Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Wilfong made a terrible mistake, and she admits it.

The first-term judge had a two-year affair between 2011 and 2013 with Travis Carter, while Carter served as Director of the North Central Community Corrections (NCCC).  That agency worked with the judge to decide which defendants should be candidates for alternative sentencing.

Both Wilfong and Carter were married, and they carried on their affair quietly, although at least one local attorney contends there was “wide-ranging community knowledge of the relationship.”

The relationship included sexual liaisons between the two in Judge Wilfong’s courthouse office and at the home of an assistant prosecuting attorney.  Wilfong also sent sexually explicit emails, texts, instant messages and nude pictures of herself to Carter.

The affair raises serious conflict of interest concerns.  The Judicial Investigation Commission report says Carter and/or his subordinate staff from NCCC appeared before Judge Wilfong in approximately 46 criminal matters where the judge had to decide whether defendants had violated the terms of their placement in the community corrections program.

There is also evidence that Wilfong continued the relationship with Carter even after state Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury raised concerns about the ethical implications.  Wilfong contends in her response to the report that the sex stopped after Canterbury’s warning.

Before we sew the scarlet “A” on Wilfong’s robe, it’s important to note a couple of points.

To her credit, the Judge self-reported the affair and the possible conflicts of interest last year to the Judicial Investigation Commission.  In her response to the Commission, Wilfong said, “I take full and complete responsibility” for the affair.

It was a consensual affair. The judge did not use the power of her position to force herself on a subordinate.

Wilfong has been, by all accounts, a hard-working judge who has been active in the community. She has overseen the implementation of adult and juvenile drug courts and broken down barriers to the judiciary by visiting every school in the county.

The judge also admits that “the judicial process and its integrity have been negatively impacted.”  However she adds that she never let the affair interfere with her work.

Wilfong is a sympathetic figure.  She’s human, she made a mistake, and now she’s owning it.  The problem, however, is that Wilfong is a judge, the only one in the 20th circuit covering Randolph County.

Wilfong was elected in 2008 because, among other things, the voters trusted in her judgment, and now she has exhibited what can only be described as extremely poor judgment.  How can those who come before Judge Wilfong now have confidence in her sagacity?

The state’s Code of Judicial Conduct says that a judge must “uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary” and “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.”   Sadly, Wilfong has failed to do so.

The matter is now pending before the Judicial Hearing Board.  It will decide what penalty, if any, to recommend to the state Supreme Court.  They range from a mild rebuke to the suspension of her law license.

In the meantime, she has a duty to do the right thing for the people of Randolph County.  Resign and avoid any more embarrassment and to protect the integrity of the judiciary.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Aaron

    I heard your interaction with the guy from Spring Hill Hoppy. Post the video So those of us who missed the feed can watch you get riled up.

    • Silas Lynch

      LOL!! I heard that and was somewhat happy with Hoppy!! Now, if we could just get Hoppy to show a little of that moxy when dealing with Howard Monroe istead of "agreeing to disagree" with him...

      • Jethro

        Hop could use that moxy with Manchin and Capito instead of the softball , I'm with royalty attitude.

    • Evan

      One of those unfortunates in Parkersburg here... couldn't stream Talkline today because the local WiFi was down, and my employer frowns on data-streaming.

      What got Hop so riled up???

      • Aaron

        Some A**hole (Hoppy's word, not mine) called in and accused Hoppy of blaming the economy on Obama because he's "black." Hoppy, rightfully so, took it to the jacka** and had him stammering trying to explain his pulling out the race card.

        I wanted to cheer as I've heard it a thousand times. When someone points out the Presidents record and the other person cannot defend the record was the case today, they blame the accuser of being a racist. To his credit, Hoppy stood firm, even after the break as he took the individual to task for his false accusations.

        I heard the emotion in Hoppy's voice but I would love to see the stream.

        • Evan

          Aaron - thanks for the run-down on the exchange between Hoppy and that caller.

          It's a BEAUTIFUL day in Parkersburg, and the WiFi is working! Heard the replay today on Talkline. (That. Was. Priceless.)

          I liked Hoppy immensely before, but he gets a couple more brownie points for effectively calling a spade a spade.

