Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

LOGAN COUNTY ; Judge Appeals Panel Decision to W.Va. Supreme Court

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

LOGAN COUNTY ; Judge Appeals Panel Decision to W.Va. Supreme Court

Article excerpt

Logan County Circuit judge who lost May's election by 59 votes has asked the state Supreme Court to decide whether he should remain on the bench. Logan Circuit Judge Douglas Witten is appealing last month's order by a three-judge panel, which found that votes cast at three polling places in Logan County shouldn't be discarded because of irregularities at the polls.

The panel last month also certified the nonpartisan election results from May, declaring Joshua Butcher the newest Logan Circuit judge. He is set to take office in January.

Witten, through his lawyer Harvey Peyton, filed a notice with the Supreme Court last week stating he plans to appeal the panel's ruling.

"How many times does Mr. Butcher have to win this election before Judge Witten faces facts and stops wasting public resources? Butcher's lawyer, Ryan Donovan, said this week about the filing of Witten's notice of appeal.

Peyton has said that state law requires the Supreme Court to give Witten's appeal precedent over other matters on their docket.

After losing his bid to remain a judge, Witten filed a seldom- used petition with the Clerk of the West Virginia House of Delegates, in an attempt to overturn the election results.

The "evidence of the errors by election officials in the Bulwark, Sharples and Lane precincts did not rise to the level of demonstrating that their actions amounted to misconduct affecting the result of the election or rendering it unfair, the order filed with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office stated.

Witten was appointed last year by Tomblin, who is from Logan County, when then-Circuit Judge Roger Perry retired. Butcher is Perry's former law clerk.

Tomblin, Witten and Butcher each got to choose someone to serve as judge on a three-member special court to decide the petition. The panel heard arguments in August in Logan.

Charleston lawyer James S. Arnold was chosen by Tomblin to serve on the panel; Witten chose John Counts, who had served as treasurer of Witten's campaign; and Butcher chose Booth Goodwin, who stepped down as U. …

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