CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin said there could be multiple repercussions for cases Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury handled between 2008 and his arrest on federal charges last week.

“We have a situation where there’s an allegation that, basically, the referee went from being a referee to being a player and that’s wrong,” said Benjamin on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Thornsbury is scheduled to be back in U.S. Magistrate Court later this week to be arraigned on a federal charge of violating the Constitutional rights of the Mingo County man who was the husband of Thornsbury’s ex-mistress. Federal prosecutors allege Thornsbury abused his power to have the man falsely arrested with the goal of resuming an affair with the man’s wife.

Thornsbury has been suspended without pay and his law license has also been suspended pending the outcome of the criminal case against him.

Retired Cabell County Circuit Judge John Cummings and former state Supreme Court Justice Thomas McHugh are now hearing cases in Mingo County as replacements for Thornsbury.

There is the possibility the state Supreme Court could order a review of some of the cases Thornsbury handled over the years.

“We’re still within a few days of having received the indictment so we’re still deciding and looking to see what exactly is down there, but I think there is a need for us to take a look at this,” said Benjamin.

Thornsbury, 57, has been the only circuit judge working in Mingo County since 1997.

Logan County Circuit Judge Ned Grubb was the first judge in West Virginia to be convicted of a felony crime when he was found guilty of bribery, conspiracy, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, racketeering and mail fraud in 1992.

Some of those charges stemmed illegal campaign contributions and other crimes between Grubb and former Logan County Sheriff Earl Tomblin, Sr.

Benjamin said such behavior is not typical of West Virginia’s judges. “We’ve got hundreds of judicial officers that went to work today, all of whom are dedicated to serving the public, and each one of them is thinking about this matter a lot,” he said.

Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden is also scheduled to make a court appearance this week on a separate extortion charge.

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Comments

  • KettleWoman

    Why would anyone make a statement like the one C. Hoffman made. Tomblin Sr - Tomblin Jr. Like father, like son. That is absurd. There is not one shred of evidence that Earl Ray Tomblin Jr has done anything other than his duties while in office. The Tomblins are very fine people. Earl Tomblin Sr. paid the price for his crime; he entered a guilty plea and he went to prison. Is if fair that he be judged for the remainder of his life? In America we are taught that we can make mistakes and pay the price for the mistake. Is the price being labeled as a crook for the rest of your life? Is the price that someone is only known for the bad he has done. I think Earl Ray Tomblin Sr. has done much more than one thing in his life. Is it fair that we paint Earl Ray Tomblin Sr and all his friends and family with the "Bad" Brush becuase he made a mistake 20 years ago? I hope we in American does give people another chance. If not then most of us have real problems.

  • Pot and Kettle

    Justice Benjamin is the typical pot calling the kettle black. His election to the Supreme Court is the product of the worst type of political corruption. He should be the last person that comments on this matter.

  • Levelheaded

    Wonder what's significant about 2008?

  • C.Hoffman

    tomblin, Sr. - tomblin, Jr.

    Like father - like son.

    Common criminals elected to steal. Thanks for electing these crooks WV. sarc/off

    • Butch

      Arch Moore=Shelley Moore Capito

      Like father-like daughter

      Common criminals elected to steal. Thanks for electing these crooks WV.

  • meep

    For every criminal caught, ten go free. Probably not much better here.

    I hope they put that guy in the general population.