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Hutchison to be chief justice next year; Walker the year after that

West Virginia’s Supreme Court announced that John Hutchison will be the chief justice at the start of the new year.

That position, which is often rotated among the court’s five justices, has been held most recently by Justice Evan Jenkins.

The court announced that Beth Walker will be the chief justice in 2023.

John Hutchison

Hutchison, a longtime circuit judge in Raleigh County, was named to the Supreme Court in late 2018 by Gov. Jim Justice to fill a seat vacated by impeached Justice Allen Loughry.

In 2020, Hutchison won election to a term ending in 2024.

In a statement, Hutchison alluded to tasks ahead, including the establishment of a new intermediate court of appeals.

“It has been a joy and the greatest honor of my life to serve on the Supreme Court. I have spent most of my adult life in public service, and I look forward to serving the state in a new way, as chief justice in 2022,” Hutchison stated in a news release from the court.

“Chief Justice Evan Jenkins has done great work this year laying the foundation for a new level of courts in West Virginia, and I look forward to leading the judiciary as we open the Intermediate Court of Appeals on July 1.”

In cases next year where Hutchison is able to participate, Walker would serve as chief justice.

Beth Walker

Walker was elected to the Supreme Court in 2016 and served as chief justice once already in 2019.

“I am looking forward to assisting Justice Hutchison in his role as chief justice in 2022, as we all look ahead to more important work including the new Intermediate Court of Appeals,” Walker stated.

“The justices continue to work together as a team, and I look forward to leading that team again as chief justice in 2023. I remain committed to our mission of transparency and accountability and maintaining the trust and confidence of West Virginians in the integrity of our courts.”

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