Seven apply for vacant Mingo judge position

By Kyle Lovern

December 6, 2013

Ron Gregory


CHARLESTON — Seven attorneys are in the running to replace former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury

The former judge is awaiting sentencing in federal court after entering a guilty plea. He resigned from his office as a condition of a plea agreement with authorities in Charleston.

All who are interested in being considered were required to submit their applications to the governor’s office by the close of business Tuesday. The names were technically public information when the application deadline passed but were not released by the governor’s office until Thursday afternoon. A spokeswoman said that was because the office waited until Thursday’s mail arrived before announcing the names.

It is still possible, she said, that a letter could arrive postmarked by Tuesday evening. If that happens, whoever sent the letter would also be eligible for appointment.

Members of the Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission are scheduled to meet Dec. 16, to interview the candidates. That group will recommend between two and five of the applicants for consideration by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Those who applied are listed in alphabetical order, not in the order in which they filed.

Robert H. Carlton of the Robert H. Carlton Law Office is an applicant. Letitia Neese Chafin of the H. Truman Chafin Law Firm also filed. Others were: Jonathan Wayne Jewell of the Public Defender Corporation; Steven Johnson Knopp, attorney for the city of Williamson; Teresa McCune, chief public defender in the 30th District; Assistant Mingo Prosecuting Attorney Glen R. Rutledge II; and Miki Thompson, Mingo County Family Court Judge.

The advisory commission has 90 days to recommend candidates to the governor.

Thornsbury’s position will be on the ballot in 2014 as Mingo County voters will select someone to complete his unexpired term. The person selected by Tomblin will serve until the 2014 election is certified.