Eligibility of a Berkeley County magistrate to hold that position challenged

West Virginia

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The eligibility of a former Berkeley County, West Virginia state senator to hold a magistrate’s position in the county is being challenged.

John Unger took office as a magistrate on Aug. 21 after more than two decades in the state legislature. A former chairman of the Wood County Republican Executive Committee in the Parkersburg area, Rob Cornelius, said Unger voted to raise the pay for magistrates in July. According to Cornelius, the law is clear that a lawmaker voting to raise the pay for a government office cannot hold that office until a subsequent term. In Unger’s case that would be December of 2022.

“It endangers Berkeley County if cases are thrown out and people are trying to prosecute for criminals to go free. I mean, plain and simple, he needs to resign,” said Cornelius.

Former Senator Unger says, however, that the challenge to his eligibility is unwarranted and this all amounts to, what he calls. “political wrangling.”

A celebrated West Virginia court case decades ago prevented House Speaker Bob Kiss from seeking a state Supreme Court seat because Kiss voted as a member of the House of Delegates to raise the pay of justices.

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