Manchin selects judicial vacancy panel

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 27, 2010


CHARLESTON -- Gov. Joe Manchin has selected the eight individuals who will make up the state's Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission.

The commission was created by legislation proposed by the governor to assist the state's chief executive in evaluating judicial candidates.

"I am pleased that these eight individuals have made the commitment to serve and be a part of this very important group. With their experience and expertise, I am confident that judicial vacancies will be filled with highly qualified, top-notch individuals, as expediently as possible," Manchin said in a statement Friday.

The eight members of the commission are Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper; state AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue; former House of Delegates Minority Leader Charles S. Trump of Berkeley County; Huntington lawyer Burt Ketchum, who is the son of state Supreme Court Justice Menis Ketchum; Sam Duncan, who is CEO of mining equipment manufacturer J.H. Fletcher and Co. in Huntington; Don Wagenheim, who is chairman of HVAC contractor H.E. Neumann Co. in Wheeling; Steve Robey, who is owner of accounting firm Arnett & Foster in Charleston; and Debra H. Scudiere of Morgantown, a lawyer with Kay Casto & Chaney and former president of the West Virginia State Bar.
Also on the board will be the governor or a designate, the president of the State Bar and the dean of West Virginia University's College of Law.

Vacancies in the office of justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, judge of an intermediate appellate court, judge of a circuit court or judge of a family court will require the commission to come together to review and compile a list of qualified individuals within 90 days of a vacancy. The governor will then appoint a successor to fill a judicial vacancy based off of the recommendations made by the commission.

The governor (or designee), the president of the West Virginia State Bar and the dean of the West Virginia University College of Law are ex officio members in addition to the eight appointed members of the commission.

The commission will convene soon to select a chairperson, as well as adopt policies and procedures, Manchin spokesman Melvin Smith said.

The group will begin work on the vacancy left in the third judicial circuit, due to the recent passing of Judge Robert Holland and the anticipated vacancy in the sixth judicial circuit that will occur when Judge Dan O'Hanlon's resignation becomes effective at the end of October, Smith said.

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