W.Va. Supreme Court Division 1: Joanna I. Tabit

September 21, 2018

NAME: Joanna I. Tabit

COUNTY: Kanawha

PARTY: Non-partisan

DIVISION: Division 1

BIOGRAPHY: I am a lifelong West Virginian. I was born in Montgomery and raised by my parents, along with my two sisters, in Charleston. I graduated from Marshall University with a B.B.A. in 1983 and earned my law degree from the WVU College of Law in 1986. Learn more at https://judgejoannaforwv.com.

LEGAL/JUDICIAL EXPERIENCES: Initially, I was a personal law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thomas McHugh. I served as Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General. I joined Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, where I was a member attorney until 2014, when I was appointed to the Kanawha County bench by Governor Tomblin. I was elected to that seat in 2016.

1. How would you make the judicial budgeting process more transparent?

The Court should work with its new Administrative Director to implement practices and procedures demonstrating sound fiscal responsibility as it relates to all expenditures of public funds. Working collaboratively with the Auditor’s office to establish such a framework would serve to restore public faith and confidence in the Court. The Court must be accountable to the people it serves.

2. Do you believe the current system of voluntary recusal is effective in avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest or do we need a change in the system to ensure public confidence in the process? What changes would you propose?

No, many are critical of our current system. Now the decision is made solely by the challenged justice. No mechanism exists to appeal that decision. Written decisions should be required in recusal motions because otherwise there is no record. The Court should adopt a process to review recusal decisions by the full court. Written decisions should also be required in

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