JULIAN, W.Va. — W.Va. Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman held a press conference at the Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Center Dec. 8.
During the conference, Workman announced several changes to the Juvenile Justice Commission.
The Juvenile Justice Commission was established in 2011 largely as a reaction to the death of a child in the care of the West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth in Salem, W.Va.
Workman explained, “It has been the commission’s goal since its inception to be a forum where representatives for all three branches of government as well as private citizens…as well as the state department of education. We wanted a forum where all of these groups could be heard and could work cooperatively for solutions. We have worked with the philosophy that more effective rehabilitation services or juveniles is not only the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective but it also provides greater public safety and a wiser expenditure of public resources.”
Workman also explained 29th Circuit Court Judge Phillip Stowers will replace Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn as chairperson of the Juvenile Justice Commission.
Aboulhosn has resigned from his position as a circuit court judge and as chairperson of the Juvenile Justice Commission. He will be accepting a position as a federal magistrate in southern W.Va. “Our loss is definitely the federal system’s gain.” commented Workman.
Stowers has agreed to become chairperson the Juvenile Justice Commission. Workman added, “Judge Stowers has long been dedicated to innovative programs like drug courts and verterans courts programs. His insight has been an asset to our Juvenile Justice Commission since he joined it a year ago.”
Workman also announced the appointment of Logan County Judicial Circuit Court Judge Eric O’Briant to the Juvenile Justice Commission.
Workman highlighted O’Brian’ts accomplishments saying, “Judge O’Briant is one the most experienced judges in W.Va. The knowledge he has gained in 28 years on the bench will be invaluable to the commission’s work. He also will be a very big asset to our commission because he is now president of the W.Va. Judicial Association, and he is spearheading the Judicial Association committee studying graduation criminal sanctions.”
Following the press conference, a meeting of the Juvenile Justice Commission was held and the commission was given a tour of the Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Center.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661 or by email at [email protected]