CHARLESTON -- Former Kanawha County magistrate Janie Moore will serve as the new administrator for the state's magistrate court system.

The selection, made by the Supreme Court's Administrative Director Steve Canterbury, was approved last week by the Court.

Moore may replace Pancho Morris, who was fired Nov. 14.

Morris claims he was dismissed after he reported racist language said by Canterbury and because he is suspected of leaking photographs that may have cost Chief Justice Spike Maynard re-election. Canterbury denied those allegations in a statement he issued Nov. 19.

Because Morris challenged his dismissal, Moore's appointment is contingent upon the completion of Morris's firing, said Jennifer Bundy, public information officer for the Supreme Court.

That should be finished by February, Bundy said.

Moore was selected for the position because of her 24 years of experience as a Kanawha County magistrate, Bundy said.

"The magistrates themselves said they would prefer someone with magistrate experience," she said.

In addition to her magistrate experience, Moore served as Kanawha County's chief magistrate for 14 years and served on the law enforcement committee and education committee for the state Supreme Court, Bundy said.

She is also known for her work on the closed-circuit video arraignment system being installed throughout West Virginia, Bundy said.

She was the first magistrate to use the system and helped to set the system up in other counties, she said.

"Because of her enthusiasm and acceptance of the closed-circuit system, we were able to get so many magistrates to open up and make it a truly statewide system," Canterbury told the Charleston Gazette. "I've been a fan ever since. So when she retired it was on my radar screen that she would make a really good director."

Moore is the first magistrate to be selected for the position in years. The last several administrators were attorneys, Bundy said.

"(The magistrates) did feel at times that they weren't as understood as they would like to be, having someone who has not taken a walk in their shoes," Canterbury told the Gazette.

Moore is one of the most experienced magistrates in West Virginia, Bundy said.

"She's very highly thought of," she said.

More News