West Virginia Judiciary

WV Judicial System Judges | Circuit Court Judges

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Circuit Court Judges

This is an up-to-date list of the Circuit Court judges. They are listed in alphabetical order. Select a judge from the drop-down below to review their profile.

Court Information by County

Judge Jack Alsop
Fourteenth Judicial Circuit (Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, and Webster Counties)
Judge Jack Alsop portrait image

Judge Alsop is a native of Webster Springs. He has a 1973 bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University and a 1977 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was a sole practitioner in Webster Springs from 1977 to 1996 and served as the elected Webster County prosecutor from 1985 to 1989. He was chairman of the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facilities Authority from 1989 until 1996.

Then-Governor Gaston Caperton appointed him to the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Braxton, Gilmer, and Webster Counties) bench in 1996. He was elected in 1998 and re-elected 2000, and 2008.

Judge Alsop is chairman of the Supreme Court Compliance Committee on Prisons and Jails. He is a past president of the West Virginia Judicial Association and serves on the Legislative, Re-alignment, Pensions, and Special Needs Committees of the Judicial Association. He is a frequent speaker at continuing education seminars and is very active in the Supreme Court’s Robes to Schools program, in which he reads to school children and tells them about the judicial system.

He was named a Bar Foundation Fellow in 2013.

He and his wife, Linda, live in Webster Springs. They have three children and five grandchildren.


Judge Jennifer Bailey
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge Jennifer Bailey portrait image

Judge Bailey was born in Charleston and raised in Belle. She is a 1977 graduate of Hollins College and a 1980 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law and also completed classes at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and I’institut d’etudes politique de Paris. 

She practiced law in Charleston from 1980 to 1993 and worked for the West Virginia House of Delegates during legislative sessions for eleven years. In 1993 she became the first full-time lawyer for the West Virginia Senate.

Then-Governor Bob Wise appointed her to the bench in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County) in 2002. She was elected in 2004 and 2008. She served as chief judge in Kanawha County in 2008 and 2013. She helped establish the Kanawha County Day Report Center and serves on its board.  Since 2009 she has presided over the Kanawha County Adult Drug Court. 

She is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

She is the recipient of the 2002 Outstanding Public Servant Award by the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. She has served on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Legal Aid Society and on the Division of Juvenile Services Director’s Advisory Council.  She presently serves on the committees for Dropout Prevention Summit Planning Group, Project INTER-CEPT (Interventions Needed To End Recidivism – Critical Entry Point Team), and Recovery Point-Charleston.

She is a member of Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston, where she formerly served on the Board of Trustees and presently serves on the Staff Parish Relations Committee.

She is the mother of one daughter.  


Judge John D. Beane
Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wirt and Wood Counties)

Judge Thomas A. Bedell
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Harrison County)
Judge Thomas Bedell portrait image

Judge Bedell was born in and raised in Clarksburg and graduated from Washington Irving High School. He received a 1978 bachelor’s degree in political science from Salem College and in 1981 received both a master’s degree in public administration and a law degree from West Virginia University.

He served as Clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Maxwell in the Northern District of West Virginia from 1981 to 1983, when he opened his own general law practice in Clarksburg. He handled civil and criminal cases, including jury trials in both circuit court and federal court. He was town attorney for the Town of Lost Creek from 1983 to 1992.

He was elected to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Harrison County) bench in 1992, re-elected in 2000 and 2008. He was chief judge from 1995 to 2000, 2008-2010, and since 2014.

Judge Bedell established the Juvenile Drug Court in Harrison County in 2012 and is its presiding judge. He was appointed to serve as a temporary Justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2013 in a case in which a Justice was recused.

In Harrison County he is known as “the love judge” because each year he dedicates Valentine’s Day to conducting weddings, individual and one mass event.

He and his wife, Debra, have two daughters.



Judge Louis H. "Duke" Bloom
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge Louis H.

Judge Bloom was born and raised in Charleston. He received an undergraduate degree in accounting from West Virginia University in 1978 and a law degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1981.

Judge Bloom was elected to the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County) in 2000 and re-elected in 2008.

He has served as Chief Circuit Judge several times and in 2012 took over all truancy cases in Kanawha County involving the parents of elementary school children. He has been active in the Robes to Schools program, the West Virginia Law Adventure program, and other civic education programs. He is a member of the Court Improvement Program Board and is Chairman of the CIP Behavioral Health Care Committee.

Judge Bloom began his legal career with the Charleston firm of Preiser and Wilson before establishing his own firm, Bloom Law Offices, in 1985. He was elected Kanawha County Commissioner in 1986 and served until 2000, when he became a circuit judge. He also served as a member of the Kanawha County Regional Development Authority, The West Virginia Prosecutors Institute from 1995 to 2000, the West Virginia County Officials Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999, the Yeager Airport Board of Directors from 1989 to 1994 and 1996 to 2000, the board of the Business and Industrial Development Council (BIDCO) from 1987 to 2000, and the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority from 1989 to 1995. He was on the State Bar Committee on Law School and Law Admissions from 1982 to 1983 and State Bar Committee on Continuing Legal Education from 1986 to 1990.

He and his wife, Carole, a Charleston attorney and former municipal judge, have two children.


Judge Robert A. Burnside, Jr.
Tenth Judicial Circuit (Raleigh County)
Judge Robert A. Burnside, Jr. portrait image

Judge Burnside is a native of Kincaid, Fayette County. He has a 1970 degree from Concord College (now Concord University) and a 1977 degree from West Virginia University College of Law. He practiced law at the firm File Payne Scherer & Brown in Beckley from 1977 to 1988.

He was elected to the Tenth Judicial Circuit (Raleigh County) in 1988 to fill an unexpired term. He was re-elected in 1992, 2000, and 2008. He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association.

Judge Burnside is a member of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, where he is choir director and a past vestry member. He is director of New River Jazz.

He has four children and five grandchildren.


Judge H. Charles Carl, III
Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit (Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton Counties)
Judge H. Charles Carl, III portrait image

Judge H. Charles Carl, III, is a native of Springfield in Hampshire County. He has a 1984 bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a 1987 law degree from Capital University Law School.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Judge Carl to the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit (Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton Counties) in 2013. He was elected in 2014 and in 2016. Judge Carl was appointed by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals as Judge in the Business Court Division on July 1, 2015, to serve a term through June 30, 2022.

Judge Carl is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association, and the American College of Business Court Judges.

He began the practice of law in 1987 when he joined his grandfather in the firm Ansel and Carl, which eventually grew as a real estate, civil, and criminal litigation firm into Carl, Keaton, Frazer and Milleson, PLLC, located in Romney.

While engaged in the general practice of law, Judge Carl was also general counsel for the Bank of Romney, where he served as a director for over twenty years. He was president of the South Branch Valley Bar Association from 2006 until his appointment to the bench. Judge Carl served on the West Virginia State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Committee and as the Sixteenth District’s Grievance Committee member. He has also served the community as a youth basketball coach for many years.

Judge Carl and his wife, Lisa, have three children and reside in Romney, where they are members of the First United Methodist Church.


Judge Christopher Chiles
Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County)
Judge Christopher Chiles portrait image

Judge Chiles is a native of Cabell County and a 1973 graduate of Huntington High School. He is a 1977 honors graduate of the University of Tennessee and a 1980 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law.

Judge Chiles was an assistant Cabell County prosecuting attorney from 1982 to 1990 and also maintained a private civil law practice from 1980 to 1990. He was Cabell County’s elected prosecutor from 1990 to 2014.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to the Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County) in 2014 and he was elected later that year.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the City of Huntington Foundation; a member of the B.P.O Elks Lodge No. 313; and a member of the Sons of the American Legion, Post 16. He is a former board member of the Developmental Therapy Center and the Cabell County Child Abuse Prevention Team.

He has held positions in many state-wide and national associations, including serving as president of the National District Attorneys Association and vice-chairman of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Council. He was active in scouting, little league baseball, and youth soccer for many years, and still referees soccer. He is an active member of First United Methodist Church in Huntington, where he has been a choir member, Sunday School teacher, member of the Administrative Council, Scholarship Committee, and Staff/Parish Relations Committee.

He and his wife, Michaela, have three children.


Judge Russell M. Clawges, Jr.
Seventeenth Judicial Circuit (Monongalia County)
Judge Russell M. Clawges, Jr. portrait image

Judge Clawges was born in Morgantown and graduated from Morgantown High School in 1967. He has a 1971 bachelor’s degree in mathematics from West Virginia University and a 1974 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif.

