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NAME: Carl Eastham
CANDIDATE FOR: Cabell County Magistrate Division 4
PARTY: Nonpartisan race
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: https://www.facebook.com/easthamformagistrate/
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Huntington High School, Marshall University, Mountwest Community College Associate in Applied Science,
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: WV Fire Commissioner (Governor Thompson’s Appointment 2015 – July 2020)
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Fire Chief, City of Huntington Fire Dept. February 18, 2013–2017 (retried), WV Attorney General’s Office (Consumer Advocate), 2011– 2013 (resigned to accept Fire Chief’s position), Huntington Fire Department, Captain/Fire fighter 1985–2011 (Retired) Lieutenant 1998, Captain 2007, WV Fire Commissioner Appointed August, 2015–Current.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Huntington Municipal Development Authority (HMDA), former WV Attorney General’s Citizens Advisory Committee, Southwestern District Labor Council Hall of Fame inductee 2013, President Emeritus Huntington Professional Fire Fighters Association, Secretary/Treasurer Emeritus Professional Fire Fighters of WV, WV Professional Fire Chiefs Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Legion SOL post 16, The Elks Local 313, Loyal Order of Moose, former President Little League 7 (Guyandotte) former coach Beverly Hills Youth Football.
FAMILY: wife, Linda (Tinker) Eastham; children, Carl (Ben & Erica) Eastham, Jason Eastham & Ashley Stewart; grandchildren, Avery Stewart, Adelyn Stewart-Eastham, Kaleb, Madalyn, Braxton, Jaxson Eastham.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: Magistrates need to be fair, honest, and above reproach, a person with the upmost integrity, a proven leader with a firm yet fair hand. I feel I meet these requirements having served the citizens of Huntington for 30 years as a firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, and Chief. I retired and worked for the WV Attorney General as a Consumer Advocate. At the request of Mayor Williams, returned as Fire Chief in 2013 retiring in 2017. I currently serve as chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee at the WV Fire Commission, which holds hearings and issues discipline to non-compliant Fire Departments and personnel.
1. What steps might improve the workings of the courts?
With Civil Claims up to $10,000, magisterial courts can help in elevate Circuit Courts congestion. Use progressive discipline for nonviolent offenders where the punishment fits the crime. Set high bonds for high or violent crimes and get them to trial in a faster pace. Stop allowing out of state drug pushers to bond out with low bonds.
2. Do you believe you have the temperament to be on the bench? Explain.
Serving 30 years on Fire Department interacting with the public on a daily basis under very excited and emotional times, you have to keep a clear head and focus on the objective without letting your emotions effect your decision making. As a Consumer Advocate for the WV Attorney General, I again contained my emotions with my decision-making.
3. How do you feel about accepting contributions to your campaign? Do you feel this creates a conflict of interest or an appearance of impropriety if you are elected?
The WV Judicial Ethics Commission has oversight of judicial campaign contributions, and I support their oversite. I believe small contributions from family or close friends does not rise to be a conflict. Should we eliminate contributions completely, only the wealthy could successfully run for office. We should look at contribution limits to keep it above reproach.
4. Would you favor or oppose a system in which all sentencing decisions were routinely reported in the local paper, indexed by the name of the judge? Explain why or why not.
I believe an open and transparent judicial system is of the upmost to the integrity of the system. It is a matter of public record, and ought to be allowed should the local paper or news media desires to print this information.
5. What do you believe to be the root causes for the high numbers of juvenile offenders? What changes can the court system make to reduce these numbers?
Magistrates rarely make decisions involving juveniles, but with that, I feel the system is too easy on second, third, or more offences. We need to hold them accountable with consideration for their age, mental maturity, and record of offences. Basically, use progressive discipline where the punishment fits the crime.
6. What kinds of experience do you have with law enforcement or the law profession?
As a WV Fire Commissioner, we work with the Fire Marshal’s office on training of personnel who have arresting authority and need to obtain warrants and subpoenas from Magistrates. Through the Department of Homeland Security, I have attended several classes in scene preservation, evidence collecting, chain of custody etc.
7. How would you weigh addressing the growing jail population with public safety?
Using a common since approach of progressive discipline, nonviolent first time offenders could receive community service, day report, or home confinement. Expedite the backlog of cases moving them through the courts. In county jail, awaiting trial for years is not the answer. Allow quick route to community service should the offence warrant it, difficult to explain in 60 words.