        • Aaron

          If I'm not mistaken, isn't the President the individual who ran on reaching across the aisle Hop? Isn't he the one that said he would work with both parties to move the country forward and then within what seemed like minutes of taking the oath, started his "we won the campaign" act before embarking on a world apology tour?

          As to Congress, didn't each member of the House win elections based on their fiscal policies? If you don't believe the President should compromise on his values, why do you think duly elected members of Congress should?

          As to austerity, doesn't history teach us that it works despite what the international monetary fund advises?

          • Aaron

            We should bring our troops home. We do not need to be in 193 countries to defend the United States. We spend billions on national defense pumping out bombs, bullets, tanks, planes and ships and man bases all over the world not in the name of defense but in the name of economics. I would shut down most bases, eliminate most of the standing Army and direct that spending on infrastructure to meet 22nd century demands.

            As to Mellon, History proves that when his policies were followed, low taxes combined with Coolidge's frugal ways led to 7 years of balanced budgets. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Great Depression and high taxes ran hand in hand. Despite Hoover raising taxes to a top rate of 63%, which FDR later rose to 80% in 1935, revenues never escalated in the way they did when Coolidge cut taxes. Why do you suppose that is?

          • Hop'sHip

            That Hoover didn't completely follow the advice of Mellon proved that he had some concern for the human condition. But like Roosevelt after him he succumbed to those who argued the supremacy of deficit control. Much of our current infrastructure dates back to that time. Maybe it could use a little refreshing? If we can't afford to put people to work providing us with a modern infrastructure, would you agree we can no longer afford to spend ten times what any other country does on defense?

          • Aaron

            It's interesting that you cite Hoover for his reaction when the truth is, he acted more like a textbook Keynesian following the 1929 stock market crash by pushing through an across-the-board one percentage point reduction in income tax rates applicable to the 1929 tax year. Being the 'conservative' hell bent on human suffering, he didn’t stop with tax cuts to increase demand, he signed into law massive increases in the federal budget. By 1932 federal spending was 42% higher than 930 levels.

            He increased spending so much on programs liberals generally enjoy like public works projects, it's not called the Hoover Dam for nothing, and signed into law an Obama like-too big to fail bank bill that injected billions (this was the 1930's) into banks. The result was the the highest peace time budgets in American history, so high that FDR would campaign on balancing the budget and eliminating federal waste.

            You were saying about Hoover?

          • Aaron

            Perhaps you should go further back a decade to see how austerity works on a recession.

          • Hop'sHip

            Yarded? Should be "harder" I'll follow your lead and blame autocorrect.

          • Hop'sHip

            History teaches us that the time for government austerity is during boom times. Deep cuts in government spending in a slack economy will only dampen the economy further. Most who have studied the Great Depression, including Ben Bernanke, have concluded such. Of course the belief among many here appears to be that of Andrew Mellon who advised Herbert Hoover that great human suffering must occur (by other people) in order to purge the rottenness out of the system and force people to work yarded and live more moral lives.

        • Jethro

          The point was about Hoppy (as usual)sidestepping issues regarding the minimum wage increase that favor the worker.
          Hoppy is working class but takes a paycheck to be against the working class. Hop is merely one of many who are shamelessly making money for being against fellow citizens.

          • Hop'sHip

            Actually I just was listening to David Frum, a refreshingly candid spokesman on Republican politics. He would never claim that it was about the lost jobs. He probably would say it was about concern for increased labor costs and it's implication on ROI, but would probably admit that was is being discussed would be inconsequential in that regard and the Republicans would be wise to give in to get something they really care about in return, like a high-end tax cut.

          • The bookman

            It's called leadership and compromise, two qualities lacking in Washington on both sides of the aisle!

          • Hop'sHip

            Aaron: How can you place the blame of the current economy on Obama when nothing he has proposed for the last three years has made it through Congress? What would you have him do? Push the trickle-down policies that he ran against? Adopt austerity fiscal policies that even the IMF deems unwise in the current economic climate?

          • The bookman

            The market would reflect a demand for thermal coal if this administration would allow the markets to progress without their anti coal driven agenda regulating its demise. People clamor today about a $14 increase in their monthly bill. Just wait until NG continues it's upward progression in price and demand and becomes a bigger player in our energy equation. There is a cost of compliance with the anti fossil fuel agenda. Be careful what you wish for.

