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Raleigh one of four W.Va. counties to gain judge

Register-Herald photo by Rick Barbero Judge John Hutchison was on a committee that helped get an additional circuit judge for Raleigh County.
Register-Herald photo by Rick Barbero
Judge John Hutchison was on a committee that helped get an additional circuit judge for Raleigh County.

BECKLEY, W.Va. — In the last five years, Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge John A. Hutchison said, the increase in child abuse and neglect cases and criminal cases, many of which are drug-related, has become overwhelming for the county’s three circuit judges.

But with the help of the West Virginia Legislature, four circuit court judges will be added throughout the state, and one of those judges will be assigned to Raleigh County. The bill, SB-415, was signed into law March 24 by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. 

Hutchison, previous chair and current vice chair of the Legislative Committee for the West Virginia Judicial Association, said every eight years (the year before the circuit judges run for election), the Legislature has the opportunity to look at the circuit courts to see if judges need to be removed or their positions given to another county.

Two years ago, in preparation for this session, circuit judges throughout the state began gathering statistics about the numbers and types of cases filed in each county. To ensure the numbers were fair, Hutchison said state judges submitted data for three years to get an average, to account for any peaks or dips in certain types of cases. 

Judges also logged their time for nine weeks, accounting for any time spent away from work, as well as time spent on the job while at home.

“Judges work long hours…

 

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