CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia says Justice Evan Jenkins will become Chief Justice beginning Jan. 1, 2021.
Justice John Hutchinson will then take on the role in 2022 and serve as Acting Chief Justice in 2021 whenever Jenkins is unable to participate in a case.
“I am truly humbled to be chosen Chief Justice by the other members of the Court, and it will be my honor to lead the judicial branch in service to the citizens of West Virginia in the coming year,” Justice Jenkins said. “I will continue Chief Justice Tim Armstead’s excellent work to ensure the courts of the state remain open and accessible during this unprecedented pandemic and Justice Walker’s leadership in 2019 to champion the reforms that were so desperately needed at our state’s highest Court.”
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice appointed Jenkins to the WV Supreme Court in August 2018. He took the oath of office Oct. 1 of that year. On Nov. 6, 2018, he was elected to the court to fill the seat vacated by Justice Robin Davis upon her retirement.
“I also hope to build upon the Court’s efforts to make the judicial system more open and transparent. The Rule of Law upon which our country is founded depends on the public’s confidence in their
government institutions. We have done much in the last two years to restore confidence in our Supreme Court, and we will continue to work hard every day to earn the public’s trust.”
A Huntington native, Jenkins began his legal career in 1988.
When appointed to the bench, Jenkins was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the Mountain State’s Third Congressional District, beginning in 2014. He had also previously served terms in the West Virginia House of Delegates and the West Virginia State Senate. Jenkins also served as executive director of the West Virginia State Medical Association and as the general counsel of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and taught business law at Marshall University before being elected to Congress.
Governor Justice appointed Hutchinson to the court in December 2018 and elected to the position in June 2020. He previously served on the bench in the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Raleigh County. As a circuit judge, he was a member of the Supreme Court’s Mass Litigation Panel and was a judicial representative on the Commission to Study Residential Placement of Children.
Justice Hutchison said, “It has been a joy and the greatest honor of my life to serve on the Supreme Court. I have spent most of my adult life in public service and I look forward to serving the state in a new way, as Chief Justice, in 2022.”
Hutchinson also served as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president of the West Virginia Judicial association and chairman and vice-chairman of the legislative and pensions committees.
Chief Justice Tim Armstead will end his term in the position Dec. 31, 2020.
“It has been a challenging year to serve as Chief Justice,” Armstead said. “I appreciate very much my fellow justices’ friendship and cooperation and that of our dedicated court staff as well as judges throughout the state. We have truly worked as a team. Our court system is made up of talented, resourceful and dedicated professionals who have proven they are up to the challenge.”