          • Aaron

            No, the point was that some whackjob falsely accused Hoppy of disagreeing with the President soley because he's black and Hoppy busted him for it.

            That is a damnable lie that far too many liberals resort to when they cannot explain away the Presidents inadequacies, just as the jacka** attempted to do today and Hoppy took the gentleman to task.

            As one of the millions who believes the President is failing miserably based solely on his atrocious performance and has nothing to do with the color of his skin and I found it refreshing that Hoppy called the gentleman for what he is, a race-baiter, pure and simple.

          • Jethro

            Oh yeah the rightwing million jobs lost meme if workers receive a living wage.
            "What the market will bear" is another rightwing meme that you boys love till it hits the sacred coal industry. Then yer tune changes.

          • The bookman

            Unless of course he is against an increase in the minimum wage in an effort to save a million jobs, the estimate of jobs that will be lost due to the proposed federal increase to over $10/hr. It truly is a matter of perspective. Is it better to pay $3/hour more and put 1 million people out of a job or allow the market to drive wages. I know with this current economy that is a gamble, but if it is your job that is lost, would you still be in favor?

    • Ditto

      Aaron

      I heard it on the radio but would love to see it. Come on Hoppy and post it. I don't believe I have ever heard you use that word before.

  • CBP

    I'm not trying to be cruel, but the fact that anyone would drill that, much less ruin 2 marriages, is almost unfathomable. I have to see this Carter dude.

    • The Truth

      Hey I'd drill that. Big curvy women are really grateful.

      When you get to be my age, you realize all women are something special :)

    • Rosie Agrees

      CBP

      I Googled Travis Carter but there wasn't anything mentioned or at least there was not a picture.See my earlier comment.

      • Brian

        You guys are only showing how superficial you are. There is nothing hotter than an intelligent woman!!!!

        • P1

          ....until you google images of that 'intelligent woman' and learn that she is a 300 pound wildebeast.

        • Silas Lynch

          Yes there is. ex: Janet Reno: intelligent. NOT HOT

          • The bookman

            +100

  • Independent View

    More Currupt and Unscrupulous Behavior
    FYI- When this situation first came to light, the Randolph County Commission immediately placed Mr. Carter on administrative leave, with pay. Following the investigation into Mr. Carter's involvement by a law firm from Pittsburgh, the results were presented to Mr. Carter and he immediately resigned.
    The question which begs an answer is, if the investigation of Mr. Carter included enough evidence of wrongdoing on his part that when presented with it, he immediately resigned then, obviously, the same evidence applied to the other half of this fiasco, Judge Wilfong yet, she remains on the bench? And, even worse than Mr. Carter's position, she is a sitting judge!
    Pathetic!!!!

    • P1

      more like a 'horizontal bop' judge.
      no matter how u slice it, her favorite position is "on the bench"!!!

    • Bill

      Independent View , Mr. Carter was cleared by the investigation but he opted to resign because of the hostile working conditions.

      • The bookman

        That's not entirely accurate, Bill.

        http://theintermountain.com/page/content.detail/id/566669/Carter-resigns-after-investigation.html?nav=5014

        Carter resigned due to his belief he could no longer be an effective leader of Community Corrections given the public's knowledge of his and Wilfong's misconduct. He voluntarily entered into a settlement agreement with Randolph County to release all parties from future action and bring the situation as it related to Carter and the County to closure. To say the investigation cleared Carter of criminal misconduct would be accurate. But I don't think it would be accurate to say he was absolved by the investigation.

        • Bill

          Sorry, I misread the article, I stand corrected.

  • Bill

    Come on Hoppy, she lied to the State Supreme Court, what makes you think she didn't use the "power of her position to force herself on a subordinate ? Also, she wasn't the first to self report to the ethics committee, she only reported after she learned of the other ethic complaints filed by the PA, and Mr Cooper.

