students from Bluefield High School, PikeView
Virginia Students. LAWS is a partnership between the
High School, and Bluefield State College heard the
court system, schools, the local Bar and the community.
case of State v. Stamm, No. 33505. After lunch,
LAWS teaches students about the judicial branch of our
one group of students from Princeton High School
government. Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis
heard arguments in State v. Slater, No. 33659, while
began the program when she was Chief Justice in 1998.
another group of Princeton High students heard the
Since then more than 3,750 high school and college
case of State v. Brooks, No. 33662.
students in seventeen counties have participated.
Top, Monongalia County Prosecutor Marcia Ashdown talks to students after her
argument as local attorneys look on. Bottom right, Mercer County Circuit Judge Derek
Swope talks to students in the courtroom. Photos by Jeff Gentner
Supreme Court launches mock trial
program for middle schools
he Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia West Virginia will be invited to have classes write
in 2008 launched a mock trial program for mock trial scripts. Schools can have more than one class
middle school students, called West Virginia participate and can submit more than one script.
Law Adventure. The scripts will have to be developed around a
Court staff members worked with two classes in theme that the Young Lawyers Section of the West
the spring 2008 school term. The program was opened Virginia State Bar will choose each year. The scripts
to all middle schools in Kanawha, Mason, Greenbrier, will follow a certain format that will be described in a
Monongalia, and Mineral Counties in the 2008-2009 rules packet that will be distributed each fall.
school year; and it will become a statewide program in Teachers are free to ask local judges or attorneys to
the 2009-2010 school year. come to their classes to help them. In the initial pilot
“The Supreme Court shares the state Board of project, the month of January also will be set aside for
Education’s dedication to teaching West Virginia each class to take a field trip to a courthouse to perform
children about civics,” Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard the students’ mock trial in front of a judge or magis-
told the West Virginia Board of Education on February trate, who will give them pointers. In February teach-
14, 2008. “This is a big initiative and we’re lawyers, not ers will mail the scripts to the State Bar, and the Young
teachers. We know we need some teacher input to make Lawyers Section will choose winners. Those winners
this work. So we want to start small.” will be invited to come to the Supreme Court on a day
West Virginia Law Adventure is based on in March to perform their mock trials with a Supreme
a very successful mock trial program of Court Justice sitting as judge.
the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, The costs of the trips to the courthouse and to the
Law Adventure Competition and Supreme Court in the pilot project were paid by a grant
Programs, for grades seven and from the West Virginia Bar Foundation.
eight. For more informa- “Students think they know a lot about crime and
tion about the New Jersey courts because that’s the focus of so many television
State Bar Foundation, visit shows,” Chief Justice Maynard told the West Virginia
www.njsbf.org. Board of Education. “I had a member of my staff go
Unlike other mock through this week’s TV guide. There are seventeen
trial programs in which regular courtroom shows, including Judge Judy, Judge
students act out scripts Brown, Judge Hatchett, Judge Mathis, and The People’s
written by adults, in West Court, and another nineteen crime shows. And this
Virginia Law Adventure week alone there are six movies on Charleston cable TV
students research and write with court themes. That’s not even counting the Court
their own scripts. Once West TV cable network.
Virginia Law Adventure is an “Unfortunately, most of those shows and movies
annual statewide program, at bear little resemblance to reality,” Chief Justice
the beginning of each school Maynard said.
year, all middle schools in
Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard introduces the mock trial program to Andrew
Jackson Middle School students in the courtroom of Kanawha County Circuit
Judge Tod Kaufman, who is pictured, far right, in the white wig. Other photos
show Point Pleasant Middle School students acting out their trial at the Mason
Point Pleasant Middle School students act out their mock trial as Mason County Magistrate Cheryl Ross looks on. In the photo below, volunteer
attorney R.F. Stein helps Mason County students with the defense. Photos by Jeff Gentner and Michael Switzer
West Virginia Law Adventure is intended to Mason County Magistrate Cheryl Ross for sever-
give students a sense of what the justice system – and al years has invited middle school and high school
democracy – is really like. students from Mason County to the Courthouse in
“A criminal trial in an American court is more about early May to perform mock trials she has written in
the Constitution than anything else,” said Supreme honor of Law Day. Founded in 1958 by President
Court Administrative Director Steve Canterbury. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Law Day celebrates the
American Legal System.
The school board gave its unanimous consent to
the mock trial program. Magistrate Ross used her experience with her own
mock trial program to help Supreme Court staff design
Eighth-grade students at Andrew Jackson Middle
West Virginia Law Adventure. The Public Information
School in Kanawha County and Point Pleasant Middle
Committee of the West Virginia State Bar helped write
School in Mason County became the first participants
in the program. An Andrew Jackson Middle School
class performed its original script on April 30, 2008, Students from both Andrew Jackson Middle
in Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman’s School and Point Pleasant Middle School performed
courtroom in the Kanawha County Judicial Building. their original scripts in front of an audience of social
A Point Pleasant Middle School class performed its studies teachers from around West Virginia at the 2008
original script on May 8, 2008, at the Mason County Social Students Summer Institute on June 25, 2008,
Courthouse in Point Pleasant. in Bridgeport. Supreme Court Information Services
Director Jennifer Bundy also talked about the
program and solicited volunteers for the
next stage of the pilot project.
Judicial officers enjoy Robes to Schools
he Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia’s Judge Gaughan, Chief Judge in the First Judicial
Robes to Schools education outreach program Circuit of Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties, visit-
entered its second year in 2008, as circuit ed Brooke County High School on November 17, 2008,
judges, family court judges, and magistrates enthusiasti- to talk to students and field questions. He discussed his
cally embraced the concept. groundbreaking work with his circuit’s drug court, the
Justice Robin Jean Davis launched the program in first in West Virginia, and his experience having drug
January 2007 when she was serving as Chief Justice. users in his courtroom. His stories were geared to get
The goal is to encourage active and retired justices, the attention of his audience. Judge Gaughan talked
judges, and magistrates to read aloud to school children about the science of drug abuse as well as its legal
and to visit classrooms to talk about the justice system. consequences.
Robes to Schools supports the goal of the West Virginia “It’s a serious, serious problem, and you’re better off
Department of Education’s Partnership for Twenty- not dealing with it,” he warned, according to a story in
First Century Skills to improve civic literacy, and was the Weirton Daily Times.
endorsed by the West Virginia Board of Education. Judge Mazzone, also a judge in the First Circuit,
The program also supports the Court’s goal to improve visited Brooke High School on November 19, 2008,
the lives of all West Virginia children, not just those as well as Elm Grove Elementary School in Wheeling
who are involved in the court system. and Collier Primary in Colliers, Brooke County, on
Among the many judicial officers who visited class- November 20, 2008. The visits were timed in conjunc-
rooms in 2008 were Circuit Judges Martin J. Gaughan, tion with American Education Week.
Gary L. Johnson, and James P. Mazzone. Judge Johnson, Chief Judge of the Twenty-Eighth
Judicial Circuit of Nicholas County, visited Birch River
Grade School on April
18, 2008. In two sessions,
he and Probation Officer
Roger Beverage talked to
all the students in the school
about their jobs, about the
dangers of drug abuse, and
about the court system. Judge
Johnson also modeled his
robe, showed off his gavel, and
talked about the importance
of honesty. Judge Johnson and
Officer Beverage stayed for
lunch with the students, ages
preschool through fifth grade.
Circuit Judge Gary L. Johnson
talks to students at Birch River
Grade School. Photo courtesy
of the school
Circuit Judge James P. Mazzone reads to students at Elm Grove Elementary School. Photo by Fred Connors The [Wheeling] Intelligencer
In Fayetteville on January 25, 2008, Chief Judge The Supreme Court also received some national
John W. Hatcher, Jr., of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of recognition for the Robes to Schools program. Supreme
Fayette County, hosted Leadership Fayette County for Court Justice Joseph P. Albright and the program were
a mock trial at the Courthouse. Chief Magistrate Mike featured in an article in the June/July issue of Reading
Parsons also talked to the students about sentencing Today, the bimonthly membership newspaper of the
drunk drivers and domestic violence offenders. The International Reading Association.
leadership program, the only one of its kind in the The article, which featured a photo of Justice
state for students, is modeled on the adult program Albright reading to students at Ellenboro Elementary
Leadership West Virginia and holds monthly School in Ritchie County, was written by Dr. Lettie K.
classes for twelve high school juniors. The program Albright. Dr. Albright is Justice Albright’s daughter,
is sponsored by the Fayette County Chamber of an associate professor in the Department of Reading at
Commerce, Fayette County Board of Education, and Texas Woman’s University, and is a specialist on Read
the Fayette County Commission. Aloud programs in middle schools.
These visits to schools by judicial officers and to a The article was accompanied by a list of Read
courthouse by students are just a sampling of those that Aloud discussion questions designed by Dr. Albright.
occurred in 2008. Teachers and students who partici- She gave the Supreme Court permission to incorpo-
pated said they were grateful for the time court officials rate that list into the Robes to Schools program when
took out of their busy schedules to spend with them, the program was launched, and the list is on the
and the educators reported that the interactions with Court’s Web site at www.state.wv.us/wvsca/kidspage/
real court officials were a very beneficial supplement to ReadAloudGuidelines.htm.
Supreme Court outreach
The Supreme Court of Appeals is committed
to improving access to the courts and improving
knowledge about the court system. The Chief Justice
writes a column in the West Virginia State Bar’s West
Virginia Lawyer magazine, and the Court makes its
rules, opinions, and other documents available on its
continually expanding Web site.
The Court in 2008 held two sessions outside of
Charleston. On March 11 it heard oral arguments
in four cases at West Virginia University’s College
of Law in Morgantown and judged the law school’s
annual Baker Cup Moot Court appellate advocacy Justice Robin Jean Davis is interviewed by Dan Ringer in the Supreme
competition. On April 15, about 570 Mercer County Court Chamber. Photo by Jennifer Bundy
high school and college students attended Supreme
Court arguments at the Mercer County Courthouse
in Princeton for LAWS, or Legal Advancement for McDowell County Courthouse in Welch. Also in Welch,
West Virginia Students. The program, which Justice the McDowell County Liberty Bell Award was presented
Robin Jean Davis began in 1998 during one of her to Judge John S. Hrko of the Twenty-Seventh Judicial
years as Chief Justice, is a partnership between the Circuit of Wyoming County.
Bar, the Court, and the community. It teaches high Justice Brent D. Benjamin was the featured speaker
school and college students about the legal system at an event celebrating the completion of Legal Aid of
and the Supreme Court. West Virginia’s 2006-2008 fund-raising campaign and
The justices also speak at events around the state. the launching of its next campaign. The luncheon was
Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard spoke January 26, held September 30 at The Summit Conference Center
2008, at the Chief Cornstalk District’s Annual in Charleston.
Recognition Dinner at the Logan Country Club, an Justice Davis was the guest on The Law Works on
event honoring Boy Scouts who attained the rank West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Host Dan Ringer, a
of Eagle Scout in 2007. Chief Justice Maynard has Morgantown attorney, interviewed her in the Supreme
been involved in Boy Scouts for more than thirty Court Chamber on a wide variety of topics. The show
years and is a former district chairman of the Mingo- aired on October 9.
Pike District and the Chief Cornstalk District. He
served on the Board of the Buckskin Council, and he The Court ended the year, as it has for the last
is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award, the highest three years, by joining with its employees at the
volunteer award in scouting. Capitol to participate in the U.S. Marine Corps’
Toys for Tots campaign.
Justices Joseph P. Albright and Larry Starcher
helped judge the Thirty-Seventh Annual William B.
Spong, Jr., Invitational Moot Court Tournament at
William and Mary School of Law
in Williamsburg, Virginia, on
February 15 and 16.
Justice Albright also was the
featured speaker at the mid-winter
meeting of the Association for
Justice on February 8 at the
Charleston Marriott and at the Law
Day Celebration on May 1 at the
The Court at West Virginia University
College of Law. Photo courtesy of the
hy spend thousands of dollars on a new
custom paint job for the Supreme Court
Chamber when a little dab of glue will do?
Supreme Court Administrative Director Steve
Canterbury and Court Clerk Rory Perry had long
discussed what to do about an unsightly patch of
peeling paint thirty feet high atop the back wall
of the Chamber. Even more troubling, the paint
was mainly missing right on an “s” of the quota-
tion from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural
address, “Firmness in the right as God gives us to
see the right.”
When a film crew which
had been using a lift to shoot
a short movie on the Court
took a break on September
18, Mr. Canterbury took the
opportunity to go up and take
a closer look. He found a pile
of paint chips sitting on a small
ledge and decided he would
attempt a repair job, piecing
those particles back into place
with tweezers and glue.
The result? Not perfec-
tion, but the tiny cracks are
not visible from the floor and
the paint is no longer peeling.
Mr. Canterbury quipped, “It’s
fulfilling to rise to the occasion
and help save the Court’s “S.”
Child Abuse and Neglect Database
featured at national conference
est Virginia’s Child Abuse and Neglect Formats of the data entry forms have been changed
Database was featured during a presenta- to improve accuracy. For example, in the old database,
tion at the Eleventh Annual National if a case included a nontraditional family, the database
Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference was restrictive in the number of entries allowed for
sponsored by the Child Welfare League of America. respondents. The new system allows for an infinite
Angela Saunders, Director of the Division of Court number of respondents per case.
Services, and Autumn Johnson, the Court’s Statistical Another revision allows all judges who work on a
Analyst, made the presentation during the conference, case to be noted, with the time period the case was on that
June 21-23, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. judge’s docket, instead of just having one judge listed.
The conference, called “Making [it] Work: Achieving The most frequent problem with the old system was
Safety, Permanency and Well-being for Youth,” blank or incomplete records. The new system will not
was attended by more than four hundred program create blank records. It also has prompts to help users enter
managers, system managers, agency administrators, and all critical information.
judges from around the nation.
The database is now a dynamic system that helps
Organizers of the Court Improvement Program’s judges manage cases better and improves statistical report-
(CIP) annual meeting attended the June presenta- ing for administrative purposes.
tion and subsequently invited the pair to participate
“During my three years at the Court, there has been
in a panel discussion at their upcoming meeting.
no higher priority than finding every way possible to keep
Saunders and Johnson returned to Washington,
West Virginia’s children as safe as possible,” said Supreme
D.C., in October of 2008 to represent West Virginia
Court Administrative Director Steve Canterbury. “This
on a panel of five states. They were asked to talk
is yet another positive development from Justice Robin
about best practices for data collection and analysis
Davis’ focus on children during her two consecutive years
in child abuse and neglect cases.
as chief justice in 2006 and 2007.”
The West Virginia Child Abuse and Neglect
Approximately 2,500 records have been entered into
Database determines how well child abuse and neglect
the database during 2008, totaling nearly 9,500 records
cases are handled in our state court system. Evaluation
populating the database at the end of two and half years
methods have been adapted from national Court
of data collection. Entries have been made for sixty circuit
Improvement Program Guidelines and West Virginia’s
judges and senior status judges.
Child Abuse and Neglect Bench Book timelines.
Evaluation is conducted quarterly and annually. The second section of the database which tracks the
progress of administrative orders also underwent a signifi-
During 2006, the West Virginia Court
cant redesign during 2008. Formerly this section focused
Improvement Program Board transferred the Child
mainly on the judicial process of these cases, with limited
Abuse and Neglect Database to an online database
outcome information if an order did not result in the filing
so the Court and the Board could better determine
of a petition. The new design collects data on all outcomes
how child abuse and neglect proceedings are handled
of the investigation, including the initiation of safety plans
in West Virginia’s judicial system. The project was
and referrals for services, as well as petition filings. These
supported by funds from the West Virginia Supreme
data create a better description of the true impact of the
Court and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of
administrative order system.
For 2008, 309 administrative order records were
The database collects detailed records of all
entered into the database. Of those records completed with
active child abuse and neglect cases in West Virginia.
investigation outcomes, eight percent resulted in the filing
Previously, data were collected on paper forms and
of a petition. However, in another thirty-six percent of the
mailed to a third party agency for data entry. The new
investigations, maltreatment was substantiated, resulting
system has reduced the time and staff needed for data
in a referral for services, initiation of a safety plan, and/or
entry and reduced errors. The data include timeliness
the opening of an on-going Child Protective Services case.
of case handling, placement, and permanency.
