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Circuit judges sworn in W.Va.

December 29, 2000

Circuit judges sworn in W.Va.



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Eastern Panhandle's four circuit court judges were sworn in Friday in a ceremony marked by praise and reminiscence of former judges who held the posts.

Sworn in were judges Thomas W. Steptoe Jr., David Sanders, Christopher Wilkes and Gray Silver III.

Silver won a fourth judge's position that was added to the 23rd Judicial Circuit, which covers Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties.

The judges took their oaths of office before Elliott E. "Spike" Maynard, Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court of Appeals.

Silver won his seat following a long court battle in which his challenger, David Camilletti, alleged there were improprieties in ballots and procedures in almost every Berkeley County precinct.

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The appeal was taken to several levels before the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

In many respects the appeal mirrored the later battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

U.S. District Court Judge Craig Broadwater, one of many speakers at Friday's ceremony, said there is "really nothing as unnerving as an election.

"As we all know, there are no perfect elections and there are no perfect trials," Broadwater said.

Incumbent Judges Steptoe, Sanders and Wilkes were unopposed in the May primary election.

Several former circuit court judges came to the ceremony to recount memorable events in courtrooms in the Panhandle and spread some humor.

Former Circuit Court Judge Vance Sencindiver said former Judge Patrick Henry can be remembered for his solid court decisions. In Henry's eight years on the bench, only one of his decisions was reversed by the state Supreme Court of Appeals, Sencindiver said.

"I never added up the number of times I was reversed. I was entitled to my opinion and the Supreme Court was entitled to theirs," said Sencindiver.

The remark brought a burst of laughter.

Steptoe will handle all cases in Jefferson County and Sanders and Wilkes will handle cases in Berkeley County Circuit Court, Silver said.

Silver said he will work as the "circuit rider," handling all cases in Morgan County, all juvenile cases in Berkeley and Jefferson counties and the first 100 civil cases in Jefferson and Berkeley counties.

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