West Virginia Judiciary

WV Judicial System Judges

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Family Court Judges

This is an up-to-date list of the Family 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 Kenneth D. Ballard
Eleventh Family Court Court Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge Kenneth D. Ballard portrait image

Judge Kenneth Ballard was born in 1974 and grew up in Charleston. He graduated from George Washington High School in 1992. He was a member of the 1991 AAA Boys West Virginia Cross County Championship team and he was the AAA boy 800 meter State Champion.

He has a 1997 bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Marshall University and a 2001 law degree magna cum laude from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, where he was an associate editor of the Law Review.

After graduating from Marshall University, he worked for a year as an Environmental Scientist for Roy F. Weston. After graduating from law school he worked at the Charleston firm Bickley & Jacobs, where he had worked during summers since high school. He then opened his own practice in 2004. He also worked as a Kanawha County Mental Hygiene Commissioner from 2006-2008.

He is admitted to practice before The West Virginia Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

He was elected to the Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County) in 2008. He is the chief judge. He is the past president and president-elect of the Family Court Judges Association. He is also the Kanawha County Juvenile Drug Court Judge.

Judge Ballard is a softball coach of Mountaineer Little League and a Boy Scout Troop committee member. He is married to Allison Ballard and they have three children.


Judge Anthony Bisaha
Twelfth Family Court Circuit (McDowell and Mercer Counties)
Judge Anthony Bisaha portrait image

Family Court Judge Anthony Bisaha was born and raised in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. He has a 1982 bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a 1992 law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich.

He started practicing law in 1993 in Mercer County and had been practicing family law for fifteen years when then-Governor Joe Manchin III appointed him to the bench in the Twelfth Family Court Circuit (McDowell and Mercer Counties) in 2008. He was elected to the seat in 2010.

Judge Bisaha is the substitute judge for the Twelfth Circuit Juvenile Drug Court.

He is a middle school baseball coach, Concord University Adjunct Professor, and a Knights of Columbus member. Judge Bisaha and his wife, Debra, have been married since 1987 and have three sons.


Judge David A. Camilletti
Twenty-Fourth Family Court Circuit (Berkeley and Jefferson Counties)
Judge David A. Camilletti portrait image

Family Court Judge David Camilletti was born in Morgantown and raised in Wheeling. He has a 1977 bachelor’s degree in history from West Virginia University and a 1982 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to the bench in the Twenty-Fourth Family Court Circuit (Berkeley and Jefferson Counties) in July 2015.


Judge Joyce D. Chernenko
First Family Court Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties)
Judge Joyce D. Chernenko portrait image

Judge Joyce Dumbaugh Chernenko was born and raised in Weirton and graduated from Weir Senior High School in 1974. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1978 from Bethany College, where she graduated magna cum laude and received an award of Distinction on her Comprehensive Examinations. She has a 1981 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law, where she was a member of the College of Law’s Moot Court Board and represented WVU at several national appellate advocacy competitions.

She returned to the upper Ohio Valley upon graduation, accepting a clerkship with the Honorable John H. Kamlowsky, Federal Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia. She entered private practice in 1982 in the courts of the Northern Panhandle, with the firm of William E. Watson and Associates.

She was elected to the bench in the First Family Court Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties) in 2002 and re-elected in 2008. Prior to her election, Governors Gaston Caperton and Bob Wise had appointed her to serve as a family law master in 1996 and family court judge in 1999, respectively.

In October of 1999 Judge Chernenko was elected President of the West Virginia Family Court Association, serving two consecutive terms until October 2001. During the 2000 and 2001 West Virginia legislative sessions, she was the primary representative of the Family Court Association, traveling across the state to advocate for the new court system and interacting with legislative leadership to assist them in their efforts to establish the Court.

Judge Chernenko has been on the vanguard of family court judicial administration, with the goal of improving the lives of children and families. She implemented a family court parenting mediation program two years before it was mandated statewide by the West Virginia Legislature. She also adopted a parent education program in her circuit prior to the Legislature implementing such a program statewide.

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals awarded one of two statewide grants to Judge Chernenko to establish a children's waiting area at her court facility in Wheeling. In 2002 and 2003 the Supreme Court awarded her grants totaling $100,000 over two years for the purpose of establishing monitored parenting and exchange centers in Wheeling and Weirton to protect victims of domestic violence and children in high conflict parenting cases.

Since the passage of the West Virginia Family Court Constitutional Amendment in November of 2000, Judge Chernenko has been named to the Supreme Court's Family Court Legislative Committee and the Committee on Transfer of Domestic Violence Jurisdiction. She has been selected by the Supreme Court to train new Family Court Judges in domestic violence law, shared parenting law, and other areas of family law. In 2001 the Judge represented West Virginia's judiciary at a national conference in San Antonio, Texas, on the relationship between domestic violence and child abuse issues.

