Ever wonder what’s going on in judges’ chambers during recess?


In grade school, recess means play time. In some courtrooms, also.


Kids like to swing during recess. So do some judges.


When they’re not in class, kids who are curious and unsupervised may play “doctor” or “house” (or Dr. House, if they’re fans of the TV show). When court’s not in session, some judges are equally playful.


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, n’est-ce pas?


Which is to say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Only it sounds better in French, doesn’t it, the language of love?


No one wants to put a damper on the love lives of judges, least of all those whose fates are in the hands of those judges. It stands to reason that jurists in love are likely to be friendlier to all who come before them. What attorney, plaintiff, or defendant could possibly prefer an unloved or recently jilted judge?


Still, there’s a time and a place for everything, but court’s no place for courtin’.


As The Record reported earlier this week, West Virginia’s Judicial Investigation Commission has charged Randolph Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong with violating several canons of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct while conducting an adulterous affair with a community corrections officer.


The judge in question sometimes used her judicial chambers for rendezvous during recess and failed to disclose the relationship to the corrections program’s board, of which she is a non-voting member.


In addition to the corrections officer, her honor also compromised an assistant prosecuting attorney and a private attorney – both of whom practiced in her court – by enlisting their aid in securing trysting places.


To her credit, Wilfong did turn herself in and has apologized to all concerned. We hope other judges and court officers will learn from her mistakes and avoid succumbing to similar temptation – and that those who’ve already gone astray will have the decency to make amends.

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