Child abuse and neglect overlap cases
amily courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. circuit judge disagrees, then the circuit judge may
They specialize in civil cases involving families treat the family court written referral as a petition for
such as divorce, child custody, grandparent and a writ of mandamus (Juvenile Administrative Order
sibling visitation, infant guardianship, child support, where Mandamus was issued, or JAM), requiring Child
establishment of paternity, and domestic violence Protective Services to come before the circuit judge
protective orders. to explain the delay or the failure to file a petition to
Circuit courts, however, have sole jurisdiction over terminate parental rights. Even though the family
adoption as well as child abuse and neglect cases. court judge issued the written referral, the family court
retains jurisdiction of the case on all issues until a
In some cases before family court judges, parties
petition to terminate parental rights is filed.
make allegations involving abuse and neglect, or they
may already be parties in child abuse and neglect cases Under another scenario, a third party other than
pending in circuit court. Therefore, there is some the parents may request to be the guardian of a child.
overlap of cases between the two courts. This action can originate in family court (Family Infant
Guardianship, or FIG) or circuit court (Circuit Court
Although family court judges are manda-
Infant Guardianship, or CIG). If the case originates
tory reporters of child abuse and neglect, there were
in family court and the family court judge suspects
sometimes gaps in communication between family
there has been child abuse and neglect, the family court
courts, the West Virginia Department of Health and
judge submits a written referral to Child Protective
Human Resources’ Child Protective Services, and
Services and the guardian case is removed to circuit
circuit courts about family courts’ reports of suspected
court (Circuit Court Infant Guardianship Removed, or
child abuse and neglect. To coordinate the process so
CIGR). This type of removed case stays in circuit court
there is increased protection of children, the Supreme
until completed and does not return to family court.
Court of Appeals adopted the “Overlap Rules” – Rules
48 and 48a of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Child Abuse and Neglect – in April 2006. began collecting data on abuse and neglect overlap cases
in June 2006. Statistics were simply compiled on the
Under the “Overlap Rules,” a family court judge
number of petitions filed.
who suspects child abuse and/or neglect in a pending
case issues a written referral to the local Child However, the project was expanded during 2007
Protective Services Office, with a copy to the circuit with a new Administrative Order component within
court and the local prosecuting attorney. The circuit the Child Abuse and Neglect Database. Data within
court issues a Juvenile Administrative Order (JAA) that section of the database provide more detail on
directing Child Protective Services to assess the refer- juvenile administrative orders and juvenile administra-
ral and make a written investigation report to circuit tive orders where a mandamus is issued. For more infor-
court, with a copy to family court, within forty-five mation on this project, please see the Child Abuse and
days. If Child Protective Services fails to issue a written Neglect Database section of this report.
report within forty-five days, or indicates in its written
report that filing a child
abuse and neglect petition
is not necessary and the The following petitions were filed:
Juvenile Administrative Order (JAA) 714 642
Juvenile Administrative Order where
Mandamus was issued (JAM) 5 6
Family Infant Guardianship (FIG) 741 651
Circuit Court Infant Guardianship (CIG) 460 332
Circuit Court Infant Guardianship Removed (CIGR) 48 62
n 2008, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West docketing, scheduling, calendars, sentencing, event
Virginia implemented a catastrophe avoidance management, integrated accounting, form generation,
(disaster recovery) site. This site is located outside management reporting, evidence tracking, file tracking,
the Capitol Complex, and houses court information and on-line documentation, and public Web access. The
applications. The site can provide service to court staff system will be integrated with existing state information
in case the primary site becomes unavailable, and it can systems where possible. A comprehensive security system
duplicate court data and applications. will be an integral component.
This secondary site is now operational. The The Greenbrier County Magistrate Court Office
Technology Division is still testing hardware and continues to be the beta test site for conversion to the UJA.
software needed to maintain an adequate backup site Staff in the Magistrate Clerk’s Office worked diligently
by the end of 2009. with Supreme Court Administrative Office staff to solve
The Court is implementing an improved network- the inevitable issues that come up in any pilot project.
ing structure for court-related application availability and In Greenbrier County, the UJA is now in full use as the
routing services to the fifty-five county courthouses. This active case data system, with the previous (legacy) system
new network structure will enhance availability of applica- used as a read-only supplement for research and inquiry
tion data while also maintaining security and minimizing in case data-related issues. The financial data segment of
other electronic threats. This project should be complete the Greenbrier legacy data was converted into the UJA
in 2010. in 2008.
The Unified Judicial Application, or UJA, is an While working with Greenbrier County, several
ongoing project of the Court. The Supreme Court contin- issues specific to West Virginia court processes were
ued to work with ACS Government Systems of Lexington, discovered. The Technology Division is working on
Kentucky, the primary vendor, for a third year in 2008. these issues either to reach a functional resolution or a
The UJA case management system will standardize technical solution. This will be an ongoing process as all
the processes and computer programs used in magistrate fifty-five county Magistrate Courts are brought online.
courts, family courts, circuit courts, probation, and As an enhancement to the UJA, the Supreme Court
treatment courts throughout the state. The system will in 2008 continued to implement the new technol-
have a centralized database and will allow greater access to ogy domain name and directory structure known as
court information and statistics. courtswv.gov to replace the current courtswv.org. This
The Supreme Court is committed to improving the allows computer users to identify the domain as a govern-
court system’s accountability. The UJA will provide more ment entity. All users, services, and related systems are
accurate crime statistics to the public and the Legislature, in the process of being moved to the new courtswv.gov
which will provide better information on which to base domain. Restructuring will provide more efficient and
public policy decisions. The system also will be able to timely delivery of court-related technology activity.
supply privacy-secured electronic information to public Microsoft Office Applications training, taught by
agencies, including the Division of Motor Vehicles, the a Certified Microsoft Office Master Instructor, was
State Police, the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility developed and implemented in 2008. This training is
Authority, the Department of Health and Human necessary for all magistrate court employees since the
Resources, and the Division of Corrections. terminals currently in use will be replaced with desktops
Under the UJA, all counties will have a similar that will contain the Microsoft Office Suite. The
computer system and they will be linked, so a person’s Microsoft Office training will precede UJA training and
complete activity with the court system will be quickly will be offered on a continuing basis.
available at each courthouse. The UJA also will allow Demonstrations of the UJA development were
more efficient recordkeeping of court costs and fines that presented at judicial conferences throughout the year with
are collected, and more effective auditing to ensure those additional training as needed.
collections are distributed to programs which they fund. In 2008, the centralized depot for technology
Funding is an important budget backbone for regional equipment became fully operational. The depot is an
jails, community corrections, and the state Crime Victims ordering and storage system that eases purchasing and
Compensation Fund, among others. disbursement. This allows for the standardization of
The new system also will reduce redundant data hardware and system peripherals, significantly reduces the
entry and improve efficiency by streamlining processes cost of equipment, and reduces the downtime to install
and eliminating manual tasks. The system will encompass new equipment and to replace used equipment.
State law library
he State Law Library’s primary mission is to and international legal resources. The Library’s catalog is
assist the Supreme Court of Appeals of West available online and is searchable onsite or remotely by subject,
Virginia, the statewide unified court system, author, title, keyword or phrase.
and all judicial staff in carrying out the administration In addition to resources available at the State Law
of justice. The State Law Library accomplishes this Library, the West Virginia Supreme Court partners
through the acquisition of print and electronic resources; with other state entities to provide free access to legal
creation of policies and rules for the use of these information in locations across the state. In 2004, the
resources; and the periodic review of library programs Court collaborated with the state Library Commission
and services. The Library provides access to law-related to establish ten Legal Research Centers (LRCs). These
information to the judiciary, LRCs help meet the
governmenta l agencies, needs of self-represented
the legal community, state litigants for access to legal
correctional institution information by providing
inmates, and the public. print books as well as
Special programs focus on free computer access to
assisting self-represented the Internet. The Legal
litigants with access to Research Centers of
justice and navigating the West Virginia Web site,
judicial system. http://w w w.w vlrc.org/,
Under the direction of contains information
Kaye L. Maerz, State Law to assist self-represented
Librarian, the Library is litigants in navigating the
open to the public six days a court system, researching
week to support the research legal topics, and filing
and legal information needs of judges, court personnel, court documents. LRCs are located in court libraries in
attorneys, and the public. The Library collection is Charleston, Parkersburg, Huntington, and Wheeling,
comprised of 150,000 volumes or volume equivalents, and public libraries in Beckley, Welch, Marlinton,
including print, microfiche, CD-ROM, and electronic Clarksburg, Romney, and Martinsburg.
resources. Included are an assortment of federal and state In 2007, the State Law Library, in cooperation
materials, case reporters, statutes, regulations, legislative with state agencies, began offering free informational
materials, periodicals, and government documents. A workshops to the public. These sessions cover a variety of
staff of seven professional librarians and paraprofessional law-related topics such as basic legal research, Consumer
personnel provide research and reference assistance, interli- Credit Repair, and First-Time Home Buying.
brary loans for court personnel, and a fee-based document
In 2008, the Library held workshops on Consumer
delivery service. Patrons may request legal information by
Credit Repair, Basic Legal Research, Basic Tax
phone, fax, and e-mail.
Information, Why Your Vote Counts, How To Petition for
In addition to the State Law Library, the West a Legal Name Change, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety,
Virginia court library system consists of thirty-seven Grandparents’ Rights, Preventing Identity Theft, and an
judicial circuit libraries, including six regional law libraries, informational session on the West Virginia Retirement
each staffed with a full-time local law librarian to assist Plus program for state employees.
patrons. Regional law libraries have excellent collections
Other workshops offered by the Library cover advance
of primary sources, with emphasis on West Virginia codes
medical directives, including living wills, medical powers
and regulations. Free computer access to the Internet is
of attorney, and health care proxies.
also available at these locations.
All workshops are held in the State Law Library,
The State Law Library’s Web site, http://www.state.
Building 1, Room E-404 in the East Wing of the State
wv.us/wvsca/library/menu.htm, has links to court-related
Capitol. Sessions are free to the public and registration is
resources such as West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals’
not required. For information about future workshops,
slip opinions, oral argument calendars, jury instructions, and
call the State Law Library at (304) 558-2607 or visit
general court system information. The Web site also has links
our Web site at http://www.state.wv.us/wvsca/library/
to West Virginia legal resources including the West Virginia
Code and Code of State Rules as well as other state, federal,
Supreme Court appoints compliance
commission on prison, jail conditions
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia director of the Appalachian Institute at Wheeling
voted in its Administrative Conference on December Jesuit University; Kanawha County Chief Public
9, 2008, to establish a seven-person Compliance Defender George Castelle; and Charleston lawyer
Commission on Sams v. Kirby, a November 30, 2005, Forrest Roles, who was the last special master in the Sams
Supreme Court opinion addressing the increasing v. Kirby case. Supreme Court Administrative Director
number of convicted felons held in regional jails. That Steve Canterbury is an ex-officio member.
per curiam opinion is available on the Supreme Court The panel has one full-time employee, former
Web site at http://www.state.wv.us/wvsca/Docs/ Southern Regional Jail Administrator Tom Scott, who is
Fall05/26647.htm. to start work in January 2009. He will have a court order
The Commission members are Fourteenth Judicial from the Chief Justice giving him authority to enter
Circuit Judge Jack Alsop of Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, all regional jails and correctional facilities to interview
and Webster Counties, who serves as chairman; First inmates and jail and prison staff regarding overcrowding,
Circuit Judge Martin J. Gaughan of Brooke, Hancock, availability of programs, and other related issues.
and Ohio Counties; Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Judge The Commission is expected to issue a report to the
Lawrance S. Miller, Jr., of Preston County; W. Joseph Supreme Court within the next two years, but it does not
McCoy, former corrections commissioner during the have a deadline. The report could include recommenda-
two terms of former Governor Jay Rockefeller and tions to alleviate overcrowding, a recommendation to
a retired professor at Marshall University and West appoint a special master, or recommendations for one or
Virginia Wesleyan College; Father Brian O’Donnell, more court orders.
Special judicial programs
he Special Projects Division of the Supreme Leadership Academy (DLA), presented by the American
Court Administrative Office provides Institute for Managing Diversity, to the Kanawha
administrative and advisory counsel to task Valley, and sent a delegate to participate in the Diversity
forces, boards, panels, and commissions dealing Leadership Academy of West Virginia in the fall of 2008.
primarily with social and equal justice issues; and The Special Projects Division expanded in 2008
studies and reports on comparative judicial admin- to include a Disproportionate Minority Contact
istrative policies and procedures. Coordinator, based on a recommendation of the
In 2008, the Special Projects Division continued Interim Report completed by the Task Force to Study
to serve as administrative counsel to the judiciary’s Perceived Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice
Behavioral Health Care Commissioners, remained the System. Further, the Division attended the 2008
central clearinghouse for court publications, and served as National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness
coordinator for the Supreme Court Internet Committee’s in the Courts. The Division continued — through
redesign of the state court system’s Web site. conference presentations such as “The Relevance of
The division also completed a year-long study of Diversity in the Twenty-First Century Workplace”
certain earmarked revenue distribution among America’s — in furthering the vision that West Virginia courts
Courts. The study was published by the National Center understand and embrace diversity.
for State Courts Knowledge and Information Services A lso in 2008, the Division worked under
Division in its CourTopics Database. the direction of Justice Brent D. Benjamin
The Special Projects Division started the year by toward transforming the former Task Force on
presenting “Who’s in the Cubicle Next Door? Building Self-Represented Litigants into an appointed
Community through Managing Workplace Diversity” Access to Justice Commission. The Division’s
at the Administrative Office staff retreat on January 18, director will serve as administrator, coordina-
2008. Division Director Jennifer Singletary also partici- tor, and legal counsel for the Commission.
pated in a start-up workshop intended to bring a Diversity
Liberty Bell Award given to Judge Robert J. Staker
est Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice The Liberty Bell Award is commissioned each year
Elliott E. Maynard presented the 2008 by the American Bar Association. It honors a person who
Liberty Bell Award to retired U.S. District promotes better understanding of the rule of law, encourages
Court Judge Robert J. Staker during the West Virginia a greater respect for law and the courts, stimulates a sense of
State Bar’s Past Presidents’ Dinner on May 1, 2008. civic responsibility, and contributes to good government in
Chief Justice Maynard also
swore in new members of the
State Bar Board of Governors at
the conclusion of the dinner.
Born in Kermit, Mingo
County, in 1925, Judge Staker
served in the U.S. Navy as a
radioman in the 1940s. He
earned his law degree from
the West Virginia University
College of Law in 1952.
Judge Staker had his own
private practice for more than
a decade before serving Mingo
County, first as a prosecutor
and then on the bench for ten
years as a Circuit Court Judge.
Judge Staker was nominated
by President Jimmy Carter to
the federal bench in 1979. He
served in the Southern District
of West Virginia, and earned
senior status until his retirement
in 2005. Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard, right, presents the Liberty Bell Award to retired U.S. District Judge
Upon his retirement, U.S. Robert J. Staker on May 1, 2008. Photo by Kandi Greter
Representative Nick J. Rahall, II,
said Judge Staker had “a long and distinguished history of the community. Such awards are presented as part of more
accomplishment and public service . . . [he] has committed than two hundred Law Day programs around the nation.
himself to serving the people of West Virginia as a member Annually, May 1st is Law Day.
of the legal profession.” The 2008 Law Day theme, assigned by the American
Congressman Rahall continued, “Judge Staker’s Bar Association, was “The Rule of Law: Foundation for
tenure on the federal bench was one marked by common Communities of Opportunity and Equity.” The Supreme
sense and common justice for all. It has been said that Court of Appeals of West Virginia commemorates Law Day
those who clearly recognize the voice of their own each year by bestowing the Liberty Bell award.
conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice. Tragically, Judge Staker died November 30, 2008, in
Judge Staker’s legacy on the federal court will echo the a Huntington nursing care facility. (Please see story in
voice of justice for generations to come.” “Transitions” on page 77. )
Mass Litigation Panel
T Amendments to rules governing
he Chairman of the Mass Litigation Panel is
Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats of the Nineteenth mass litigation
Circuit, comprised of Barbour and Taylor
Counties. Members of the Panel are Judge John A. On July 1, 2007, then-Chief Justice Robin Jean
Hutchison of the Tenth Judicial Circuit (Raleigh Davis directed the Mass Litigation Panel to draft
County); Judge Booker T. Stephens of the Eighth proposed rules for consideration by the Supreme
Judicial Circuit (McDowell County); Judge Jay M. Court governing mass litigation. For over a year
Hoke of the Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit (Boone the panel worked on proposed amendments to the
and Lincoln Counties); Judge Derek Swope of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure and the
Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County); and Judge West Virginia Trial Court Rules that affect cases
James P. Mazzone of the First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, referred to the Mass Litigation Panel. The panel
Hancock, and Ohio Counties). proposed substantial amendments to Trial Court
Rule 26, which governs Mass Litigation, as well
Following is a list of mass litigation referred to the as amendments to Trial Court Rule 16.05(a) and
panel, the county in which the litigation is pending, and Rules 3(a) and 5(e) of the West Virginia Rules of
the judge or judges assigned to preside in the litigation: Civil Procedure. The panel also proposed Trial
Court Rule 15, a new rule that establishes proce-
dures for electronic filing and service (“e-filing
Asbestos Personal Injury Litigation and service”) in certain mass litigation referred to
Kanawha County the panel.
