When Judge Gray Silver retired late last year, the race was on to fill his seat.
Three candidates emerged – Steven Redding, Kimberly Crockett and David Camilletti.
In February, Governor Jim Justice appointed Redding to the seat.
But he holds it only until May 8, when the citizens of Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties will decide who will replace Silver.
Crockett thinks it’s unfair for the Governor to be able to fill a vacancy so close to the election.
“The fairest approach would be not to appoint anyone,” Crockett told Russell Mokhiber of This Week in Morgan County. “Early voting begins April 25. It was an attempt to put partisan politics into an election that was supposed to be non-partisan.”
Crockett spent years as a prosecutor in the Eastern Panhandle before opening her own law firm in 2015.
“I was surprised when I became a prosecutor,” Crockett said. “It was not on my path. I thought that when I finished my clerkship, I would open my own practice. That is what I had in my mind to do. But I got a call from the Berkeley County prosecutor offering me a position. I ended up working in her office quite by accident. It was a good experience, but it was one that wasn’t part of my plan. In the back of my mind, I had always thought that I would open my own practice. With encouragement from my husband and my kids, I finally decided to do it.”
Are there politics involved with the choice of being a prosecutor or not?
“When you take the oath of office, you pledge to seek justice in all cases,” Crockett said.
“Prosecutors have a bad rap for wanting to seek the death penalty or the harshest outcomes for all cases. My experience with prosecutors is that they are fair minded. They try to seek justice. They try to reach outcomes that are good for the community. Punishment maybe is promoted. But sentiment of the public, the victims and defendants has been a part of those considerations.”
Why should voters vote for Kimberly Crockett over Steve Redding or David Camilletti?
“I’m more experienced than both of them,” Crockett said. “I’ve known them both for years. Steve Redding came to out community in 2011. Camilletti came here from Wheeling and has been here a long time. He’s an institution in our area. But I’m different. My philosophy is to apply impartially the law to the facts using sound discretion and to not legislate from the bench.”
“I have litigation and trial experience that exceeds Mr. Redding,” Crockett said. “I have filed appeals before the West Virginia Supreme Court. I have argued those appeals. Having that experience brings value to the decision making process. Part of trial work is making decisions on the fly. And my experience is greater than either of the other candidates in that regard.”
Camilletti is a family court judge. He ran for judge in 2000 and lost to Gray Silver by 30 votes.
“Gray took Morgan County by 50 votes, turning the tide,” Camilletti said. “I contested it, but didn’t gain 30 votes.”
Camilletti was appointed to be a family court judge in 2016.
“I certainly have more experience than my opponents,” Camilletti said. “They are fine people. And I know of no disability they would have to prevent them from taking the job. But I have been practicing twice as long as they have, in more areas of the law and with a deeper practice, being a solo practitioner and a generalist. I took pretty much anything that walked in the door. I might be doing a heavy criminal case one day and a divorce the next day and an abuse and neglect the day after that. And I might be in three counties in one day, which I have done in the last 25 years. And I am a judge. And I have been a judge for two and a half years. That is something that I have that they don’t.”
Redding did not respond to messages seeking an interview.