EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMAGISTRATE FOUTY
from Eyewitness News Online
Magistrate Replacement Named; Fouty Resigns Ahead Of Ethics Hearing
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Aug. 6, 2012 10:49 AM EDT
Updated: Aug. 6, 2012 6:19 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Kanawha County now has a new magistrate. Kristen Vieweg was sworn into the office by Judge Duke Bloom Monday afternoon.
The move comes after Carol Fouty resigned the position on Friday, a post she's held for 26 years. Fouty cited health reasons for her resignation but she is currently facing several ethics charges and is set to have a hearing in front of the Supreme Court this week. Fouty has been suspended without pay since April.
Vieweg is an attorney who has worked in Kanawha County Magistrate Court for the past five years. She also served as Fouty's assistant while some of the alleged ethical misconduct was going on. Vieweg wouldn't directly comment about the case against Fouty.
"I wish her the best and as I said in my oath, I plan to follow the laws of the state of West Virginia and follow the Constitution," Vieweg says.
Judge Bloom didn't waste any time replacing Fouty. He says Vieweg was the only person he considered, saying she's a lawyer and knows the law, is kind, fair and he says he has respect for her. He also adds that she will do her job as magistrate well.
Vieweg will fill the position for the remainder of the term, five months. After that, she says she will not seek election to the office, instead, she plans to become a teacher. She recently received her teaching certification.
An embattled Kanawha County Magistrate has resigned but that doesn't mean her troubles are over.
Magistrate Carol Fouty sent her letter of resignation to the Supreme Court last week, stepping down after 26 years on the bench. Fouty, who's 75, cited health reasons for her decision and wanting to spend more time with her family.
She has been suspended without pay since April after the Supreme Court handed down several ethics violations. Her resignation comes ahead of a hearing before the Supreme Court on those ethics charges. The hearing is still scheduled to begin this Wednesday, even though she has resigned.
Removing Fouty from the bench would have been the strictest penalty the state's high court could have handed down. A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court says the hearing will still be held regarding the ethics charges.
The troubles for Fouty started after she admitted to dismissing a drug charge for a woman, without a prosecutor present. That woman, later became a maid for Fouty. Others told Eyewitness News that they would do favors for Fouty in exchange for legal help, that was the basis of some of the other ethics charges.
Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom received Fouty's resignation on Friday and will announce and swear-in her replacement at 1:30 on Monday.
Fouty was running in the upcoming election in November. She has sent her resignation to the Secretary of State's Office but election officials say she must get her resignation notarized and fill out a form to withdraw her candidacy and file it with the Kanawha County Clerk, Vera McCormick, since the magistrate position is a county office. A candidate's form to withdraw must then be approved by the State Election Commission, they meet this Wednesday. If they approve Fouty's withdraw, McCormick says the Republican Executive Committee can replace Fouty on the ballot. They must name a candidate to replace her by August 14. If the committee does not have a replacement, Fouty's name will remain on the ballot but any votes she receives will not count.
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