Judge Chernenko and her husband, Marc, have remained active at their alma mater; he has served on Bethany’s Board of Trustees for fifteen years. Judge Chernenko has served as the general advisor to Bethany’s chapter of her national women’s fraternity, Zeta Tau Alpha, the chapter having been founded in 1905. She has also been an alumnae advisor to both the Bethany College Panhellenic Council and the Bethany College Student Court. In addition, the Judge is an avid benefactor of the varsity women’s field hockey and lacrosse teams at Bethany. In 2004 Judge Chernenko was named outstanding alumna for her service to Bethany, and in 2012 she and her husband were jointly awarded alumni of the year honors.

Judge Chernenko is a member of the Wellsburg United Methodist Church and serves on the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee. She is also active as a member of the Supporters of the Brooke Pioneer Trail, a “rails to trails” organization that works to maintain and advance recreation trails for hiking and bicycling in the Northern Panhandle.


Judge Lisa K. Clark
Twelfth Family Court Circuit (McDowell and Mercer Counties)

Judge Kelly Codispoti
Ninth Family Court Circuit (Logan County)
Judge Kelly Codispoti portrait image

Judge Kelly Gilmore Codispoti was born and raised in Logan County. She has a 1977 bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and a 1980 law degree from Ohio Northern University.

Then-Governor Bob Wise appointed her to a seat in the Ninth Family Court Circuit (Logan County) in 2001. She was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008.

She began practicing law in Logan County in 1980 with Valentine, Wilson & Partain; Cagle & Garten; and as a solo practitioner before becoming a Child Advocate Attorney (now Bureau of Child Support Enforcement) in both Logan and Mingo Counties. She was also a public defender in Logan County and an assistant Logan County prosecuting attorney before her judicial appointment.

Judge Codispoti is married to Logan County Magistrate Leonard L. Codispoti, and they have two children and two grandchildren.


Judge Peter Conley
Eighteenth Family Court Circuit (Doddridge and Harrison Counties)
Judge Peter Conley portrait image

Judge Peter Conley was raised in Bridgeport. He has a 1980 bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from Marshall University and a 1984 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was elected to the bench in the Eighteenth Family Court Circuit (Doddridge and Harrison Counties) in May 2016 to a term beginning January 1, 2017.

He previously was an attorney with the Siegrist & White law firm for more than 30 years and was a frequent volunteer with Legal Aid of West Virginia. He also was a member of the Harrison County Board of Education from 1990 to 1998 and served as president of the board for four of those years. He served as co-counsel for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Court Improvement Program.

Judge Conley is active in his church, Simpson Creek Baptist Church, and since 1993 has been a volunteer reader at Johnson Elementary School. He helped develop the James and Derick Hotsinpiller Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc., for college students studying law enforcement. He is a past president of the Clarksburg Lion’s Club, the Harrison County Bar Association, and of the Board of Directors of the Harrison County Sheltered Workshop.

He and his wife, Cindy live in Bridgeport. They have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.


Judge Bryan Cromley
Fifth Family Court Circuit (Jackson, Mason, and Wirt Counties)
Judge Bryan Cromley portrait image

Judge Bryan Cromley is a native of Point Pleasant. He has a 2006 bachelor’s degree in economics from West Virginia University and a 2009 law degree from Western Michigan University’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He began his career as an extern then law clerk for Fifth Judicial Circuit (Calhoun, Jackson, Mason, and Roane Counties) David W. Nibert. He subsequently opened his own practice and worked as a Jackson County assistant prosecuting attorney.

Judge Cromley was elected to the Fifth Family Court Circuit (Jackson, Mason, and Wirt Counties) bench in May 2016 for a term beginning January 1, 2017. When his predecessor resigned, then-Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him on August 15, 2016, to serve the remainder of her term before starting his own.

Judge Cromley and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters and one son and live in Point Pleasant.


Judge Sabrina Deskins
Eighth Family Court Circuit (Mingo County)
Judge Sabrina Deskins portrait image

Judge Sabrina L. Deskins was born in South Williamson, Kentucky. She has a 1998 bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Marshall University and a 2002 law degree from the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

She was an Assistant Logan County Prosecutor from 2002 until Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed her to the bench in September 2014. She took office on October 27, 2014.

Before she became a judge, she also had been a family court guardian ad litem for Lincoln, Logan, and Mingo Counties since 2005 and an approved family court mediator for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals since 2013.

She previously was the city attorney for the town of West Logan in 2013 and 2014.

Judge Deskins was an adjunct criminal justice professor at Southern Community and Technical College in Logan from 2011-2013.

She has spent countless hours over the past several years volunteering for WE CAN, Tug Valley Recovery Shelter, Logan All Girls Basketball League, Logan County Circuit Court Teen Drug Court, and the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia’s Court Improvement Program.

Judge Deskins and her husband, Chad, have four children.


Judge William "Brad" Dorsey
Sixteenth Family Court Circuit (Clay and Nicholas Counties)
Judge William Dorsey portrait image

Judge William “Brad” Dorsey is a native of Pool, Nicholas County. He has a 2001 bachelor’s degree in humanities from Bluefield State College and a 2004 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was elected to the bench in the Sixteenth Family Court Circuit (Clay and Nicholas Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

From June 2016 until he took the bench he was the assistant deputy staff judge advocate for the West Virginia Air National Guard. He has been a member of the Guard since May 2015.

