He’s known as a fair and impartial judge and one of the founders of community corrections in West Virginia.
He’s also the founder of the Child Protection Act of 2006.
Brooke County Circuit Judge Martin Gaughan retired, with friends, family and colleagues turning out to honor him in the courtroom he’s presided over for the past 20 years.
Judge Gaughan said he has seen one huge change in the past two decades–heroin.
“For many years, I had no heroin cases,” said Judge Gaughan. “Now it’s the most frequent case I have.”
His happiest moments are drug court graduations.
He founded a number of programs that are part of the court system today.
“Establishing the drug court programs–the first in the State of West Virginia–establishing the Mental Health Court Program, also the very first in our state, he has been a leader in his position as a circuit court judge,” said Attorney David B. Cross.
“He was on the bench when I started practicing,” said Joe Barki, Brooke County prosecutor. “I’ve always enjoyed being in front of him. I think he’s treated everybody fairly throughout his career.”
For most of the day, people streamed into the courtroom, congratulating Judge Gaughan on his accomplishments and his retirement.
“I’ve always wanted to go out at the top of my game, and I think that I still am,” said Judge Gaughan. “I check with attorneys to see if I’m doing all right! And yes, the time is just right.”
Everyone at the farewell event said he was the most fair-minded and equal-handed judge they’d ever known.