CHARLESTON – The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission has recommended four names to Gov. Jim Justice for a vacancy on the Kanawha Circuit Court bench.
The JVAC interviewed eight candidates June 21 for the position left open by former Circuit Judge Jim Stucky’s retirement earlier this year. That same day, the commission sent a letter to Justice recommending Dan Greear, Benjamin Mishoe, Gary Pullin and Tera Salango for the temporary position.
Greear is chief of staff for the House of Delegates as well as former chief counsel for the state Attorney General’s office.
Mishoe is an attorney at Shaffer & Shaffer in Charleston.
Pullin is a partner at Pullin Fowler Flanagan Brown & Poe in Charleston.
Salango is a former Kanawha County assistant prosecutor who now practices at Preston & Salango in Charleston.
The other four who had applied were Robert Hogan, Dr. Richard Lindsay, Pancho Morris and Larry Rowe.
Justice’s office has received the letter from JVAC Chairwoman Debra Scudiere, and he has 30 days to make an appointment. Justice still can appoint anyone eligible to the position even if they weren’t recommended or even applied for the position.
Stucky retired April 30 because of medical issues after 21 years on the job.
Greear and Salango also have filed paperwork showing they plan to seek the permanent position, which will be on the November general election ballot.
Gov. Cecil Underwood first appointed Stucky as a circuit judge in 1997. He was elected for three terms in 2000, 2008, and 2016. Stucky retired with six years remaining on an eight-year term.
Since Stucky’s retirement, senior status judges Thomas Evans III and David Pancake have presided over his cases.
Justice issued a proclamation May 29 officially calling for the special election. Article 8 Section 7 of the state Constitution empowers the governor to issue a directive for a special election to fill judicial vacancies when there are more than two years left on the office's term.
State Code 3-10-3 say that when a judicial vacancy occurs after the close of the candidate filing period for the primary election and no later than 84 days before the general election, the vacancy shall be filled by a nonpartisan election to run concurrent with the general election. According to state code, the filing period for candidates wishing to seek this seat is Aug. 6 to Aug. 21. Those interested must file certificates of candidacy with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.