CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court’s Juvenile Justice Commission has approved its first position paper and welcomed two new members.
“This gives a good outline of the mindset of the Juvenile Justice Commission as a whole with regard to these areas of concern regarding juvenile justice. It’s the principles we strive to work towards,” said Chairman Omar Aboulhosn, who is a circuit judge in Mercer County.
Two new circuit judges also joined the multi-disciplinary commission: Putnam Circuit Judge Phillip M. Stowers and Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit.
“I think both Judge Stowers and Judge Tabit are going to make great additions to the commission," Aboulsohn said. "They both have knowledge and understanding of juvenile justice issues. They are going to enhance the commission’s role in striving to perfect the juvenile justice system.
Under the leadership of then-Chief Justice Margaret Workman, the Supreme Court established the commission in 2011. The commission helps the court monitor whether the juvenile justice system provides safe, nurturing living conditions as well as rehabilitative services.
Other current members of commission are Megan Annitto, Assistant Professor, Charlotte School of Law; Jefferson County Magistrate Gail C. Boober; Supreme Court Administrative Director Steve Canterbury; Former State Delegate Barbara Hatfield, (D-Kanawha); Sam Hickman, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Social Workers, West Virginia Chapter; Nicholas Circuit Judge Gary Johnson; Cindy Largent-Hill, Juvenile Justice Commission Director; Harrison Circuit Judge J. Lewis Marks Jr.; Mingo County Attorney Jane Moran; Dr. Michael Martirano, Superintendent of Schools, State of West Virginia, represented by Deputy Superintendent Charles Heinlein and Special Assistant for Institutional Education; Nikki Tennis, Director of Children's Services, Supreme Court of Appeals; The Rev. Rue Thompson, Director for State Facilities, Holy Rosary Parish; and The Rev. Matthew Watts, President and CEO of Hope Community Development Association and senior pastor of Grace Bible Church in Charleston.