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Mingo Delegate calls for extra judge

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CHARLESTON, WV -

Mingo County members of the House of Delegates plan to introduce a bill when the Legislature begins its next regular session to add a judge to the single-judge circuit in that area.

"The need for more than one circuit judge in our county has long been discussed, but the events of the past week have further shed light on the issue," House Majority Leader Harry Keith White, D-Mingo, said in a news release. "We want to ensure that all citizens of Mingo County have access to an effective court system without delay."

Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury, 57, was indicted by federal prosecutors Aug. 15, accusing him of abusing his power to frame a romantic rival.

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals suspended Thornsbury and his law license. 

Delegate Justin Marcum, D-Mingo, also is the Mingo County Assistant Prosecutor. He pointed out that two judges were appointed to temporarily handle Thornsbury's caseload.

"Most circuits in West Virginia have at least two judges, and the addition of a judge in Mingo County has been advocated both within the local legal community and among legislators in this area," Marcum said in a news release. "We think this legislation would help ensure our judicial system operates effectively, and establish more accountability within the circuit."