CHARLESTON - The Committee to Re-elect Justice Brent Benjamin released a summary of the votes by the current justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in the 3,223 cases decided since January 2013.
"Our courts should be a place where all are treated fairly and equally – with respect and dignity," Benjamin said in a press release. "A judge should embrace our constitution and protect our rights. He or she should be independent, diligently following, not making, the law without favoritism to any party, any lawyer, any creed, any side or any interest."
Benjamin said. sitting justices on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals consider many cases.
"In the interests of reliability and transparency, our campaign has compiled this summary of the decisions made by our current court," Benjamin said.
Court watchers may attempt to discern patterns or assign philosophical categories from the decisions of incumbent justices.
The committee prepared the summary in the hope that all such efforts are based in fact, not conjecture or partisanship.
"The study shows Justice Benjamin is an independent voice on the Supreme Court," said campaign strategist Jim Shaffer. "This study is about accuracy and transparency. The citizens of West Virginia can use the data we released today to form their own fact-based opinions of his record."
Out of the 3,223 decisions, Benjamin had a total of 68 dissents, including 15 from January 2013 session, 14 from September 2013 session, 15 from January 2014 session, nine from September 2014, 13 from the January session and two from the September session.
In 3-2 decisions, Benjamin voted with Justices Robin Jean Davis and Margaret Workman a total of six times; with Davis and Justice Menis Ketchum a total of seven times; with Davis and Allen Loughry 81 times; with Workman and Ketchum 16 times; with Workman and Loughry13 times; and with Ketchum and Loughry 21 times.
In decisions where he was on the other side of the 3-2 decisions, Benjamin voted with Loughry nine times, with Ketchum 31 times and with Workman 12 times.
Benjamin had a total of eight 4-0-1 or 3-0-1 decisions, in which there was one concur and dissent. He had a total of two decisions that were 3-0-2 decisions in which there were two concurring and dissenting opinions.
In decisions that were 3-1-1 decisions, in which there was one concur and dissent and one dissent, Benjamin had a total of one dissent and three concur and dissent.
The committee utilized publicly available online resources and every substantive decision made since January 2013 through Sept. 30 was observed and recorded.
Decisions were then categorized by type - unanimous, one dissent, 3-2 decisions and multiple combinations of concur-dissent. The summary was drawn from these detailed tables.
Individuals wishing to replicate this methodology or research opinions of the court in depth may wish to utilize the court's online opinions search at www.courtswv.gov.