Ronald C. Wilson, Presiding Judge Throughout this process, the panel was assisted
James P. Mazzone, Assisting Judge in its efforts by Supreme Court Clerk Rory Perry,
Mark A. Karl, Assisting Judge Deputy Clerk Edythe Nash, Administrative Director
Asbestos FELA Litigation Steve Canterbury, Deputy
Kanawha County Administrative Director
Arthur M. Recht, Presiding Judge Kathleen Gross, and
Jay M. Hoke, Assisting Judge attorney Kim Fields, who
was hired by the Supreme
Digitek® Litigation Court on May 1, 2008, to
Kanawha County assist the panel in central-
Alan D. Moats, Lead Presiding Judge izing management of mass
Booker T. Stephens, Presiding Judge litigation in West Virginia.
Derek C. Swope, Presiding Judge In her capacity as Mass
Flood Damage Litigation Litigation Manager, Ms.
Raleigh County Fields acts as a liaison
John M. Hutchison, Lead Presiding Judge bet ween the members
Jay M. Hoke, Presiding Judge of the panel, counsel,
Derek C. Swope, Presiding Judge the circuit clerks, other
Booker T. Stephens, Lead Resolution Judge members of the judiciary,
Alan D. Moats, Resolution Judge and court personnel.
James P. Mazzone, Resolution Judge After a period of public
comment, the panel submit-
Overweight Trucks Litigation ted its final recommenda-
Lincoln County tions regarding the proposed
Jay M. Hoke, Presiding Judge rules to the Supreme Court
Tobacco Litigation during the Fall 2008 Term
Ohio County of Court. On October 9, 2008, the Supreme Court
Arthur M. Recht, Presiding Judge entered orders adopting the panel’s proposed rule changes.
Flood litigation With the advice and consent of the panel, Judge
Moats entered an order assigning Judge Hutchison to
On September 4, 2008, the Supreme Court ordered
serve as Lead Judge presiding in all cases in all watersheds
that In re: Flood Litigation Coal River Watershed, and In
in the flood litigation, with Judge Hoke and Judge Swope
re: Flood Litigation Upper Guyandotte River Watershed
assigned to assist Judge Hutchison as Presiding Judges.
Subwatershed 2a be remanded to the Raleigh County
Judge Stephens was assigned to serve as Lead Resolution
Circuit Court and transferred to the Mass Litigation
Judge, with Judge Mazzone and Judge Moats assigned to
Panel for further proceedings by current members
assist Judge Stephens as Resolution Judges. The Litigation
of the panel. On September 17, 2008, the Supreme
Judges will provide consistent rulings on pre-trial motions
Court ordered that the flood damage cases previously
and work on moving the cases through the litigation
transferred to the Circuit Court of Raleigh County be
process. The Resolution Judges will work on resolution of
reassigned to the current members of the panel.
cases through mediation and oversee accounting of settle-
The panel held a status and scheduling conference ment proceeds.
in the flood litigation cases at the Raleigh County
In December 2008, the panel received information
Courthouse on October 7, 2008. It was the first time
it had requested from the parties to assist the panel in
all six circuit judges appointed to serve on the Mass
its management of the flood litigation. This informa-
Litigation Panel presided together on a matter.
tion was used by Raleigh County Deputy Circuit Court
During the status conference, Judge Moats told Clerk Paul Flanagan to construct a case, party, water-
attorneys that the panel plans to bring more account- shed and subwatershed matrix, which will be used by
ability across the entire system and to work together as LexisNexis, the Court’s designated e-service provider,
a panel as opposed to “a pool of six judges doing separate to implement e-filing and service in the flood litigation.
cases and going in separate directions.”
The Mass Litigation Panel holds a scheduling conference at the Raleigh County Courthouse. From left, Judge Derek C. Swope, Judge Jay M.
Hoke, Judge John M. Hutchison, Judge Alan D. Moats, Judge Booker T. Stephens, and Judge James P. Mazzone. Photo by Rick Barbero, The
The Mass Litigation Panel meets in a conference room at the Supreme Court. From left, Judge Derek C. Swope, Judge Alan D. Moats, Judge John
A. Hutchison (back to camera), attorney Kim Fields, Judge Booker T. Stephens, and Judge James P. Mazzone. Photo by Jennifer Bundy
Implementation of electronic filing Judge Moats, who sits in Taylor and Barbour Counties,
and service in Digitek® and asbestos entered the first electronically filed order and served
it on all counsels of record in the Digitek® litigation,
personal injury litigation which is pending in Kanawha County. The order was
On September 18, 2008, Chief Justice Elliott E. filed and served in a matter of minutes, instead of the
Maynard entered an order transferring all pending and days or weeks it can take using traditional methods
subsequently filed Digitek® cases in the State of West of filing and service when cases are pending in one
Virginia to the Mass Litigation Panel. The Digitek® circuit, but the presiding judge is located in another
Litigation is a product liability litigation concerning the circuit.
heart medication, digoxin.
A prime example of the time and cost-savings
Shortly after these cases were transferred to the to be gained by e-filing and service is in the asbestos
panel, in accordance with new Trial Court Rule 15, personal injury litigation. First Circuit Judge Ronald
the panel determined that it was appropriate for the E. Wilson sits in Hancock County, but presides in
Digitek® litigation as well as certain trial groups in the
asbestos personal injury litiga-
tion to be subject to e-filing
and service. On November 3,
2008, the panel entered orders
causing these cases to be subject
to e-filing and service begin-
ning December 8, 2008.
The Digitek® litigation is
the first mass litigation to be
managed by the panel from
the beginning using e-filing
and service. On December 8,
Clockwise from left: Kanawha County
Clerk Cathy Gatson, Susan Barnes of
LexisNexis, Mass Litigation Manager
Kim Fields, and Kanawha County
Clerk’s Office employees Rhonda
Cavender, Darla Hodges, and Carlye
Barnette next to the equipment used
to enter electronic orders. Photo by
the asbestos p e r s o n a l
injury litigation, which
is pending in Kanawha
County Circuit Court.
Yet, Judge Wilson is able to
enter hundreds of orders in
the asbestos personal injury
litigation in a fraction of the
time it previously took using
traditional methods of filing
“Electronic filing and
service will benefit the
court system, attorneys,
and parties alike,” said
Judge Moats. “Online clerk
and judicial review of filed
documents will improve
court operations, while the
online document deposi-
tory will improve access to
filed documents for everyone.”
E-filing and service
is a welcome change for
Kanawha County Circuit
Clerk Cathy Gatson, whose
office manages the filings in
both the Digitek® litigation
and the asbestos personal
injury litigation. “E-filing
and service will save time
and allow our office to
manage large numbers of
filings electronically,” said
Ms. Gatson. “Mass litigation
has created huge numbers
of documents that currently require countless hours to
manage. E-filing and service will significantly improve Mass Litigation Panel Web page
that process.” With the assistance of Supreme Court Clerk
E-filing doesn’t just provide a quicker, more Rory Perry and Mass Litigation Manager Kim Fields,
efficient way to exchange information in the judicial the Mass Litigation Panel now has a Web page that is
system. According to Tobias Hartmann, vice president maintained on the Supreme Court’s Web site. The
and managing director of File & Serve for LexisNexis, panel’s Web page contains recent administrative orders
“The courts and law firms that have implemented File entered by the Supreme Court on motions to refer
& Serve have demonstrated that they can improve their mass litigation to the panel, recent orders of the panel,
efficiency and significantly lower costs while dramati- forms created to assist the judiciary and counsel in
cally reducing the consumption of paper, energy, and their management of mass litigation, and other forms
pollution at a time when our planet requires more of complex litigation as well as contact information for
responsible management of natural resources.” members of the panel and Ms. Fields.
est Virginia’s fourth adult drug court Participants undergo
program opened in 2008, as the state substance abuse treatment
judicial system continued to focus on and are heavily supervised
innovative ways to provide justice to citizens. by probation officers, law
The Southwestern Regional Drug Court, the enforcement, and the drug
administering circuit judge of which is rotated yearly, court. If needed, they
opened on November 14, 2008. It operates in Lincoln, may also undergo treat-
Logan, and Boone Counties for felony offenders and ment for mental illnesses.
misdemeanor offenders on appeal. Participants may be forced
to repeat certain phases of
Judge William Thompson of the Twenty-Fifth
the program if they have
Judicial Circuit, encompassing Boone and Lincoln
positive drug screens or if
Counties, and Judges Roger Perry and Eric O’Briant
they refuse to cooperate.
of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Logan County,
The supervising judge may
oversee the program. Logan County Chief Probation
impose jail time if he or
Officer Charles Brown, Boone/Lincoln County Chief
she feels it is therapeuti-
Probation Officer Jerry Swanson, and Drug Court
cally necessary to make
Coordinator Mary McCoy also staff the regional
a participant follow the
program, which is expected to expand to include
protocol and be success-
juvenile drug courts in 2009.
ful in drug court.
The Northern Panhandle Drug Court, West
Treatment courts are needed. The U. S .
Virginia’s first, serves Brooke, Hancock, Ohio,
Department of Justice reported at the end of 2003
Marshall, and Wetzel Counties. The Southern
that fifty-five percent of f e dera l pr i soner s were
Regional Drug Court serves Mercer, McDowell,
drug offenders and twenty percent of adults in state
Monroe, Summers, and Wyoming Counties. The
prisons were drug law violators. A June 2003 survey of
West Central Drug Court serves Wood, Wirt,
West Virginia’s regional jails indicated that forty-one
Pleasants, Ritchie, and Doddridge Counties.
percent of inmates said they had abused substances.
Juvenile Drug Courts also operate in Cabell and
Statewide, 8.8 percent of all delinquency offenses in 2005
were for drug-related charges.
Adult drug courts in West Virginia may serve those
Drug courts, mental health courts, and other
who have been charged with non-violent misdemeanor
problem-solving courts can reduce crime by address-
or felony offenses, pled guilty or been found guilty of
ing the underlying problem of substance abuse. Rather
non-violent misdemeanors and felonies and who were
than only punish drug offenders, drug court programs
motivated to commit those crimes due to a substance
try to help them overcome the problems that led them
abuse addiction, or are probation violators due to
to commit crimes. The hope is that they will lead better,
substance abuse or addiction. The local planning team
happier lives as productive, contributing citizens and
selects whether the drug court will operate as pre-plea,
commit no more crimes.
post-plea, post-conviction, probation violation, or a
combination of these depending upon local need and There are now more than 2,100 drug courts in the
program resources. United States, with at least one in every state. Drug
courts have been proven effective; that’s why their
Most West Virginia drug courts are operating as
number has grown so dramatically since the first opened
post-plea and probation violation drug courts. People
in Miami, Florida, in 1989. Although drug courts can
can volunteer for the programs to reduce or avoid jail
cost an average of $3,000 per client, they can save a state
and prison sentences, if a judge so orders. Prosecutors
$11,000 to $22,000 per person not incarcerated.
must approve referrals made to the drug courts, and
each participant must be evaluated as a low to moderate With a decade of research supporting the effective-
risk to be released into the community. People who have ness of adult drug treatment courts, such programs are
been charged with sex crimes or crimes in which a child now recognized as an important strategy to improve
was the victim are not eligible. substance-abuse treatment outcomes and reduce crime.
Justice Brent D. Benjamin (far left), Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard (fourth from left), and Mercer County Circuit Judge William J. Sadler,
(fourth from right), pose with January 2008 graduates of the Southern Regional Drug Court. Photo courtesy of Laura Helton
Treatment courts produce greater cost benefits than percent for drug court graduates), compared to
other strategies that address criminal activity related forty-one percent for similar drug offenders who did
to substance abuse and addiction that bring individ- not participate in a treatment court program (Carey,
uals into the criminal justice system (GAO February Finigan, Crumpton, & Waller, 2006). A long-term
2005 report). study of the Multnomah County Drug Court in
Since 2005, research has continued to show the Portland, Oregon, found that crime was reduced by
efficacy and cost-effectiveness of drug courts. Four thirty percent over five years, and effects on crime
independent meta-analyses concluded drug courts were still detectable fourteen years from the time of
significantly reduce crime rates an average of seven to arrest (Finigan, Carey, & Cox, 2007).
fourteen percentage points. (Aos, Miller, & Drake, Resolutions endorsing drug courts have been
2006; Lowenkamp, Holsinger, & Latessa, 2005; endorsed by the Conference of Chief Justices, the
Shaffer, 2006; Wilson, Mitchell, & MacKenzie, 2006). Conference of State Court Administrators, the
In a meta-analysis, scientists statistically average the National District Attorneys Association, the National
effects of the program over numerous research studies. Sheriffs Association, the International Association
Some studies have shown even greater effects on of Chiefs of Police, and the National Association of
crime. A study of nine adult drug courts in California County Organizations.
reported re-arrest rates over a four-year period were
twenty-nine percent for drug court clients (seventeen
Roster of Circuit Court Judges
West Virginia Circuits/Counties
2 Wetzel Monongalia
17 18 Morgan
16 Preston 23
Harrison Hampshire Jefferson
15 19 21
4 Barbour Tucker 22
Wirt Lewis Hardy
6 Clay Webster
13 Nicholas Pocahontas
Wayne 25 12
Boone Fayette 11
30 27 10
Wyoming Summers Monroe
1st Judicial Circuit 10th Judicial Circuit 19th Judicial Circuit 28th Judicial Circuit
Martin J. Gaughan Robert A. Burnside, Jr. Alan D. Moats Gary L. Johnson
James P. Mazzone John A. Hutchison
Arthur M. Recht H.L. Kirkpatrick III 20th Judicial Circuit 29th Judicial Circuit
Ronald E. Wilson John L. Henning N. Edward Eagloski, II
11th Judicial Circuit O.C. Spaulding
2nd Judicial Circuit Joseph C. Pomponio, Jr. 21st Judicial Circuit
Mark A. Karl James J. Rowe Andrew N. Frye, Jr. 30th Judicial Circuit
John T. Madden Philip B. Jordan Michael Thornsbury
12th Judicial Circuit
3rd Judicial Circuit Paul M. Blake, Jr. 22nd Judicial Circuit 31st Judicial Circuit
Robert L. Holland, Jr. John W. Hatcher, Jr. Donald H. Cookman Robert A. Irons
Jerry D. Moore
4th Judicial Circuit 13th Judicial Circuit (Appointed December 19, 2008)
J.D. Beane Jennifer Bailey
Jeffrey B. Reed Irene C. Berger 23rd Judicial Circuit
Robert A. Waters Louis H. “Duke” Bloom Gina M. Groh
Tod J. Kaufman David H. Sanders
5th Judicial Circuit Charles E. King Gray Silver, III
Thomas C. Evans, III (Retired October 16, 2008) Thomas W. Steptoe, Jr.
David W. Nibert James C. Stucky Christopher C. Wilkes
Paul Zakaib Jr.
6th Judicial Circuit 24th Judicial Circuit
John L. Cummings 14th Judicial Circuit Darrell Pratt
Alfred E. Ferguson Jack Alsop James H. Young, Jr.
(Retired October 31, 2008) Richard A. Facemire (Took bench December 9, 2008)
Dan P. O’Hanlon
F. Jane Hustead 15th Judicial Circuit 25th Judicial Circuit
(Took bench November 1, 2008) Thomas A. Bedell Jay M. Hoke
David M. Pancake J. Lewis Marks, Jr. William S. Thompson
James A. Matish
7th Judicial Circuit 26th Judicial Circuit
Eric H. O’Briant 16th Judicial Circuit Thomas H. Keadle
Roger L. Perry Fred L. Fox, II
David R. Janes 27th Judicial Circuit
8th Judicial Circuit John S. Hrko
Rudolph J. Murensky, II 17th Judicial Circuit
Booker T. Stephens Russell M. Clawges, Jr.
Robert B. Stone
9th Judicial Circuit
Omar J. Aboulhosn 18th Judicial Circuit
(Appointed December 5, 2008) Lawrance S. Miller, Jr.
William J. Sadler
Derek C. Swope
Circuit Court Civil Cases Filed in the Calendar Year 2008
W est Virginia’s fifty-five counties are divided
into thirty-one circuits with sixty-nine judges.
The circuits vary in size; one has seven judges
while nine have one judge each. While every county has a
courthouse where a judge presides, a single circuit can be
Circuit courts receive appeals from magistrate
courts, municipal courts, and all administrative agencies
except from the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Workers’ compensation appeals go directly to the
Supreme Court of Appeals.
comprised of up to four counties. Circuit courts also can hear appeals of family court
Each judge has a law clerk, a secretary, and a rulings, but both parties can agree to appeal domes-
court reporter. tic relations decisions directly to the Supreme Court.