At the time of his election he was an attorney at Callaghan & Callaghan, PLLC. He also worked there from 2008 to 2010 and 2012 to 2016, at all times handing family law, mediation, family court guardian ad litem, federal criminal defense and personal injury cases. From 2010 to 2012 he did complex civil litigation, family law, and family court mediation at Bucci, Bailey & Javins, LC.

He served as a mental hygiene commissioner from 2012 to 2015. He was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Nicholas County from 2005 to 2008 and was a law clerk to Twenty-Eighth Judicial Circuit (Nicholas County) Judge Gary Johnson from 2004 to 2005.

He lives in Summersville.


Judge Jim Douglas
Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge Jim Douglas portrait image

Judge Jim Douglas was born in Sutton and raised in Charleston, Ohio, and Ivydale, Clay County. He has a 1973 bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston), a 1975 master’s degree from West Virginia University in German History and Literature, and a 1977 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was elected to the bench in the Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

He previously worked as a sole practitioner from 1977 until his election, specializing in divorce and family law.

He also served as the Braxton County Prosecuting Attorney from 1985-1988.

He has lived in Charleston since 2004. His hobbies include skiing, scuba diving, boating, walking his dog, and the New England Patriots.


Judge Matthew D. England
Fourteenth Family Court Circuit (Fayette County)
Judge Matthew D. England portrait image

Judge Matthew Dean England was born and raised in Beckley. He has a 2002 bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration magna cum laude from Mountain State University in Beckley and a 2005 law degree magna cum laude from Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. He is a decorated U.S. Air Force veteran, having served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti; he was a Security Police Law Enforcement Specialist from 1992 to 1995.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to the bench in the Fourteenth Family Court Circuit (Fayette County) in 2011 and he was elected in 2012.

He was an assistant Fayette County prosecutor focusing on juvenile and criminal cases from 2005 to 2001. He was a police officer and firearms instructor for the Beckley Police Department from 1998 to 2002, a deputy sheriff in Raleigh County from 1997 to 1998, and a member of the Bishopville, South Carolina, City Police Department from 1995 to 1997.

He coached Upward Soccer in Beckley for several years and taught Sunday School and youth group at Glen Daniel Worship Center in Glen Daniel.

Judge England and his wife, Lisa, have four children.


Judge Louise E. Goldston
Thirteenth Family Court Circuit (Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming Counties)
Judge Louise G. Staton portrait image

Judge Louise E. Goldston was born in Halifax, Virginia, and raised primarily in Athens, West Virginia. She has a 1981 bachelor’s degree in social work from Alderson-Broaddus College and a 1984 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

Then-Governor Gaston Caperton appointed her to be a Family Law Master in 1994 and she was re-appointed by circuit judges in 1999. Then-Governor Bob Wise appointed her to the bench in the Thirteenth Family Court Circuit (Raleigh and Wyoming Counties). She was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008 to a circuit that also included Summers County.

Judge Goldston has been the Family Court Judicial Association President three times (2005, 2015, and 2016).

Before her judicial appointments, she was a senior law clerk to U.S. District Judge Elizabeth V. Hallanan (1984 to 1990). She was also in private practice from 1990 to 1994 at Moler, Staton, Staton & Houck in Mullens.

During her tenure on the bench, she has attended many national conferences dealing with domestic violence, technology and the law, and child support from Providence, Rhode Island, to Monterey, California. She has presented at numerous conferences on the subject of domestic violence, law, and parenting.

She is the choir director of the Highland Avenue Baptist Church in Mullens. Judge Goldston has three children.


Judge David P. Greenberg
Twenty-Fourth Family Court Circuit (Berkeley and Jefferson Counties)
Judge David P. Greenberg portrait image

David Greenberg has a 1978 bachelor’s degree in business from Shepherd College (now Shepherd University) and a 1984 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was elected Family Court Judge in 2009.

He is the juvenile drug court judge for both Berkeley and Jefferson Counties. Before becoming a judge, he practiced law at Greenberg and Scales in Martinsburg for nineteen years.

Judge Greenberg is on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle and coached youth baseball and basketball for many years.

He has been a guest speaker at numerous judicial and legal continuing education seminars on the subject of family law updates.

He and his wife, Joni, have two children.


Judge Mary Ellen Griffith
Twelfth Family Court Circuit (McDowell and Mercer Counties)
Judge Mary Ellen Griffith portrait image

Judge Mary Ellen Griffith was born and raised on a ranch in the sand hills of western Nebraska. She attended Concord College from 1972 to 1976. She has a 1976 bachelor’s degree in education from Roger Williams College and a 1988 law degree with honors from West Virginia University College of Law.

Then-Governor Joe Manchin appointed Judge Griffith to the bench in the Twelfth Family Court Circuit (McDowell and Mercer Counties) in 2006. She was elected in 2008. She oversees the Juvenile Drug Court in her circuit.

