CHARLESTON -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has named two attorneys to open judgeships in western West Virginia.
On Monday evening, Tomblin named Cabell County Prosecutor Chris Chiles to the the Cabell Circuit Court to fill the position left vacant by Judge David Pancake's retirement. Tomblin also appointed Deloris "Jeanie" Nibert to take over the position of Putnam Family Court Judge after the retirement of Judge William Watkins.
Chiles, 58, is Cabell County’s prosecuting attorney and has served in that capacity for nearly a quarter-century. He was chosen over Cheryl L. Henderson and Paul A. Ryker, both of whom are in private practice.
"I am very honored that the governor had the faith in me and my abilities to see fit to appoint me to this position," Chiles told The Herald-Dispatch. "I've served the people of Cabell County for 30 years, and I will continue to strive to see that justice is done in all cases in my new position.
"I'm sure there will be a learning curve. But I've worked under some excellent judges, and I intend to take what I've learned from them to the bench. It feels great. I'm very humbled and honored, but I'm also very excited."
At first, Chiles only will handle civil cases because criminal cases pending before the court were brough by his office.
Nibert, a former family court judge in Mason County, had been hearing Putnam Family Court cases for more than a year since Watkins took a medical leave last December.
In October, Watkins formally retired effective Nov. 30. That came after he had been suspended in March for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Two separate statements had been filed against Watkins by the Judicial Investigation Commission for failing to display decorum and respect to both the people that appeared in his court and the judicial system.