The circuit courts are trial courts of record. They Additionally, circuit judges receive recommended orders
have jurisdiction over all civil cases in which more than from judicial officers who hear mental health hygiene
$300 is at issue; all cases on equity; proceedings in and juvenile matters.
habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, certiorari; and In 2008, a total of 50,099 cases were filed in West
all felonies and misdemeanors. Virginia’s circuit courts. Of that, 32,881 filings were
civil cases, 9,364 were criminal cases, and 7,854 were
Circuit Court Juvenile Cases Filed in 2008
Circuit Court Criminal Cases Filed in 2008
Circuit Court Criminal Cases Filed Circuit Court Juvenile Cases Filed
in the Calendar Year 2008 in the Calendar Year 2008
Circuit Court County Filings
* Lincoln County did not report Circuit Court filings for 2000.
The decrease in total filings in 2002 is attributed to the creation of new Family Courts in January 2002. Before 2002, the
family law master system caseload appeared on the Circuit Court caseload. Please refer to Page 60 for the Family Court
caseload. In 2003, the total Circuit Court caseload included Family Court appeals.
Roster of Family Court Judges
2008 Family Court Circuits
19 Preston 23
Taylor 21 Hampshire Jefferson
Wood 3 Ritchie
Lewis 22 Hardy
Jackson Calhoun 17 Upshur
M. Drew Crislip
Cabell 26 16
11 Nicholas Pocahontas David P. Born
7 10 Boone Fayette
James Jeffrey Culpepper
Mingo Logan 14 21st Circuit
8 13 15 Beth Longo
Wyoming Summers Monroe
Anthony Bisaha 22nd Circuit
(Took office September 4, 2008) Jaymie Godwin Wilfong
McDowell 12 Mary Ellen Griffith
Edwin B. Wiley 23rd Circuit
(Retired July 1, 2008) Charles E. Parsons
7th Circuit 13th Circuit 24th Circuit
1st Circuit H. Suzanne McGraw Sally G. Jackson
R. Stephen Lewis
Joyce Dumbaugh Louise G. Staton William T. Wertman Jr.
Chernenko 8th Circuit
William F. Sinclair Robert D. Calfee 14th Circuit 25th Circuit
Janet Frye Steele Roy David Arrington
2nd Circuit 9th Circuit
Robert C. Hicks Kelly Gilmore Codispoti 15th Circuit 26th Circuit
David M. Sanders William M. Watkins, III
3rd Circuit 10th Circuit
Annette L. Fantasia Cynthia J. Jarrell 16th Circuit
C. Darren Tallman Timothy R. Ruckman
4th Circuit Mike Kelly 17th Circuit
Larry S. Whited Robert M. Montgomery Robert Reed Sowa
Jane Charnock Smallridge
D. Mark Snyder
Deloris J. Nibert
Ronald E. Anderson
Court realignment, additions
he Supreme Court of Appeals hired the approved a bill adding six circuit judges within existing
National Center for State Courts to conduct circuit boundaries, and sent the bill to Governor Joe
two separate weighted caseload studies of the Manchin, III who vetoed it.
work of circuit judges and family court judges in 2006 However, during the 2008 session, lawmakers
in preparation for the 2007 legislative session. approved a bill adding circuit judge positions to the
The study of circuit judges found that each judge Ninth, Twenty-Second, and Twenty-Fourth Circuits. The
in twenty of the thirty-one circuits was doing the work governor appointed the three new judges in December.
of more than one full-time judge. Those in the eleven The National Center for State Courts’ study of
remaining circuits averaged the equivalent of more than family court judge workloads showed that all of the
nine-tenths of a full judge day. Most of those judges family court judges were working over the normal full
preside in the most rural parts of West Virginia where judge-day workload. The Center’s study indicated West
their drives between courthouses can be tortuous, a full- Virginia needed an additional twenty-two family court
day’s work in themselves. judges to work with the existing thirty-five.
The work of the Mass Litigation Panel was not With the assistance of the Supreme Court
included in the work study, nor were the myriad other Administrative Office – and especially the help of
extracurricular tasks that are required of judges in West Legislative Analyst Tina Sevy, Administrative Counsel
Virginia. When those are taken into account, it is clear Kirk Brandfass, and Administrative Director Steve
that circuit judges in West Virginia routinely work ten-, Canterbury – the Legislature in 2007 rearranged family
eleven-, even twelve-hour days. court circuit boundaries, created a new family court
The West Virginia Judicial Association circuit, and added ten family court judges, giving relief
reviewed the National Center’s report and 1 to a total of sixteen circuits. Governor Manchin signed
recommended adding ten circuit judges within Brooke that bill.
existing circuit boundaries. The Supreme Ohio The new family court judges will take office and the
Court approved that recommendation and new boundaries will go into effect on January 1, 2009. The
sent it, along with the National Center’s new family court circuits are reflected in the map below.
report, to the Legislature in December Marshall
2006. The Legislature in early 2007
2 Wetzel Monongalia
Mineral 23 24
Pleasants 18 Harrison Taylor
Ritchie Barbour Grant
Lewis 22 Hardy
17 Upshur Randolph 25
6 26 Clay Webster
Kanawha 16 27
7 11 Pocahontas
8 9 Raleigh
13 15 Family Court Circuits
Wyoming Summers Monroe
Family Court Caseload in Calendar Year 2008
efore 2001, West Virginia had thirty-three Family courts have jurisdiction over divorce, annul-
family law masters who served twenty-four ment, separate maintenance, paternity, grandparent visita-
family court circuits. Family law masters were tion, name change, infant guardianship, child custody,
special commissioners the governor appointed to hear and family support proceedings, except those incidental
family court cases and to issue recommended orders to to child abuse and neglect. Family court judges also hold
circuit courts. A constitutional amendment approved final hearings in civil domestic violence protective order
by voters in November 2000 elevated family courts to a proceedings and may perform marriages.
separate court system with thirty-five judges in twenty- In 2008, there were 35,366 new cases filed in family
six circuits. courts in West Virginia. Of those, 15,290 were domestic
The governor appointed the first family court violence, 11,768 were divorces, and 8,308 were other
judges to one-year terms. They then stood for domestic relations. There also were 10,539 modification
election in partisan races in 2002 and took office for and contempt proceedings in cases reopened during the
initial six-year terms in January 2003. Subsequent year, which were not counted as new cases filed. Those
terms beginning January 1, 2009, will be for eight proceedings accounted for 23 percent of the family court
years, the same as terms of circuit judges. During judges’ statewide workload.
the 2007 legislative session, the Legislature added Family court judges can refer parents to mediation
ten additional family court judges, one additional and parent education and refer children for guardian
circuit, and restructured nine circuits to balance ad litem services. The Supreme Court does not charge
caseloads statewide. The new judges were elected on families who cannot afford to pay for these services.
November 4, 2008, and are to begin their eight-year
Guardians ad litem must be attorneys and conduct
terms on January 1, 2009.
investigations to help family court judges make decisions
Family court judges have authority to make final in the best interest of the people the guardians represent.
decisions in family court cases. Circuit courts hear Family court judges can appoint guardians ad litem
appeals of family court decisions unless both parties on behalf of children, incarcerated persons, and
agree to appeal divorce and other domestic relations people who have been adjudicated incompetent who
decisions directly to the Supreme Court of Appeals. are involved in family court disputes.
Family court judges require all parents to attend
mediation sessions if they cannot otherwise resolve
Family Court Division
parenting issues or agree to a parenting plan. Parents The Division of Family Court Services held the
first go to individual pre-mediation screening sessions first Domestic Violence Firearms Summit in 2008. The
with a trained family case coordinator to determine “Coordinated Community Response to Enforcement of
if they are candidates for mediation. About twenty Domestic Violence Protective Orders and Prohibition”
percent of parents are not candidates for mediation for was held September 23 and 24 at Tamarack in Beckley.
various reasons. More than ninety participants from law enforcement,
the judiciary, domestic violence advocacy groups, and
If parents go to mediation, they must attend a
Legal Aid learned in detail about federal and state
mediation session with a Supreme Court-approved
firearms laws, and how to work together to implement
family court mediator who helps them draft a parenting
them so there can be better enforcement of protective
plan to present to a family court judge.
orders in West Virginia. The format of the summit will
Along with mediation, family court judges order be used in a series of regional meetings around West
parents who are divorcing to attend a one-time, manda- Virginia in April 2009.
tory parent education class. Every West Virginia county
The summit was the resu lt of Fa mi ly Court
offers such classes. Adults learn about preparing a
Division Director Lisa Tackett’s participation
parenting plan, mediation, and the effects of family
in a September 2006 conference i n L o s A n g ele s ,
dissolution and domestic violence on children. The class
“Domestic Violence and Firearms: A National Summit
teaches parents how to minimize the negative effects of
for Community Safety.” Ms. Tackett, Tonia Thomas of the
divorce and family dissolution on children.
West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and
In 2007 the Supreme Court approved an expan- Larry Nelson of the West Virginia Regional C o m m u n i t y
sion of “high-conflict” parent education classes and Po l i c i n g Institute came back to West Virginia with
in September 2008 the Court launched child-focused information about how to present similar meetings
classes for parents who are divorcing. These classes are and how to apply for a grant to “Encourage Arrest and
designed for parents who continue to have disputes Enforcement of Protective Orders” from the Office on
after attending the mandatory one-time parent educa- Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.
tion class required of all divorcing couples who have
The Supreme Court of Appeals wrote a grant
children. Family courts refer select couples to the series
proposal, which included a memorandum of under-
of six, two-hour classes.
standing signed by the Court, the West Virginia State
Police, the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the
West Virginia Regional Community Policing Institute,
and the West Virginia Division of Criminal Justice
Services. The $815,000 grant, which the Supreme
Court received, was used to purchase technology for a
Domestic Violence Registry and money to hire a staff
to run it. It also provided funding for training in its
use and funding for a series of firearms summits. The
Court hopes to launch the Domestic Violence Registry
in 2009. The grant also provides funding for ten circuit
judges, ten family court judges, and ten magistrates to
attend national training on domestic violence.
Also in 2008, the Family Court Division focused
on ensuring that there will be courtrooms and offices
for the ten new family court judges who are to take
office on January 1, 2009.
Family Court County Filings
Family Court County Filings
CY 2002 - 2008
County 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
Barbour 236 244 247 184 138 141 244
Berkeley 1,740 1,728 1,814 1,803 1,722 1,603 1,569
Boone 553 645 621 605 663 610 608
Braxton 209 208 235 220 233 243 282
Brooke 300 318 304 344 332 308 323
Cabell 2,483 2,475 2,454 2,388 2,328 2,440 2,341
Calhoun 147 113 119 142 174 158 130
Clay 249 258 325 326 282 243 288
Doddridge 117 121 124 142 133 125 126
Fayette 1,039 933 1,030 946 990 897 981
Gilmer 122 86 126 66 50 58 123
Grant 192 186 180 250 127 191 121
Greenbrier 685 593 640 685 713 736 630
Hampshire 307 308 282 279 333 254 276
Hancock 456 519 595 443 388 516 505
Hardy 230 264 276 289 257 247 218
Harrison 1,282 1,263 1,354 1,268 1,187 1,181 1,092
Jackson 446 560 456 487 457 419 472
Jefferson 736 768 752 775 826 783 677
Kanawha 4,244 4,153 4,302 4,741 4,270 4,418 4,375
Lewis 282 265 276 233 285 241 283
Lincoln 417 474 528 549 511 631 550
Logan 1,156 1,052 1,185 1,283 1,210 1,192 1,225
Marion 920 858 843 849 836 901 842
Marshall 554 513 448 526 465 547 461
Mason 433 529 562 474 524 461 480
McDowell 622 684 781 3,220 817 804 788
Mercer 1,724 1,834 1,894 1,943 1,830 1,644 1,691
Mineral 467 507 403 362 380 407 426
Mingo 874 1,025 1,061 1,125 1,119 1,097 1,157
Monongalia 1,235 1,208 1,171 1,183 1,228 1,150 1,110
Monroe 303 329 295 289 298 233 222
Morgan 212 186 223 218 274 226 249
Nicholas 521 507 518 471 495 457 460
Ohio 678 620 731 717 1,386 659 674
Pendleton 96 78 95 87 56 58 60
Pleasants 105 131 156 129 108 109 136
Pocahontas 182 172 214 221 211 184 183
Preston 600 554 523 514 559 521 499
Putnam 930 957 904 946 923 890 871
Raleigh 1,637 1,594 1,669 1,617 1,529 1,319 1,637
Randolph 560 552 511 505 428 500 502
Ritchie 174 148 156 185 145 189 228
Roane 357 300 362 305 329 278 319
Summers 252 270 305 284 246 445 221
Taylor 217 241 221 214 169 199 178
Tucker 100 77 81 99 92 98 124
Tyler 117 151 136 132 145 147 154
Upshur 308 347 343 312 339 357 397
Wayne 676 776 780 821 840 909 800
Webster 230 243 237 193 238 206 179
Wetzel 264 279 230 248 222 290 273
Wirt 90 106 131 103 114 117 131
Wood 1,633 1,633 1,607 1,647 1,524 1,420 1,506
Wyoming 667 763 663 793 746 661 768
TOTAL 35,366 35,706 36,479 39,180 36,224 35,118 35,165
very time a defendant pays court costs on
criminal violations in West Virginia, a portion
goes to a Court Security Fund, managed by the
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and the West
Virginia Division of Criminal Justice Services through
the Court Security Board. The Board, by statute,
is chaired by the Supreme Court’s Administrative
Director. For violations in magistrate court, the amount
of court costs dedicated to the fund is five dollars. A
substantial amount of money is thereby created which
pays for crucial security needs in county after county.
In 2008, $1 million in grants was given to twenty-
four county commissions for the purpose of enhanc-
ing the security of county court facilities and to the
Supreme Court for training court bailiffs. Grant funds
vary each year.
The following awards
were made in 2008:
Berkeley County Commission $ 14,740
Boone County Commission 37,718
Brooke County Commission 16,355
Calhoun County Commission 4,350
Clay County Commission 62,767
Greenbrier County Commission 123,441
Hampshire County Commission 70,650
Harrison County Commission 27,239
Jackson County Commission 5,816
Kanawha County Commission 32,400
Lewis County Commission 18,927
Lincoln County Commission 7,566
Logan County Commission 89,002
Marion County Commission 9,621
Mercer County Commission 32,346
Monongalia County Commission 14,175
Morgan County Commission 54,000
Preston County Commission 89,487
Putnam County Commission 65,025
Roane County Commission 7,740
Upshur County Commission 58,815
Wetzel County Commission 38,570
Wood County Commission 10,350
West Virginia Supreme Court 108,900
Magistrates run for four-year terms
in partisan elections. They do not have
to be lawyers.
Circuit judges appoint magistrates to
fill vacancies. An appointee who wishes
to remain in office must run in the next
A county-by-county list of magis-
trates in West Virginia, along with
their office telephone numbers and fax
numbers, is available on the Supreme
Court Web site at http://www.state.
here are 158 magistrates in West Virginia.
There are at least two magistrates in every That Web site page also has a list of blank magistrate
county, and ten in the largest county, Kanawha court forms that can be downloaded and printed for the
County. Magistrates issue arrest and search warrants, public’s use, rules governing media coverage of magis-
hear misdemeanor cases, conduct preliminary examina- trate court proceedings, a copy of the “West Virginia
tions in felony cases, and hear civil cases with $5,000 or Benchbook for Domestic Violence Proceedings,” and a
less in dispute. Magistrates also issue emergency protec- domestic violence brochure, among other information.
tive orders in cases involving domestic violence. Circuit
courts hear appeals of magistrate court cases.
