Retired judges to hear Randolph cases during Wilfong disqualific - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Retired judges to hear Randolph cases during Wilfong disqualification for ethics complaint

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Courtesy: WV Supreme Court of Appeals Courtesy: WV Supreme Court of Appeals
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Two retired judges have been assigned to hear cases in Randolph County while the state Supreme Court considers an ethics complaint against sitting Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong.

Retired Circuit Judges Thomas W. Steptoe Jr. of Jefferson County and Thomas H. Keedle of Upshur and Lewis counties will hear cases involving the Randolph County prosecutor's office.

In the order, Chief Justice Robin Davis said Wilfong's disqualification was warranted “to avoid even an appearance of impropriety.” It will remain in effect until the court deems the assignment is no longer needed, she said.

In October, Wilfong self-reported an affair with the director of an alternative sentencing program, but insists the extra-marital relationship never impacted her performance on the bench. Within days four additional complaints were filed by her law clerk as well as Prosecuting Attorney Michael W. Parker and a handful of attorneys.

Wilfong called the near two year-long affair "a mistake" but insists the illicit relationship with former North central Community Corrections Director Travis Carter "did not impair my ability to conduct court and do the work the citizens of Randolph County hired me to do."

Carter negotiated a settlement agreement with the county commissioners and resigned his job in December.

Wilfong has admitted to performing sexual acts in chambers on no more than three occasions, and also admitted sending sexually explicit emails and text messages, including a photograph, to Carter.

She has said the relationship ended in October and that she has not had any contact with Carter since and is working to repair the damage to her marriage.