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Cabell County magistrate race set as deadline passes

August 24, 2018

HUNTINGTON — While more than a dozen applied to be appointed short term to a vacant magistrate position in Cabell County, only three filed to run for the position.

The opening came after the retirement and resignation of former Cabell County Magistrate Darrell Black, 76, who left the position in July, citing health concerns and wishes to spend more time with family as reasoning.

According to a legal notice signed by Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard, when a magistrate vacancy is created with more than two years left on the term, the position must be filled by way of a nonpartisan election. The filing period to be placed on the ballot for the position in the Nov. 6 general election ended Tuesday.

Current interim magistrate Mike McCarthy will be joined by Dale Burns and Scott Bias in the race for the position. Brooke Lundsford, of Milton, had previously filed to run but withdrew his name shortly after because he had previously filed to run for a state Senate position. Judicial races in Cabell County became nonpartisan in 2016.

McCarthy, a former West Virginia State Police officer, was sworn in as interim magistrate Aug. 10 to temporarily fill the position until the position is filled after the Nov. 6 general election. Bias is a former county commissioner and Cabell County magistrate who lost his magistrate seat in the 2016 election. Burns is a local businessman.

The position will be up for re-election in 2020.

Magistrates use their training and judgment to oversee the application and enforcement of state laws, municipal laws and court procedures. They have jurisdiction over civil cases in which the financial amount in dispute is less than $5,000, and hear misdemeanor cases and conduct preliminary examinations in felony cases.

In criminal cases, they issue and record affidavits, complaints, arrest warrants and search warrants, as well as set bail and make decisions concerning proposed plea agreements, the collection of court costs, cash bonds and fines. Magistrates also issue emergency protective orders in cases involving domestic violence.

Cabell County currently has seven magistrate seats.

The position pays $57,500 annually, according to West Virginia State Code.

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

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