CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Office of Disciplinary Counsel recommends Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Wilfong be suspended for four years—the rest of her term—for failing to disclose an extramarital affair with a corrections official who appeared in her court.
The counsel submitted its findings Tuesday in a post hearing legal brief a week after Wilfong appeared before the state Judicial Hearing Board on various alleged violations of the Judicial Code of Conduct.
Wilfong allegedly violated the code during a two-year extramarital affair with the director of the area community corrections program. Wilfong admitted the sexual relationship with Travis Carter was inappropriate but claims it did not impact her decisions from the bench.
The disciplinary counsel said Carter or his subordinates appeared before the judge on dozens of occasions during the relationship. Wilfong reportedly ignored advice to expose the affair and recuse herself from those cases.
“Judge Wilfong’s misconduct calls into question calls into question her judgment and brings the Randolph County system of justice into disrepute,” Tuesday’s filing said. “Public confidence in the judiciary is a fragile thing—Judge Wilfong should be suspended from office ‘not to punish the judge for extensive wrongdoing, but to relieve from the bench a person whose further service will be detrimental to the judicial branch of government.’”
Wilfong has also filed a post hearing brief.
The hearing board will make a recommendation to the state Supreme Court, which will make the final decision. Justices will have a number of choices but cannot remove Wilfong from office—that can only be done by the legislature. The court could suspend the judge for the rest of her term.