Last updated: December 17. 2013 9:40PM - 549 Views
Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com



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CHARLESTON — Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will have two attorneys to pick from as he replaces disgraced former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury.


Informed sources confirmed late Tuesday that the Judicial Vacancy Advisory Committee had recommended two of the six candidates who applied for the job .


Sources in the governor’s office explained that they had not yet released the names because Governor Earl Ray Tomblin had not yet seen them. Another source said that the email from the committee to the governor’s counsel was lost in spam on the Internet and not retrieved until Tuesday afternoon.


The committee met Monday to interview the six candidates.


The two named are Mingo County’s chief public defender, Teresa McCune and Jonathan Wayne “Duke” Jewell, also of the Mingo public defender’s office.


Sources confirmed that none of the remaining four candidates made the cut. Robert H. Carlton, Steven Johnson Knopp, Glen R. Rutledge, II, and Miki Thompson also were in the running. Letitia Chafin delivered paperwork to seek the position but later withdrew her name from consideration.


According to the provisions of state law, the advisory committee recommends names of candidates to the governor, who has the ultimate responsibility for naming the new judge. The committee could have recommended between two and five of the candidates.


Thornsbury left office after agreeing to plead guilty to felony charges in United States District Court. He will be sentenced in February 2014 but had to resign his office as a result of a plea agreement with federal authorities.


Under state law, Mingo has just one circuit judge position. Whoever is chosen by Tomblin will serve until the 2014 election is certified. Because of the length of a judge’s term, someone to complete the remaining months of the term will be elected by Mingo voters at the November 2014 election. The successful candidate will then serve until the end of 2016.

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