  • leroy

    carter should claim sexual harassment , get a big payout and retire

    • CaptainQ

      +2

    • Bill

      +1

  • More Currupt and Unscrupulous Behavior

    Marital infidelity causes far more than just judicial integrity issues. The emotional distress and anxiety both families must endure cannot be measured. If you don't like your marriage, then get a divorce. They both wanted their cake and eat it too. Her self reporting is merely damage control. Both should resign and accept the consequences of your actions. If they don't resign, we expect them to be removed immediately and receive additional punishment. Wow, doing it in the courthouse and at the home of another court official. Unbelievable misconduct. Perhaps the other court official should be punished for complicity as well. This is conduct unbecoming and should be dealt with severely. We will all be watching the results.

    • P1

      That's the basic problem with society.
      The judge stated that she wasn't breaking the law with her infidelity- and she is correct.
      Everyone is society is fornicating like crazy and it is destroying families and the fabric of society. And yet no one cares. Individuals like Judge Wilfong commit adultery, then proceed to "family court" to have their family destroyed......and get rewarded for destroying their family and are given the children, the house, the assets, and a lifetime of monthly payouts for their sins.

      Is it any wonder we are in the mess we are in?

  • GWB

    She needs to go. End of story. A one time mistake could possibly be forgiven but a two year ongoing mistake with lies and cover-up, hardly should be. To say it didn't effect her work is ridiculous. The fact that the prosecuting attorney's office and at least one member of the bar had "dirt" on her most certainly would have raised the "appearance of impropriety" issue. She needs to resign or be removed from her elevated standing immediately.

  • Independent View

    Whoa! The problem with serious implications is not the two- year long affair.
    The serious implications and violation of several judical canons were, she lied, not only to employees of the court, but lied to the state supreme court when questioned about the affair. She lied and said it was over yet, it continued well beyond the supreme court's initial inquiry. Somehow this should be overlooked or excused? If the average person lies in her court, they are guilty of perjury! If she had to have a romantic interlude that day then, she should have had the good judgement to have it at her friend's house or the attorney's garage, not the judge's chambers! Further, court staff reported that at times, they had to knock on her chamber door and summon her back to court to continue hearings! These people's statements have been investigated and found credible. This is inexcusable and reprehensible behaivior. When this affair came to light, Mr. Carter was immediately placed on administrative leave even before an investigation began yet, his concubine is allowed to remain in her position as a sitting jude while disciplinary action, if any, is decided? Maybe Mr. Carter has a strong case for a lawsuit that could cost Randolph County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars either in resitution and backpay or to "sue and settle." Ms. Wilfong should have been immedaitely suspened, pending outcome of the investigation and penalities! End of story!

  • DWM

    I don't see the connection of having an affair and being a good judge. I think she has done a good job and should remain in her position until the next election when the voters will decide whether she should stay or go.

    • More Currupt and Unscrupulous Behavior

      So it's ok to do the nasty in the courthouse and everywhere else? Are you kidding me? You must be sharing her too.

      • P1

        Sex in the courthouse is standard behavior in Pocahontas County.
        Check out the antics of pcsd deputy Brad Totten.........as well as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney J.L. Clifton.
        Clifton was trading sexual favors in exchange for leniency. He was initially charged with several felonies and got out of them. However, many more victims have come forward and there is an active and ongoing investigation by the FBI and State Police against him and more felony charges are expected to be filed soon. Clifton is also a "family man"- happily married with children, while getting "extra benefits" on the job at the local courthouse. Clifton is also under investigation and facing sanctions with the WV State Bar ODC and a public hearing is currently set for August 12 & 13 at the Brier Inn in Lewisburg, WV. He is also facing the loss of his law license.

      • BS

        Having sex with someone that can have influence on a legal opinion is unethical and I assume illegal. Having sex on a desk in a public office isn't illegal. You self righteous self appointed politically correct police make me want to projectile vomit on you. If you think you are on a pedestal so to force your stupidity on others then your life needs examined under a microscope.

    • Aaron

      Were she bumping uglies with the guy down the street, who had nothing to do with her professional life, I might agree with you.

      The fact that she was having an affair at the courthouse, with an individual who has appeared before in her court dozens of times, which in addition to demonstrating poor judgement (crucial for a judge, don't you think?), whether favoritism occurred or not certainly gives rise to the potential of such.

