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W.Va. Supreme Court votes Davis chief justice for 2014

By Staff, wire reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The senior member of the West Virginia Supreme Court will be the chief justice on the state's highest court in 2014.

Robin Davis will be the first person to serve as chief justice six times since the state court system came under the supervision of the Supreme Court in 1974. The court said Monday that Chief Justice Brent Benjamin nominated Davis to succeed him and his fellow justices unanimously agreed. She previously served as chief justice in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2010.

Justice Margaret Workman will serve as chief justice if Davis is unable to serve.

Davis earned a bachelor's degree at West Virginia Wesleyan College and a law degree at West Virginia University.

Davis ran for a four-year unexpired term on the court in 1996, and was elected to full 12-year terms in 2000 and 2012.

For years, the court's five justices rotated the chief justice role among themselves equally, as established by a 1979 order. That order ended the practice of having the justice with the most tenure serve as chief justice.

But late in 2006, justices voted 3-2 to keep Davis as chief justice for a second consecutive year, preventing Justice Larry Starcher from taking the chief justice role as scheduled.

Davis, Benjamin and Justice Eliot "Spike" Maynard voted to keep Davis in her position. Starcher and Justice Joe Albright voted to make Starcher the chief justice, as planned under the existing rule.

Maynard was a unanimous choice for chief justice in 2008. Then Davis, Maynard and Benjamin chose Benjamin as chief justice for 2009 instead of Albright, who would have received the post under the previous system.

Since then, the chief justices have been Davis (2010), Workman (2011), Justice Menis Ketchum (2012) and Benjamin (2013). The fifth justice on the current court is Allen Loughry.


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