An Ohio County circuit judge has re-appointed a woman who was sworn-in as a county magistrate in August only to resign in September when she didn’t meet the educational requirements for the job.
Chief Circuit Judge Ronald Wilson reappointed Janine Varner to serve as an Ohio County magistrate, according to an order filed Monday.
Wilson administered the oath of office to Varner for the second time in three months on Monday, after she obtained a GED to “remove all question regarding whether her vocational training met the requirements of a high school education or its equivalent,” her attorney Teresa Toriseva said in a news release Monday.
“It is because of [Wilson], and the support she has received from so many in the public, that she had the confidence and the motivation to push through and take the exam,” Toriseva said.
Varner resigned as magistrate on Sept. 18, after the West Virginia Supreme Court handed down an order suspending her without pay in response to a motion filed by the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission.
Senior Status Magistrate Carl “Worthy” Paul Jr. served on an interim basis while Varner obtained her GED to become qualified for the magistrate position.
Prior to being appointed as magistrate, Varner worked for the Ohio County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Ohio Circuit Clerk’s Office and for her now-attorney, Teresa Toriseva’s firm, Toriseva Law, according to a report from the Wheeling Intelligencer.
In the news release from Toriseva Friday, Varner said her experience was a reminder that “it is never too late to get your high school diploma or even go back to college.”
“Education is a lifetime experience,” she said.
West Virginia law requires magistrates to have a high school education or equivalent before they can serve in the position.
In West Virginia, a magistrate’s salary depends on the population of a county.
Magistrates serving less than 7,300 people are paid $51,125 per year, and magistrates serving 7,300 or more people are paid $57,500 each year.
In 2010 and 2012, the West Virginia Legislature attempted to alter the law to increase the education requirements to be a magistrate, but both measures failed to get approval in both legislative chambers.
Wilson originally appointed Varner as magistrate on Aug. 6 to replace former magistrate Harry Radcliffe III.
On Aug. 4, Radcliffe was sentenced to four months in federal prison and two months of home confinement after pleading guilty to tax fraud in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.