He served four years in the JAG Department of the United States Air Force. In 1978 he returned to Morgantown, where he practiced law with the firm of Furbee, Amos, Webb & Critchfield.

Then-Governor Gaston Caperton appointed him to the bench in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit (Monongalia County) in 1997. Judge Clawges was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2000 and 2008. He has served as chief judge from 2000 to 2012.

Judge Clawges played an active role in the implementation of West Virginia's first Teen Court program and participated in the West Virginia State Bar's annual Bridge the Gap program for new lawyers. He is one of six Business Court Division judges.

He was president of the West Virginia Judicial Association and is chairman of its judicial education committee and law clerk education committee. He is an ASTAR Science and Technology Fellow and a frequent presenter at continuing education programs. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program at West Virginia University and in the Trial Advocacy Program at the West Virginia University College of Law.

He was named a 2013 Bar Foundation Fellow.

He has two daughters and seven grandchildren.


Judge James W. Courrier, Jr.
Twenty-First Judicial Circuit (Grant, Mineral, Tucker Counties)

Judge James W. “Jay” Courrier, Jr., was raised in Keyser. He has a 1988 associate’s degree in English from Potomac State College and a 1989 bachelor’s degree in English from West Virginia University. He has a 1993 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law, where he was Order of the Barristers, on the National Moot Court team, and won the Best Brief Award in the annual Baker Cup appellate advocacy competition.

Then-Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Judge Courrier to the bench in the Twenty-First Judicial Circuit (Grant, Mineral and Tucker Counties) on January 12, 2016, to fill a vacancy created by the December 31, 2015, retirement of his predecessor. He was sworn into office on February 2, 2016. In May 2016 he was elected to a full eight-year term beginning January 1, 2017.

Judge Courrier previously had been the elected Mineral County Prosecuting Attorney for seven years. He began his legal career in 1994 as an associate with the Law Office of Barr and James. In 1996 he became a sole practitioner and began working as assistant prosecuting attorney for Mineral County. He also worked part time as Allegany County’s assistant state’s attorney in Maryland.

He is a member of the Mineral County Parks and Recreation Board, the Mineral County Community Criminal Justice Board and Chairman of the Mineral County Courthouse Security Committee.

He is the past president and long-time treasurer of the Kiwanis Club of Keyser. He is president of the Potomac State College Alumni Association and Apple Alley Players community theatre group. He is a member of the boards of Community Lutheran Partners, Food for Thought, Faith in Action Food Pantry, and the Keyser Youth Basketball League. As an attorney he was active in the Mineral County Bar Association and its committees.

He is a lay minister and youth leader at Trinity Lutheran Church in Keyser and has coached youth baseball and basketball for more than ten years.

As an attorney, he was highly rated for his legal ability and ethical standards in Martindale-Hubbell. He won the West Virginia Broadcasters Association Award for best Play-By-Play in 2015 for his broadcasts of Keyser High School football games.

He and his wife, Lara L. Courrier, live in Keyser and have three children. Mrs. Courrier is an elected member of the Mineral County Board of Education.



Judge Jason A. Cuomo
First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties)

Judge Jason A. Cuomo was born in Steubenville, Ohio, and was raised in Follansbee, West Virginia. He has a 1993 bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in political science from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and a 1996 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law. While in law school he was a member of the Order of the Coif and Law Review, and he served as executive editor of Volume 98 of the Law Review.

He practiced law with his father, Frank Cuomo, at the Wellsburg firm Cuomo and Cuomo from the time he graduated from law school until Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to the bench on July 10, 2015. Judge Cuomo was named to fill the vacancy in the First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock and Ohio Counties) created by the retirement of Judge Martin J. Gaughan on June 30, 2015.

He has served on a number of boards and commissions, including the Brooke County Schools Education Foundation and the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education. He has coached several youth sports teams.

He and his wife, Dana, have a daughter and a son, and the family lives in Follansbee.


Judge Jennifer P. Dent
Eleventh Judicial Circuit (Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties)
Judge Jennifer P. Dent portrait image

Judge Jennifer P. Dent was elected on May 10, 2016, to an Eleventh Judicial Circuit (Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties) term that begins on January 1, 2017. On May 19, 2016, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed her to the seat to serve the remaining months on the term of Judge James Rowe, who retired earlier in the year.

Judge Dent is a native of Lewisburg, Greenbrier County. She has a 1983 bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a 1986 law degree from the Cumberland School of Law.

In 1986 she worked for the Central Bank of the South. She then joined the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern Division of Alabama, Eastern Division, where she was a law clerk from 1987 to 1989 and the Deputy Clerk in Charge from 1989 to 1991. She was an attorney at the Najjar, Denaburg Law Firm in Birmingham, Ala., from 1991 to 1993.

She returned to West Virginia in 1994. She was an assistant prosecutor in Summers County (1994 to 2002) and an assistant prosecutor in Monroe County (1998 to 2002). From 2002 until her appointment to the bench, she was an assistant prosecutor in Greenbrier County. In that role, she prosecuted child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency and juvenile status offenses and misdemeanor and felony cases.

She is a member of the Old White Garden Club, the Mutual Improvement Club of Ronceverte, and the Greenbrier Valley Bike Club, which sponsors Wheels of Hope to raise money for local cancer patients. She is the 2005 recipient of the Champion for Children award from the Child and Youth Advocacy Center.

She and her husband, David Dent, have two sons.


Judge Thomas C. Evans, III
Fifth Judicial Circuit (Calhoun, Jackson, Mason, and Roane Counties)
Judge Thomas C. Evans, III portrait image

Judge Evans is a native of Spencer, W.Va. He has a 1972 bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University and a 1978 law degree from the West Virginia University College of Law, where he was Order of the Coif and associate editor of the West Virginia Law Review.

He practiced law at the firm of Hedges and Jones in Spencer from 1978 to 1980 and with Robert D. Fisher in Ripley from 1988 to 2000.

He was the elected Roane County Prosecutor from 1980 to 1988. He served as the Ripley City Attorney from 1996 to 2001. He was elected to the bench in the Fifth Judicial Circuit (Calhoun, Jackson, Mason and Roane Counties) in 2000 and re-elected in 2008.

He is one of seven circuit judges in the Business Court Division and is a former member of the Mass Litigation Panel. He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association.

He and his wife, Teresa, have five children and seven grandchildren.



Judge Paul T. Farrell
Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County)
Judge Paul T. Farrell portrait image

Judge Farrell was born in Huntington. He graduated from Xavier University in 1971 and West Virginia University College of Law in 1978. He was appointed to the bench in the Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County) by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin on February 14, 2011, and was elected in 2012. He is one of seven Business Court Division judges.

At the time of his appointment to the bench he had been practicing law at Farrell, Farrell, & Farrell, PLLC, for fifteen years.  He also previously served as Assistant Attorney General for West Virginia  (1978), Counsel for the West Virginia Senate President (1982-1989), Administrative Law Judge at the West Virginia Department of Employment Security (1988-1990), Hearing Examiner for the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Board (1985-1988), Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at Marshall University (1982-1985), Assistant Trust Officer at First Huntington National Bank (1978-1980), Assistant Cabell County Prosecutor (1982-1990), solo practitioner (1980-1990) and Assistant United States Attorney (1990-1995). Judge Farrell served in the U. S. Army from 1971-1973 as a First Lieutenant.

Judge Farrell is active in the Huntington community, having served as Little League president and coach, youth soccer coach, high school and college soccer referee, and as a volunteer at Hospice of Huntington and Habitat for Humanity.

He is married to Charlene M. Farrell and they have three sons and seven grandchildren.


Judge Alfred E. Ferguson
Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County)
Judge Alfred E. Ferguson portrait image

Judge Ferguson was born and raised in Cabell County.  He has a 1959 bachelor’s degree in political science from Marshall University and a 1962 law degree from the West Virginia University College of Law. 

Then-Governor John D. Rockefeller IV appointed him to the bench in the Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County) in 1977.  He was elected in 1978, 1984, 1992, 2000, and 2008. 

He has served as chief circuit judge numerous times and often has been appointed to serve on the Supreme Court in the place of a justice who was recused from a case. He is a former member of the Judicial Investigation Commission.  He was the first presiding judge on the first Juvenile Drug Court established in West Virginia.

