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Mingo judge sorry for asking attorneys for money

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mingo County Circuit Judge Miki Thompson said she realizes she was wrong to send letters to attorneys asking for money to remodel her courtroom.

“The letter was wrong. There’s no question it was wrong,” the county’s only circuit judge said Monday, adding she tried to correct her mistake the next day. Thompson has spoken with an official from the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission about her letter, she said.

Earlier this month, Thompson sent letters to members of the Mingo County Bar asking for money after budget constraints prevented the County Commission from completing upgrades it had already began. She wrote she would request news outlets publish the names of attorneys who donate and that she also would post a plaque outside the courtroom dedicated to members who contribute.

A form attached to the April 6 letter suggested contribution amounts of $100, $300 and $500 and left a line to also write in an alternate amount. She asked that checks be made to the county’s sheriff, with “courtroom donation” written in the memo line and dropped off at her office.

Thompson found out that some attorneys were upset about her request and at least one attorney, who asked to remain anonymous, questioned how attorneys could refuse to donate and still feel confident about appearing before the judge, the Gazette-Mail reported Sunday

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