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HD Media is running submitted questionnaires from candidates in the 2020 elections.

Read more responses from candidates by clicking on the links at right. Candidates who have not received a questionnaire can send an email to acopley@HDMediaLLC.com with their name, candidacy and phone number.

NAME: Richard Neely

CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals, Division 1

PARTY: Nonpartisan

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: NeelyforWVSupremeCourt.com

HOME CITY: Charleston

HOME COUNTY: Kanawha

AGE: 78

EDUCATION: A.B. Dartmouth College (economics); LL.B. Yale Law School.

CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Lawyer

OTHER WORK HISTORY: Captain, U.S. Army Artillery, Republic of Vietnam 1968-69; member WV House of Delegates, 1971-73; Justice and Chief Justice, WV Supreme Court of Appeals, 1973-1995; professor of economics, University of Charleston, 1979-1988; author of seven books on courts and the judicial system.

CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Moose; VFW; American Legion; Episcopal Church

ENDORSEMENTS: AFL/CIO; United Mine Workers; WVEA

FAMILY: Wife, Carolyn Elmore Neely; sons, John C. Neely, M.D.; Charles W. Neely, Esq.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: I am running for Justice because the courts are a shambles. If your F150 truck needs repair, when you go into the Ford garage you hope that the mechanic has seen an F150 before. I have 22 years’ experience running our court system, and when I was chief justice the courts worked well and there were no scandals. I know how to make the courts work much better than they are currently working at all levels.

Questions from the West Virginia League of Women Voters:

1. What changes would you like to see to the state’s court system?

We need to return to Art. 8, Sec. 4 of the State Constitution to reduce the inordinate delay in dispatching cases appealed to the WV Supreme Court. It currently takes between 19 and 28 months for a case to be resolved. We also need to improve “abuse and neglect” litigation to get abused children into “forever” homes more quickly.

2. How would you prioritize budget allocations for the court system (e.g., family court, drug court)?

The most important courts in the State are the Magistrate Courts and Family Courts because those are the courts that ordinary people see. Of the two, the more important is the Family Court because it controls the most important issues in any family’s life whenever divorce or child custody become prominent.

Additional questions from The Herald-Dispatch:

3. One proposal that’s been floated recently is for elections of county prosecutors to be nonpartisan, just as elections for the state’s judges are. Do you think that is a good step? Why or why not?

Nonpartisan elections do not provide for a “winnowing” of candidates through party primaries. My experience in the nonpartisan judicial races is that the races are still partisan, but no one speaks openly about parties. The same would happen at the local level, but there would be no chance to weed out unqualified candidates through the process of party primaries.

4. In 2018, four of the five Supreme Court justices in West Virginia were impeached. Three either retired or resigned, one was acquitted, and a fifth was not tried on the charges against her because a reconstituted temporary Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature had overstepped its bound in terms of the separation of powers. Do you agree with that ruling, or do you agree with some lawmakers who want to pass legislation to overturn that court ruling?

I believe that the issue is moot and therefore not worth a great deal of attention given the much more pressing problems currently facing the courts, most prominently the inordinate delay in getting appeals through the Supreme Court.

5. Do you believe West Virginia needs an intermediate court system to operate between the circuit courts and the Supreme Court?

Absolutely not! The caseload of all courts has been going down, not up in West Virginia. If the Supreme Court returns to applying the appellate procedure set forth in Article 8, Section 4 of the Constitution, all of the appellate work of the State can be handled by the Supreme Court, saving about $13 million a year and inordinate expense and delay for litigants.

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