He was a part-time instructor at Marshall University, teaching criminal law, juvenile law, civil law and divorce law for more than twenty years.

Before he was appointed to the bench, Judge Ferguson served as an Assistant Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney for one year and as a divorce commissioner for two years. He also was a lawyer in private practice for fifteen years.

He is married to Teresa Ferguson, has ten children, twenty-one grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


Judge Phillip D. Gaujot
Seventeenth Judicial Circuit (Monongalia County)
Judge Phillip D. Gaujot portrait image

Judge Gaujot is a lifelong resident of West Virginia. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University in 1968 and his law degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1971.

Then-Governor Joe Manchin III appointed him to the bench in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit (Monongalia County) in 2009 after the Legislature added a third seat to the circuit. He was elected in 2012.

He began the practice of law as an assistant attorney general. In 1974 he began a general practice of law, primarily as a litigator, and continued that practice until his appointment to the bench. His practice included the areas of personal injury, product liability, domestic relations, contracts, wills and estate, higher education as well as criminal law, corporate law, and other general areas of law.

He practiced in various courts including the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts of Appeals for the Third and Fourth Circuits, the U.S. District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, circuit courts and magistrate courts throughout West Virginia and Virginia, and the Court of Common Pleas in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Judge Gaujot also represented clients before the West Virginia Court of Claims, West Virginia Public Service Commission, West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. 

He served as counsel for the cities of Nitro and Shinnston, the Sheriff of Kanawha County, and for the House of Delegates’ Finance Committee. He also served as a hearing examiner for the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Commission and as an administrative law judge for Workforce West Virginia (a position in which he rendered more than three thousand decisions, with very few reversals).

He has served on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia University Alumni Association and the Board of Directors of the Mon General Hospital Foundation. He also is a past member of Session of the First Presbyterian Church in Morgantown.
Judge Gaujot and his wife, Carol, have two children and three grandchildren.


Judge John W. Hatcher, Jr.
Twelfth Judicial Circuit (Fayette County)
Judge John W. Hatcher, Jr. portrait image

Judge Hatcher was born and raised in Fayette County and is a graduate of Nuttall High School, West Virginia University and is a 1969 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review.

He served as a captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1969 to 1973, including one year in Vietnam. He practiced general law in Fayetteville from 1973 to 1990.

He was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1980, 1982, 1986, 1988, and 1990 and served the last four years as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Then-Governor Gaston Caperton appointed him to the bench in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit (Fayette County) and he took office in January 1991. He was elected in 1992, 2000, and 2008. 

Judge Hatcher has been appointed numerous times to sit as a special justice on the Supreme Court and has sat on civil and criminal cases in counties around West Virginia.  He has mentored new circuit judges and is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association. He was president of the association in 2001.

He is a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America.

He has a Bronze Star, two Army Commendation Medals, and a Vietnam Service Medal.

He is married to Alice and has two children and five grandchildren.


Judge Jay M. Hoke
Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit (Boone and Lincoln Counties)
Judge Jay M. Hoke portrait image

Judge Hoke is a native of Lincoln County, where he was educated and was graduated from Guyan Valley High School in 1970.  In 1974 he received his bachelor’s degree from Concord College.  He received his master’s degree from Marshall University in 1976, followed by his law degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1982.

Judge Hoke was first elected in 1988 as the Lincoln County prosecuting attorney, having previously been the assistant prosecutor and having been appointed prosecutor in 1987 and 1988. Prior to that appointment, Judge Hoke served as legal counsel to the West Virginia Public Service Commission from 1982 to 1987 and also served as Lincoln County administrator from 1977 to 1979, prior to entering  the College of Law in 1979.

In 1992 Judge Hoke was elected to the bench in the Boone and Lincoln County circuit.  He was re-elected in 2000 and 2008.  He currently serves as Chief Judge of the Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit. He also is one of seven judges on the West Virginia Mass Litigation Panel, which processes complex litigation for the entire state.

Judge Hoke and his wife, Jann, have been married for twenty-five years and have three daughters. 


Judge David W. Hummel, Jr.
Second Judicial Circuit (Marshall, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties)
Judge David W. Hummel, Jr. portrait image

Judge Hummel is a cum laude graduate of Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in business management. He attended the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where he graduated with distinction.

Judge Hummel is licensed to practice in the highest courts of West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland.  From 2003 to 2008 he had a solo law practice, Hummel Law Offices, and was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Marshall County. 

In 2008 Judge Hummel was elected to the bench in the Second Judicial Circuit (Marshall, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties).  Judge Hummel leads a highly experienced and motivated team of professionals in the Second Judicial Circuit’s Drug and Mental Health Court. 

In April 2011 Judge Hummel was appointed and served as a Temporary Justice on the  Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in a complex toxic tort civil action.

He is one of five circuit judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals to hear and rule upon statewide applications for orders authorizing the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications (wiretaps).  Additionally, he serves as a member of the Mass Litigation Panel handling cases across the State of West Virginia. 

Although not the newest circuit judge, he currently is the youngest circuit judge in West Virginia. 


Judge F. Jane Hustead
Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County)
Judge F. Jane Hustead portrait image

Judge Hustead was born and raised in Jane Lew and graduated from Lewis County High School in 1971. She has a 1973 bachelor's degree in early elementary education from Marshall University and a 1976 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

She worked at West Virginia Legal Services from 1976 to 1977 and was an assistant Cabell County prosecutor from 1977 to 2008, when she was elected judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County).

Judge Hustead is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association and the Cabell County Democrat Women’s Club. She is a former vice-president of the West Virginia League of Women Voters.


Judge John A. Hutchison
Tenth Judicial Circuit (Raleigh County)
Judge Joh A. Hutchison portrait image

Judge Hutchison was born in and raised in Beckley, West Virginia. He has a 1972 bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Davis and Elkins College and a 1980 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law. From 1972 to 1974 he was assistant basketball coach at Davis and Elkins College and from 1974 to 1997 he taught and coached in Raleigh County Schools. From 1975 to 1977 he served as dorm director and assistant basketball coach at Concord University.

He practiced law in Raleigh County for ten years with Gorman, Sheatsley and Hutchison. In 1991 he opened the Nationwide Insurance West Virginia Trial Division Office and served as its managing trial attorney for four years.

Then-Governor Gaston Caperton appointed him to the Tenth Judicial Circuit (Raleigh County) in 1995. He was elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2000 and 2008.

He is a member of the Supreme Court’s Mass Litigation Panel and was a judicial representative on the Commission to Study Residential Placement of Children. He has been appointed several times to sit on the Supreme Court when a Justice has been recused.

He has been treasurer, secretary, vice president, and president of the West Virginia Judicial Association and he has been chairman and vice-chairman of the association’s legislative and pensions committees.

Judge Hutchison was a registered official with the Secondary School Activities Commission in soccer and baseball for approximately fifteen years and also has served on the board of directors at the Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA.

He is married to Victoria Lagowski Hutchison and they have two children and two grandchildren.


Judge Robert A. Irons
Thirty-First Judicial Circuit (Monroe and Summers Counties)

Judge David R. Janes
Sixteenth Judicial Circuit (Marion County)
Judge David R. Janes portrait image

Judge Janes was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Fairmont, West Virginia. He has a 1973 bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and earned a law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1977.

He practiced law in Fairmont for twenty-three years as a partner in the firm of Tharp, Liotta, Janes and Yokum. He was elected to the bench in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit (Marion County) in 2000 and re-elected in 2008.

During his years in private practice, he tried numerous civil and criminal cases and served as a member of the Board of Governors of the West Virginia State Bar, as special counsel to the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission, and as president of the Marion County Bar Association.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association and serves on its Education Committee. He is an adjunct lecturer at the West Virginia University College of Law, where he teaches a class in pretrial litigation to second- and third-year students.

Judge Janes is married and has three grown children.


Judge Gary L. Johnson
Twenty-Eighth Judicial Circuit (Nicholas County)
Judge Gary L. Johnson portrait image

Gary L. Johnson, Judge of the Twenty-Eighth Judicial Circuit (Nicholas County), has devoted his years on the bench to improving judicial outcomes for children and juveniles. Judge Johnson has served as chairman of the West Virginia Court Improvement Program Oversight Board since 2001. He also is a member of the Supreme Court’s Juvenile Justice Commission, the 2014 Governor’s Intergovernmental Task Force on Juvenile Justice, and the Commission to Study the Residential Placement of Children. As Chairman of the Court Improvement Program, he helped establish the first West Virginia University College of Law class on children and the law.

