CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two forums will be held this week in Charleston featuring candidates for the two openings on the West Virginia Supreme Court.

The West Virginia Bar Association is hosting the events, which will be held at the West Virginia Culture Center. The forums will be broadcasted on West Virginia Public Broadcasting via Facebook Live.

The court is in the midst of a crisis; suspended Justice Allen Loughry was found guilty on 11 counts Friday including lying to a federal agent and tampering with a witness. Chief Justice Margaret Workman’s impeachment trial will not begin Monday as previously scheduled. The Senate voted earlier this month not to remove Justice Beth Walker from the bench.

The seats in question are those of retired Justice Robin Davis, who still faces impeachment, and former Justice Menis Ketchum, who resigned from the court and has since entered a guilty plea.

“Who we elect to this court is really, really important,” said Harvey Peyton, who serves on the Bar Association’s executive committee.

“We have a lot of important legal issues that have to be dealt with, primarily in how we’re going to deal with the laws that have been passed relating to the oil and natural gas industry and its rapid development and how the industry is going to relate to the general public in regard to its activities.”

The first forum will be held Monday for candidates for Division One. Participants include:

— Justice Tim Armstead of Kanawha County;
— Harry “Bo” Bruner Jr. of Kanawha County;
— Ronald Hatfield Jr. of Cabell County;
— Mark Hunt of Kanawha County;
— Hiram “Buck” Lewis IV of Clay County;
— Joanna Tabit of Kanawha County;
— Chris Wilkes of Berkeley County; and
— Jeff Woods of Kanawha County.

The second forum will be held Thursday for Division Two candidates. Participants include:

— Justice Evan Jenkins of Cabell County;
— Jim Douglas of Kanawha County;
— Robert Frank of Greenbrier County;
— Jeffrey Kessler of Marshall County;
— Brenden Long of Putnam County;
— William Schwartz of Kanawha County
— Marty “Redshoes” Sheehan of Ohio County;
— Dennise Renee Smith of Kanawha County; and
— William Stewart Thompson of Boone County.

Both forums are between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. with an hour-long reception following.

Tickets for the events are $40 for the public, $30 for members of the Bar Association and $20 for young lawyers of the Bar Association.

MetroNews is one of the events’ sponsors. Greg Bowman of the West Virginia University College of Law and MetroNews’ Jeff Jenkins will serve as moderators.

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