She worked at the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund in Princeton in 1988 to 1991 before entering private practice, during which time she was a partner at Bell & Griffith, LC, from 1990 to 2000. She became a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children in 1993 and began service on the West Virginia State Bar Commission on Children at its inception in 1994, eventually serving as chairwoman for ten years.

In 2001 she established Child Law Services Inc., the state’s only legal service program for children.

She is a former trustee of the West Virginia State Bar’s Client Protection Fund, chairwoman of the West Virginia State Bar Commission on Children and the Law, and a member of the West Virginia Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Work Group. She is also on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Bar Foundation, West Virginia Court Improvement Program, and the Appalachian South Folklife Center.

She has won numerous awards for her work, including the United States Congress’ Angel in Adoption Award, the Commissioner’s Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Children’s Justice Task Force Award, the West Virginia Childcare Association Award, and the West Virginia University Women’s Law Caucus Award, She also is a West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow.

She has one daughter and one grandchild.


Judge Bobby Hale
Tenth Family Court Circuit (Boone and Lincoln Counties)
Judge Bobby Hale portrait image

Judge Bobby Hale is a native of Madison. He has a 1970 bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the West Virginia University Institute of Technology and a 1985 law degree summa cum laude from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in Atlanta.

He was elected to the bench in the Tenth Family Court Circuit (Boone and Lincoln Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

Before he was elected, he was concurrently a math teacher at Boone County Career and Technical Center (two years), a Boone County fiduciary commissioner (two years) and an attorney with Cook and Cooke Attorneys in Madison (26 years).

He was a member of the Boone County Board of Education from July 1, 1986, to Sept. 6, 2011, and was president of the Board for fourteen years. He is the author of the book “Hale on Wills.”

He lives in Madison and has two sons.


Judge Lori Haynes
Twenty-Second Family Court Circuit (Randolph and Tucker Counties)
Judge Lori Haynes portrait image

Judge Lori Haynes is a native of St. Marys. She has a 1995 bachelor’s degree in communication and political science from Davis & Elkins College and a 2008 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

She was elected to the bench in the Twenty-Second Family Court Circuit (Randolph and Tucker Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

She previously was the Randolph County Assistant Prosecutor from 2012 until her election. Before that she worked at the Curnutte Law Office in Elkins from 2008 to 2012.

Judge Haynes lives in Elkins with her husband, Voras Haynes, Jr., and their three children.


Judge Robert C. Hicks
Second Family Court Circuit (Marshall, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties)
Judge Robert C. Hicks portrait image

Family Court Judge Robert Hicks was raised in Sistersville. He received two bachelor’s degrees, in economics and business administration, from Fairmont State College in 1980 and graduated cum laude. He has a 1983 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He served as a Family Law Master from 1999 to 2000. Then-Governor Bob Wise appointed him to the bench in the Second Family Court Circuit (Marshall, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties) in 2001. He was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008.

He previously was in private practice at Rohrig & Hicks (1985 to 1999), a Tyler County assistant prosecuting attorney (1995 to 1999), a Wetzel County assistant prosecuting attorney (1989 to 1995), and a Tyler County Magistrate (1984).

Judge Hicks has been a member of the Judicial Investigation Commission since 2011. He is a former president of the West Virginia Family Court Association.

He formerly was Sistersville City Council Finance Committee chairman, Wetzel-Tyler County Bar Association secretary and treasurer, a West Virginia State Bar Family Law Committee member, and a West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Association Technology and Case Management Committee member.

He is a deacon at the First Baptist Church in Sistersville and is a former moderator and vice moderator of the Panhandle Baptist Association.

He and his wife, Jennifer, have been married since 1980, and they have three adult daughters.


Judge Patricia T. Hill
Twentieth Family Court Circuit (Monongalia and Preston Counties)
Judge Patricia T. Hill portrait image

Family Court Judge Patricia Hill was born and raised in Beckley. She has a 1976 bachelor’s degree in social work and a 1977 master’s degree in social work, both from West Virginia University. She has a 1985 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law, where she was Order of the Barristers and won first place in a moot court competition in Philadelphia.

She was elected to the bench in the Twentieth Family Court Circuit (Monongalia and Preston Counties) in 2008.

She previously practiced law at Coldren, DeHaas & Radcliffe in Uniontown, Pennsylvania (1985 to 1986); Hajduk & Associates in Uniontown, Pennsylvania (1988 to 1989); Hajduk & Hill in Morgantown (1989 to 1991); and Hill and Associates in Morgantown (1991 to 2008). She was a nursing home ombudsman at the West Virginia Commission on Aging in Charleston (1977 to 1978), an assistant professor in social work at Salem College (1978 to 1982), and a claim representative at State Farm in Fairmont (1986 to 1988).

Judge Hill attends Chestnut Ridge Community Church. She and her husband, Leonard “Ike” Hill, have two sons.


Judge Jara Howard
Sixth Family Court Circuit (Cabell County)
Judge Jara Howard portrait image

Judge Jara Howard is a native of Cabell County. She has a 1991 bachelor’s degree in (topic) from Marshall University and a 1994 law degree from Ohio Northern University College of Law.

