CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has appointed C. Haley Bunn as the newest justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. She will fill the vacated seat of former Justice Evan Jenkins, who resigned in February to return to private practice.

A former federal prosecutor, Bunn is a native of Oceana in Wyoming County and is a descendant of generations of coal miners. The governor says her deep roots in the Mountain State and her trial and appellate court, will be “invaluable” to the Supreme Court of appeals.

“Haley Bunn is a wonderful West Virginia story,” said Justice. “She’s a coal miner’s daughter and a daughter of southern West Virginia who’s committed her life to serving her state and her community. She’s from Wyoming County, where the opioid epidemic hit as hard as it has anywhere in America, and she decided to devote much of her career to fighting that epidemic. Haley’s also a seasoned courtroom veteran whose experience as an elite litigator will be invaluable on our Supreme Court of Appeals.” 

Bunn is an honors graduate of West Virginia University and the West Virginia University College of Law. She started her career in private practice at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC and then went on to serve as a federal prosecutor for several years. During that time, she was the prosecutor for a series of Mingo County public corruption cases that resulted in the convictions four elected officials. However, her primary focus as a prosecutor has been combating the drug and opioid epidemic in the state.

The governor’s office says, in 2017, Bunn was chosen as one of 12 prosecutors to serve on the United State’s Department of Justice’s new Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, taking a leading role to in the fight against West Virginia’s opioid crisis.

During her time on the she prosecuted several major cases, including the cases of a Wyoming County doctor who prescribed opioids to patients without examining them and of a Charleston neurologist convicted of illegally prescribing opioids. She also served as the prosecutor in cases against multiple drug traffickers and drug dealers. Bunn has also argued successfully before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth District, which serves West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Bunn then returned to private practice at Steptoe & Johnson, where she has been working closely with the business community representing large corporations, family businesses and law enforcement agencies.

“Haley will be a strong conservative voice on the court,” Justice continued. “She understands the importance of faith, traditional values, and law and order. Those things are the backbone of West Virginia. And she knows that for our economy to continue growing, employers and job creators have to be confident they can get a fair shake in our courts. She’ll apply the law fairly and impartially, and she’ll be a Supreme Court Justice that all West Virginians will be proud of.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito congratulated Bunn on her appointment in a tweet, saying “Haley Bunn is an extremely capable and accomplished lawyer, as well as a great mother and West Virginian. She is a wonderful pick to join the bench of our state’s Supreme Court of Appeals. Well done, @WVGovernor!”

Bunn and her husband live in Charleston with their two children. She is active in both her profession and community, serving as a member of the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia, attending Bible Center Church, serving on the board of Bible Center School and has previously volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America’s Legal Explorers Program. Two of her great-grandfathers, both of her grandfathers, her father and many relatives have been underground coal miners and her husband’s family has operated coal mines in the Mountain State for decades.