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WV Judicial Investigation Commission hears affair testimony from Randolph Co. Circuit Judge Wilfong

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Referred to as the “worst kept secret” in the courtroom, it's no longer a secret for one small West Virginia community.

Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong took the stand Aug. 11 to explain her extra-marital affair that brought attention to the fact that she may have violated judicial ethics by continuing the relationship.

Wilfong is accused of violating four canons of the code of conduct including upholding the integrity and independence of the judiciary, avoiding impropriety and the appearance of impropriety, perform duties of the judicial office impartially and diligently and conducting extra-judicial activities as to minimize the risk of conflict with judicial obligations.

The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission (JIC) charged the Randolph County circuit judge with violating the code of judicial conduct.

Wilfong said Monday she understood what she did was wrong, but doesn't believe punishing the people of Randolph County after she has done great things in the court system is necessary.

“Sorry for wasting your time,” Wilfong said to the commission. “There's no excuse for it. I thought I had genuine feelings for him, thought I loved him. It's embarrassing. I'm ashamed of what I've done.”

Wilfong said hearing from the attorneys who were upset with her behavior was difficult, but they were correct.

The judge said her decision to self-report the incident, which she did around Oct. 14, 2013, was not because her colleagues were going to file complaints. However, Attorney Chris Cooper and said on or about Oct. 21, 2013, that Wilfong's relationship with Travis Carter, director of the North Central Community Corrections program, had “placed the entire Randolph County Criminal Bar at peril.”

Cooper testified in court he was remiss to be the “judicial rat” in the case, and it was one of the hardest things he has done to file the complaint.

“There's no way this isn't an uncomfortable situation,” he said in court. “Feelings were hurt.”

The attorneys and JIC have seven days to file post hearing briefs before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals decides Wilfong's fate.