CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Former state Supreme Court candidate Letitia Neese Chafin has taken her name out of the running to be appointed Mingo County's circuit judge.Chafin turned in a letter to the state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission on Thursday, according to Kent Carper, commission member and president of the Kanawha County Commission."She was considering the position because she was concerned under the terrible circumstances that good people wouldn't apply," Carper said. "Once she looked over the list and saw that many good people had applied, she looked at her situation and chose not to seek public office."Chafin, who couldn't be reached for comment Thursday, lost a bid last year for a seat on the state Supreme Court. She works as an attorney in Williamson with her husband, state Sen. Truman Chafin, but listed her address as Charleston when she ran for the Supreme Court.Members of the judicial vacancy commission will conduct interviews Dec. 16 in Charleston to fill the position left vacant by Michael Thornsbury. He pleaded guilty in federal court Oct. 2 to conspiring to deprive a drug suspect of his legal rights in a scheme to thwart a federal investigation into the county's sheriff.Thornsbury had served as the sole circuit judge in the 30th Judicial Circuit since 1997 and was re-elected to an eight-year term in 2008. The commission will recommend up to five names to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who makes the appointment.Robert H. Carlton, Jonathan Wayne Jewell, Steven Johnston Knopp, Teresa McCune, Glen R. Rutledge II and Mingo Family Court Judge Miki Thompson turned in applications to the governor's office, according to Tomblin's spokeswoman.
Carlton, a Williamson attorney, ran for Mingo circuit judge in 2008, according to a campaign website. The former magistrate and assistant prosecutor also previously campaigned to be a family court judge in Mingo.Jewell is a longtime public defender in Mingo, according to employees at the courthouse, and has a private law office in Williamson.Knopp is the municipal judge in Williamson, according to the governor's office, and a member of the Williamson firm, Lambright and Knopp.McCune is the longtime chief public defender in Mingo County.Rutledge is an assistant prosecuting attorney in Mingo and the attorney for the county commission. He has a private law firm in Williamson.Thompson has served as family court judge since 2009, according to her secretary.Reach Kate White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1723.