For these efforts Judge Johnson has received numerous awards and citations. In 1999 he was declared an “Angel in Adoption" by the United States Congress and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. In 2009 he received the Alliance for Children’s West Virginia Leader for Children Award; the Commissioner's Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children, Youth and Families; and a Purple Ribbon Award from the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. He also is a recipient of the 1998 Protection of Children Award from the Nicholas County Family Resource Network and Nicholas/Webster Foster Parent Association, the 2008 Extra Mile Award from the West Virginia Children’s Justice Task Force, and the 2013 Steward of Unity Award from the West Virginia Child Care Association.

Judge Johnson is a past president of the West Virginia Judicial Association, past chairman of the Judicial Hearing Board, and is a former member of the Mass Litigation Panel. He has been appointed numerous times to sit on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in cases in which a justice was recused, including one appointment as Acting Chief Justice.

Judge Johnson earned an undergraduate degree in history and political science in 1973 and a master’s degree in public administration in 1974, all from from West Virginia University, before completing his law degree in 1980 at West Virginia University College of Law.

Judge Johnson operated a private law practice in Nicholas County from 1980 to 1985 and 1989 to 1993 and served as Richwood’s municipal judge from 1981 to 1985. He was elected Nicholas County prosecutor in 1985 and served in that position for four years. He was elected to the Twenty-Eighth Judicial Circuit (Nicholas County) in 1992 and re-elected in 2000 and 2008. A father of five, Judge Johnson resides in Richwood with his wife, Susan.


Judge Tod J. Kaufman
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge Tod J. Kaufman portrait image

Judge Tod J. Kaufman was born and raised in Charleston. He was educated in the public schools of Kanawha County and attended preparatory education at George School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He graduated cum laude from Tufts University in 1975 with a double major in English and political science. He worked as a paralegal in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling, and received a law degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1980. He served a clerkship on the United States Tax Court during law school before joining his late father’s Charleston law firm of Kaufman & Ratliff in 1980.

While in the private practice of law, then-Governor John D. Rockefeller IV appointed him to the West Virginia State Senate in 1982 and he was elected in 1984. After his legislative term ended, he was elected to the bench in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County) in 1988 and re-elected in 1992, 2000, and 2008, serving as Chief Judge of West Virginia’s largest circuit three times. He will serve as Chief Judge again in 2016.

Judge Kaufman has lectured by invitation at an international law conference in Croatia (his speech in Croatia on class actions in America was published internationally); on Constitutional law as a judicial scholar at Hampton-Sydney College in Virginia; at Trinity College Law School in Dublin, Ireland; and at Harvard College (on the judicial process in America, 2015, where he was the introduced by historical and West Virginia native Henry Louis Gates, Jr.).

Judge Kaufman is a former member of the Mass Litigation Panel of the West Virginia Supreme Court, and past president and executive officer of the West Virginia Judicial Association. He is married to artist Barrie Kaufman and they have three grown children.



Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick, III
Tenth Judicial Circuit (Raleigh County)
Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick III portrait image

Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick III is a native of Beckley and grew up in the coalfields of Fayette and Raleigh Counties. He is a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, a 1973 graduate of the University of Kentucky, and 1976 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law.

He practiced law in Wyoming and Raleigh Counties for more than twenty years until he was appointed to the bench in the Tenth Judicial Circuit (Raleigh County) in 1995 by then-Governor Gaston Caperton. Judge Kirkpatrick was elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2000 and 2008. During his time in private practice, he was with the law firm of Bailey, Worrell and Viars in Pineville, beginning in 1976; in a solo practice in Pineville from 1979 to 1985; and at Ashworth & Kirkpatrick from 1985 to 1995.

Judge Kirkpatrick is a two-term member of the Judicial Investigation Commission and has served as vice-chairman of the Judicial Realignment Committee of the West Virginia Judicial Association. He currently is vice-chairman of the Judicial Education Committee of the Judicial Association and chairman of the Region Three Fatality Review Team.  He helped organize in Beckley the first LAWS (Legal Advancement for West Virginia Students) program, in which the Supreme Court hears an argument docket in front of local high school students at a county courthouse. He also hosted a Media and the Courts conference in Beckley.

Judge Kirkpatrick was named Outstanding Young Man of West Virginia, President of the Pineville Lions Club, President of the Central Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, and received the Distinguished Service Award form Wyoming County Jaycees, all in 1983. He was a member of the Common Council, Town of Pineville, from 1982 to 1985. He was President of the Beckley Lions Club in 1988. He was an instructor at Beckley College’s Paralegal Department from 1988-1991, a member of the Board of Trustees of Beckley College from 1988 to 1990, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Beckley College and the College of West Virginia from 1990 to 1995. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Raleigh in 1995.

He and his wife, the former Rebecca Nicewonder, have twin sons.


Judge Michael D. Lorensen
Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties)
Judge Michael D. Lorensen portrait image

Judge Lorensen is a native of Morgantown. He has a 1981 bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University and a 1984 law degree from West Virginia University College of law.

He worked three years as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Charles Haden in the Southern District of West Virginia before practicing law for twenty-five years in Martinsburg at the firm Bowles Rice. His practice focused on civil litigation, although he also did criminal law and for seven years was a member of the panel of court-appointed attorneys in federal courts.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties) in 2012 and he was elected in 2014. He was a member of Governor Tomblin’s 2014 West Virginia Intergovernmental Task Force on Juvenile Justice He was a member of the Judicial Hearing Board, a member of the local rules committee for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, and a former member of the board of the West Virginia Board of Law Examiners. He formerly served thirteen years on the Shenandoah Community Health Control Board of Directors, including two years as President of the Board.

Judge Lorensen and his wife, Maria, have two children.


Judge J. Lewis Marks, Jr.
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Harrison County)
Judge J. Lewis Marks, Jr. portrait image

Judge Marks was born and raised in Clarksburg. He attended Harrison County public schools and has a 1974 political science degree from West Virginia University and a 1977 law degree from West Virginia College of Law.

He practiced law in Clarksburg from 1977 to 1996, concentrating in the area of criminal and civil trials.

He was appointed by then-Governor Gaston Caperton to the bench in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Harrison County), taking office on February 1, 1996. He was elected in 1996, 2000, and 2008. He has served as chief judge several times during his tenure on the bench.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association, the West Virginia State Bar, and the Harrison County Bar Association.

He received the 2000 Outstanding Judicial Service Award from the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. He has been assigned to sit on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia as a temporary justice on a number of occasions in which a Justice was recused from a case. Judge Marks presides over the Adult Drug Court in Harrison County.

He and his wife, Linda Kay, have four children.


Judge James A. Matish
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Harrison County)
Judge James A. Matish portrait image

Judge Matish is a native of Owings, Harrison County, and graduated from Shinnston High School. He has a 1975 bachelor’s degree in business administration (magna cum laude) from West Virginia University and a 1978 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He had a general law practice in Clarksburg from 1978 to 2000, concentrating in criminal defense work, civic litigation, family law, real estate, and bankruptcy.

He was elected to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Harrison County) in 2000 and re-elected in 2008. He has been appointed several times to sit on the Supreme Court when a Justice has been recused from a case.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association, West Virginia State Bar, and the Harrison County Bar Association. He is past president and vice president of the Harrison County Bar Association, and a founder and past president of the West Virginia Society for Criminal Justice.  He has taught at Salem International University and numerous continuing legal education classes at West Virginia University College of Law and at other locations in the state for lawyers, law enforcement personnel, and magistrates.  He has served as a judge for the WVU College of Law Moot Court Board.

He and his wife, Peggy, have one daughter.  


Judge James P. Mazzone
First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties)
Judge James P. Mazzone portrait image

Judge Mazzone was born in Follansbee and was raised in Weirton. He graduated cum laude from West Virginia University in 1985 with a degree in accounting and from West Virginia University College of Law in 1988.

Judge Mazzone practiced law at Schrader Byrd & Companion, PLLC, in Wheeling from 1988 to 2000, when he was elected to the First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties). Since being elected, he has been appointed multiple times to serve as a temporary Justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. He is a member of the Supreme Court’s Mass Litigation Panel, is one of five circuit judges to hear West Virginia Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act cases, serves on and is chairman of several West Virginia Judicial Association Committees, and has served two terms as Chief Judge of the First Judicial Circuit.

