West Virginia Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

Magistrate reinstated in Ohio County

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 7, 2019


WHEELING — Janine Varner was sworn in as a magistrate for Ohio Magistrate Court after a brief resignation last month.

Varner had resigned after questions arose about her education regarding if her vocational training met the requirements of a "high school education or equivalent." 

Varner took the GED test and passed it and Chief Judge Ronald E. Wilson reappointed her to the position.

Varner said she was grateful to Wilson for placing his trust in her and reminding her of her value as a public servant.

She said it was because of him, and the support she received from many in the public, that she had the confidence and the motivation to push through and take the exam.

"Everyone should remember it is never too late to get your high school diploma or even go back to college," Varner said. "Education is a lifetime experience."

Varner resigned last month. She had e-mailed the letter Sept. 18 to Chief Justice Beth Walker stating that her resignation was effective at 5 p.m. that day.

Earlier that day, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ordered Varner's suspension without pay.

Judicial Disciplinary Counsel Teresa A. Tarr had presented a motion to suspend without pay and memorandum report on Sept. 16 before the court.

Wheeling Attorney Teresa C. Toriseva represents Varner in the matter.

In a statement, Toriseva said an issue had arisen in Varner's educational background.

"Ms. Varner left high school before completing all credit hours required to graduate," Toriseva said in a statement. "She then transitioned to a vocational education program."

Toriseva said Varner completed this vocational program and was issued a certificate of completion 35 years ago.

"It is our position that under current West Virginia law, Magistrate Varner meets the qualifications," Toriseva wrote in a statement released before Varner resigned. "However, Ms. Varner understands her high public duty to remove any questions as to those qualifications. To remove all doubt or questions, she is taking the GED test."

In that statement, Toriseva said Varner hoped to have a long career in service to the residents of the county as a magistrate judge.

Varner was sworn in Aug. 6 after being appointed to the position to replace the former magistrate judge, Harry Radcliffe.

Varner previously worked for the Toriseva Law Office. She originally is from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, but has lived in Wheeling since 1992.

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Organizations in this Story

Ohio Circuit Court