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Ketchum, Bastress receive highest scores in judicial candidate poll

Apr. 22, 2008 @ 10:59 PM

Supreme Court hopefuls Menis Ketchum and Bob Bastress received the highest scores from West Virginia lawyers who responded to a survey about the 2008 judicial candidates.

Receiving the lowest overall score among the five Supreme Court candidates was Chief Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard, who also elicited more responses than any other candidate in the survey.

About 35 percent of the West Virginia Bar's in-state membership, or 1,620 lawyers, rated candidates for Supreme Court and circuit judge in the survey.

The survey asked lawyers to rank the candidates in seven categories on a scale of 1 (poor) to 4 (outstanding). Categories included legal ability, integrity and impartiality, decisiveness, diligence, intelligence, courtesy of others and overall qualification for office.

Bastress, a West Virginia University law professor, and Ketchum, a Huntington attorney, each received a rating of 3 (good) for their overall qualifications for office. They were followed by Beth Walker (2.7), Margaret Workman (2.5) and Maynard (2.4).

Bastress received the highest rating for legal ability and intelligence and tied with Ketchum for the highest rating in four other categories.

"I am humbled and honored the West Virginia lawyers rated me so high," Ketchum said. "The respect of the legal community is important to the Supreme Court."

In the Sixth Judicial Circuit, judges Dan O'Hanlon and David Pancake both received a 3.3 ranking for overall qualifications for office, followed by Paul Farrell (3.1), Judge Alfred Ferguson (3) and Jane Hustead (2.5).

Farrell, a Huntington attorney, is running against Hustead, an assistant Cabell County prosecutor, in the Democratic primary for the seat vacated by retiring Circuit Judge John Cummings. No Republican filed for the seat. The other Sixth Judicial candidates are unopposed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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