CHARLESTON -- Gov. Joe Manchin has filled two of the three newly created circuit judgeships across the state.
Omar J. Aboulhosn is the new judge in Mercer Circuit Court (the 9th Judicial Circuit), and James H. Young Jr. is the new judge in Wayne Circuit Court (24th Judicial Circuit).
A bill passed during this year's legislative session added the three positions. Manchin says he hopes to have the third position -- a judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Pendleton, Hardy and Hampshire counties -- filled by Jan. 1.
"Adding judges to these circuits was a crucial matter and an immediate need," Manchin said in a statement. "This will help to relieve the overloaded docket for the hard-working judges who already are serving, and improve our judicial process altogether.
"We had a highly qualified group of applicants for these positions and choosing one was difficult. Both Judge Aboulhosn and Judge Young are committed to serving their communities and I believe they will be strong in their ability to interpret the law and fair in their understanding of the situations that bring cases before them."
Aboulhosn is a lifelong resident of Princeton, and has been a partner in the law firm of Sanders, Austin, Flanigan & Aboulhosn since 1999. He served as a magistrate court judge in 1996 and a city court judge from 1997 through 1998. He was chief mental hygiene commissioner for Mercer County. He also was a member of the Princeton City Council from June 2007 through January 2008, and vice president and part owner of Standard Office Equipment Co. in Princeton.
In November, Aboulhosn was elected as judge to the 12th Family Court Circuit covering Mercer and McDowell Counties. He will not accept that position as a result of this appointment.
"I am honored that Gov. Manchin has given me this opportunity to serve the people of Mercer County," Aboulhosn said in the statement "I pledge to be fair, balanced and impartial in all matters that come before me and I will endeavor to make the governor and the people of Mercer County proud of the servant they have selected."
He received a bachelor's degree in political science from Concord College in 1989 and his law degree from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1992. His wife also is a lifelong Princeton resident and they have one daughter.
Young has spent most of his life in the Huntington area. He has been a member of and partner in law firms in Cincinnati and Huntington, most recently Woelfel & Young (1995-1997). Since 1997, Young has been the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney, and he is the immediate past president of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association.
"For the past 10 years it has been an honor to serve the citizens of Wayne County as prosecuting attorney," Young said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing to serve Wayne County as circuit judge and I want to thank Gov. Manchin for this honor. I pledge to him and the citizens of Wayne County to honorably discharge my duties."
Young received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Marshall University in 1974 and his law degree from the WVU College of Law in 1979. He is married with two children.