Judge named to fill in for Farrell on Cabell Circuit

September 5, 2018

HUNTINGTON — A judge has been assigned to oversee local cases for Justice Paul T. Farrell, who has left his Cabell County Circuit Court seat temporarily after his appointment to the Supreme Court of West Virginia last month.

According to an order released by the Supreme Court, Senior Status Judge Donald H. Cookman will be assigned to oversee Farrell’s docket through the month of September. Senior Status Judge Thomas H. Keadle had previously heard cases on behalf of Farrell in August.

Farrell was appointed Aug. 10 to the Supreme Court by then-Chief Justice Margaret Workman to serve during the suspension of Justice Allen Loughry.

West Virginia circuit courts handle felony cases, civil cases seeking more than $2,500, habeas corpus, appeals from lower courts and several other cases.

Cookman previously served as judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, which includes Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton counties. He served in that position for 20 years, from 1993 to 2013, before retiring to become a state senator in 2013, appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Prior to that, he worked as an attorney and prosecutor starting in 1973.

He is a graduate of the former Romney High School and West Virginia University.

Farrell’s appointment to the Supreme Court came in the midst of the state’s House of Delegates proceedings that led to the call for the impeachment of four justices. Farrell will now take over as acting chief justice and will preside over the impeachment trial in the Senate.

After the decision for impeachment was made, former Justice Robin Davis announced her retirement so that a replacement for her could be put up for a vote in November rather than face impeachment and have someone appointed to her seat if she were removed from office. Former Justice Menis Ketchum resigned last month.

Gov. Jim Justice appointed former House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins to temporarily fill those seats.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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