WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — West Virginia’s Chief Supreme Court Justice is doing something most judges are not known for, but something he calls crucial to rebuilding the public’s trust.
August of 2018 is one of the darkest times in West Virginia’s judicial history. The House of Delegates voted to impeach all five justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals. There were charges of corruption, overspending, and lack of oversight. The public was furious.
In America, elected officials are not supposed to be treated like kings and queens.Public’s reaction from 2018
Now three years later, Chief Justice Evan Jenkins is still picking up broken pieces.
The public’s trust was violated. It was broken by the actions of the prior court.Chief Justice Evan Jenkins, West Virginia Supreme Court
Justice Jenkins says rebuilding trust starts with returning $10 million to the legislature, from the court’s carryover budget. To the limiting power of… themselves.
“We’ve put in place policies to make sure the problems of the past never happen again. Travel policy, purchasing policy, a personnel policy, procurement, inventory; all the things that, stunningly, when we joined the court, found that the court did not have in place.”Chief Justice Evan Jenkins, West Virginia Supreme Court
Now, more than ever, Justice Jenkins believes the bridge is transparency.
He’s doing what justices aren’t usually known for – Meeting West Virginians outside of the courthouse.
“Get off the bench, get out into the communities and look people in the eye. Sharing what we as a court are doing. To make sure we uphold the honesty and integrity of the public, not only deserves, but demands.”Chief Justice Evan Jenkins, West Virginia Supreme Court
And actions speak louder than words. The Chief Justice visited Wheeling Wednesday to congratulate a mom who just graduated from Family Treatment Court. Appearances add validity, not only to this program, but to West Virginia’s entire judicial system.
That was amazing to me, to find out who he was and that he actually came to my graduation. I knew that it was important but now I really feel important. To know that people outside of family are looking at me and watching me.”Teonka Wilson, Family Treatment Court Graduate