He has received numerous awards, including a Fellowship from the West Virginia State Bar, West Virginia Association of Justice Judge of the Year (2011), Heritage Award (2005), Italian-American of the Year (2003), and Distinguished West Virginian (2003). Judge Mazzone has been a guest lecturer at colleges, universities, and high schools.

He and his wife, Roxanne Taibi, have two daughters and a son.


Judge Warren R. McGraw
Twenty-Seventh Judicial Circuit (Wyoming County)
Judge Warren R. McGraw portrait image

Judge McGraw was born on May 10, 1939, in Wyoming County. He attended Wyoming County public schools and graduated from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) with a bachelor’s degree in political science, history, and economics in 1960. He attended graduate school at West Virginia University and earned his law degree in 1963 from Wake Forest University.

Judge McGraw was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1968 and 1970 and the West Virginia Senate in 1972, 1976, and 1980; he was President of the state Senate from 1980 to 1985. He was honored by Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics as a National Outstanding Legislator in 1971.

In 1986 he was elected to the Wyoming County Board of Education; in 1996 he was elected Wyoming County prosecuting attorney; in 1998 he was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and was elected Chief Justice in 2001; and in 2008 he was elected Circuit Judge of the Twenty-Seventh Judicial Circuit (Wyoming County).

In attention to being an attorney in private practice, he also has been a steel and chemical worker, a U.S. Department of Justice trial lawyer, a legal services attorney, and an instructor at the West Virginia University Extension Agency.

He is a member of the Wyoming and Raleigh County Bar Associations and Rotary International. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and a recipient of the Friend of Education Margaret Baldwin Award from the West Virginia Education Association.

Judge McGraw is married to Peggy Shufflebarger, and they have three children and six grandchildren.


Judge Lawrance S. Miller, Jr.
Eighteenth Judicial Circuit (Preston County)
Judge Lawrance S. Miller, Jr. portrait image

Judge Miller was born in Richmond, Virginia, and grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia. He has a 1971 bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and a 1974 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He practiced general law in Kingwood from 1974 to 1998, when he was elected to the bench in the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit (Preston County). He was re-elected in 2000 and 2008. He has presided over the Preston County Drug Court since its inception in April 2009.

Judge Miller is chairman of the Judicial Hearing Board, serves on the Supreme Court’s Compliance Committee on Prisons and Jail Conditions, and has been appointed several times to hear cases at the Supreme Court when justices have been recused.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association, Wesley United Methodist Church, and various civic organizations. Judge Miller has attended national and state seminars regarding drug courts. He has completed the National Drug Court Institute’s Adult Drug Court Planning Initiative Training Program.

He and his wife, Susan, have two daughters.


Judge Alan D. Moats
Nineteenth Judicial Circuit (Barbour and Taylor Counties)
Judge Alan D. Moats portrait image

Judge Moats was born and raised in Grafton. He has a 1974 bachelor’s degree in English from West Virginia University and a 1977 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was the assistant prosecutor in Taylor County from 1977 to 1984 and was the elected Taylor County Prosecutor from 1985 to 1996. He maintained a private law practice from 1977 to 1996.

In 1996 then-Governor Gaston Caperton appointed him to the bench in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit (Barbour and Taylor Counties). He was elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2008.

Judge Moats is the Chairman of the Mass Litigation Panel, a past president of the West Virginia Judicial Association, an advisory member of the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority, and a state delegate to the National Conference of State Trial Judges.

He and his wife, Connie, have a son and a daughter.


Judge Rudolph J. Murensky, II
Eighth Judicial Circuit (McDowell County)
Judge Rudolph J. Murensky, II portrait image

Judge Murensky was born and raised in Welch, West Virginia. He is the son of the late Circuit Judge Rudolph Murensky and Hazel T. Murensky and has one sister, Susan Murensky, who also is an attorney. He graduated from Concord College magna cum laude in 1975 with a double major in history and political science. He has a 1978 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

Judge Murensky practiced law in Welch from 1978 to 2000. He served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1980-1992; he was Majority Leader from 1987 to 1990 and Finance Committee Chairman from 1991 to 1992.

He was elected to the bench in the Eighth Judicial Circuit (McDowell County) in 2000 and re-elected in 2008.

He was a member of the Judicial Hearing Board for nine years and served as its chairman and vice-chairman. He has been active in the Robes to Schools civic education program and is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association.

He received the McDowell County Liberty Bell Award in 2012.

He and his wife, Sandra, have two children and five grandchildren.


Judge Lynn A. Nelson
Twenty-First Judicial Circuit (Grant, Mineral, and Tucker Counties)
Judge Lynn A. Nelson portrait image

Judge Nelson was born in Keyser and raised in Ridgeley. He has a 1984 bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University and a 1988 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law. He also studied law at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, England.

He was the elected Mineral County prosecutor from 1989 to 2008.

He was elected to bench in the Twenty-First Judicial Circuit (Grant, Mineral, and Tucker Counties) in 2008. Judge Nelson has been the Frankfort Colts Pee-Wee football coach since 2000 and that same year became the lead singer in the band “Public Menace.”

He is married to Suzanne Sites.



Judge Eric H. O'Briant
Seventh Judicial Circuit (Logan County)
Judge Eric H. O'Briant portrait image

Judge O’Briant is a native of Logan, West Virginia. He has a 1974 bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Kentucky and a 1978 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He engaged in the general practice of law from 1978 to 1987 with the firm of Valentine, Wilson, and Pantain and also as a solo practitioner.

Then-Governor Arch A. Moore Jr. appointed him to the bench in 1987 in the Seventh Judicial Circuit (Logan County). He waselected in 1988 and re-elected in 1992, 2000, and 2008.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association and the Logan County Bar Association. He is the Chief Judge.

He and his wife, Diana, have five children and four grandchildren.


Judge Charles E. Parsons
Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit (Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton Counties)
Judge Charles E. Parsons portrait image

Judge Parsons was born in Cumberland, Maryland. He attended public schools in Grant County, West Virginia, and graduated from Petersburg High School in 1965. He graduated magna cum laude from West Virginia University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Subsequent to his graduation from college, he was placed on active duty with the U.S. Army, primarily in Germany. Upon his discharge, he attended and graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 1973.

He was appointed family law master in 1986, and in 2000 he was appointed Family Court Judge. In 2002 he was elected Family Court Judge and re-elected in 2008. In 2010, he was elected to the bench in the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit (Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton Counties).

Judge Parsons is a former member of the boards of United Methodist Children’s Home and the Hampshire Memorial Hospital, former president of the Hampshire County Library, and former president of the South Branch Valley Bar Association.

He has been married to Elizabeth A. Parsons for 37 years and they have three children and two grandchildren.


Judge Darrell Pratt
Twenty-Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wayne County)
Judge Darrell Pratt portrait image

Judge Pratt was born and raised in Fort Gay and graduated from Fort Gay High School in 1971. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and education from Marshall University in 1975 and a law degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1981.

He was a teacher at Buffalo High School from 1975 to 1978 and spent several summers as an intern at Cabot Oil and Gas and the U.S. Department of Labor. He had a private law practice from 1981 to 1992.

He was elected Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney in 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996, and served in that position part-time from 1985 to 1992 and full-time from 1992 to 1997, when then-governor Gaston Caperton appointed him to the bench in the Twenty-Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wayne County). He was elected judge in 1998 and re-elected 2000 and 2008.

Judge Pratt has been appointed numerous times to sit as a temporary Justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals to hear cases in which a Justice was recused. He also served as Chairman of the Business Court Committee, which researched and developed a proposal for what became the Business Court Division of Circuit Court.

His community service includes serving as a volunteer laborer for home improvement and weatherization programs for the Family Resource Network and United Methodist Organization. He is a former board member of the Southwestern Community Action Council; former Charter Member of Wayne Jaycees; former past president and board member of Stepping Stone, Inc.; former past president and current board member of Green Acres Regional Center; former past president and current board member of Wayne County Community Services; current board member of BISON Organization; former officer and member of Prichard Elementary PTO and LSIC and Spring Valley High School Athletic Boosters; and former officer, board member, and coach of Buffalo youth basketball, baseball, and Wayne County soccer.

Judge Pratt and his wife, Barbara, have two children.


