Talking with the Justices on 'The Law Works'

By The West Virginia Record | Apr 18, 2012

CHARLESTON -- Beginning April 19, "The Law Works" will present a series of programs featuring discussions with individual members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

CHARLESTON -- Beginning April 19, "The Law Works" will present a series of programs featuring discussions with individual members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

"Each justice will be interviewed and will talk about their perspective on the court's role in the overall judicial system," host Dan Ringer said. "I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say."

First up is Justice Thomas McHugh on April 19. McHugh served as a Supreme Court Justice from 1980 to 1997 and returned via appointment in 2009 to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Joseph Albright. He has been practicing law since 1964, most recently with Allen Guthrie McHugh and Thomas, where he was of counsel. As the senior member of the current court, McHugh is uniquely positioned to comment on the changes in the judicial system in recent years.

On April 26, the guest will be Chief Justice Menis Ketchum. Ketchum was elected to the court in 2008 after a long career as a practicing attorney at Greene, Ketchum and Baker and its successors. As the chief justice, Ketchum is the primary contact point between the court and lower courts and the state Bar. As Chief Justice, Ketchum's duties include system and administrative functions and the court's overall efficiency.

On May 3, "The Law Works" will rebroadcast an interview with Justice Brent Benjamin and guest Deborah Bogan, director of Access to the Justice Commission. Benjamin was first elected to the court in 2004. While chief justice in 2009, he dedicated his office to the creation and maintenance of a formal Access to Justice Program. Since the summer of 2011, the commission has been conducting public forums around West Virginia to assess the needs of citizens in accessing the justice system.

On May 10, the guest will be Justice Robin Davis. In 2011, Davis was appointed by the Supreme Court to coordinate the efforts of circuit judges who work with schools to reduce truancy rates. The Court hopes a Justice's leadership will encourage more judges and schools to work together.

Appearing with Davis will be Judge Susan Tucker of Monongalia County. Tucker was elected as Monongalia County's first female judge in 2009. Prior to her election, she was an attorney in private practice and served as Monongalia County Prosecutor from 1985 to 1995.

The series will wrap up with an interview with the first female Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman with a broadcast date yet to be determined. Workman's 1988 election to the court also marked the first time a woman held a statewide office in West Virginia. As Chief Justice in 1993 and 1997, Workman created the Task Force on Gender Fairness in the Courts and the Task Force on the Future of the Judiciary. She also formed the Broadwater Committee, which made reforms in the court system's response to children's issues and spearheaded the development of rules governing child abuse and neglect cases. In her tenure as Chief Justice in 2011, she focused on improving rehabilitation services for juveniles.

"The Law Works" is the state's only weekly television show discussing legal issues that affect the lives of every day citizens. Watch "The Law Works" each Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on West Virginia PBS and Fridays at 11 a.m. on WV PBS.2, where available.

Ringer operates his own law practice in Morgantown. He received is law degree from West Virginia University in 1976.

Episodes of "The Law Works" may also be viewed in their entirety on the West Virginia Public Broadcasting website and the West Virginia Public Broadcasting You Tube channel the day after the original broadcast.

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