She was elected to a new seat in the Sixth Family Court Circuit (Cabell County) in May 2016 and took office January 1, 2017.

She previously worked as a Child Support Enforcement Attorney with the West Virginia Bureau of Child Support Enforcement Division from 1994 to 1997. From 1997 until she took the bench she was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Cabell County.

She is a member of the Rotary Club of Huntington, GFWC Women's Club of Huntington, and Advocates Saving Adoptable Pets. She is a board member of Western West Virginia Animal Rescue Alliance.

She and her son live in Huntington.


Judge Lori B. Jackson
Eighteenth Family Court Circuit (Doddridge and Harrison Counties)

Judge Sally G. Jackson
Twenty-Fourth Family Court Circuit (Berkeley and Jefferson Counties)
Judge Sally G. Jackson portrait image

Sally Jackson was born in the Washington, D.C., area and graduated from Charles Town High School in Charles Town, W.Va. She has a 1979 history degree from Shepherd College (now University) and a 1982 law degree from George Washington University.

Judge Jackson was appointed by then-Gov. Bob Wise in 2001. She was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008. Before that she was an attorney at Crawford and Jackson in Charles Town for ten years.

She is President of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Library Board of Directors and is a 2011 West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow. In 1998, she was certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy for Family Law Trial Advocacy.

She is married to Daniel Jackson, has one daughter and two grandchildren.


Judge Karen Hill Johnson
Twenty-First Family Court Circuit (Barbour and Taylor Counties)
Judge Karen Hill Johnson portrait image

Judge Karen Hill Johnson spent her formative years in Belington, attended Barbour County Schools, and graduated from Phillip Barbour High School in 1988. She has a 2001 bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from Fairmont State College and a 2005 law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan.

She was elected to the bench in the Twenty-First Family Court Circuit (Barbour and Taylor Counties) in May 2016 to a term beginning January 1, 2017. She took office in September 2016 after then-Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed her to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of her predecessor.

Before she took office, Judge Johnson’s legal career as a solo practitioner focused on representing the indigent and juveniles through Circuit Court appointments, but the bulk of her law practice in recent years focused on serving as a guardian ad litem for children in family court and in child abuse and neglect proceedings in circuit court.

She is married to Jim Johnson, who is a West Virginia coal miner. They have one son and one grandchild.


Judge Steve Jones
Fourth Family Court Circuit (Calhoun, Gilmer, Ritchie, and Roane Counties)

Judge Steve Jones was born in Charleston and raised in Dunbar. He has a 1978 bachelor’s degree from Alderson-Broaddus College (now University) and a 1989 law degree from Ohio Northern University.

He was elected to the bench in the Fourth Family Court Circuit (Calhoun, Gilmer, Ritchie, and Roane Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

He previously was the Ritchie County Prosecutor from 2005 to 2008 and 2013 to 2016. He was an attorney in private practice from 1992 to 2005 and 2008 to 2013.

He has coached youth basketball for many years and is active in his church.

He and his wife, Patricia Jones, have been married for more than thirty-five years. They have three children and two grandchildren.


Judge Patricia A. Keller
Sixth Family Court Circuit (Cabell County)
Judge Patricia A. Keller portrait image

Judge Keller was born and raised in Keyser, W.Va. She has a 1980 bachelor’s degree in social welfare from Shepherd College (now University) and a 1983 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

She was appointed Family Court Judge in 2001 by then-Gov. Bob Wise and was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008. She presides over domestic relations hearings, including divorce, child custody, visitation, domestic violence and support, as well as modification and contempt matters.

In addition to her family court duties, Judge Keller presides over and helped implement the adult drug court in Cabell County. As an attorney, she argued several cases in front of the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Judge Keller is an adjunct instructor at West Virginia University where she has taught graduate classes in the Master of Legal Studies Program since 1999. She teaches both Law & Society, as well as Family Law.


Judge Sean Maynard
Seventh Family Court Circuit (Wayne County)
Judge Sean Maynard portrait image

Judge Sean Maynard is a native of Wayne County. He has a 2000 bachelor’s degree in human resource management from West Virginia Institute of Technology and a 2004 law degree from Appalachian School of Law.

He was elected to the bench in the Seventh Family Court Circuit (Wayne County) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

He previously was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Wayne County; an associate at Bellomy & Turner, LC; and a law clerk for Twenty-Fourth Judicial Circuit (Wayne County) Darrell Pratt.

He and his wife, Stephanie Maynard, live in Lavalette. They have four children.


Judge H. Suzanne McGraw
Thirteenth Family Court Circuit (Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming Counties)
Judge H. Suzanne McGraw portrait image

Family Court Judge H. Suzanne McGraw was born and raised in Wyoming County. She has a 1988 bachelor’s degree in history and economics from Concord College and a 1991 law degree from Wake Forest Law School, where she won the American Jurisprudence Award for Trial Advocacy.

In 1999 she was appointed a Family Law Master and in 2001 then-Gov. Bob Wise appointed her to the bench in the Thirteenth Family Court Circuit (Raleigh and Wyoming Counties). She was elected in 2002. In 2008 she was re-elected to a circuit that also included Summers County.

