Joe Shelton has served longer than any other incumbent and said the court runs better and much differently than it did more than 20 years ago.
"Keep in mind this is the only court in the state that operates 24/7," he said.
Hall, a Democratic candidate with about five years of experience as a paralegal, said continuing to improve the wait time is one of the biggest issues he'd take up while on the bench. It's improved, he said, but is still not perfect.
The biggest gripe, said Sisson, a Republican candidate with police experience, is the number of continuances and postponements during the magistrate process. If elected, he said, he would talk to prosecutors and public defenders to cut down on unnecessary requests to continue cases.
Halloran said he'd like to see the county return to the bail bondsmen system. It used to be that way more than 10 years ago before it was done away with for corruption allegations. Those allegations wouldn't arise if the system were entrusted to a national bail bond company, he said.
Incumbent Pete Lopez said he's opposed to that idea because there wouldn't be enough money for a company to profit. Most bails are set as a 10 percent payment.
"The 10 percent that would go to the bail bondsmen goes to cover their court cost," he said.
The candidates also discussed court perception after former magistrate Carol Fouty was accused of ethics violations and resigned in August. The incumbents agreed the Fouty scandal has tarnished their image but said they are moving forward.
Carper-Strickland said the remaining incumbents each posses the knowledge of right from wrong. Incumbent Kim Aaron agreed and said most people feel it's not fair to judge everyone based on one person's actions.
Jarman, who was named by Kanawha County Republicans to the ballot after Fouty resigned, said he's seen the level of integrity in magistrate court and would uphold it if elected. Republicans fielded just four candidates for the 10 magistrate slots; GOP candidates Dianna Graves and Bob Keller said they could not attend Thursday's meeting.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.