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NAME: Tim Armstead
CANDIDATE FOR: West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Division 1
PARTY: Nonpartisan race
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: ArmsteadforWV.com
HOME CITY: Elkview
HOME COUNTY: Kanawha
EDUCATION: B.A. History and Political Science, University of Charleston; Law Degree, WVU College of Law
CURRENT OFFICE OF OCCUPATION: Chief Justice, West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
OTHER WORK HISTORY: 57th Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates (2015-2018); Member, West Virginia House of Delegates (1998-2018); In-house Counsel, NiSource Corp. Services / Columbia Gas and affiliated companies (2001-2016); Attorney, Steptoe & Johnson (1998-2001); Executive Assistant to the Chief-of-Staff, Governor Cecil H. Underwood (1997-1998); Attorney, Carey, Hill & Scott (1994-1997); Law Clerk, United States District Judge David A. Faber (1992-1994); Attorney, Spilman, Thomas, Battle & Klostermeyer (1990-1992); Press Intern, Office of Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr. (1986-1987; 1988)
ENDORSEMENTS: West Virginians for Life PAC; West Virginia Chamber of Commerce; Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce HuntPAC; West Virginia Farm Bureau; West Virginia State Republican Executive Committee; West Virginia Oil Marketers & Grocers Association; West Virginia Trucking Association; West Virginia Associated Builders and Contractors.
FAMILY: wife, Anna Armstead; one daughter and son-in-law; one grandson and one granddaughter.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: It is an honor to serve as your justice on our Supreme Court and to serve as Chief Justice this year. I have worked hard to rebuild the Court and to regain your confidence. I have helped establish high standards of ethics and accountability regarding purchases and use of vehicles and equipment. As a fiscal conservative, I have helped reduce the Court’s budget and eliminate wasteful spending of the taxpayers’ hard-earned tax dollars. If re-elected, I will continue this fight and I will follow the Constitution and the rule of law, and not legislate from the bench.
Questions from the West Virginia League of Women Voters:
1. What changes would you like to see to the state’s court system?
The opioid crisis in our state has had a devastating effect on our state’s children, resulting in staggering increases in abuse and neglect of children. Our judges need additional tools, such as added drug counseling and family services and additional Family Treatment Courts to help ensure each child can grow up in a safe, healthy and loving home.
2. How would you prioritize budget allocations for the court system (e.g. family court, drug court)?
As a fiscally conservative justice, I have helped streamline the court’s budget resulting in a FY2021 budget $4 million less than the court’s budget five years ago. Moving forward, the court will need to prioritize funding for a sufficient number of probation officers to address the growing opioid challenge and Family Treatment Courts to protect our children and restore families.
Additional Questions from the Herald-Dispatch:
3. One proposal that’s been floated recently is for elections of county prosecutors to be nonpartisan, just as elections for the state’s judges are. Do you think that is a good step? Why or why not?
While I believe that the question of whether prosecutors should be elected on a nonpartisan basis is primarily a legislative one, I support such change. The decisions to charge a person with a crime, what charges should be brought and how such cases are prosecuted should be based on the facts and evidence and not on any partisan political factors.
4. In 2018, four of the five Supreme Court justices in West Virginia were impeached. Three either retired or resigned, one was acquitted, and a fifth was not tried on the charges against her because a reconstituted temporary Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature had overstepped its bounds in terms of the separation of powers. Do you agree with that ruling, or do you agree with some lawmakers who want to pass legislation to overturn that court ruling?
Having expressed interest in running for the court in 2020, I stepped aside from presiding over the impeachment process in the House to avoid any potential conflict and do not believe I should now comment on that specific process. I believe that neither the Courts nor the Legislature should infringe upon the Constitutional role of any other branch of government.
5. Do you believe West Virginia needs an intermediate court system to operate between the circuit courts and the Supreme Court?
Article VIII of our Constitution authorizes only the Legislature to create intermediate courts. Accordingly, the Court has declined to take an official position on the matter. If the Legislature creates an intermediate Court, the Supreme Court will implement it efficiently. If the Legislature does not, the Supreme Court will continue to fulfill its Constitutional role as the sole appellate court.