Mercer Co. circuit judge appointed as new U.S. magistrate

By Chris Dickerson | Sep 16, 2015

HUNTINGTON – A current Mercer County judge has been appointed as a new United States Magistrate.

Omar J. Aboulhosn was appointed Sept. 16 by Robert C. “Chuck” Chambers, chief U.S. District Judge of the Southern District of West Virginia. Aboulhosn is a Mercer Circuit Judge. He will serve as the U.S. Magistrate judge for Beckley and Bluefield.

An order of appointment will be forthcoming pending receipt of the required background reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. Aboulhosn will be appointed to an eight-year term and will fill the upcoming vacancy that will occur as a result of the retirement of Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort.

Aboulhosn was born in and raised in Princeton. He graduated from Princeton Senior High School in 1985, Concord University in 1989, and West Virginia University College of Law in 1992.

He practiced law in Bluefield at the firm of Richardson and Davis from 1992 to 1994 and Sanders, Austin, Swope, and Flanigan from 1994 to 2008, where he became a partner in 1999.

Aboulhosn began public service as a magistrate, a position he held during 1996. He was Princeton City Court Judge from 1997 to 1999, Mercer County Chief Mental Hygiene Commissioner from 2004 to 2007, and an elected member of Princeton City Council in 2007. He was elected judge of the Twelfth Family Court Circuit (Mercer and McDowell counties) in 2008 but declined to take the seat because then-Gov. Joe Manchin appointed him to a new circuit judge position in the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County).

He took office as a circuit judge on Jan. 1, 2009, and was elected to that position in 2010. Aboulhosn has been appointed several times to sit on the Supreme Court to hear cases in which a Justice was recused. He is chairman of the Supreme Court’s Juvenile Justice Commission and was a member of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s Intergovernmental Taskforce on Juvenile Justice in 2014.

He is a former member of the board of directors of the West Virginia Association for Justice. He is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation Inc., which helps families of children with cancer.

Aboulhosn received the 2007 Governor’s Service Award for volunteer community service. An Eagle Scout (1982), he currently serves as a merit badge counselor and as chairman of the Eagle Board of Review for the Mountain Dominion District of the Buckskin Council. As part of the Mercer County Schools’ mentoring program, he has partnered with Montcalm School’s sixth-grade class and at the end of every school year leads students on a tour of the Southern Regional Jail.

He and his wife, Weena, have one daughter.

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