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Nine people apply for former Supreme Court justice's seat

The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission released the names of nine individuals who have applied to fill a Supreme Court justice seat formerly filled by Menis Ketchum. (WCHS/WVAH File)

The West Virginia Governor’s Office said nine individuals have applied to fill the vacancy on the state Supreme Court created when Menis Ketchum resigned in July.

The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission released the following names of those who have applied:

* Tim P. Armstead of Charleston

* Robert H. Carlton of Williamson

* Gregory B. Chiartas of Charleston

* Robert J. Frank of Lewisburg

* Evan Jenkins of Huntington

* Arthur W. King of Clay

* D.C. Offutt Jr. of Barboursville

* William Schwartz of Charleston

* Martin P. Sheehan of Wheeling

The JVAC will conduct interviews Aug. 23, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Jenkins told Eyewitness News if recommended by the JVAC and if selected by Governor Justice, he would resign from his Congressional seat on or before Sept. 5 to serve on the bench.

Armstead also said he would resign from his current position if he is selected.

The candidate selected will serve on an interim basis until the November election when voters will choose a justice to fill out the remaining two years of the vacancy created by Ketchum’s retirement.

Five candidates have filed to seek the seat in November. Martin Sheehan, Brenden Long, Carl Hostler, Harry Bruner and Joanna Tabit have filed with the Secretary of State’s Office to run for the vacancy.

Ketchum announced in July that he was retiring from his seat effective at the end of the business day July 27. Federal prosecutors said Ketchum has agreed in an information to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Another vacancy on the court was created when Justice Robin Davis announced Tuesday that she retired from the court on Monday. Her announcement comes in the wake of a vote by the House of Delegates to impeach Davis and three other justices on the court, Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman and Beth Walker.

Davis’ retirement creates an open seat with a six-year term. The Secretary of State’s Office said no one can file for that particular vacancy until Wednesday.

Gov. Jim Justice is calling for a special election to run concurrently with the Nov. 6 general election to fill Davis' seat.

It will be possible for candidates who have filed for the two-year term to switch and file for the six-year term if they desire to do so.

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