McQuade making second bid to become 'people's prosecutor' in Jefferson Co.

April 22, 2012
  • Ruth McQuade
Submitted photo

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Editor’s note: This is another in a series of Eastern Panhandle candidate previews that The Herald-Mail has run over the last several months. The announcements also will be posted on our website,, through the West Virginia primary on May 8.

Four years ago, attorney Ruth McQuade lost her bid to become Jefferson County’s prosecutor when she ran unsuccessfully against Ralph Lorenzetti in the 2008 Democratic primary in a closely fought contest.

Lorenzetti went on to win the general election that November.

McQuade is going for a rematch against Lorenzetti, this time in the May 8 Democratic primary.

McQuade, 62, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., has as a campaign slogan, “Elect Ruth McQuade as the People’s Prosecutor.”

She said if elected she will make the prosecutor’s office “visible to the public.” That would include a website that would routinely inform the public on the status of criminal cases in the system, she said.

“The public should know how many criminal cases are filed, for what kind of crime and most importantly, what was the result? It’s the only way for the public to judge whether or not law enforcement and the prosecutor are being successful in combating crime in this county,” she said.

McQuade said the types of crime are different in different parts of the county. She would set up task forces to address particular types of crimes. She would focus on repeat offenders and strengthen the victim advocate’s unit in the prosecutor’s office.

“Too often we have a revolving door of justice. I want to stop that,” she said.

McQuade grew up in Richwood, W.Va., the 10th in a family of 15 children. She graduated from Marshall University, earned a graduate degree from Columbia University and returned to Marshall to teach. She earned her law degree at Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C.

She worked as an attorney in the West Virginia attorney general’s office before joining the U.S. Department of Justice where, as a federal prosecutor, she handled mail fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering cases for 20 years.

She worked for a year in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Martinsburg prosecuting drug, gun, bank robbery and sexual assault cases.

Today she has a solo practice handling environmental cases, and representing children in abuse and neglect cases.

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