Judge Jeffrey B. Reed
Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wirt and Wood Counties)
Judge Jeffrey Reed portrait image

Judge Reed was born and raised in Parkersburg. He graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1976 then received an associate degree in political science from Parkersburg Community College. He has a 1984 bachelor’s degree in economics, magna cum laude, from West Virginia University and a 1984 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law where, where he was awarded the Order of the Barristers.

He had a private practice in Parkersburg until 1989 when he was elected Wood County prosecutor. In 1992 he was elected to the bench in the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wood and Wirt Counties). He was re-elected in 2000 and 2008.

Judge Reed was the presiding judge of the West Central Regional Drug Court from its inception in 2007 until 2012; a teacher to CASA volunteers; a continuing education instructor for circuit court judges, magistrates, and law clerks; and a former chairman of the West Virginia Court Improvement Program Committee.

He was the recipient of the 2003 Commissioner’s Award for outstanding leadership and service in the field of child abuse and neglect prevention by the United States Department of Health and Human Resources and was named Judge of the Year in 2010 by the West Virginia CASA Association.

Judge Reed is a past member of the Wood County Commission on Crime, Delinquency, and Corrections; the Parkersburg Rotary Club; the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors; the YMCA Board of Directors; the Board of Directors for the United Fund of the Mid-Ohio Valley; and the Family Crisis Intervention Center. He is a former adjunct professor at West Virginia University-Parkersburg, where he taught Business Law and Criminal Law.

He has assisted in writing and editing several handbooks and computer-based programs in use statewide.

He has one child.


Judge Joseph K. Reeder
Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit (Putnam County)
Judge Joseph K. Reeder portrait image

Judge Reeder was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He is a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics (Accounting) in 1987. He received his legal education at the West Virginia University College of Law. Judge Reeder graduated from law school with honors, as a member of the Order of the Coif, in May 1991. While in law school, he was active in the Lugar Trial Association and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.

Following law school, Judge Reeder practiced law as an associate and then partner in several Charleston law firms. In 2003, he founded his own firm in Hurricane, West Virginia, where he practiced until his election to the bench in November 2012. As a lawyer, Judge Reeder tried numerous cases and represented both individual and business clients in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia.

Judge Reeder was elected to the bench in the Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit (Putnam County), as a Republican. As judge, he has been particularly concerned with drug abuse issues and their effect on the community. He started the Putnam County Adult Drug Court and has been the presiding judge in that court since it was founded.

He is a member of the American Bar Association Judicial Division and a member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Judge Reeder is a member of the Pine Grove Church of Christ. He also is active as a leader of Troop 17 of the Boy Scouts of America and served as Membership Chairman (2014-2015) for the Pioneer District. He is a member of the Scott Teays Lions Club and was a Charter Member of the Putnam County Kiwanis Club. He was also instrumental in starting a BSA Legal Explorers Club in Putnam County for young people who may be interested in pursuing a career in the legal profession.

Judge Reeder resides in Hurricane with his wife, Linda, a Putnam County teacher, and their two sons.


Judge Jacob E. Reger
Twenty-Sixth Judicial Circuit (Lewis and Upshur Counties)
Judge Jacob E. Reger portrait image

Judge Reger was born and raised in Buckhannon. He graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in 1978. He graduated from West Virginia University in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and from West Virginia College of Law in 1992.

Judge Reger was engaged in the general practice of law from 1992 to 1998 and from 2002 to 2004, both in his own practice and with the law firm of Coleman and Wallace. He served as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Upshur County from 1993 to 1998. He was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Kanawha County and served as the Director of the Fraud and Investigations Unit for the Bureau of Employment Programs from 1998 to 2002. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney for Upshur County in 2004, 2008, and 2012. Judge Reger served on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Association and served as President of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association from 2013 to 2014.

He was elected Judge for the Twenty-Sixth Judicial Circuit (Upshur and Lewis Counties) in 2014.

Judge Reger is a member of First United Methodist Church in Buckhannon, where he has served on the Board of Trustees, Administrative Board, and as Chairman of the Staff Parrish Relations Committee. He has served on the Board of Directors of a number of community service organizations, including the Upshur County Senior Center, United Way, Literacy Volunteers, and the Child Development Center.

He and his wife, Beverly, live in Upshur County.


Judge Robert E. Richardson
Eleventh Judicial Circuit (Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties)
Judge Robert E. Richardson portrait image

Judge Richardson grew up in Lewisburg and graduated from Greenbrier East High School in 1980. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University in 1984. While a student at WVU, he was the University’s first recipient of the Truman Scholarship (a national award presented to recognize leadership potential in public service), and also served as the WVU Mountaineer mascot during the 1982-83 academic year. Judge Richardson attended law school at the University of Virginia School of Law (J.D., 1987), where he was an editor of the Virginia Law Review, and at the Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M. , 1989).

Judge Richardson began his legal career with the Institute for Public Representation in Washington, D.C., where he worked primarily on matters concerning the civil rights of persons with disabilities. While in that position, he served as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. He returned to West Virginia in 1990 to work with West Virginia Legal Services Plan (now Legal Aid of West Virginia) as the managing attorney of its Clarksburg office and also taught part-time as an adjunct faculty member at the West Virginia University College of Law. After a decade of public interest legal work, he returned to his hometown of Lewisburg in 1997 to pursue the private practice of law and opened his own firm in 2000. Judge Richardson was appointed to the bench in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit (Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties) by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin on May 21, 2014.

His community service includes work on the boards of directors of several local and statewide organizations, including Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, Habitat for Humanity of West Virginia, Legal Aid of West Virginia, the Greenbrier Youth Camp, and HospiceCare. For twenty-five years, he served as the director of the West Virginia Older 4-H Members Conference, a weeklong leadership development program for high school and college age youth, and he has been inducted into the West Virginia 4-H Hall of Fame.

He and his wife, Susan, live in Greenbrier County.


Judge William J. Sadler
Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County)
Judge William J. Sadler portrait image

Judge Sadler is a lifelong resident of Mercer County and graduated from Bluefield High School. He graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University College of Business and Economics in 1985 and graduated in 1988 from West Virginia University College of Law.

He practiced law in Princeton from 1988 to 1998. He was the elected Mercer County prosecutor from 1998 to 2006 when he was appointed by then-Governor Joe Manchin to the bench in the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County). Judge Sadler took office January 1, 2007, and was elected to the seat in 2008.

He is a member of the Judicial Association; a past member of the National District Attorneys’ Association; and is a past member, past board member, and past president of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association.

Judge Sadler has attended courses at the National College of Advocacy in Columbia, South Carolina, and at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.

He is a member of Delta Theta Phi, Beta Alpha Psi, and Beta Gamma Sigma.

He and his wife, Barbara, have two daughters.


Judge David H. Sanders
Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties)
Judge David H. Sanders portrait image

Judge Sanders is a native of Mercer County. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in history and from West Virginia University College of Law.

He moved to the Eastern Panhandle to join the state’s first public defender office in 1983. He had a private practice in Martinsburg from 1986 until 1992, when he was elected to the bench in the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties). He was re-elected in 2000 and 2008.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association.

Judge Sanders has two children, one granddaughter, three ex-wives, and a Shi-Tzu named Zimmerman.


Judge Gray Silver, III
Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties)
Judge Gray Silver, III portrait image

Judge Silver was born and raised in Martinsburg. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1975 with a double major in government and economics. He is a 1979 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law.

He was elected to the bench in the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties) in 2000 and re-elected in 2008.

Judge Silver began his legal career as an assistant attorney general in Charleston from 1979 to 1982. He then moved to Martinsburg and worked at Martin & Seibert from 1982 to 1984, was a partner at Avey & Steptoe from 1984 to 1990, was a partner at Steptoe & Johnson from 1990 to 1995, and was a partner at Spilman, Thomas & Battle from 1995 to 2000.

He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church. He and his wife, Sally Elizabeth, have two children.


Judge David J. Sims
First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties)
Judge David J. Sims portrait image

Judge Sims was born in Wheeling in 1961 and graduated from The Linsly School in 1979. He has a 1983 degree in history from Georgetown University and a 1987 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was an Ohio County Commissioner from 1995 to 2012 and the owner of Sims Law Offices in Wheeling from 1987 to 2012, where he focused on real estate and litigation, before being appointed to the bench in the First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties) by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in 2012.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association.

Judge Sims and his wife, Lisa, have two children.


