CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A familiar face to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has announced a run for a seat on the bench in 2020.

Former Justice Richard Neely announced on Wednesday morning’s 580-LIVE with Danny Jones, a MetroNews affiliate station, his plans to run for the seat currently held by Justice Tim Armstead.


Richard Neely

“I’m going to run for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in the May election,” Neely said. “It’s a nonpartisan race, all the people who are running appear on both ballots. That’s the end of it, there is no further race in November.”

Neely called the current state of the West Virginia court system a “total and complete disaster from beginning to end.”

He also appeared on Wednesday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ to dive deeper into why he is running for one of the three open seats, which is a 12-year term.

“Even after the big scandal, it’s lost all credibility and has no clout with the legislature,” Neely said. “What’s worse for the Supreme Court itself, it’s backed up to where it takes 27 months to get an appeal through the court.”

He added that he is running for the seat held by Armstead because it is necessary to get three people on the court that are going to be able to change things. The biggest issue according to Neely is the amount of backlog in the courts.

Tim Armstead

“The hardest race is the race against Armstead. It’s obviously a money race if their last race is any indication and I probably can win that,” Neely said.

“I think that sets things up so we can make a major change in the West Virginia Supreme Court.”

In 1987 during his time on the state Supreme Court, a complaint was filed against Neely for allegedly violating the Judicial Code of Ethics. The complaint alleged that Justice Neely required his staff to perform personal services, including babysitting, as a condition of employment, and that he required his staff to be available on an around-the-clock basis.

Neely believes that will not affect the voters in this election to go one way or another.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, voters are going to listen to what I tell them is wrong with the court system.”

Armstead was appointed to the seat by Gov. Jim Justice in August of 2018 following the resignation of Justice Menis Kethcum.