Judge McGraw was in private practice from 1991 to 1999 in Pineville; Beckley; Charleston; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Washington, D.C.

Previously she has served as a Girl Scout leader and a member of the Young Lawyer Division of the American Association for Justice. She has been a life-long member of the Methodist Church.

Judge McGraw is married to Andrew Dimlich, and they have two children.


Judge Randal A. Minor
Twentieth Family Court Circuit (Monongalia and Preston Counties)
Judge Randal A. Minor portrait image

Family Court Judge Randal Minor was born in Morgantown. He has a 1974 bachelor’s degree in accounting and a 1981 law degree from West Virginia University, where he was a member of the Law Review and played on the University rugby team.

Judge Minor was elected to the bench in 2008 in the Twentieth Family Court Circuit (Monongalia and Preston Counties). He previously served as a Magistrate in Monongalia County in 1984.

Immediately before becoming a Family Court Judge, Judge Minor was the director of the Appalachian Center for Law and Public Service at West Virginia University College of Law. For fifteen years he coordinated public service opportunities for law students while providing free legal services to needy individuals throughout a five-county area.

Before coming back to West Virginia in 1994, Judge Minor worked for ten years in Washington, D.C., where he was a law school clinician at Antioch School of Law, a managing attorney of a neighborhood Legal Aid office, and most recently was the director of pro bono programs for the District of Columbia Bar Association. At the beginning of his career, Judge Minor worked in private practice with attorneys Allan Karlin and Regina Charon in Morgantown.

Judge Minor and his wife, Janine Breyel, have four sons who have been very active in sports, music, and theatre. Judge Minor and his wife have coached teams, and have driven many miles in support of their children’s activities. The family loves to travel, and together or individually they have travelled throughout the United States and visited a number of other countries on four continents.


Judge Robert M. Montgomery
Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge Robert M. Montgomery portrait image

Judge Robert Montgomery was born and raised in Weston. He has a 1989 bachelor’s degree in government from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a 1992 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

In 2001 then-Gov. Bob Wise appointed him to be a Family Court Judge in the Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County). He was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008.

Before taking the bench, Judge Montgomery was a Family Law Master and in private practice at Clark & Marlow, Marlow & Montgomery, Policy Studies, Inc., and Swartz & Stump.

He is married to Dr. Emily Montgomery, and they have three children.


Judge Joyce Helmick Morton
Twenty-Seventh Family Court Circuit (Pocahontas and Webster Counties
Judge Joyce Helmick Morton portrait image

Judge Joyce Helmick Morton is a native of Gilmer County. She has a 1977 bachelor’s degree in history from Glenville State College and a 1980 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

She was elected to the bench in the Twenty-Seventh Family Court Circuit (Pocahontas and Webster Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

She previously was an attorney in private practice. She worked at VanNostrand & Morton, PLLC, from 1990 to 2012, Milan Puskar Trust from 2011 to 2012, and she had a solo practice from 2013 until she took the bench.

Before her election, Judge Morton was active in the West Virginia State Bar, including terms on the Board of Governors and several State Bar committees. She served on the Lawyer Disciplinary Board and was vice-chairman of the board for one year. She served on the West Virginia Law Institute and was a 2005 Bar Foundation Fellow.

She lives in Webster Springs with her husband, Michael Ray Carpenter. They have six children and nine grand-children.


Judge Susan Riffle
Nineteenth Family Court Circuit (Marion County)
Judge Susan Riffle portrait image

Judge Susan Riffle is a native of Harrison County and grew up in Clarksburg. She has a 1987 bachelor's degree in business from Fairmont State College and a 1990 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

She was elected to a seat in the Nineteenth Family Court Circuit (Marion County) in May 2016, for a term beginning January 1, 2017.

She previously had practiced law with the firm of Hodges & Riffle PLLC with attorney J.T. Hodges since 2006. She served as Marion County’s elected prosecuting attorney from 2002 to 2006. She was also a sole practitioner from 1990 to 2000.

Judge Riffle is a board member of the Communities of Shalom, President of the Stepping Stone, Inc., Trustee at LIFE United Methodist Church, Adjunct Professor at Pierpont Community and Technical College, on the Board of Wesley Foundation, and is a board member of Fairmont Community Development Partnership.


Judge Deanna Rock
Twenty-Third Family Court Circuit (Hampshire, Mineral, and Morgan Counties)
Judge Deanna Rock portrait image

Judge Deanna Rock resides in Mineral County. Prior to her legal career, she obtained an Associates Degree in Nursing from Mount Aloysisu Junior College in 1986. She worked as a Registered Nurse, primarily in the operating room.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1999 from Frostburg State University and her law degree in 2002 from West Virginia University College of Law.

She was elected to a new seat in the Twenty-Third Family Court Circuit (Hampshire, Mineral and Morgan Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

Before her election, she worked as an attorney in private practice from 2003 to 2016. She was licensed in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland and focused on domestic, personal injury, and workers’ compensation cases.

She is married to Kenneth Rock, MD, and has an adult son.