Judge Booker T. Stephens
Eighth Judicial Circuit (McDowell County)
Judge Booker T. Stephens portrait image

Judge Stephens was born in Bluefield and grew up in Warrior Mines, West Virginia. He graduated from West Virginia State College in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish and from Howard University School of Law in 1972.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968. He had a private practice in Welch from 1972 to 1984 and was an assistant prosecutor in McDowell County from 1976 to 1977.

In 1984 he was to the Eighth Judicial Circuit (McDowell County) and re-elected in 1992, 2000, and 2008. He has been appointed numerous times by to sit as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia when a Justice has been recused from a case.

He has been a member of the Mass Litigation Panel since 1997. He was a member of the executive committee of the National Conference of State Trial Court Judges from 1996 to 1997 and was a member of the House of Delegates from 1978 to 1982.

Judge Stephens has received numerous awards including Outstanding Judge of the Year (1993); Governor’s Living The Dream Award, Martin L. King, Jr., Holiday Commission (2003); West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow (2003); and Layman of the Year (1995) from the West Virginia Baptist State Layman’s Auxiliary.

He is admitted practice before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and the Supreme Court of the United States of America. He is a member of the Board of West Virginia State University Foundation, a member of the Multi-Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee at Bluefield State College, and a former member of the Executive Committee of the American Bar Association’s National Conference of State Trial Judges and Standing Committee on Minorities in the Judiciary.

He and his wife, attorney Gloria M. Stephens, have two children.


Judge Phillip M. Stowers
Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit (Putnam County)
Judge Phillip M. Stowers portrait image

Judge Stowers was born in Charleston and raised in Alkol, West Virginia. He graduated from Duval high School in 1978. He attended Morehead State University on a four-year Presidential Scholarship and graduated magna cum laude in 1982 with dual bachelor’s degrees in speech communication and business administration with an emphasis on economics. He has a 1986 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law, where he won the 1985 Baker Cup Award, was a member of the West Virginia Law Review (he wrote an article on Wainwright v. Witt) and the College of Law Moot Court Board.

He began his legal career as an associate for Huddleston & Bolen in Huntington. In 1989, he moved to Charleston and continued in private practice. In 1991 he formed Stowers & Associates Attorneys at Law and primarily engaged in civil litigation there until 2008. He has served as a special assistant attorney general in West Virginia and as counsel to the West Virginia Senate Committee on Government Organization.

In 2008 he was elected to the bench in the Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit (Putnam County). He has been appointed several times to sit on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to hear cases in which a Justice was recused. He sits on the Juvenile Justice Commission and on the West Virginia Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act Board. He is chairman of the Region Three Fatality Review Commission. He presides over the Putnam County Juvenile Drug Court, the first drug court in Putnam County; the Putnam County Veterans Initiative program; and Truancy Triage, a county truancy diversion program.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association, the National Association of Drug Court Judges, and the West Virginia Commission on Residential Placements of Children.

He and his wife, Terri, have one son.



Judge Timothy L. Sweeney
Third Judicial Circuit (Doddridge, Pleasants, and Ritchie Counties)
Judge Timothy L. Sweeney portrait image

Judge Sweeney was raised in Pleasants County and graduated from St. Marys High school in 1974. He was a 1978 bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University and a 1981 law degree from West Virginia University College of law.

He spent thirty years in private practice with law firms that include White & Sweeney, Sweeney & Ballard, the Sweeney Law Firm, and as general counsel for Pleasants County Bank. He was the elected prosecutor of Pleasants County from 1985 to 2010.


In December 2010 Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to the bench in the Third Judicial Circuit (Doddridge, Pleasants and Ritchie Counties). He was elected in 2012.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association. He is a former president of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association and a former member of the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the National College of District Attorneys.

Judges Sweeney is president of the Pleasants County Library Board and volunteers with several other community organizations.

He and his wife, Charlene, have four children.



Judge Joanna I. Tabit
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge Joanna I. Tabit portrait image

A Charleston native, Judge Tabit earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Marshall University in 1983 and her law degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1986.

She began her legal career in 1986 as a personal law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice Thomas E. McHugh. Following her clerkship, she served as an Assistant and then as Deputy Attorney General of the Appellate Division in the Office of the Attorney General from 1989 to 1992 under the administrations of Attorneys General Roger Tompkins and Mario Palumbo. In 1992, Judge Tabit joined the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, where she was a member attorney until October, 2014, when she was appointed to the Kanawha County bench by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

Judge Tabit also worked as an Adjunct Lecturer teaching Summer Appellate Advocacy for the West Virginia University College of Law. She is active in professional and civic organizations. Among other things, she has served as Co-Chairman of the Campaign for Legal Aid of West Virginia; served on the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Charleston; chaired the Access to Justice Foundation; served as a member of Board of Governors of the West Virginia State Bar; and served as a Commissioner on the City of Charleston Human Rights Commission. Judge Tabit currently is a member of the Juvenile Justice Commission.

While in private practice, Judge Tabit was rated an AV lawyer by Martindale Hubbell and recognized by Chambers USA as a Leader in the Field with a specialty in commercial litigation. Additionally, she was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers in various practice areas. In 2009, Judge Tabit received the “Outstanding Private Practice Attorney” award presented by the Women’s Law Caucus at West Virginia University College of Law. She also was recognized as “Charleston’s Finest” by the Kentucky/West Virginia chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for her charitable work for the organization.


Judge Miki J. Thompson
Thirtieth Judicial Circuit (Mingo County)
Judge Miki J. Thompson portrait image

Judge Thompson is a native of Floyd County, Kentucky. She graduated from Wheelwright High School and has a 1975 bachelor’s degree in communications and a 1992 law degree, both from the University of Kentucky.

Judge Thompson began her career as assistant prosecuting attorney in Mingo County in 1992. She also ran her own law practice, Thompson Law Office, until 2008.

She was elected family court judge in the Eighth Family Court Circuit (Mingo County) in 2008 and was appointed circuit judge for the Thirtieth Judicial Circuit (Mingo County) in 2014 by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Judge Thompson had won the 2014 primary for the circuit judge position before being appointed by Governor Tomblin and she went on to win the 2014 election.

She is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association.

She and her husband, West Virginia native Gary Thompson, have two daughters (one of whom is deceased), and one granddaughter.


Judge William S. Thompson
Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit (Boone and Lincoln Counties)
Judge William S. Thompson portrait image

Judge Thompson was born in Charleston and raised on Lick Creek near Danville. He graduated Salutatorian from Scott High School in 1988. He has a 1992 degree in civil engineering from West Virginia University and graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 1995.

He was an engineer for American Electric Power in Columbus, Ohio, in 1992; Vice President of Danville Lumber Company from 1992 to 2007; and President of Madison Health Care, Inc., from 1998-2007.

He was an attorney for Cook and Cook in Madison from 1995 to 2007and a Mental Hygiene Commissioner for Boone County from 2003 to 2007.

Then-Governor Joe Manchin III appointed him to the bench in the Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit (Boone and Lincoln Counties) in 2007. Judge Thompson was elected in 2008.

Judge Thompson has been appointed to be a temporary Justice on the Supreme Court to hear cases in which as Justice was recused.

He is a member of the Madison United Methodist Church and is actively involved in coaching youth sports for both boys and girls. He and his wife, Keri Dawn, have four children.



Judge Robert A. Waters
Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wirt and Wood Counties)
Judge Robert A. Waters portrait image

Judge Waters was born and raised in Parkersburg. He graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1973 and has a 1976 bachelor’s degree in government and economics from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a 1979 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law, where he was a member of the West Virginia Law Review and won the AmJur Award in Criminal Law.

He was in private practice in Parkersburg from 1979 to 1992 and was an assistant Wood County prosecutor from 1979 to 1982 and from 1989 to 1992.

He was elected to the bench in the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wood and Wirt Counties) in 1992 and re-elected in 2000 and 2008.

Judge Waters is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association and the West Virginia Bar Association. He also attended the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada in Reno and received a Diploma of Judicial Skills from the American Judges Association.

He is a past president of the Henry Logan Children’s Home and a longtime member of the Rotary and Boy Scouts.

He and his wife, Robin, have three children.


Judge Carrie L. Webster
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County)

Judge Christopher C. Wilkes
Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties)
Judge Christopher C. Wilkes portrait image

Judge Wilkes was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1956. He has a 1980 bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University and a 1982 law degree from The Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law (top 10 percent of the class Phi Kappa Phi, Willis Society of Legal Scholars). He has completed numerous courses at the National Judicial College and the Law and Economics program at George Mason University College of Law.

