CHARLESTON - After a four-month wait, residents in five counties now know their new circuit judges.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on July 18 announced the appointment of Romney attorney H. Charles “Charlie” Carl III and Assistant Harrison County Prosecutor Kurt W. Hall as judges to the 22nd and 26th Judicial circuits. The 22nd serves Lewis and Upshur counties, while the 26th serves and Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton counties.
They fill the vacancies created by judges Thomas Keadle, who retired in January, and Donald C. Cookman, who was appointed by Tomblin in January to fill the vacancy for the 15th Senatorial District created by Walt Helmick’s election as state Agriculture Commissioner.
An accompanying press release said their appointments are effective immediately.
Prior to his appointment, Carl, 51, was partner in the firm of Carl, Keaton, Frazer and Milleson, an outgrowth of the Ansel and Carl firm founded by his grandfather. Also, he served as general counsel and board member of the Bank of Romney and as president of the South Branch Valley Bar.
Following his graduation from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, Carl was admitted to state Bar on Nov. 4, 1987.
A 1995 graduate of West Virginia University’s College of Law, Hall, 48 and a Jane Lew resident, served as an assistant prosecutor in Randolph County before going to work in Harrison County in 2002. In 2011, Hall was one of seven candidates the county commission considered to fill the vacancy created by former Prosecutor Richard Busch, who resigned that December amid allegations of misconduct and office mismanagement.
Hall was admitted to the Bar on April 30, 1996.
Tomblin chose Hall over Upshur County Prosecutor Jacob Reger and Roanoke attorney C. Sue Holvey, and Carl over Moorefield attorney Larry Garrett. The state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission on March 27 selected Hall, Reger and Holvey as finalists from a field of seven candidates, then on April 4 selected Carl and Garrett from a field of three candidates.
The West Virginia Record attempted to ask Tomblin's office about the amount of time it took to pick the judges and the tentative dates of Carl’s and Hall’s investiture ceremonies. Gubernatorial Spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin did not return repeated telephone calls by presstime.
Carl’s and Hall’s appointments are effective until Dec. 31, 2014. To remain as judges, they will have to successfully campaign for the unexpired term in next year’s mid-term election.