Five Seeking Spot on First Judicial Circuit Court Bench in Wheeling

Five candidates want to be the next judge in the 1st Judicial Circuit.

Applications were due by 5 p.m. Tuesday to the Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission in care of the West Virginia Governor’s Office. Candidates are seeking to succeed former James P. Mazzone, who resigned from the bench to become U.S. Magistrate effective Sept. 4.

Those stepping forward include 1st Circuit Family Court Judge Joyce D. Chernenko, Brooke County Prosecutor Joseph Barki and Wheeling attorneys Matthew Chapman, Elgine McArdle and Michael Olejasz.

The commission is set to interview the candidates for the 1st Circuit bench, and another eight seeking the 8th Circuit seat, on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24, according to Debra Scudiere, chairwoman of the Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission.

At least two candidates for the 1st Circuit seat — up to as many as five — will receive the recommendation of the committee, and these recommendations will be sent on to Gov. Jim Justice for consideration, she said.

Scudiere expects to send the names immediately to Justice after the commission has decided its recommendations.

Under West Virginia Code, the commission has 90 days from the time the vacancy begins to submit the names to the governor. The governor then has 30 days in which to appoint one of the recommended candidates.

The application is 23 pages long and asks applicants for information not just about their law experience, education and overall health, but also for details on what books they have written and to what social media platforms they subscribe.

Senior Status Judge Arthur Recht has been recalled to the 1st Circuit to sit on the bench until a successor is named.


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