West Virginia Record

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Hutchison hopes to continue restoring trust in Supreme Court

Campaigns & Elections

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 26, 2020

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CHARLESTON — West Virginia Supreme Court Justice John Hutchison wants to continue restoring integrity and trust in the court if he is elected to continue on the court.

Hutchison was appointed to the Supreme Court in December 2018 by Gov. Jim Justice. He was the last of three justices appointed that year to replace justices who resigned amid a corruption scandal.

"I want to continue my part in restoring integrity and trust in the court," Hutchison said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "The current court has done a very good job."

Hutchison was a circuit court judge for 23 years before being appointed to the Supreme Court. He was appointed to Raleigh Circuit Court in 1995 and ran for re-election in 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2016.

"In all my time as a circuit court judge, I never had an opponent," Hutchison said. "I think that speaks a lot about my circuit."

Hutchison said he feels he has a lot to offer.

"I've been working diligently since my appointment," Hutchison said. "We have been working to implement several programs, like online filing and a subscription service to access records online."

Hutchison said he loves the court and wants to continue working on fixing the damage that happened from the previous court.

"I have invested nearly a quarter of a century into being a judge," Hutchison said. "I love this court and I want to make sure whatever damage was done is fixed."

Hutchison said after that damage is fixed, he'll consider whether to run again in 2024 for the full term.

"I'm passionate about this court," Hutchison said. "I hope to continue what I'm doing and accomplish my goal to help West Virginians and children."

When he was a circuit court judge, Hutchison was a member of the Supreme Court’s Mass Litigation Panel and was a judicial representative on the Commission to Study Residential Placement of Children.

Hutchison previously served as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president of the West Virginia Judicial Association and was chairman and vice-chairman of the association’s legislative and pensions committees.

He received a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Davis and Elkins College in 1972. He received his law degree from West Virginia University in 1980.

All three of the Supreme Court races are non-partisan. The Division 1 and 2 races are for regular 12-year terms on the Supreme Court. The Division 3 race is to fill the seat formerly held by Allen Loughry. Gov. Jim Justice appointed Hutchison to fill that seat in December 2018. The term for the Division 3 seat will end in 2024

For the Division 1 seat, incumbent Justice Tim Armstead is being challenged by former Justice Richard Neely and northern panhandle Circuit Judge David Hummel.

Running for the Division 2 seat currently occupied by Justice Margaret Workman are former state legislator Bill Wooton, Putnam County Assistant Prosecutor Kris Raynes, Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit and Kanawha Family Court Judge Jim Douglas. Workman is not seeking re-election.

Hutchison is seeking re-election for the Division 3 seat. He was appointed after former Justice Allen Loughry resigned. The term is to finish the rest of Loughry's term and will end in 2024. Schwartz and Fifth Circuit Judge Lora Dyer also are running for the seat.

In 2018, Tabit finished third in a special election for two seats on the Supreme Court left by the retirements of Robin Jean Davis and Menis Ketchum. Armstead and Justice Evan Jenkins, both of whom had been appointed by Justice to temporarily fill those seats, won those elections. Douglas, Wooton and Schwartz all ran in the 2018 election as well.

The non-partisan court election is part of West Virginia's primary election, which is May 12.

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