Judge Ron Salmons
Tenth Family Court Circuit (Boone and Lincoln Counties)
Judge Ron Salmons portrait image

Judge Ron Salmons was born in Huntington and raised in West Hamlin. He has a 1983 bachelor’s degree from Marshall University and a 2006 law degree from Regent University.

He was elected to the bench in the Tenth Family Court Circuit (Boone and Lincoln Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

He previously worked at Salmons Law Offices and is a former member of the West Virginia Ethics Commission.

He and his wife, Kelley Salmons, have two children.


Judge David M. Sanders
Fifteenth Family Court Circuit (Greenbrier and Monroe Counties)

Judge David Sanders was born and raised in Ashland, Kentucky. He has a 1978 bachelor’s degree in special education and a 1980 master’s degree in industrial safety, both from Marshall University. He also has a 1986 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was appointed to the bench in the Fifteenth Family Court Circuit (Greenbrier and Monroe Counties) in 2007 and elected in 2008. Before becoming a judge, he worked for Legal Aid of West Virginia in both Parkersburg and Lewisburg for twenty years.

Judge Sanders is married to Barbara Sanders.


Judge Eric Shuck
Thirteenth Family Court Circuit (Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming Counties)
Judge Eric Shuck portrait image

Judge Eric Shuck, a true native of southern West Virginia, was born in Raleigh County and raised in both Summers and Raleigh. He has a 1996 associate’s degree in paralegal studies and a 1999 bachelor’s degree in legal studies from the College of West Virginia (formerly Mountain State University). He has a 2002 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law, where he graduated thirteenth in a class of 137.

He was elected to the bench in the Thirteenth Family Court Circuit (Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

Before his election, he had worked in the Raleigh County Public Defender's Office since 2002. He previously worked as a paralegal, a general laborer, a farmhand, and a Lowe’s Associate.

Judge Shuck has mentored for the Mountaineer Challenge Academy and served on the Human Rights/Quality Assurance Board of Family Options Providers, Inc. He also speaks at various schools and churches.

He lives in Beckley with his dogs and enjoys hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, riding ATVs and traveling. His family, including his parents Ronnie and Pamela Shuck, still enjoy and maintain property in Summers County.


Judge William Sinclair
First Family Court Circuit (Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio Counties)

Judge Ellen Smith
Third Family Court Circuit (Wood and Pleasants Counties
Judge Ellen Smith portrait image

Judge Ellen Smith is a native of Parkersburg. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, from Marietta College in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in International Business Management and French and from West Virginia University College of Law in 1992. In law school, she was a member of the West Virginia Law Review.

She was elected to the bench in the Third Family Court Circuit (Wood and Pleasants Counties) in 2016 and took office January 1, 2017. She previously practiced law in Parkersburg for 24 years. Before forming her own firm in 2000, she worked as a trial attorney for corporate law firms in Parkersburg, including Bowles Rice, LLP, Steptoe and Johnson, PLLC.

She and her husband, Justin, live in Wood County with their two children.


Judge Jason Spears
Sixth Family Court Circuit (Cabell County)
Judge Jason Spears portrait image

Judge Jason Spears is a native of Huntington. He received an associate’s degree in paramedic science and a Regents bachelor’s degree from Marshall University in 2002. He also attended Middle Tennessee State University with an emphasis on music business law and percussion studies. He has a 2005 law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida.

Judge Spears was elected to the Sixth Family Court Circuit (Cabell County) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017. Prior to taking the bench he was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Cabell County, specializing in juveniles, truancy, arson, violent crime, and narcotics. He was the prosecutor assigned to Cabell County’s Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts. Judge Spears also served as municipal judge for the City of Milton.

He still serves the community as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic with both the Barboursville and Milton Fire Fepartments. He started his career in emergency medicine with Cabell County Emergency Medical Services and continued as a paramedic and attorney for HealthNet Aeromedical Services, an emergency helicopter service owned jointly by West Virginia University Healthcare, Charleston Area Medical Center, and Cabell Huntington Hospital. He also maintained a private practice specializing in civil law, family law, criminal law, entertainment law, and aviation law. He still serves as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol.

After his time in Nashville in the country music industry, his roots are still deep in music. Judge Spears spends his spare time as a drummer and guitarist with several music groups, including his church praise band. He also is an avid photographer.

He and his daughter live in Barboursville.


Judge Glen R. Stotler
Twenty-Third Family Court Circuit (Hampshire, Mineral, Morgan Counties)
Judge Glen R. Stotler portrait image

Judge Stotler is a native of Berkeley Springs. He has a 1975 bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Shepherd College (now Shepherd University) and a 1989 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Judge Stotler to the seat in the Twenty-Third Family Court Circuit (Morgan, Hampshire, and Mineral Counties) in 2011. He was elected in 2012.

He practiced law in Berkeley Springs, primarily in the areas of family law and real estate law, for twenty years. From 1985 until 2008 he also served as a Morgan County Commissioner. Prior to serving on the County Commission, he served as a member of the Morgan County Board of Education and the Town of Bath Council. He also served on the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority.

