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After guilty plea, Thornsbury disciplinary charges could be dropped

By Staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Judicial Disciplinary Counsel is asking that pending ethics charges filed against Michael Thornsbury be dismissed, because the former Mingo County judge has agreed to forfeit his law license and never hold public office again.

Thornsbury, who had served as Mingo County's only circuit court judge since 1997, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to conspiring to deprive a man of his constitutional rights. His sentencing is set for Jan 13.

Last month, after federal prosecutors charged Thornsbury, the judicial commission served him with a statement of charges claiming he violated rules of conduct for judges in the state.

As part of his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Thornsbury agreed to resign as judge, consent to disbarment and not reapply for his law license for at least five years. He also is barred from ever holding public office.

Wednesday before his plea hearing, he turned in a letter of resignation to the governor's office and submitted a statement consenting to disbarment to the disciplinary counsel.

Thornsbury "has already sustained the ultimate penalty of his actions and can never again pose a threat to the public by virtue of judicial office," wrote Teresa Tarr, attorney for the Judicial Disciplinary Counsel.

Tarr's motion asks the Judicial Hearing Board to make the recommendations to the Supreme Court.

 


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