Former NJ Detective Running For Sheriff of Summers County

From today’s Register-Herald:

Former detective seeks Summers County sheriff post

Edward Dolphin is seeking the Republican nomination for sheriff of Summers County.

Dolphin is retired from the Evesham Township (N.J.). Police Department with 25 years of service. During his service, he served as a detective first class, a patrol division supervisor and a motor vehicle accident investigator.

He also created and supervised the juvenile bureau, investigating juvenile crime and working within Evesham Township and Lenape high school districts.

He also worked with the Adopt-A-Cop Program placing officers within the school system.

During his service he received numerous commendations.

Dolphin served in the U.S. Navy and is a Vietnam veteran. He was also a member of U.S. Navy helicopter squadron HS75 from 1980-1982 serving as an air/sea rescue crewman and sonar operator.

He also served as a Military Police sergeant with the N.J. National Guard prior to Desert Storm.

He is a 1980 graduate of Camden County College, Blackwood, N.J., graduating with a degree in law enforcement and administration, Associate in Science degree in criminal justice.

He was also recognized for scholastic achievement by being placed on the permanent Deans list.

He is a current member of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 56.

Dolphin says he believes he is well qualified to perform the duties of sheriff of Summers County.

He wants to provide the citizens of Summers County with experienced quality law enforcement and administration.

He feels the changing demographic situation in Summers County requires an administrator who can maintain the public trust and perform these duties on a professional level.

He is confident he can perform these duties and looks forward to working for the citizens of Summers County.

Dolphin is of the Methodist faith and he and his wife Judi attend church within the Talcott charge of the Summers County Parish. They are both members of The Burlington Center Auxiliary in Beckley.

They enjoy working with the Talcott “After School Program” sponsored by Trinity United Methodist Church of Talcott.

Note: Sometimes it is a good idea to place an outsider as Sheriff of a small county, especially one where law enforcement is distrusted. I always feel good about someone with years of professional service in law enforcement being elected Sheriff. A problem that you have in small West Virginia counties is that anyone can run for Sheriff. So, any local with a popular last name could become the person charged with protecting your family from harm. More importantly, if that person has ulterior motives, as many people do, it could lead to a disaster, in terms of corruption and the hijacking of the criminal justice system. Regardless, the people of Summers County have an honest prosecutor in Amy Mann and can take some comfort in her discretion in whether or not to prosecute particular cases. However, the other side of the coin is the Sheriff’s Department. People should think about these issues carefully before placing their votes. – John H. Bryan, West Virginia criminal defense attorney.

More Greenbrier Valley Lawyers Enter Political Races

Lewisburg Attorney Barry Bruce, of the law firm of Barry L. Bruce & Associates, L.C. – also my former employer – is running for Circuit Judge:

From the Beckley Register-Herald:

Barry L. Bruce has announced his candidacy for judge of the 11th Circuit Court, Division 2.

Bruce says he is excited with the opportunity to become a candidate for circuit judge and believes his 30-plus years of experience in litigation and general practice of law qualify him for a position as judge. He is committed to the principles of fairness, respect and following the rule of law to all people involved in the legal system.

Bruce is a 1969 graduate of West Virginia University with a B.S. in business. He pursued an MBA degree at Loyola University in Chicago, and graduated from University of Dayton School of Law in May 1977.

He is licensed to practice law in Ohio and West Virginia. He is admitted to the practice of law in the United States Supreme Court; United States Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit; West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals; and Supreme Court of Ohio. He opened his law practice in Lewisburg in October 1990; he has practiced in Greenbrier, Pocahontas and surrounding counties since that time.

In 2005 he was named Businessman of the Year by the Business Advisory Council, National Republican Committee.

Before moving with his family to Lewisburg, he lived in Huntington and Beckley and now resides in Ronceverte with his wife, Jane. He is the father of four children, Aaron Bruce of Roanoke, Va., Adam Bruce, U.S. Navy, Oak Harbor, Wash., Sarah Bruce of Greensboro, N.C., and Becky Hayman of Wilmington, Del.

Also running for office is Jim McNeely, the former Prosecuting Attorney for Summers County – against whom I just tried a murder case in December of 2007, more information for which can be found here. Jim is running for State Senate as a Democrat, attempting to fill the seat being vacated by current State Senator Jesse Guills – another lawyer – who is running for Circuit Judge in Greenbrier County, more information for which can be found here.