Magistrate Court Case Filings
CY 1999 - 2008
Criminal Special Total for
County and Civil Proceedings 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999
Barbour 1,820 324 2,144 2,106 2,207 2,100 2,517 2,988 2,119 2,213 2,453 2,550
Berkeley 18,928 3,158 22,086 20,464 17,820 17,284 19,480 18,768 18,983 20,515 21,667 15,869
Boone 4,556 753 5,309 5,903 5,723 6,142 6,394 5,515 5,061 5,227 4,949 5,395
Braxton 2,781 407 3,188 3,711 3,894 3,944 4,072 3,901 5,004 4,579 4,469 4,287
Brooke 2,493 455 2,948 3,136 3,925 3,992 4,111 3,217 3,158 4,628 4,037 3,914
Cabell 15,487 3,001 18,488 20,355 20,169 21,333 23,391 21,150 19,624 19,164 21,481 22,795
Calhoun 826 96 922 765 773 958 926 839 1,079 933 1,085 869
Clay 1,526 187 1,713 2,534 2,526 2,352 2,500 2,027 1,951 2,628 2,817 3,158
Doddridge 970 135 1,105 1,973 1,276 1,097 1,376 1,346 1,198 1,479 1,801 1,603
Fayette 7,063 1,055 8,118 7,191 7,744 7,851 8,949 7,970 8,476 10,026 11,306 12,095
Gilmer 651 152 803 1,029 1,102 999 699 938 900 1,211 1,165 1,005
Grant 2,120 265 2,385 2,479 2,454 2,743 1,969 1,865 2,501 3,146 3,013 2,382
Greenbrier 4,486 477 4,963 5,053 6,699 6,085 6,715 6,055 6,542 6,560 6,867 7,411
Hampshire 4,274 491 4,765 5,778 6,079 5,808 5,233 4,598 3,807 3,573 3,959 3,254
Hancock 3,496 518 4,014 4,040 3,889 3,801 3,972 4,207 4,672 4,543 4,780 4,226
Hardy 3,156 327 3,483 3,234 4,038 4,364 4,473 3,668 3,730 4,319 4,248 2,943
Harrison 10,761 1,589 12,350 12,725 12,621 12,020 13,322 15,719 14,508 17,911 19,915 19,337
Jackson 3,466 524 3,990 4,483 4,528 4,754 5,118 4,116 3,585 3,890 4,740 5,803
Jefferson 6,587 1,153 7,740 10,531 15,734 10,962 10,578 9,545 8,227 10,985 9,498 10,189
Kanawha 38,960 5,842 44,802 50,477 39,710 41,920 40,458 34,955 39,289 43,690 50,598 46,573
Lewis 4,100 206 4,306 5,399 5,177 4,729 5,611 6,417 5,232 5,314 8,250 8,674
Lincoln 4,074 621 4,695 4,171 3,666 3,314 3,542 3,232 2,773 3,602 3,074 3,465
Logan 9,050 1,299 10,349 11,995 12,133 11,526 11,653 8,768 8,584 9,811 9,740 2,101
Marion 6,347 1,081 7,428 8,035 7,870 7,259 7,716 7,396 8,750 9,533 11,168 11,084
Marshall 3,610 737 4,347 5,153 5,052 4,972 4,751 4,691 6,854 5,915 6,537 6,351
Mason 4,141 594 4,735 5,418 4,530 4,194 5,222 4,005 4,853 5,795 5,729 4,541
McDowell 4,858 1,176 6,034 5,896 5,064 5,732 5,358 5,156 4,373 4,607 4,902 4,713
Mercer 12,141 2,614 14,755 16,942 18,628 20,545 18,802 17,442 21,585 18,232 19,466 18,863
Mineral 4,228 410 4,638 4,574 4,860 4,896 4,824 3,992 3,160 3,437 4,005 3,808
Mingo 6,168 1,315 7,483 7,204 6,061 6,561 5,384 4,363 5,529 5,229 5,598 4,626
Monongalia 12,059 1,450 13,509 13,889 12,970 11,919 13,048 12,298 12,660 14,244 14,800 13,799
Monroe 1,014 341 1,355 1,340 1,334 1,263 1,362 1,499 1,425 1,572 1,736 1,307
Morgan 3,106 206 3,312 3,236 3,221 4,141 3,946 3,670 3,731 3,897 3,008 3,400
Nicholas 5,810 1,458 7,268 6,775 7,657 7,665 7,112 6,409 7,618 8,022 8,683 8,448
Ohio 5,843 883 6,726 7,742 8,862 8,596 10,376 9,861 9,024 9,469 10,715 13,571
Pendleton 831 70 901 727 1,082 1,200 1,279 1,347 1,607 1,921 1,714 1,659
Pleasants 1,159 98 1,257 1,407 1,340 1,195 1,369 1,523 1,438 1,366 1,395 1,147
Pocahontas 1,345 145 1,490 1,950 2,592 1,444 2,159 1,849 1,929 2,445 2,321 2,186
Preston 5,048 573 5,621 5,392 5,909 5,788 5,288 5,481 6,605 5,699 6,409 5,833
Putnam 7,887 846 8,733 8,696 9,641 9,428 10,545 9,557 9,121 9,254 9,544 9,467
Raleigh 14,854 2,254 17,108 18,680 19,937 19,490 21,827 20,676 24,312 24,923 25,121 27,721
Randolph 6,297 602 6,899 6,591 5,845 6,877 7,069 7,592 6,943 8,139 8,390 7,742
Ritchie 3,008 160 3,168 3,850 3,665 3,477 3,287 2,548 2,731 3,386 2,917 2,041
Roane 2,695 374 3,069 3,507 3,518 3,310 3,393 2,683 2,940 3,939 4,340 4,679
Summers 1,560 228 1,788 2,053 1,904 1,780 1,786 1,606 2,140 2,365 2,332 1,798
Taylor 1,861 260 2,121 2,378 2,173 1,866 1,852 1,955 2,243 2,235 2,616 2,753
Tucker 903 93 996 1,138 1,141 1,395 1,469 1,275 1,311 1,549 1,601 1,419
Tyler 957 84 1,041 1,024 1,138 1,034 1,148 1,003 1,186 1,035 1,135 1,082
Upshur 4,096 272 4,368 5,159 5,235 5,771 6,087 6,758 5,705 5,752 7,381 6,320
Wayne 4,953 752 5,705 5,264 5,894 6,983 9,298 7,956 5,815 5,623 6,398 5,362
Webster 1,432 182 1,614 1,559 1,533 1,297 1,666 1,589 1,222 1,363 1,477 1,106
Wetzel 1,763 183 1,946 1,576 1,861 1,884 1,434 1,601 1,684 1,620 1,476 1,734
Wirt 995 59 1,054 959 1,176 917 1,021 998 805 1,108 1,278 1,128
Wood 18,210 1,456 19,666 20,873 17,835 16,001 14,068 12,622 13,338 12,671 11,843 12,504
Wyoming 2,510 965 3,475 3,574 3,667 3,987 3,917 3,889 4,362 4,616 3,832 3,769
TOTAL 303,320 44,956 348,276 372,093 367,082 362,945 374,922 347,094 358,002 380,908 405,779 385,859
Caroline Stoker: a dedicated and passionate
court employee for almost four decades
A bounced check and a chance meeting with a
justice of the peace in 1970 led Caroline Stoker
to a job she loves — a job she has helped change
over the last thirty-eight years, a job that has allowed
her to work with every magistrate court employee in
launched the system state-
wide. Ms. Stoker was then
asked to train the other
magistrate clerks, since
she had helped develop
West Virginia. the system and knew the
“I have just loved this job from day one,” said Ms. program so well.
Stoker, the Monongalia County Magistrate Clerk. “I loved to travel, I
She has been a clerk for the past thirty-two years, one knew them all, and they
of the first hired when the Legislature approved the would call me if they had
Magistrate Act of 1976, which replaced West Virginia’s a problem or question. So
justice of the peace system. Before that, she was a secre- because of the relationship I
tary for a justice of the peace in Monongalia County. had established with them,
“If it wasn’t for receiving a bad check, I would have the court decided I would
never fallen into this job,” she said. be the trainer,” she said.
Ms. Stoker had been a secretary for a contractor, but Over the years, she has
the company went out of business, and her last paycheck trained magistrate staff in
bounced. So a friend suggested she go see the justice of all fifty-five counties.
the peace to get her money. When she did, that justice “Caroline has been there
of the peace asked what line of work she did. Then he for such a long time, she has
told her he needed a secretary, and she took the job. a good rapport with these
In 1976, newly elected Monongalia Circuit Judge people,” said Janie Moore,
Larry Starcher offered Ms. Stoker the new job of magis- who was a Kanawha County
trate clerk. She had planned on being a magistrate assis- Magistrate from 1984 until
tant, but after some persuasion by Judge Starcher, she she retired in 2007.
took the clerk job. Ms. Stoker said she was concerned Eventually, Ms. Stoker
because no one knew what magistrate clerks were said she picked a team of
supposed to do. people who could assist her
But then-Judge Starcher said, “Caroline, I don’t with the day-to-day process
know what the clerk does either, but if you take the job, of training.
we will figure it out together.” In the 1990s, Ms. Stoker
Ms. Stoker said she and Judge Starcher, who is asked Mr. Philyaw if civil and
now a Supreme Court Justice, developed forms they criminal cases could also be
needed in Monongalia County and, before long, transferred to the computer
the newly created Supreme Court Administrative system. After some convinc-
Office in Charleston was calling them to see what ing and more program design and testing, those cases
they were developing and then implementing those also were computerized.
forms in all counties. “That involvement led to troubleshooting in the
“I am not saying other counties weren’t giving field,” said Ms. Stoker. “You are the liaison between
input. . . . I had the chance to have some input and I the field and the office. You are a reference tool to
valued that very much,” said Ms. Stoker. “So starting guide them to where the stuff is or make them aware of
out a new system, I saw this as an opportunity to set up existing policy. You are just basically troubleshooting,
the system from scratch the way it should be. solving problems, relaying problems to the AO
(Administrative Office) they need to know about.”
“The more I became involved, the more interest I
took in it and it just kind of mushroomed.” But Ms. Stoker is more than just a liaison. She takes
calls day and night; she travels three to four days a week,
In the early 1980s, Ms. Stoker was asked by then- training and helping court employees. She has even sat
Court Administrative Director Ted Philyaw to help in as a temporary clerk for weeks at a time in counties
develop a computer system to handle traffic tickets that needed a clerk until someone could be hired — and
and worthless checks. She worked with a computer then Ms. Stoker trained them.
programmer to develop those programs and tested the
programs in Monongalia County before the Court “Caroline is unflappable, uncommonly proficient,
and a model of excellence. Court employees always call
Monongalia County Magistrate Clerk Caroline Stoker poses in her home-away-from home, an office in the West Virginia Capitol,
where she also serves the Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia as a liaison and trainer in the
Magistrate Courts Division. Photo by April Harless
on her to handle the most difficult, stormy situations West Virginia Uniform Citation Traffic Records
at magistrate courts all over the state – and when she’s Committee, West Virginia Regional Jail Authority
finished, all is calm, clear, and collected,” said Supreme Cost Containment Committee, Magistrate Court
Court Administrative Director Steve Canterbury. Staff Education Committee, and the Unified Judicial
“I honestly believe that, if a court she was Application (UJA) Steering Committee.
visiting was on fire during an earthquake, Caroline “I have often wondered if my enthusiasm would
would get through it all without a single hair out of wane, and so far it has not, only because every day to
place while managing to save everything essential. me is a new challenge. Every day is different, and yet
She’s truly indispensable.” the same,” said Ms. Stoker. “I have always felt so fortu-
Ms. Stoker also has been involved in a number of nate that I fell into a job I love.”
court-related committees, and she currently serves
on the following committees: Domestic Violence
Registr y Oversight Committee, West Virginia
Commercial Driver Safety Management Work Group,
Division of Probation Services
robation officers provide many services to circuit president of the national Association
courts, such as conducting investigations and of Juvenile Compact Administrators.
drug screenings, preparing pre-sentence reports, He was also appointed by Chief Justice
recommending sentences for criminal offenders, and Elliott E. Maynard as West Virginia’s
monitoring offenders sentenced to probation. Officers representative to the new national
also work closely with community agencies such as Commission of the Interstate Compact
schools, substance abuse facilities, local community for Juveniles. He has since been desig-
health centers, community service work providers, the nated as the state’s Commissioner to
Department of Health and Human Resources, and the national Commission and also
other state agencies in order to link services for persons serves as the state Administrator of the
under probation officers’ supervision. Juvenile Compact. Director Lacy also
The West Virginia court system at the end of serves as Chairman of the Governor-
2008 had forty-two adult, ninety-four adult-juvenile appointed West Virginia Partnership
and forty-eight juvenile probation officers. Probation for Community Well-Being, which is
officers supervised 14,449 adult and juvenile offenders the state’s designated substance abuse
in 2008, with an average caseload of seventy-nine per prevention and intervention planning
officer, and an annual cost of $1,033 per offender. body.
In 2008, probation officers operated Juvenile The Compact regulates the
Drug Courts in Cabell and Wayne Counties with movement and supervision between
two additional juvenile drug courts being planned states of juveniles under community
for implementation in 2009. These programs offered supervision. It is designed to ensure
intensive intervention, supervision, and treatment to public safety and create an effective and
juvenile drug court participants. A total of four Adult efficient means of transferring, track-
Drug Courts operated in 2008 in Brooke, Hancock, ing, and supervising juveniles between
Marshall, Ohio, Wetzel, Wood, Wirt, Mercer, Boone, states. Juvenile probation officers
Lincoln, and Logan Counties. The Adult Drug Courts provide courtesy supervision of juveniles
were operated, in most instances, by a Drug Court transferred to West Virginia through
Coordinator/Probation Officer. In addition, a Mental the Interstate Compact. The Probation
Health Court serves the Northern Panhandle. Teen Division’s Compact Office managed an
Courts, in which youths are prosecuted, defended, and average of seventy-seven active cases in
sentenced by a jury of their peers for status offenses 2008 and handled the return of forty-
and minor misdemeanors, operate in Marion, Mercer, seven juvenile runaways, absconders,
and Monongalia Counties with plans to expand into and escapees. Randall Wagner serves
other circuits in 2009. Also, the Logan County Board as the Administrative Coordinator of
of Education has collaborated with the Supreme Court Probation Services and the Interstate Compact.
Administrative Office to provide funding for a full- Chief Probation Officer Caren Bills of the
time, school-based probation officer to provide early Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit was hired as Deputy
intervention and diversion services. Director of the Division of Probation Services, a new
At the end of 2008, there were twenty-nine day report position, starting September 1, 2008. One of her
community corrections programs covering thirty-nine primary responsibilities is to implement, and oversee,
counties. Probation officers participate in, and/or make refer- the six Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Regions
rals to, all those programs, which provide intensive offender with their thirty specialized, multi-circuit, intensive
supervision and personal accountability, individual treatment supervision officers.
plans, job training, education, restitution, counseling, and Also in 2008, the West Virginia Association of
community service programs. Probation Officers honored Jonny Winkler, Chief
The Division of Probation Services also contains Probation Officer in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of
the office for the West Virginia Interstate Compact for Cabell County, as the Probation Officer of the Year at
Juveniles. In September 2008, West Virginia Director the November 2008 Probation Education Conference
of Probation Services Mike Lacy began his third term as at Glade Springs Resort.
A new Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Probation Officer signs his oath of office after being sworn-in by Justice Brent D. Benjamin.
Photo by Michael Switzer
Other Judicial Officers 8,877 in 2006; 7,773 in 2005; 7,878 in 2004; 7,950 in
2003; 7,026 in 2002; 6,141 in 2001; and 5,553 in 2000.
Circuit judges are assisted by judicial officers called
mental hygiene commissioners and juvenile referees. Juvenile Referees
Most decisions of these judicial officers are subject to
circuit court approval. Among other duties, juvenile referees hold deten-
tion hearings when children are arrested or taken into
Mental Hygiene System custody. West Virginia has one part-time and two full-
time juvenile referees serving Wayne, Kanawha, and
Mental hygiene commissioners are lawyers who
Cabell Counties. In most counties, magistrates act as
preside over hearings on involuntary hospitalization,
juvenile referees. In 2008, there were 9,439 filings in
guardianship, and conservatorship. There is at least one
circuit and magistrate court involving juvenile matters.
mental hygiene commissioner in each of West Virginia’s
That compares to 9,460 in 2007; 9,110 in 2006; 8,786
thirty-one circuits. In 2008, 7,961 mental hygiene
in 2005; 8,259 in 2004; 7,950 in 2003; 8,547 in 2002;
petitions were filed in West Virginia’s circuit courts
8,609 in 2001; and 8,856 in 2000.
and magistrate courts. That compares to 6,549 in 2007;
Child Protection Act pilot program begins
he first probation officers hired specifically “You are about sentenced to probation
to supervise sex offenders under provisions of in lieu of serving time in
the Child Protection Act of 2006 (House Bill to embark on a penal institution. The
101, passed June 14, 2006) were sworn in on Friday, what is truly a Leg islature, however,
November 7, 2008, in the Chamber of the Supreme chose in this law to have
Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Supreme Court historic mission. probation officers carry
Justice Brent D. Benjamin delivered the oath of office. Cong ratulations out the extended super-
The five probation officers, referred to as Sex Offender vision of sex offenders.
Intensive Supervision Probation Officers, will work in
and welcome Mr. Canterbur y said
Region Five, which consists of Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, to the team .” that was in part due to
Logan, Mingo, Putnam, and Wayne Counties. The five the high level of profes-
officers will operate a pilot program to carry out provi-
Justice Brent sionalism and excellence
sions of the new law, which requires extended supervi- D. Benjamin of the corps of probation
sion for sexual offenders, officers in West Virginia.
“especially those convict- “The five of you today
ed of crimes against are entering a remarkable tradition,” Mr. Canterbury
children,” said Mike Lacy, said. “If you do your job right, you will never see your
Director of the Division name in the paper. If you do your job right, the media
of Probation Services. never notices — but we notice. You can count on us.”