  • liberty4all

    I agree with your ultimate conclusion that she should step down, for the sake of the families involved as well as for the citizens of Randolph County. She does not deserve credit for self-reporting something that she knew was coming to light anyway. Being held truly accountable for your actions involves 3 steps - (1) admit it, (2) apologize, and (3) take steps to rectify the harm you have caused. Sadly, our society seems to have drifted to a place where admitting and apologizing become sufficient. There is a tremendous difference between forgiveness and accountability. If the recent stories out of Mingo County and elsewhere have taught us anything it is that steps must be taken to protect the integrity of the judicial system if we as a citizenry are to have any confidence in it.

  • Mister G!

    Travis Carter should be commended for his handling of the Judge Wilfong affair 'cause that's a whole lotta Rosie...

    • P1

      AC/DC couldn't have said it any better.
      A whole lotta Rosie, indeed!
      Maybe Queen should also chime in with kudos to 'Fat Bottomed Girls'.
      ....and don't forget 'Thunder Thighs' by Ted Nugent.

    • Rosie Agrees

      Mister G

      I think I understand where your are going with this. Travis Carter has to be packing a lot of junk.

      • The Truth

        Like a 3rd arm?

  • Jason412

    I would hope she respect's the people of Randolph Co. enough to voluntarily step down, and if she wont the people of Randolph Co. should demand it.

    She may have self-reported it to the JIC but if I remember correctly from the stories on this a few months back, she only did so because other people in the judicial system demanded she do so before they did.

    It's ridiculous that she would say it didn't effect her work. That may be a legitimate excuse, had she not been having sex in between trials and used the Asst. Prosecutor's house as well as the other attorney's garage. I can't think of many other jobs you could admit to having sex in your work place and not be fired immediately.

    "The first-term judge had a two-year affair between 2011 and 2013 with Travis Carter, while Carter served as Director of the North Central Community Corrections (NCCC). That agency worked with the judge to decide which defendants should be candidates for alternative sentencing."

    This is the part I'm curious about, and I hope is part of the investigation. It doesn't seem to far fetched to think maybe a few to many serious offenders were alternatively sentenced in order to provide Mr. Carter job security. From frequently reading the online edition of the local paper I've noticed more than a few people be alternatively sentenced to community corrections, when the crime they committed deserved prison time.

    In the article the other day she said no one had requested a retrial. After this recent JIC charge and whatever else may unfold, I wouldn't be surprised if Randolph Co. suddenly has an influx of inmates calling for retrials.

    "In the meantime, she has a duty to do the right thing for the people of Randolph County. Resign and avoid any more embarrassment and to protect the integrity of the judiciary."

    Let's hope she does, as that's the only way she has any chance at saving a little bit of face.

    • Col. Klink

      I believe anyone sentenced to Community Corrections has a choice of going to jail or CC, so I don't see any comspiracy there, now if you want that, try the new "Drug Court. Also why isn't people asking why, Randolph Counties OEM J. Wise suddenly jumped ship, was it because an affair with another county employee or was it because his son was let out of prison early.................

    • P1

      face or "head"?

  • Medman

    I would love for someone who wants her fired to explain how this was worse than what Clinton did in the White House.