From the Beckley Register-Herald:

Monroe County man announces his candidacy for state Senate

James W. “Jim” McNeely has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the state Senate, 10th District.

McNeely, 61, has lived in Monroe County since 1994, first in Greenville and more recently in Peterstown. He lived in Mercer County from childhood until 1994, with the exception of time spent in the military, in school or working for the state Supreme Court.

He is a 1964 graduate of Bluefield High School and a 1973 graduate of Concord University (B.S. in education). He was president of the Concord Alumni Association for three terms (1989-92), was one of those walking the entire “Quest For Scholars” in 1987 and was the 1992 Alumni of the Year. He is also a 1981 graduate of Virginia Tech (M.A., political science public administration) and received a law degree from WVU in 1986, graduating in the top 10 percent of his class and being invited to join the West Virginia Law Review.

McNeely retired in 2007 at age 60 as prosecuting attorney of Summers County after being elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2004, and continues to practice law on a limited basis. He has worked as a West Virginia attorney for more than 20 years, practicing in federal/state courts and in administrative law. Operating his own independent practice, he has represented individuals, corporations, local governments, unions, churches and community groups.

Before receiving his law degree, McNeely was an elementary school teacher and a community development director and city police judge for Princeton.

McNeely has considerable legislative experience. He was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1974, at the age of 27, and was elected to four terms in the House during the 1970s and ’80s to represent, at various times, Mercer, Summers, Monroe and part of Wyoming counties in the former 19th and 20th districts. His committee assignments included Judiciary and Education, and he served as the chairman of the Higher Education Subcommittee of the House Education Committee.

In the military, he served as an artillery officer in Vietnam in 1969, and serv-ed in the West Virginia National Guard through the early 1980s. He served as commander of the Hinton/ Ronceverte guard unit in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Considering himself a well-qualified candidate with a wide range of experience in the military, in the private sector and in all branches and levels of government, McNeely says he will bring that wealth of knowledge and experience to the Senate.

Field of Lawyers in Race for Greenbrier County Judgeship

From today’s Register-Herald:

Senator is seeking judgeship in Greenbrier County

Mannix Porterfield – Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — Midway into his second Senate term, Jesse Guills decided Tuesday to gun for higher office, that of circuit judge in the 11th Circuit of Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties.

Elected initially in 2002 in the 10th District, the Republican senator won re-election two years ago and has two years remaining in this term.

“If I’m fortunate enough to win, I will have to give it up,” he reflected after the floor session.

“But they have been six good years. I think we’ve done a lot, certainly in the six years I have been here. I would regret that (leaving) to one degree, but on the other hand, my profession is practicing law. And it’s the ultimate goal of most practitioners of law to be able to serve on the bench.”

Guills filed for the Division I judgeship now held by Judge Joseph Pomponio, named last year to succeed Judge Frank Jolliffe, who retired.

The Division II position is held by Judge James Rowe.

“I believe my experience in practicing law and really the experience I’ve gained through the legislative process have enabled me to be a quality candidate for that position,” Guills said.

Pomponio is seeking a full term in the post, and a third candidate in the race is Steve Hunter, a practicing attorney in Lewisburg. Guills is the lone Republican candidate at this stage.

Guills has been an attorney since 1971, handling civil and criminal cases. He is a charter member of the West Virginia Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

“I’ve done pretty much all areas of law, including juveniles,” he said.

In the Senate, he has served on the finance, education and health and human resources committees.

Outside the Legislature, he also has seen public duty by serving on the Greenbrier County Airport Authority, where he was chairman in 1998.

Guills earned a B.S. degree in business administration and his law degree at West Virginia University and is the father of two children, Amy and Patrick.

“I will miss the friendship and people that I’ve met down here,” he said of his Senate tenure, if he succeeds in winning the judgeship.

“I will miss voting and continuing to be involved in the politics of this state.”

Note: I still to this day can’t understand why we would want a judge to campaign for office as a partisan politician. Should there be a difference between a Republican and Democrat judge? I would hope not. But, people need to keep in mind that this is probably one of the most important races they will vote on. In West Virginia, we unfortunately have no intermediate appellate court. Thus, it is very, very, very important to get good decisions at the trial level. Furthermore, we need commitments from these candidates that they will uphold the constitutional rights of the people and that they will not be an appendage of the office of the Prosecuting Attorney. – John H. Bryan, West Virginia criminal defense attorney.