Their only duty will be After the pilot program runs for approximately nine
to supervise sex offenders. months, the supervision program will be expanded one
They work out of their cars, not offices. They work holidays, region at a time throughout the state over the next two or
nights, weekends, and hours in between to provide intensive three years. A total of thirty probation officers eventually
supervision. The officers also work with circuit court judges will be hired to carry out provisions of the law.
and treatment providers to make sure offenders are complying A new position already has been created within the
with court orders. The extended supervision includes frequent Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals to
polygraph examinations and electronic monitoring. oversee the Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Program.
“We will have safer communities and we will have safer Caren Bills began work on September 1, 2008, at that
families,” Mr. Lacy said of the new program. position, Deputy Director of the Division of Probation
“You are about to embark on what is truly a historic Services. She previously was Chief Probation Officer in
mission,” Justice Benjamin told the officers. “Congratulations Putnam County and has worked as a probation officer in
and welcome to the team.” West Virginia since 1991.
The new officers are Jason Adkins, Courtney Lewis, The Sex Offender Intensive Supervision program was
Casey McCann, Jeremy Mitchell, and L. Paul Pratt. developed under the leadership of Justice Robin Jean Davis
when she was Chief Justice in 2006 and 2007. Her support
Supreme Court Administrative Director Steve
was crucial in refining the vision of the supervision proto-
Canterbury noted that parole officers, who work
col. Her work was a continuation of her interest in protect-
in the Division of Corrections, normally supervise
ing children in our communities during her “Year of the
people who have been incarcerated while probation
Child” in 2006 and “Year of the Child, Too,” in 2007.
officers typically supervise offenders who have been
2008 Judicial Association 2008 West Virginia Magistrate
Officers Association Officers
President: Alan D. Moats, President: Riley Barb of Tucker County
Nineteenth Judicial Circuit of Barbour
Secretary: Carol Wolfe
and Taylor Counties
of Gilmer County
Vice-President: O.C. Spaulding,
Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit Treasurer: Janice Snider
of Putnam County of Preston County
Secretary: Jack Alsop,
Vice President First District:
Fourteenth Judicial Circuit
Cathy Reed-Vanata of Marion County
of Braxton, Clay, Gilmer,
and Webster Counties Vice President Second District:
Treasurer: Ronald E. Wilson, Gail Boober of Jefferson County
First Judicial Circuit of Brooke, Vice President Third District:
Hancock, and Ohio Counties Mike Parsons of Fayette County
2008 Family Court First District:
Association Officers Mike Alman of Brooke County
Mike Griffin of Tyler County
President: Jaymie Godwin Wilfong, Patty Murphy of Ohio County
Twenty-Second Family Court Second District:
Circuit of Grant, Randolph, Tom Reynolds of Jackson County
and Tucker Counties Dave Roberts of Wirt County
President-Elect: Ronald E. Anderson, Julie Yeager of Kanawha County
Sixth Family Court Circuit Third District:
of Cabell County Kevin Miller of Monroe County
Secretary: Annette Fantasia, John Morton of Nicholas County
Third Family Court Circuit of Mike Woelfel of Cabell County
Pleasants, Ritchie, Wood,
and Wirt Counties 2008 West Virginia
Treasurer: Charles E. Parsons,
Twenty-Third Family Court Association of Probation Officers
Circuit of Hampshire, Mineral, President: Matt Meadows,
and Morgan Counties Cabell County
Executive Committee: Vice President: Gail Fry,
Jane Charnock Smallridge and Wayne County
Mike Kelly, Eleventh Family Court Secretary: Karen Lemons,
Circuit of Kanawha County; Greenbrier County
Beth Longo, Twenty-First Family Treasurer: Kay Browning,
Court Circuit of Barbour, Preston, Logan County
and Taylor Counties;
Louise G. Staton,
Thirteenth Family Court Circuit
of Raleigh and Wyoming Counties;
William T. Wertman Jr.,
Twenty-Fourth Family Court
Circuit of Berkeley
and Jefferson Counties
The Supreme Court sponsored the following conferences in 2008:
January 7-9, 2008 Drug Court Planning Initiative: Phase Two, Morgantown 1
January 18, 2008 Administrative Office Staff Retreat, Charleston
January 31, 2008 New Leave Record-Keeper Training Teleconference
February 1, 2008 Experienced Leave Record-Keeper Training Teleconference
February 28, 2008 Courts and Media Regional Conference, Putnam County
April 18, 2008 Courts and Media Regional Conference, Wheeling
April 21-22, 2008 Family Court Mediators’ Conference, Charleston
May 7-8, 2008 Circuit Court and Supreme Court Law Clerk Writing Workshop, Charleston
June 3-6, 2008 Spring Circuit Judges’ Education Conference, Pipestem
June 16-18, 2008 Mental Hygiene Commissioners’ Conference, Logan
June 23-24, 2008 Spring Family Court Conference, Charleston
June 23, 2008 Circuit Court Secretaries’ Regional Child Abuse and Neglect
Database Training, Lewisburg 2
June 24, 2008 Circuit Court Secretaries’ Regional Child Abuse and Neglect
Database Training, Charleston2
Funded by West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Grant No. G080268
Funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Child Improvement Program Grant No. 0701 WVSCID
June 26, 2008 Circuit Court Secretaries’ Regional Child Abuse and Neglect
Database Training, Martinsburg2
June 27, 2008 Circuit Court Secretaries’ Regional Child Abuse and Neglect
Database Training, Morgantown2
July 14-15, 2008 Court Improvement Program Child Abuse and Neglect
July 15-16, 2008 Court Improvement Program Child Abuse and Neglect
July 16-17, 2008 Court Improvement Program Child Abuse and Neglect
August 3-5, 2008 Circuit Clerks’ Conference, Charleston
August 19-21, 2008 Magistrate Conference One, Morgantown
August 26-28, 2008 Magistrate Conference Two, Morgantown
August 27-28, 2008 Law Clerks’ Conference, Charleston
August 28-29, 2008 New Circuit Court Law Clerks’ Conference, Charleston
September 11-12, 2008 Probation Secretaries’ Conference, Flatwoods
September 23-24, 2008 Regional Summit on Domestic Violence and Firearms, Beckley3
September 25, 2008 Circuit Court Secretaries’ Child Abuse and Neglect Database
Training Make-Up Session2, Charleston
November 3-7 and 10, 2008 New Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Officers’ Training,
November 5-7, 2008 Court Security Conference, Pipestem4
November 14, 2008 Court Employment Teleconference (for Court employees who
retired, changed jobs, or left court employment as a result of the
November 17-18, 2008 New Probation Officers’ Conference, Daniels
November 18-21, 2008 Probation Officers’ Conference, Daniels
November 30-December 2, 2008 New Circuit Judges’ Education Conference, Morgantown
December 2-5, 2008 Fall Circuit Judges’ Education Conference, Morgantown
December 2-4, 2008 Bailiffs’ Conference, Morgantown4
December 8-12, 2008 New Magistrates’ Conference, Charleston
December 14-15, 2008 New Family Court Judge Administrative Meeting, Charleston
Funded by the U.S. Office of Justice Programs Grant No. 2007-WE-AX-0010
Funded by a West Virginia Court Security Board grant
Justice Davis receives Graduate
of Distinction Award
upreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis received My teachers followed my career, and continue to do so
a Graduates of Distinction Award on June even today. For them, teaching was a passion. I hope
10, 2008, from the West Virginia Education every West Virginia student is as lucky as I was. School
Alliance. She and University of Charleston Graduate was a very nurturing environment.”
School of Business Dean Charles Ryan were honored At the Supreme Court, she said she has worked
as graduates of West Virginia public schools who have to improve the living conditions of all West
achieved a high level of professional success. Virginia children.
In her acceptance speech, Justice Davis praised “According to West Virginia Kids Count, 24
the Supreme Court staff and pledged to continue her percent of West Virginia youth lived below the pover-
commitment to address West Virginia’s high poverty ty rate in 2003, compared to seventeen percent nation-
rate. She also thanked her mother, and her teachers ally. That’s almost one-fourth of our children, and it is
in Boone County simply an unaccept-
public schools. And ably high number,”
she saluted the work Justice Davis said.
of the Alliance.
“The Alliance’s high poverty leads
research and reports to high rates of child
have shed light on abuse and neglect.
problems in our West Virginia’s child
schools and have led abuse rate per one
the way to achieve thousand children in
improvements. Your 2003 was about 22
grants have funded percent, compared
the inspired projects to a national rate of
of many exceptional about twelve percent.
Justice Robin Jean Davis receives a Graduates of Distinction Award from the
te a c hers ,” Ju st ice Education Alliance. Photo by Lawrence Pierce of The Charleston Gazette And in 2005, 2,100
D av i s s a id . “ You new petitions alleging
have linked hundreds of schools with business partners. child abuse or neglect were filed in West Virginia circuit
And, of course, I love your Read Aloud project so much courts. Another 2,300 cases were carried over from previ-
that last year, when I was Chief Justice, I launched our ous years,” Justice Davis said.
own court system version.
“In response to this, the Court Improvement
“Robes to Schools encourages judicial officers at all Program in 2006 applied for two new grants for train-
levels of the court system to read to school students. I’m ing initiatives and data systems, and received both.
happy to report most judges, family court judges, and Those funds will be used to improve the administration
magistrates throughout the state have seized the oppor- of abuse and neglect cases throughout the court system.
tunity and have been reading to literally thousands of
“And the addition of Overlap Rules in 2006 have
closed loopholes between family court and circuit
“I myself am a proud graduate of Boone County court so that children are not lost in the system,”
public schools,” Justice Davis said. “I was lucky enough Justice Davis said.
to go to school with the same thirty students from first
“As a Supreme Court Justice, I also have tried to
grade through high school. With today’s transient
honor my teachers by educating West Virginia children
society, I doubt many 2008 graduates of Van High
about the court system. That’s why I started the Robes
School – or virtually any other high school – can say
to Schools program last year and the LAWS program for
the same thing.
high school students when I was Chief in 1998.
“Every teacher who ever taught me made a great
“So, as you can see, the Supreme Court shares The
impact on my life. I can honestly say I never doubted
Education Alliance’s goal of supporting public educa-
that each teacher truly cared about me and my future.
tion,” Justice Davis said.
Judges Cookman, Gaughan receive someone who has shown excellence in the area of child
abuse and neglect by relentlessly seeking safety, timely
Bar Foundation Fellow awards permanency, and well-being for children.
Judges Donald H. Cookman and Martin J. As Chairman of the West Virginia Court
Gaughan were among the twenty-two recipients of the Improvement Program Oversight Board, Judge
West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow Awards for 2008. Johnson has led multiple initiatives to improve the child
Judge Cookman at the time was the only judge in the welfare system in West Virginia. The West Virginia
Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit of Hampshire, Hardy, Court Improvement Program is a multidisciplinary group
and Pendleton Counties. Although the Legislature creat- funded by the federal Administration f or Ch i ld ren
ed another seat in that circuit during the 2008 regular a nd Fa m i l ie s a nd t he Supreme Court of
session, it was not then filled. Judge Gaughan is chief Appeals of West Virginia. Information about the Court
judge in the first Judicial Circuit of Brooke, Hancock, Improvement Program is available at www.wvcip.com.
and Ohio Counties. Judge Johnson also is a member of the Commission
They were honored April 24 at a dinner at The to Study the Residential Placement of Children, which
Charleston Marriott. is led by West Virginia Department of Health and
The Bar Foundation Board of Directors chooses Human Resources Secretary Martha Walker.
Fellows each year. Fellows are attorneys whose profes- Upon receiving the Extra Mile Award, Judge
sional, public, and private careers have demonstrated Johnson thanked the members of the Court
outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communi- Improvement Program and all collaborative disci-
ties and honorable service to the legal profession, with the plines for their dedicated work. He emphasized the
individuals selected each year reflecting the diverse nature need for prevention of child abuse and neglect, saying
of the legal profession in West Virginia. he thinks that assisting “a child in the playpen” is a better
use of resources than housing that child later as an adult
Judge Gary L. Johnson receives “in the state pen.”
the “Extra Mile Award” Supreme Court Administrative Director Steve
Canterbury said, “Judge Johnson’s absolute dedica-
tion to children, his common sense approach to
issues, and his depth of knowledge of the law does
all of us in the Court system proud. He’s clearly one
of our best.”
This award follows recognition that Judge Johnson
has received from the Nicholas County Family
Resource Network and Nicholas/Webster Foster Parent
Association for his commitment to finding permanent,
safe homes for abused and neglected children. He has
been declared an “Angel in Adoption” by the United
States Congress and the Congressional Coalition on
Judge Recht receives
Association for Justice Award
First Circuit Judge Arthur Recht was named Judge
Circuit Judge Gary L. Johnson receives the Extra Mile Award from of the Year by the West Virginia Association for Justice,
Michele Bush, Director of the West Virginia Court Appointed Special which represents more than five hundred attorneys
Advocates Association, at the annual conference of the Children’s
Justice Task Force. Photo by Kandi Greter in West Virginia. Judge Recht was nominated for the
honor by Wheeling attorney James M. Bordas, Jr. He
Circuit Judge Gary L. Johnson of the Twenty- accepted the award during an association regional
Eighth Judicial Circuit in Nicholas County received the meeting in Wheeling in mid-November, 2008.
“Extra Mile Award” from the West Virginia Children’s “Many other judges in the state are worthy of this
Justice Task Force at its annual conference on October award, and I am honored to receive it,” Judge Recht said,
9, 2008, in Charleston. The award is given each year to according to The [Wheeling] Intelligencer.
Judge Recht is a native of Wheeling and a gradu-
ate of public schools in Ohio County. He obtained his
undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh
in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.
Judge Recht graduated from the College of Law at
West Virginia University in 1962. He was elected to
the Order of the Coif and was chosen editor-in-chief
of the West Virginia Law Review.
He practiced law in Wheeling until January
1981 when he was appointed and then elected Judge
in the First Circuit. Leaving the bench in late 1983
he returned to the private practice of law until May
1995 when he was appointed by then-Governor
Gaston Caperton as a Justice of the Supreme Court
of Appeals of West Virginia. In December 1996 he
First Circuit Judge Arthur Recht was named Judge of the Year
was again appointed Judge of the First Circuit, and
by the West Virginia Association for Justice. Photo courtesy subsequently was elected and re-elected.
of The [Wheeling] Intelligencer
Judge Recht has been the Chairman of the
In his acceptance speech, he said a secret to being Committee on Legal Ethics of the West Virginia
a good judge is not caring about which side wins or State Bar; a member of the Wheeling Human Rights
loses but that the case is handled to the best of the Commission; the assistant Solicitor of the City of
judge’s ability and in the quickest fashion possible. Wheeling; and President of the Police Civil Service
Commission of the City of Wheeling. He served as
“Another important thing is that you have fun,” a Captain in the United States Army Reserve in the
he said. Judge Advocate General Corps, where he was honor-
“Judge Recht is a dedicated jurist who gave up a ably discharged in 1972.
lucrative private practice to serve the people of West Judge Recht has received the Certificate of
Virginia,” Mr. Bordas said. “In his career, he has Merit from the West Virginia State Bar and was
accepted the toughest assignments, the most challeng- named West Virginian of the Year in 1982 by the
ing work, and he excelled in those tasks.” Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail. He is the recipi-
Mr. Bordas said Recht’s selection by the awards ent of the Distinguished West Virginian Award and
committee was unanimous and without debate. the Margaret Baldwin Friend of Education Award.
“He is a judge’s judge,” Mr. Bordas said. “And I Judge Recht has received the highest honor of the
know I speak for all lawyers when I say I always look West Virginia College of Law, the Justitia Officium
forward to practicing in front of him. He serves the Award, recognizing excellence and superior schol-
court with integrity, wisdom, patience, and a strong arship in the legal profession. Judge Recht was
work ethic.” President of the West Virginia Judicial Association
Association President Allan N. Karlin, a Morgantown
attorney, said, “As both a circuit judge and as a Justice for Judge Recht is married to the former Karen
the West Virginia Supreme Court, Arthur Recht has been Markham of Belle, West Virginia, and is the
a jurist for all seasons. We honor him today for the wisdom father of two sons, Jason and Judd, and he also
of his decisions and the respect he has earned from litigants has two grandchildren.
and attorneys alike.”
In Memoriam: Justice Thomas Miller
F ormer Supreme Court Justice Thomas B. Miller died
August 12, 2008, at his Wheeling home. He was 79.
People look at them today, and they say, ‘This is masterful.’”
Justice Miller was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1929.
Justice Miller was elected to the Supreme Court in 1976 He was a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he was
and re-elected to a second twelve-year term in 1988. He served a member of the NROTC. After his graduation in 1950, he
as Chief Justice in 1982, 1985, 1986, and 1991. He retired received a commission as an ensign in the United States Navy.
August 30, 1994. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Leyte Gulf, an aircraft carrier.