    • questions

      There is a big difference between what happened between Bill and Monica and what occurred in this judge’s chambers. Not to re-hash that tired and uneducated comment; let’s put forth a possible corollary between the two events: When people receive “favors” or special privilege because of performing (in these cases) illicit acts or receive favors due to knowledge of those doing illicit acts then those officials have misplaced the trust put in them by those who elected them to serve the public good.
      Let’s take the position that this judge is super human and would never let a bias exist, based on awareness that one of the attorneys in front of her had knowledge of her miss-conduct. I can even agree for the sake of argument, that no criminal cases were tainted by the relationship that existed, but what about the civil actions? Play this out in your head - Here comes the Judge and she has lots of power and makes decisions everyday that affect people’s lives. These decisions are supposed to be based upon the arguments presented in front of her by attorneys. If a certain attorney has knowledge of her actions, and the judge knows the attorney has knowledge; does that not possibly affect the outcome of a case? Oh wait – I forgot; this judge is super human. What about the situation where a child is ripped away from her mother because this judge was distracted and did not pay attention to all the details presented to her in an appeal order from the family court. Or, what about the other distractions in review of evidence in cases, because she had to run out to the garage next door or to some other court appointed persons home to make a rendezvous. The truth is; we do not know how many lives were affected because of the time effort and energy this judge exerted in chasing selfish satisfaction. We do know and it is Suspicious to me; that a succession of complaints began coming in 2 days after she self reported? Remember; this judge is super human and no bias would exist in her decisions – but again put this in your head – Did all those attorneys who had foreknowledge of these events not report them because – they were afraid of reprisal in her court, or did they enjoy the “special” privilege extended to them and their clients because of being in the know?
      I think these things really matter, and we citizens of WV should expect more of public officials. Yes people are human, and they make mistakes, but when those mistakes lead to, or potentially lead to injustice by a public official, then I feel we need to all step up and challenge the elected official. We need more accountability from public officials and we need more power than just the election cycle. That is what the JIC and complaint commission is supposed to do and what lawyer disciplinary board is also supposed to do. Look at the time that has elapsed since she self reported – 6 months. How many decisions have happened in that time and how many lives have been affected, because the ethics committee does not have an immediate action policy. Way to go Supreme Court, I am glad it took you less than a week to take action. Otherwise, Oh my, what a sad and sorry reflection this is on our society, in that no one gets to watch the watchers, or hold them accountable. If nothing comes of this and she does not resign, do you really think people of Randolph County will remember these events when the election cycle comes up again in 2 years.
      Remember this is an elected position, apparently the honorable judge does not have opportunity to actually be honorable – since she will not step up and Self Fire or Self Suspend or take an extended unpaid holiday until a conclusion is reached by the JIC. Hmm if she did that, then I would have to admit she is actually a true public servant. Oh, wait a minute, a super human judge in a small county is an important political position, and politics always trump justice I guess.

    • Charleston

      It depends on what the definition of "this" is?

    • kensgirl

      In terms of marital infidelity, they are both disgusting and reprehensible. In terms of inapproriateness, Clinton probably has the edge in the where and with whom. In terms of egregious lack of concern for the implications, considering that Clinton was the Leader of the Free World and leaving himself open to extortion and other things at a very high level, he probably wins again. In terms of conflict of interest, the lacking-in-judgment judge wins, considering the affair was with someone whose every move was inextricably intertwined with her rulings on the bench.

      In short - both the judge and the prez were glandular-driven reprobates of dubious morality.

  • Silas Lynch

    How stupid can this woman be?--- All she had to do is say: " I want to tell the people of Randolph County one more time, I did NOT have sexual relations with that man, Mr. Carter. Now, I have to get back to work for the people of Randolph County" ----- and everything will be forgiven....

    • P1

      .......you forgot to include the part about waving around her stubby little finger while stating the above!

      per the oral sex in her chambers, she should have stated, "I never inhaled".

  • Aaron

    I would concur, if the Judge wants what is best for her constituents, she should resign and throw herself on the mercy of the judiciary committee, begging for leniency.

    Perhaps if she rehabilitates her image, she can one day serve again but to put her bench through an investigation that cast doubt on the credibility of the office demonstrates an arrogance that cast doubt on her remorse as well.

    Mark Plants is the perfect example of how to destroy a reputation when the office is in question. Here's hoping Judge Wifong does not follow the same misguided trail of Plants and resigns her position.

    • The bookman

      As well, some consideration should be given to the families involved. Both spouses must continue to carry the weight of spousal infidelity on their shoulders through a very small community. The nature of the affair has been published in painful detail in the Intermountain, the local newspaper in that region. I can't imagine the pain such behavior has caused, and will continue to cause, as the spouses move through their daily routine. Yes, they are supported in their struggle, but if Wilfong would have resigned her seat, both families could be on their way to getting this behind them, however that might transpire.

      By digging in her heels, as Plants has done, in a display of self gratifying behavior to retain her seat on the bench, she demonstrates to all involved that nothing really has changed, and the remorse is dearly lacking. Horrible behavior for the drunkard down the street. Unacceptable behavior for a sitting judge. She needs to go, and would have left long ago if she could have thought about someone other than herself.