HUNTINGTON - Longtime Cabell County Magistrate Alvie Qualls has been suspended until the state's high court decides whether to force retirement or allow him to return to office, following sexual harassment and mental instability claims against the judge.
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals suspended Qualls in an order filed March 21. Qualls will continue to draw on his $50,000 salary during his suspension.
Qualls has been in headlines recently after five women who worked or made contact with the 78-year-old judge at the Cabell County Courthouse filed a report against him. The women claim Qualls made graphic, sexually explicit remarks towards them, which Qualls has denied.
A report from the Judicial Investigative Commission also states that Qualls was mentally incapable of fulfilling his duties as a magistrate. According to The Herald-Dispatch, Qualls allegedly was sleeping in his office and was conducting official business in his pajamas.
The board decided that it would recommend forced retirement and filed an official report March 14 with the Supreme Court.
Qualls has until April 9 to file a response to the report. If he does not file a response, the court could remove Qualls from office, but is not bound by the board's recommendation.
If Qualls does file a response, a hearing before the Supreme Court will be scheduled.
Qualls has filed to run for re-election in November. He has been a magistrate in Cabell County for more than 26 years.