He was a partner in the law firm of Wilkes & Wilkes, L.C., in Martinsburg from 1983 to 1993 and was a municipal judge in the cities of Martinsburg and Ranson from 1985 to 1993.

In 1992 he was elected to the bench in the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties) and re-elected in 2000 and 2008.

Judge Wilkes is the chairman of the Business Court Division. He is co-chairman of the Youth Services Committee of the Court Improvement Board and a member of the Judges Initiative Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association, American Judge’s Association, Eastern Panhandle Bar Association, and the American College of Business Court Judges.

He is the author of “Emerging Fronts in Alternative Dispute Resolution: Judicial Mediation in West Virginia Business Court,” and “West Virginia’s New Business Court Division: An Overview of the Development and Operation of Trial Court Rule 29.” He has been a guest lecturer, panelist and presenter at numerous trainings and conferences and has been appointed several times to sit as a temporary Justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to hear cases in which a Justice was recused, and he authored two published opinions.

He and his wife, Patricia, have two daughters and live in Martinsburg.


Judge Mark Wills
Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County)
Judge Mark Wills portrait image

Judge Mark Wills was elected on May 10, 2016, to a Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County) term that begins January 1, 2017.  On May 19, 2016, Governor Ear Ray Tomblin appointed him to the seat to serve the remainder of the term of Judge Omar Aboulhosn, who resigned earlier in the year to become a federal magistrate.

At the time of his election, Judge Wills had been practicing law at Wills Law Office in Princeton, a solo general practice, for eighteen years. 

A native of Princeton, he has a 1977 bachelor’s degree in political science from Concord University and a 1981 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He is the former chief operating officer of Taggart Global, LLC China, and negotiated contracts between American and Chinese coal interests from 2006 to 2008.  He also was a partner in the law firms of Wills and Sadler; Wills, Kilgore and Sadler; and Bayless and Wills.

Judge Wills served in the West Virginia Senate from 2010 to 2012 and in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1999 to 2002.

He has been a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board since 1994 and the chairman since 2013. He has been on the board of the Princeton Community Hospital since 2006.

He and his wife, Revonda Leigh Wills, have four children and two grandchildren.


Judge David H. Wilmoth
Twentieth Judicial Circuit (Randolph County)
Judge David H. Wilmoth portrait image

Judge Wilmoth is a native of Elkins and graduated from Elkins High School in 1983. He has a 1988 bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Marshall University and a 1991 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He began his legal career in 1992 as an associate attorney at Jory & Smith L.C. In 1997, he started his own law firm, David H. Wilmoth LC, in Elkins.

He also served as the Randolph County fiduciary commissioner for ten years (2004-2015) and as the mental hygiene commissioner for Randolph County from 1996 to 2015 and Tucker County from 2010 to 2015. He worked as a discovery commissioner for the Randolph County circuit court and as a special commissioner for Barbour, Randolph and Upshur County circuit courts.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to the bench in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit (Randolph County) in February 2015.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association.

He is a former member of the Randolph County Ambulance Authority Board, Randolph County Committee on Aging, Inc., and the Deputy Sheriff’s and Randolph County Correctional Officer Civil Service Commissions.

He and his wife, Kris, have one daughter.


Judge Ronald E. Wilson
First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties)
Judge Ronald E. Wilson portrait image

Judge Ron Wilson is a graduate of Weir High School. He has a 1961 bachelor’s degree from American University and a 1965 law degree from the University of Maryland. In 1968 he was one of one hundred young lawyers to be awarded a U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship. After completing the educational portion of the program at the University of Michigan Law School, he was assigned to the Charleston Legal Aid program for one year and the Neighborhood Legal Services in Pittsburgh for two years.

In 1971 he joined the law firm of Jordon and Flowers in New Cumberland; that firm subsequently Jordan and Wilson. He served one term in the House of Delegates in 1971-72.

Then-Governor Jay Rockefeller appointed him to the bench in First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties) in 1981. He was elected in 1982 and re-elected in 1984, 1992, 2000, and 2008.

Judge Wilson is chairperson of the Judicial Investigation Commission and has presided over all asbestos personal injury litigation in the State of West Virginia since 2003. He has served as president of the West Virginia Judicial Association and was chairman of the committees responsible for revising the West Virginia Judicial canons and updating the West Virginia Rules of Evidence.

He provided a civil law update for a number of years at the circuit judge’s educational conferences and has lectured on a variety of subjects – but with an emphasis on the rules of evidence – at those conferences. He also has taught evidence to West Virginia law clerks and Mental Hygiene Commissioners. Judge Wilson has taught courses for the West Virginia State Bar-WVU CLE programs, the West Virginia Association for Justice, and he has been an adjunct lecturer at West Liberty University and West Virginia Northern Community College. He also served on the Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education faculty for its 2013 asbestos course.

In 2004, he was named a West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow and in 2013 he was named Judge of the Year by the West Virginia Association for Justice. He has had articles published in the West Virginia Lawyer and his dissenting opinion in MacDonald v. City Hospital was published in full in the Advocate Magazine.

He married his wife Joyce in 1957 and they have four children.


Judge William Douglas Witten
Seventh Judicial Circuit (Logan County)
Judge William Douglas Witten portrait image

William Douglas Witten was born in Paintsville, Kentucky, and was raised in Logan, West Virginia. He has a 1966 bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University and a 1969 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was appointed to the bench in the Seventh Judicial Circuit (Logan County) by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin on July 10, 2015, and fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Roger L. Perry on June 30, 2015.

Judge Witten began his legal career in 1969. He served as the assistant prosecuting attorney of Logan County and as a partner in Damron, Parks & Witten from 1970 to 1975. In 1976, he established Avis & Witten, later Avis, Witten & Wandling.

He is active in the Boy Scouts of America and is the past campaign chairman and president of the Logan County United Fund.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two children and four grandchildren.


Judge John C. Yoder
Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties)
Judge John C. Yoder portrait image

Judge Yoder was born and raised in Kansas. He has a 1972 bachelor’s degree from Chapman University, where he double-majored in government and economics; a 1975 law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law; and a 1976 master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago, where he studied economics under Nobel-prize winning economist Milton Friedman. He is also a graduate of several programs at the National Judicial College and the National College of Juvenile Justice.

Before being elected to the bench in the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties) in 2008, Judge Yoder practiced law in Harpers Ferry for twenty-three years and was of counsel to Burch & Cronauer, P.C., in Washington, D.C., from 1991 to 2000. In his law practice he concentrated on complex civil litigation, constitutional law, civil RICO, appellate law, land use, and employment discrimination.

He was elected to two terms in the West Virginia Senate, in 1992 and 2004, where he served on the Judiciary, Government Organization, Banking and Insurance, Confirmations, Labor, Finance, Small Business, Energy, Industry and Mining, Interstate Cooperation, Natural Resources, and Enrolled Bills Committees.

He was a director for the United States Department of Justice from 1983 to 1985, where he set up the then-new Asset Forfeiture Office. He was a Fellow/Special Assistant at the United States Supreme Court from 1980 to 1983. From 1977 to 1980, he was a District Court Judge in Newton, Kansas. He was an assistant professor of business at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, from 1975 to 1976 and taught U.S. Government at Bethel College, in Newton, Kansas, from 1976 to 1978.

He is licensed to practice law in the Supreme Court of the United States, United States Court of Appeals’ Fourth Circuit, DC Circuit, and Sixth Circuit; Federal District Courts in Kansas, Indiana, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, and the Northern District of Ohio; United States Tax Court; and in the states of West Virginia, Kansas, Indiana, and the District of Columbia.


Judge James H. Young, Jr.
Twenty-Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wayne County)
Judge James H. Young, Jr. portrait image

Judge Young is a native of Wayne. He graduated from Ceredo-Kenova High School in 1971, Marshall University in 1974, and West Virginia University College of Law in 1979.

He was a member of and partner in law firms in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Huntington, West Virginia. He served as the elected Wayne County prosecutor from 1997 to 2008, when then-Governor Joe Manchin III appointed him to a new judicial seat in the Twenty-Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wayne County). He took office January 1, 2009, and was elected to that position in 2010.

Judge Young is one of seven judges in the Business Court Division and is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association. He has been appointed several times to sit on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in cases in which a Justice was recused.

He is married to the former Shonda Donahue and has two daughters.