After his retirement, he served as a special counsel with The ship served in the Seventh Fleet off Korea during the
Schrader, Byrd & Companion, returning to the Wheeling Korean War. He was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant
law firm where he practiced law for (JG) in 1953. He was a 1956 graduate
nearly twenty years before his election of the West Virginia University College
to the Court. of Law, where he was a member of the
West Virginia Law Review.
“He was the epitome of
what a justice should be: simply a “He was a judge’s judge,” former
wonderful man, decent, honorable, Supreme Court Clerk Ancil Ramey,
professional at all times, a perfect a member of the Board of Law
gentleman,” said Supreme Court Examiners, told the AP. “He was a
Justice Robin Jean Davis. “He was very hard worker, very intelligent,
a true scholar of the law.” had great passion for the law, had
great compassion for the litigants
Supreme Court Justice Larry
and the lawyers.”
Starcher said, “Justice Miller was one
of the intellectual giants of our Court Ramey wrote a 1995 article for
in recent years. The opinions that he the Law Review that said Justice
wrote are referred to by lawyers on a Miller was the most prolific writer
regular basis.” among the justices he served on the
Former Supreme Court Justice
Thomas B. Miller Court, writing 671 opinions and
“The news of the passing of Justice
1929-2008 supervising the writing of hundreds
Thomas Miller saddens us all,” said
of other decisions.
Justice Brent D. Benjamin.
During his time on the Court, Justice Miller
Former Justice Margaret Workman told The Associated
was named a Fellow of the West Virginia State Bar
Press, “Justice Thomas Miller will always be for me the
Foundation. He received the Margaret Baldwin Friend
epitome of what a judge should be. He had a brilliant mind,
of Education Award from the West Virginia Education
a compassionate spirit, and a heart of fairness. His impact on
Association, the War Horse Award from the Southern
the development of the law in West Virginia is immense.”
Trial Lawyers Association, and the Distinguished
First Circuit Judge Arthur Recht served with Justice West Virginian Award for Outstanding Achievement
Miller on the Supreme Court for about three weeks. and Meritorious Service from then-Governor Gaston
“It was the best three weeks of my legal and judicial Caperton. In 1980 he received a Certificate of Merit
career,” Judge Recht told The [Wheeling] Intelligencer. “He from the National Juvenile Law Center, Inc., for work
had the greatest legal mind I’ve ever had the experience to be in the field of juvenile law.
around. He was the model judge, in terms of intellect, indus- In May 1995 he received the Justitia Officium Award,
try, compassion, and temperament. There wasn’t anybody the highest award given by the West Virginia University
better. We lost a great man. He made us all proud.” College of Law for excellence in the legal field. In 2004 he
Senior Status Justice Thomas E. McHugh told The was inducted into the prestigious Wheeling Hall of Fame.
Charleston Gazette, “He was basically a very studious man As an attorney, Justice Miller served as a member of
who liked writing opinions more than he liked the practice the Unlawful Practice Committee of the West Virginia
of law. I don’t think he ever got up in the morning when he State Bar and as a member of the West Virginia Board
wasn’t thinking of some legal concept. of Law Examiners. Justice Miller was survived by his
“He was the major architect of solid West Virginia wife of 54 years, Vaughan Nolte Miller, four sons, two
jurisprudence,” Justice McHugh said. “He was brilliant, just grandsons, two brothers, a brother-in-law, and many
brilliant. He really came in and wrote so many solid opinions. nieces and nephews.
Circuit Judge Circuit Judge
Robert J. Ashworth Dan Robinson
Ci rc u it Jud g e R ob er t J . Retired Si xth Jud icia l
Ashworth died October 2, 2008, Circuit Judge Dan C. Robinson
in Beckley, at the age of 99. died May 27, 2008, of cancer, at
“The entire Ashworth family St. Mary’s Medical Center. He
had, and continues to have, a was 86.
great impact on the Raleigh Judge Robinson, a
County legal community,” said Barboursville resident, was
Judge Robert A. Burnside, Jr., of elected to the bench in Cabell County in 1976
the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Raleigh County. and ser ved more than thirteen years as a Circuit
Judge Burnside said he has fond memories of Judge Court Judge.
Ashworth and his late brother, John Ashworth, who was “When I was elected in 1984, Judge Robinson was a
also a Raleigh County circuit judge. mentor and a friend,” said Circuit Judge Dan O’Hanlon.
“I remember Robert Ashworth very well,” Judge “He taught me a lot about how to be a judge. His sound
Burnside said. “When I first came to town in 1977, judgment and pleasant demeanor will be missed by his
he was a lawyer practicing with his brother, John, and friends, colleagues, and associates.”
(current Judge) H.L. Kirkpatrick III.” Judge Robinson was born January 30, 1922, in
Judge Kirkpatrick, now the Chief Judge in the Tenth Pikeville, Kentucky. He was a graduate of Marshall
Judicial Circuit, called Judge Ashworth an “old-school” University and the West Virginia University
lawyer. “He represented clients from all walks of life College of Law.
with all types of legal matters. He was a true gentleman, A well-known lawyer in the Huntington area, Judge
an exemplary attorney, and a fine judge.” Robinson practiced law with Norman Rood, Bob Ellis,
Judge Kirkpatrick told The [Beckley] Register- and Pete Shell.
Herald that Judge Ashworth was his mentor. He was a World War II veteran serving in the
“He was a constant source of inspiration for me,” United States Army, and was a member of the First
said Judge Kirkpatrick, who became a judge in United Methodist Church in Barboursville. He was
1995 following the death of John Ashworth. active in many organizations in the community, and he
“He always had an interesting story to tell,” Judge loved boating and tennis.
Burnside said of Judge Robert Ashworth. “He was a He was survived by his wife, Clotilda Elaine
true gentleman, and to my understanding, did very well Persinger Robinson, three daughters, one brother, four
as a judge. I was told that not one of his cases was ever granddaughters, three grandsons, five great-grandchil-
reversed and not many were even reviewed. Now that’s dren, and one niece.
saying something as a judge.”
Judge Ashworth was born in McDowell County
Vance E. Sencindiver
but raised in Moundsville. He graduated from West
Virginia University College of Law. He began practic- Retired Circuit Judge Vance
ing law in 1931 and practiced for more than 65 years. E. Sencindiver of Martinsburg
died May 6, 2008. He was 85.
He was appointed circuit court judge in March
1988 by then-Governor Arch Moore after Judge C. Jud g e S enc i nd iver wa s
Berkley Lilly retired. At the time, Judge Ashworth said a graduate of West Virginia
he had no interest in participating in the 1988 general University College of Law, served
election where voters were to choose a judge to serve the as Martinsburg’s city attorney for three years and Berkeley
remainder of Judge Lilly’s eight-year term. County’s prosecutor for twenty years. He was circuit judge
in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties for sixteen years, from
Judge Ashworth also served forty years as fiduciary
January 1, 1969, to December 31, 1984.
commissioner, served as Raleigh County Republican
Party chairman for several years, and was a delegate to Martinsburg attorney Patrick Henry III told The
one Republican National Convention. [Martinsburg] Journal that Judge Sencindiver expected
attorneys to be prepared.
“He was going to test you out. . . . to push you. He Bar Association. It honors a person who promotes better
made lawyers better lawyers,” Mr. Henry said. understanding of the rule of law, encourages a greater
He was willing to help – but only so much. One respect for law and the courts, stimulates a sense of civic
of his common sayings was “I will show you the road responsibility, and contributes to good government in
to Damascus, but I will not walk it for you,” Mr. the community.
Henry said. Born in Kermit, Mingo County, on February 14,
Martinsburg attorney Charles “Chazz” Printz said 1925, Judge Staker served in the U.S. Navy as a radio-
that during the first nine years of his practice, he spent a man between 1943 and 1946. He attended Marshall
lot of time in front of Judge Sencindiver. University and West Virginia University and earned his
law degree from the West Virginia University College
“I would say I did learn a lot from him, most of it
of Law in 1952.
the hard way,” Mr. Printz said.
Judge Staker had his own private law practice for
Outside of the courtroom Mr. Henry and Mr.
more than a decade. He then served Mingo County
Printz said Judge Sencindiver enjoyed “holding
first as a prosecutor and then on the circuit bench
court” at several Martinsburg eateries, and he was
from January 1, 1969, to September 22, 1979, when he
a wonderful storyteller.
was appointed by then-President Jimmy Carter to the
Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher federal bench in the Southern District of West Virginia.
Wilkes said, “If you knew him or practiced in front of He served as a Senior United States District Judge from
him, you would never forget him. He was a very blunt 1995 until his retirement in 2005.
and unforgiving judge.”
Magistrate Ozell Eplin
U.S. District Judge Retired Cabell County
Robert J. Staker Magistrate Ozell Eplin died
Retired U.S. District June 3, 2008, at St. Mary’s
Court Judge Robert J. Staker Medical Center. He was 69.
died November 30, 2008, in a Mag istrate Eplin was
Huntington nursing care facil- the owner of Eplin Paving
ity. The judge, who was 83, Company and enjoyed farming,
was a former Mingo County gardening, horses, fishing,
Circuit Judge. running his beagles, and politics.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Elliott E. Maynard He served as a magistrate from August 22, 1986,
said, “He was a judge’s judge, and one of the finest to December 31, 1992, and from January 1, 1997, to
human beings I ever knew. The Bench and the Bar have February 28, 1999.
lost a giant.”
Magistrate Alvie Qualls
Senior Status Justice Thomas E. McHugh said, “I
Cabell County Magistrate
was a circuit judge at the same time as Judge Staker. He
Alvie Qualls was found dead
was greatly admired by his fellow judges. He served our
June 10, 2008, in his Huntington
state and our country in an exemplary manner. I have
home. He was 78.
very fond memories of him.”
Magistrate Qualls had been
Justice Robin Jean Davis said, “As a judge, his service
a magistrate for a total of almost
at every level was exemplary. He was an extraordinary
twenty-six years and previously
mentor. He will surely be missed.”
had been a justice of the peace. He
Justice Brent D. Benjamin said, “Judge Staker was a originally served as a magistrate
gentleman, a fine judge, and a legal scholar. He possessed from January 1, 1997, to his retirement on September 30,
a kind and gentle manner on the bench, but was never 1999. He returned to the office on January 1, 2005.
afraid to make tough decisions when necessary. He will
He was confined to a wheelchair after a stroke in 2005
and had been treated for congestive heart failure shortly before
Chief Justice Maynard commemorated the fiftieth his death.
anniversary of Law Day on May 1, 2008, by presenting
“Magistrate Qualls had a long, committed, and
the Liberty Bell Award to Judge Staker during the West
rather colorful service to the state,” said Supreme Court
Virginia State Bar’s Past Presidents’ Dinner. The Liberty
Administrative Director Steve Canterbury. “I think altogether
Bell Award is commissioned each year by the American
he will be remembered fondly by those who knew him.”
New judge positions created unopposed candidate to fill the seat left vacant by
retiring Circuit Judge John Cummings, who had
The West Virginia Legislature in 2008 authorized, been a circuit judge since March 15, 1990. He is to
through Senate Bill 291, additional circuit court judges become a senior status circuit judge.
for the Ninth, Twenty-Second, and Twenty-Fourth
Judicial Circuits. The three new judicial positions were Judge Alfred E. Ferguson retired from the bench
effective September 1, 2008. in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Cabell County, effective
October 31, 2008. He had been a circuit judge since
Wayne County Prosecutor James H. Young, Jr., July 1, 1977. He was re-elected November 4, 2008, and
was sworn into office to take the new seat in the Twenty- is to take office again on January 1, 2009.
Fourth Judicial Circuit during a ceremony at the Wayne
County Courthouse on December 8, 2008, and began Judge Charlie King retired effective October 16,
work immediately. Judge Darrell Pratt delivered the oath 2008, from the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Kanawha
of office. Judges Pratt and Young are the only judges in the County. He had been a judge since December 30, 1988.
one-county circuit. Governor Joe Manchin III appointed He was re-elected on November 4, 2008, and is to take
Judge Young on December 5, 2008. office again on January 1, 2009.
Also on December 5, 2008, Governor Manchin Judge Robert B. Stone chose not to seek
appointed Princeton attorney Omar J. Aboulhosn re-election to his seat in the Seventeenth Judicial
to the new seat in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Circuit of Monongalia County. He had been a judge
Mercer County. Judge Aboulhosn, a former magis- since October 1, 1985. He is to become a senior status
trate, Princeton city court judge, and mental hygiene circuit judge. Democrat Susan B. Tucker was elected
commissioner, was elected on November 4, 2008, to on November 4, 2008, to replace him.
the position of family court judge in the Twelfth Family Judge John L Henning was defeated in the
Court Circuit of Mercer and McDowell Counties. He Democratic primary in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit
declined that elected position to accept the appoint- of Randolph County. He had been a circuit judge since
ment to the circuit judge seat. Judge Aboulhosn is to August 1, 1991. He was replaced by Democrat Jaymie
take office on January 1, 2009. Godwin Wilfong, who was elected November 4, 2008.
Pendleton County Prosecutor Jerry D. Moore She was a sitting family court judge.
was sworn into office to take the new circuit judge seat Judge Andrew N. Frye, Jr., chose not to seek
in the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit of Hampshire, re-election in the Twenty-First Judicial Circuit of Grant,
Hardy, and Pendleton Counties. Chief Circuit Judge Mineral, and Tucker Counties, where he had served as
Donald Cookman delieverd the oath of office. Judge a judge since January 1, 1987. He is to become a senior
Moore was appointed December 19, 2008, by Governor status circuit judge. Republican Lynn A. Nelson was
Manchin. He had been prosecutor since 1988 and is elected to that seat.
a former mental hygiene commissioner. He is to take Judge Thomas W. Steptoe, Jr., chose not to
office on January 1, 2009. seek re-election in the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit
of Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties. He had
Circuit court judge retirements been a judge since January 1, 1985. He is to become
and elections in 2008 a senior status circuit judge. Republican State Senator
Judge John T. Madden chose not to seek John Yoder was elected to that seat.
re-election in the Second Judicial Circuit, which Judge John S. Hrko chose not to seek re-election
includes Marshall, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties. He had in the Twenty-Seventh Judicial Circuit of Wyoming
been a judge since May 31, 1990. Democrat David W. County, where he had been a judge since January 1,
Hummel, Jr., was elected to that seat. 1985. He is to become a senior status circuit judge.
Governor Joe Manchin III on October 29, 2008, Former Supreme Court Justice Warren McGraw, a
appointed F. Jane Hustead of Huntington to serve as Democrat, was elected to that seat.
Circuit Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Cabell Republican Judge N. Edward Eagloski in the
County. Beginning on November 1, 2008, Judge Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit of Putnam County
Hustead filled the vacancy created by the retirement was defeated in the general election by Democrat Phil
of Chief Judge Alfred E. Ferguson. Having won Stowers. Judge Eagloski had been a circuit judge since
the Democratic Primary, Judge Hustead had been an January 1, 2001.
Family court judge elections Manchin appointed him to the circuit court bench,
and retirements in 2008 to take a new seat in the Ninth Judicial Circuit. The
governor then reappointed Judge Bisaha to the seat on
Almost half of West Virginia’s forty-five family court December 19, 2008.
judges will be new on January 1, 2009, as voters elected
candidates to fill ten new seats and chose eleven new judges Democrat Lisa Clark was elected to the new seat in
for existing seats in the 2008 general election. the Twelfth Circuit.
Democrat Brian C. Dempster won election to the Democrat K. Bruce Lazenby, a former prosecu-
seat of Judge Annette Fantasia in the newly realigned tor, was elected to the new seat in the newly realigned
Third Circuit, which consists of Pleasants and Wood Thirteenth Circuit of Raleigh, Summers, and
Counties. Judge Fantasia was defeated in the May Wyoming Counties.
primary. She had been a judge since January 1, 2002, Democrat Donald K. Bischoff won election to
and previously had been a family law master since replace Judge Timothy Ruckman in the newly realigned
November 15, 1992. Sixteenth Circuit of Clay and Nicholas Counties. Judge
Republican Connie Fisher Thomas defeated Ruckman, who ran for circuit judge and lost in the prima-
Democratic Judge Deloris J. Nibert in the newly ry, had served since January 1, 2002, and previously had
realigned Fifth Circuit of Jackson, Mason, and Wirt been a family law master since October 1, 1999.
