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Berkeley County magistrate seeks 6th term

January 25, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County Magistrate Joan V. Bragg formally announced Wednesday that she will be seeking a sixth term on the bench in the upcoming election.

In seeking another four-year term, Bragg, of Martinsburg, said in a news release that she would continue to serve in an impartial manner and be mindful of alternative sentencing options to help alleviate the ever-increasing burden of jail costs on county taxpayers.

"In cases where someone is convicted of lesser crimes, it is more beneficial to everyone for that person to be sentenced to (home confinement) and monitored at home or to perform community service rather than become a burden to the tax community," Bragg said.

"I will continue to use discretion and common sense when making these types of decisions," Bragg said.

Appointed in 1988, Bragg, a Democrat, is the longest serving of the county's five magistrates. Fellow incumbent magistrates Jim Humphrey, Sandy Miller, JoAnn Overington and Harry L. Snow have filed for the upcoming election.

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Born in Upshur County, W.Va., Bragg said she was raised in nearby Barbour County and first moved to Berkeley County in 1972. Bragg said she worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C., and 13 years for the City of Martinsburg before accepting the magistrate appointment. At that time, Bragg was one of three magistrates.

Berkeley County's magistrates are paid $50,000 annually based on a two-tier system based on population.

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