CHARLESTON – Senior Status Greenbrier County Magistrate Brenda Campbell has been publicly admonished for violating four judicial ethics rules.
Campbell, who retired in October, served as a magistrate for 19 years and was sworn in as a senior status magistrate in November.
Charleston attorney Fred Giggenbach sough Campbell’s endorsement when he ran for 11th circuit judge and she was quoted as saying, “As a Greenbrier Assistant Prosecutor, Fred was fair, honest and hardworking. He was dedicated to the citizens of Greenbrier County and served them well,” in Giggenbach’s campaign materials, according to the Judicial Investigation Commission complaint.
Giggenbach informed the commission he had thought Campbell was fully retired and that she never informed him she was a Senior Status magistrate until he sought permission to use the quote in subsequent campaign ads, according to the Beckley Register-Herald.
Campbell then told Giggenbach she was the subject of another judicial ethics complaint for publicly endorsing her former magistrate assistant in the May election for magistrate, so she preferred he not use her quote in additional materials.
Campbell was not forthcoming with the disciplinary counsel about her quote for Giggenbach, nor did she respond to a letter requesting additional information, according to the JIC’s complaint.
The commission ultimately decided formal discipline was not appropriate, but that the violations were serious enough to warrant a public admonishment.
“Respondent clearly abused the prestige of judicial office in an effort to advance the interests of Mr. Giggenbach,” the filing said. “Once again, Respondent is reminded that there is no family or friend exception to the rules.”