RIPLEY – The new year has just started, and for the men and women of the 5th
Judicial Circuit, that means some new names and faces will be showing
up at the court, including incoming Judge Lora Dyer.
Dyer was elected to the Division 2 seat of the 5th
District Court in Jackson County. The seat also includes Calhoun,
Mason and Roane counties.
is a West Virginia native. She earned a bachelor’s degree
in 2000 from Marshall University and a law degree
from West Virginia University College of Law in 2003.
legal career got its start shortly afterward when she interned for
former state Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. Albright and later served as a
law clerk to 13th Circuit Court Judge James C. Stucky. The next
phase of Dyer's career began when she became an assistant
prosecuting attorney in Kanawha County, followed by a stint at
the law firm of Hendrickson and Long PLLC, where she had the
opportunity to gain experience practicing law in a wide range of
civil and criminal matters.
has also served as law clerk to Judge Carrie L. Webster of the 13th Judicial Circuit, and served as general counsel to West
Virginia State Auditor Lisa A. Hopkins and Senior Deputy Commissioner
of the West Virginia Securities Commission, where she remained until
she assumed office on the bench of West Virginia’s 5th Judicial
told The West
that those who appear before her should expect her to prioritize
objectivity over all else in her courtroom.
"The role of a judge
is much more that of a referee,” she said. “Philosophically, the
job is not to make law, but to apply the law fairly as written to the
individual facts of each case, regardless of personal feelings
everyone deserves a fair and impartial hearing of his or her case or
controversy and that is what I plan to bring to the court.“
went on to say that the biggest challenge she expects to encounter as
a judge is the drug epidemic that is currently tearing through West
“In addition to the increased burden on our justice
system relating to the criminal prosecution of drug-related cases, we
are seeing a corresponding and tragic increase in abuse and neglect
cases of the children involved in such matters,” she said. “In
West Virginia, the number of children in foster care grew by 24
percent between 2012 and 2016, according to the State Department of
Health and Human Resources’ information provided to the Wall Street
Journal, largely due to the opioid epidemic.”
went on to say that this trend is growing at an alarming rate and
putting an impossible strain on the state's foster care system.
fear we are reaching a tipping point and will sadly see the return of
orphanages,” Dyer added.
these challenges, she is looking forward to the opportunity to serve as judge.
“I am particularly excited about
the opportunity to serve my state and West Virginians in such a
direct way," she said. "Once settled into the new work routine, I plan to
participate in read-aloud programs for children with the schools and
libraries of the 5th Judicial Circuit.”