President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the United States Architectural and Barriers Compliance Board and he was reappointed by President George H.W. Bush. Judge Stotler is a former member of the Eastern Panhandle Community Foundation and a member of the Physically Challenged Advisory Board to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. He is a former chairman and member of the Region 9 Planning and Development Council.

In 2010, he was selected as the West Virginia Bankers Title Attorney of the Year.

He and his wife, Kate, live in Berkeley Springs.


Judge C. Darren Tallman
Third Family Court Circuit (Pleasants and Wood Counties)
Judge C. Darren Tallman portrait image

Judge Darren Tallman was born and raised in Pennsboro, in Ritchie County. He has a 1983 bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University and a 1986 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He was elected to the Third Family Court Circuit (Pleasants and Wood Counties) in 2002 and re-elected in 2008. He also has been the Wood County Juvenile Drug Court judge since 2010.

He served as a Wood County Mental Hygiene Commissioner from 1999 to 2002. Judge Tallman worked in the West Virginia Child Advocate Office from 1993 to 1996 and was a Wood County assistant prosecutor from 1989 to 1993. He coached Parkersburg Catholic Elementary girls’ basketball in 2010 and boys’ basketball in 2011.

Judge Tallman is married to Sharyn Tallman, and they have three children.


Judge Constance Thomas
Fifth Family Court Circuit (Jackson, Mason, and Wirt Counties)

Judge Theresa Cogar Turner
Seventeenth Family Court Circuit (Braxton, Lewis, and Upshur Counties)
Judge Theresa Cogar Turner portrait image

Judge Theresa Cogar Turner is a native of Lewis County. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University and a law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

She was elected to the bench in the Seventeenth Family Court Circuit (Braxton, Lewis and Upshur Counties) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

She previously was an assistant public defender in Kanawha County from 2000 to 2005 and in Harrison County in 2006. She was a Child Support Attorney for the West Virginia Bureau for Child Support Enforcement from 2006 to 2014 and then served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Lewis County.

She lives in Weston with her husband, Jamie, and two sons.


Judge Lera K. VanMeter
Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge Lera K. VanMeter portrait image

Judge Lera K. VanMeter is a native of Williamson. She has a 1991 bachelor’s degree in business, with a major in finance and a minor in English, from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a 1994 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

She was elected to the bench in the Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County) in May 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.

She previously was a sole practitioner.

She enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with friends and family. She lives in Charleston with her partner, Mark Kelley, and two dogs and seven cats.


Judge Richard C. Witt
Twenty-Sixth Family Court Circuit (Putnam County)
Judge Richard C. Witt portrait image

Judge Richard Witt was born and raised in Red House in Putnam County. He has a 1994 bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia State University and a 1997 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

He practiced law at Jack Hickok, Attorney at Law approximately three years and was a sole practitioner approximately fourteen years before being elected to the bench in the Twenty-Sixth Family Court Circuit (Putnam County) in 2014.

He has been an assistant baseball coach.

He is married to Sheryl Witt and he has one son, two step-daughters, and two step-grandsons.


Judge Christopher Workman
Ninth Family Court Circuit (Logan County)
Judge Christopher Workman portrait image

Christopher Workman was born and raised in Chapmanville. He has a 1998 bachelor’s degree in economics from Centre College and a 2002 law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. While in law school he served on the editorial staff of the Pittsburgh Journal of Technology Law and Policy.

Judge Workman was a law clerk in Cabell County to former Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Dan O’Hanlon from 2002 to 2004 and in Logan County to Seventh Judicial Circuit Judge Eric O’Briant from 2011 to 2015, where he was a participant in the Adult Drug Court team.

From 2005 to 2011 he practiced law in the Charleston, W.Va., office of Hawking Parnell Thackston and Young, LLP. , and served as counsel to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance in the West Virginia Legislature in 2005.


Judge R. Joseph Zak
Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County)
Judge R. Joseph Zak portrait image

Judge Zak was born and raised in Weirton. He has a 1968 bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University and a 1975 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law. He served in the United States Army from 1969 to 1972 and is a Vietnam War veteran.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to the bench in the Eleventh Family Court Circuit (Kanawha County) in 2014.

At the time of his appointment he was a hearing examiner for the West Virginia Board of Medicine. He also practiced law in his own firm from 1986 to 2014 and with Preiser and Wilson, L.C., from 1975 to 1986.

He previously served as a special assistant attorney general from 1980 to 1987, as a special commissioner for the Circuit Court of Kanawha County from 1984 to 1992, as a member of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Appeal Board from 1991 to 1997 and 2001 to 2004, and as a hearing examiner for the West Virginia Board of Regents from 1987 to 1994. He was chairman of the West Virginia Support Enforcement Commission from 2003 to 2007.

Judge Zak was named 2014 West Virginia Lawyer of the Year in Family Law and has been listed in Best Lawyers of America, Who's Who in American Law, and America's Leading Lawyers. He is an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers fellow and a member of the Order of the Barristers.

He is married to Kristy Winkler Zak, and they have three children and two grandchildren.