NAME: Chris Wilkes
DIVISION: Division 1
BIOGRAPHY: I am a graduate of Musselman High School, WVU, and ONU, and returned to Berkeley County to join my father's firm. I am proud to have been married to my wife Pat for 34 years and have 2 children, Catie (Delligatti) and Lauren, and 2 grandchildren, Isabel and Jack Delligatti. For more information please visit www.wilkesforsupremecourt.com.
LEGAL/JUDICIAL EXPERIENCES: I have been a circuit judge for 25 years, making the same decisions the Supreme Court reviews in many cases. Prior to becoming a judge, I was in private practice with my father, representing a diverse group of clients in civil, criminal, and family law matters. I also was municipal judge for Martinsburg and Ranson.
1. How would you make the judicial budgeting process more transparent?
I would ensure that the budgetary request is specific so that any item that may be questioned could easily be identified and discussed. Whether the budget is controlled by the Court or the Legislature, I will always be conscious that any expenditure of taxpayer funds must be fiscally responsible and transparent.
2. Do you believe the current system of voluntary recusal is effective in avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest or do we need a change in the system to ensure public confidence in the process? What changes would you propose?
Although the Court utilizes the same recusal system as the US Supreme Court, I do not believe it is the most effective. I believe a better system would be to have the Chief Justice annually appoint three circuit judges who are presented with the recusal issue and anonymously vote as to whether the justice should remain on the case.