NAME: Dennise Renee Smith
BIOGRAPHY: I am a West Virginia native originally from Montgomery, Fayette County. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from WVU and the obtained my JD from WVU College of Law. I am licensed to practice law in West Virginia, Ohio (inactive) and California. My website is www.smithforthesupremecourt.com
LEGAL/JUDICIAL EXPERIENCES: I have been a lawyer since 1996 primarily handling employment and workplace safety cases. My clients have been employees, employers, and state and local agencies. I also represented individuals in civil right rights claims. I served as an Administrative Law for Workforce West Virginia and worked as an Assistant Attorney General and Legislative Attorney for the House of Delegates.
1. How would you make the judicial budgeting process more transparent?
The Supreme Court's budget and spending should be publicly available as other state government budgets are.
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?
I do not believe our current system effectively addresses conflicts of interest or the perception of such conflicts. Voluntary recusal without review undermines the public's trust that judges will be fair and impartial. The rules regarding recusal should be strengthened so that a judge's refusal to recuse himself may be reviewed by a "third-party" judge or panel of judges.