Northern Panhandle judge retiring

By Chris Dickerson | May 5, 2015


WHEELING – First Judicial Circuit (Brooke, Hancock and Ohio counties) Circuit Judge Martin J. Gaughan, 71, will retire effective June 30.

He sent a letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman on April 4.

Gaughan is a native of Pittsburgh. He has a 1967 bachelor’s degree in history from West Liberty State College and a master’s degree and law degree in from Duquesne University, where he studied while teaching high school full-time. He also has studied at the American Academy of Judicial Education and the National Judicial College.

He practiced law in the Northern Panhandle for more than 20  years until 1995 when he was appointed to the bench in the First Judicial Circuit by then-Governor Gaston Caperton. He was elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2000 and 2008. He presides over the Northern Panhandle Mental Health Court, Adult Drug Court, Juvenile Drug Court, and Adult Re-Entry Program.

He is considered one of the founders of community corrections in West Virginia.

He was very active in formulating the Community Corrections Act of 2001 and was instrumental in obtaining funding for Day Report Centers in the Northern Panhandle and throughout the state. He was actively involved in the formation of the state’s first treatment courts and the Child Protection Act of 2006.

He has received numerous awards, among them the 2010 Distinguished Service award from the CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), making him one of only five Judges nationally to have earned this award. He also received the 2010 award from the national Criminal Justice Association for the Best Criminal Justice System in the Southern Region.

He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association and has served on its Legislative Committee and Judicial Redistricting Committee. He also serves on the Supreme Court’s Committee on Overcrowded Prisons and Jails. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and Italian Sons and Daughters of America.

He and his wife, Ginny, have three children and three grandchildren.

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