Counties. Judge Nibert had been a judge since January Democrat Cornelia Reep won the seat of Judge
1, 2002, and had been a family law master since June M. Drew Crislip in the newly realigned Eighteenth
16, 2001. Republican Rebecca Stafford Cornett won Circuit of Doddridge and Harrison Counties. Judge-
election to the new seat in the Fifth Circuit. Elect Reep defeated Judge Crislip in the primary. Judge
Democrat Miki Jane Little Thompson was Crislip had been a judge since January 1, 2002, and
elected to replace retiring Judge Robert D. Calfee previously had been a family law master since July 1,
in the Eighth Circuit of Mingo County. Judge Calfee 1995. He is to become a temporary family court judge
had served since January 1, 2002, and previously had as needed. Democrat Lori Betler Jackson won election
served as a family law master since June 5, 1991. He is to the new seat in the Eighteenth Circuit.
to become a temporary family court judge as needed, a In the Nineteenth Circuit of Marion County,
position similar to senior status circuit court judge. Democrat Amy Swisher won election to replace Judge
Democrat Jason Harwood won election to the David Born, whom she defeated in the primary. Judge
new seat in the Ninth Circuit of Logan County. Born had served since January 1, 2002, and had previously
been a family law master since October 1, 1986. He is to
Democrat Scott E. Elswick won election to the new become a temporary family court judge as needed.
seat in the Tenth Circuit of Boone and Lincoln Counties.
Democrat Randy Minor replaces Judge James
Democrat Ken Ballard defeated Judge Jane Jeffrey Culpepper in the newly realigned Twentieth
Charnock Smallridge, a Republican, in the Eleventh Circuit of Monongalia and Preston Counties. Judge
Circuit of Kanawha County. Judge Smallridge had Culpepper, who ran for circuit judge and lost, had been
served since January 1, 2002, and previously had been a family court judge since January 1, 2002, and had
a family law master since October 1, 1999. Democrat previously been a family law master since July 1, 1997.
Sharon M. Mullens was elected to the new seat in the He is to become a temporary family court judge as
Eleventh Circuit. needed. Democrat Patricia Tole Hill won election to
Judge Edwin B. Wiley retired from the Twelfth the new seat in the Twentieth Circuit.
Circuit of Mercer and McDowell Counties on June Democrat Michele W. Good won election to
30, 2008. He had been a judge since January 1, 2002, the seat of Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong in the
and previously had been a family law master since newly realigned Twenty-Second Circuit of Tucker
July 1, 1990. Governor Manchin appointed Anthony and Randolph Counties. Judge Wilfong was elected
Bisaha, a Mercer County public defender, to serve the circuit judge.
remainder of the term that ends December 31, 2008.
Democrat Omar J. Aboulhosn was elected to the Democrat David Greenberg won election to the
seat in the November 4, 2008, general election. Judge new seat in the Twenty-Fourth Circuit of Berkeley and
Aboulhosn declined to take the seat because Governor Jefferson Counties.
Democrat Amanda Hatfield See won election Democrat Sophia Tully was elected in Lincoln
in the newly realigned Twenty-Fifth Circuit of Grant, County. She will take the seat of Magistrate Helen
Hardy, and Pendleton Counties. Democrat Jeffrey McCormick, who is retiring at the end of 2008.
Hall won election to the seat in the newly created Magistrate McCormick has served since November
Twenty-Seventh Circuit of Pocahontas and Webster 20, 1984.
Counties, defeating Judge Roy David Arrington, In Mercer County, Democrat Charles N. Poe won
whose home county of Pocahontas was moved from the seat held by Magistrate Jerry Flanagan, who did
the Twenty-First Circuit to become part of the new not seek re-election after serving since January 1, 1989.
Twenty-Seventh Circuit. Judge Arrington had been a Also, Magistrate Roy Compton was elected to the seat
judge since January 31, 2002. He is to become a tempo- to which he was appointed on July 1, 2008. Magistrate
rary family court judge as needed. Compton had been appointed to the unexpired term
of Magistrate Danny Fulknier, who retired June 30,
Magistrate elections, retirements,
2008. He had been a magistrate since January 1, 1997.
resignations in 2008
Democrat Sandy Holepit was elected in
West Virginia voters elected twenty-one new Monongalia County to the position held by Magistrate
magistrates in the general election on November 4, Jennifer Wilson, who was not re-elected. She had been
2008, and three magistrates who previously had been a magistrate since November 19, 2004.
appointed to the positions.
Republican Joe Roxby was elected to one of four
Democrat William Randy Smith was elected magistrate positions in Ohio County. He took the seat
in Berkeley County, unseating Magistrate James H. held by Democratic Magistrate Rose Humway, who was
Humphrey, who had been a magistrate since July 23, 2005. defeated. She had been a magistrate since January 1, 1977.
Magistrate Larry Clifton, a Democrat, was In Pendleton County, Democrat Andrew Hinkle
elected in Braxton County to the seat to which he was was elected to one of two magistrate positions. He took
appointed on July 1, 2008. On that date he replaced the seat held by Magistrate Gene Boggs, who retired
Magistrate Carolyn Cruickshanks, who resigned on December 31, 2008. Magistrate Boggs had served
June 4, 2008. She had been a magistrate since January since January 1, 1977.
Democrat Randy Nutter was elected to one of two
In Cabell County, Republican Rondall “Ron” magistrate positions in Pleasants County. He took the
Baumgardner and Democrat Don Maynard were elected position held by Magistrate Dotte White, who retired
in the seven-magistrate district. They replaced Magistrates on December 31, 2008. Magistrate White had been a
John Rice and Daniel Goheen. Magistrate Goheen magistrate since January 1, 1993.
had been appointed to the seat held by Magistrate Alvie
Qualls after Magistrate Qualls’ June 10, 2008, death. Democrat Janet L. Kershner-Vanover was elected
Magistrate Rice was defeated in the primary. Magistrate to one of two magistrate positions in Pocahontas
Goheen also had lost in the primary and so could not seek County. She took the seat held by Magistrate Danith
election to the office in November. Magistrate Patty Miller. Magistrate Miller was a senior status magis-
Verbage-Spence also was re-elected in Cabell County. trate appointed January 1, 2008, to replace Magistrate
She had resigned March 31, 2008, for health reasons, Doshia J. Webb, who resigned December 21, 2007.
after having served as a magistrate since January 1, 2001. Magistrate Miller did not seek election to the seat.
After her resignation, Amber L. Hanna was appointed to Republican Harold E. Jenkins, Jr., was elected
replace her until the end of that term. Magistrate Hanna magistrate in Preston County. He took the seat held by
did not seek election to the office. Magistrate Richard Graham, who had been appointed
In Kanawha County, Democrat Paris Workman on July 1, 2008, to replace Magistrate Marsha Diane
was elected to the seat held by Magistrate Marva Crouch. Thomas, who retired June 30, 2008. Magistrate Thomas
Crouch had been a magistrate since July 24, 1995, and is to had held the job since October 15, 1991. Magistrate
become a senior status magistrate. Graham did not seek election to the position.
Democrat Greg Tanner was elected magistrate in Republican John Michael Coffman was elected
Raleigh County. He took the seat held by Magistrate K. to one of two magistrate positions in Upshur County.
Bruce Lazenby, who was elected Family Court Judge He took the seat held by Magistrate Helen Echard,
in the Thirteenth Family Court Circuit. Magistrate who was appointed to the post on March 28, 2007. She
Lazenby had been appointed on July 1, 2008, to sought election to the position but lost and returned to
replace Magistrate John E. Tanner, who retired April her previous magistrate assistant job.
30, 2008. John Tanner had been a magistrate since Democrat Randy Wiles was elected magis-
December 4, 1998, and is Greg Tanner’s father. trate in Wayne County. He took the seat held by
Voters in Randolph County elected two new Magistrate Alfred T. Lynch, who was appointed
magistrates, Democrat Robert R. “Rob” Elbon, Jr., April 26, 2006. Magistrate Lynch was defeated in
and Republican Benjamin E. Shepler. One position the Democratic primary.
had been held by Magistrate Michelle W. Good, who In Webster County, Democrats John R. Stone and
was elected Family Court Judge in the newly realigned Richard Robertson took the seats held by Magistrates
Twenty-Second Circuit of Tucker and Randolph Danny Markle and Gary Payne, both of whom retired
Counties. The other position had been vacant since on December 31, 2008. Magistrate Markle had served
the March 31, 2008, retirement of Magistrate Rick since January 1, 1981, and Magistrate Payne had been a
George. Magistrate George had held the job since magistrate since January 1, 1985.
January 28, 1991. The Supreme Court of Appeals of
In Wyoming County, Democrat Kim (Roach)
West Virginia had assigned Senior Status Magistrate
Farmer and Magistrate Craig Cook were elected.
Sharon Stone of Boone County to fill the vacancy
Magistrate Cook had been appointed January 4,
until the election.
2008, to replace Magistrate Wilburn Bolt, who
Republican Jason D. Bennett was elected in Roane retired December 31, 2007. Farmer took the seat
County. He took the seat held by Magistrate Denver held by Magistrate John L. Daniels, who retired on
Gandee, Jr., who was not re-elected. Magistrate December 31, 2008.
Gandee had been magistrate since January 1, 2001.
In Summers County, Democrat J.W. (Bill)
Jeffries, Jr., was elected to the same position he retired
from on June 30, 2008. He had been a magistrate since
January 1, 1985. He was replaced on July 1, 2008, by
Linda Huffman, who was not a candidate for office.
The West Virginia Courthouse
Facilities Improvement Authority
he Legislature established the West Virginia The Authority board is composed of twelve voting
Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority members and eight advisory members. Voting members
in 2001. The Authority gives financial assis- make final funding decisions.
tance to county governments for projects that modify The twelve voting members are two assessors, two
or build courthouses and related facilities. Counties circuit clerks, two county clerks, two commissioners,
must pay at least twenty percent of any project that the two sheriffs, and two prosecuting attorneys.
The eight nonvoting advisory members are two
In 2003, as required by law, the Authority circuit judges, two magistrates, one state senator, and one
submitted a study on the condi- member of the House of Delegates.
These buildings are
tion of West Virginia court- The president of each state officials’
houses. The study, conducted association also is on the board.
by the West Virginia Institute Each president appoints the second
of Technology, estimated $277
million in improvements would an important part of member from the association.
Authority board members elect a
be needed over the next twenty chairman from the group and serve
years. To fund such needs and
to pay for Authority operational
our history and our for four years.
The current chairman is Senior
costs, the Authority receives
revenue from fees on certain heritage. Together Status Judge L.D. Egnor of Cabell
services provided by the offices
of every elected county official. we can restore these The Authority’s Web site is
http://w w w.w vcfia .com. The
To receive a grant, a county
mission of the Authority is to
must submit a detailed applica-
tion to the Authority board, which
grand old buildings help repair historic courthouses.
Most counties require assistance
reviews grant applications based
on urgency and severity of need. and renew the respect with accessibility law compliance,
document storage, space, and security
Between 2004 and 2008, the
concerns. County commissions
Authority granted $9.2 million.
Grants were used for a wide
which they deserve. often cannot afford to make such
improvements without help. The
variety of improvements including
majority of the courthouses are listed
structural integrity restoration;
on the National Historic Registry. They attract tourists
new roofs; fire safety system installation; work safety
and generate revenue. “These buildings are an important
enhancements; window replacement; masonry repair;
part of our history and our heritage. Together we can
heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and electrical
restore these grand old buildings and renew the respect
maintenance; space additions; security upgrades; and
which they deserve,” the Authority’s Web site says.
Americans with Disabilities Act adaptations.
Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority
Fifth Cycle Funding Awards
County Type of Improvement Project Cost Award Amount
Barbour Step replacement $ 72,375 $ 57,900
Berkeley Roof replacement 575,450 80,000
Boone Roof replacement 213,000 80,000
Brooke Masonry repairs 62,800 50,240
Cabell Stonework and mortar repairs 197,000 80,000
Calhoun New steps, railings 14,151 11,316
Clay Installation of fire sprinkler system 80,300 64,240
Fayette Remediate penetration of water 105,840 80,000
Gilmer Sidewalk, step replacement and ADA upgrades 47,660 29,200
Hampshire Installation of fire suppression system 129,300 80,000
Hancock Renovate second floor for office space 411,908 80,000
Hardy Elevator upgrade 18,777 15,022
Harrison Window replacement on south side 102,400 80,000
Jackson Purchasing and remodeling of building to be annex 770,000 80,000
Kanawha Renovation of grand jury room — Phase Two 100,000 80,000
Lincoln Installation of sprinkler system in boiler and record rooms 100,000 80,000
Marion Phase Four of roof support project 100,000 80,000
Marshall ADA ramp, single entryway 295,740 80,000
Mercer Installation of security system 80,000 64,000
Mingo Modernization of elevator, including ADA upgrades 166,425 80,000
Monroe Renovate basement into useable storage space 44,864 35,891
Morgan Full construction of new courthouse 13,000,000 80,000
Pocahontas Upgrade power distribution 30,000 24,000
Preston Installation of new fire alarm system 28,227 22,582
Ritchie Replace roofing on courthouse annex 46,134 36,900
Tucker Replacement of steps 75,000 60,000
Wayne Remodel restroom 50,000 40,000
Wetzel Roof repair 100,000 80,000
Wirt Roof and clock tower renovation 100,000 80,000
Wood HVAC replacement 100,000 80,000
Wyoming Construction of ADA ramp and ADA upgrades to restroom 90,000 72,000
$ 7,307,351 1
Please note that the $17,307,351 total incudes $13,000,000 for the Morgan County Courthouse.
Hampshire County opens new Judicial Center
ustices Brent D. Benjamin and Larry Starcher The new Judicial Center includes the first complete
joined Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Judge installation of all the equipment that eventually will be
Donald Cookman, Governor Joe Manchin made available to all circuit courts in West Virginia. The
III, Supreme Court Administrative Director Steve circuit courtroom has a multi-media cart, a video confer-
Canterbury, and Hampshire County officials in Romney ence station, and assistive listening device. The multi-
on September 3, 2008, for the media cart includes a video projector that can place an
opening of the new Hampshire
County Judicial Center. The
$5.3 million, 3 4 , 0 0 0 -s qu a re-
“We stand here today in front of
f o ot bu i ld i ng w i l l provide
new quarters for magistrates, this beautiful building because of
family court judges, circuit
judges, probation officers, the
Prosecuting Attorney, and the
a vision and hard work of many,
The Judicial Center supple-
a vision not only for the present
ments a Main Street Courthouse
that has been in use since January
needs of Hampshire County, but
31, 1922. The County Clerk,
Planning Commission, and other a vision for the future as well."
county offices will remain in that
Courthouse. The historic court-
room in that building will remain
available, if needed.
“We stand here today in front
of this beautiful building because of a vision and hard image, from several sources, on an electronically controlled
work of many, a vision not only for the present needs of screen that drops down from the ceiling. The circuit judge
Hampshire County, but a vision for the future as well,” has at the bench a touch screen that allows him to lower a
said Judge Cookman. projector from a recess in the ceiling and simultaneously
lower the screen. The multi-media cart has a flat panel that
allows the presenter to view the
material that is being projected. A
document camera is provided with
the cart, so written material can be
The judge and witness also
have flat panel displays. These
touch screens allow annotation
and highlighting of portions
of the displayed document. A
video conference presentation
Governor Joe Manchin III and Circuit
Judge Donald Cookman at the opening
of the Hampshire County Judicial
Center. Judge Cookman presented the
Governor with a gift box of fly fishing
flies made by the judge’s friend, Romney
resident Bob Allen. Photo courtesy of the
can also be projected on the
screen as well as information
from a DVD or VHS tape. The
cart also has a docking station
for laptop computers. Attorneys
can present any material from
their computers. The docking
station allows connection of a
(CAT) System. With a CAT
system, a qualified court report-
er can display the written word
in real-time. A skilled reporter
can write with ninety-nine
percent accuracy at the speed
of normal conversation. This
allows a profoundly deaf person
to read everything in the court
proceeding as it happens.
For those persons with
some hearing, there is an
assistive listening device. The
system takes the signal from
the courtroom amplification
system and broadcasts the
impulses through an Infrared
emitter. These emissions are
captured by a headset receiver
worn by the individual.
The headsets eliminate any
background noise and allow
users to adjust the sound until
it is loud enough for them to
hear. The assistive listening
system has two channels and
the headsets have a select switch so they can receive an accessory telephone conference system that can be
“A” channel or “B” channel. This allows the devices to rack-mounted with the sound system. Some obsolete
be used by a foreign language interpreter. The inter- sound systems will not accept the rack-mounted version,
preter speaks into a microphone attached to one of so a stand-alone Polycom full-duplex telephone confer-
the channels. The individual needing the interpreting ence system can also be provided.
service listens to that channel without the distraction
The Supreme Court’s Division of Administrative
of the English language proceedings.
Services led the team that installed this equipment.
The Supreme Court also provided a telephone Division Director Fletch Adkins says his crew learned a lot
conference system. Some proceedings can be conducted about the technical and physical requirements for instal-
by telephone, and it is convenient to have the service lation of these systems during the Hampshire County
available in the courtroom. While county commissions project that will help the team with installation of similar
are required to equip every courtroom with a sound equipment in courtrooms elsewhere in the state.
amplification system, the Supreme Court can provide