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Kershner-Vanover seeking re-election as magistrate

October 29, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Janet Kershner-Vanover is seeking re-election to the position of Pocahontas County magistrate.

Kershner-Vanover is the daughter of Betty Kershner and the late Woodrow Kershner of Droop Mt., and a graduate of Pocahontas County High School and Bluefield State College.

"I was first elected magistrate in 1989," Kershner-Vanover said. "In 1995, my husband and I relocated to Alabama due to his employment. I moved back to Pocahontas County in 2007 after becoming a widow. I was re-elected and returned to office in January 2009.

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"I have attended all continuing education classes provided by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals," she said. "These classes are vital in keeping the magistrate updated on the frequently changing laws and procedures as well as the court computer system that allows access to the more than 270 court forms. I also spend a great amount of time reviewing and studying case law.

"Our duties are significant and we are 'on call' 24/7, six months out of the year, as well as in the office full time, with alternating rotation to the Durbin satellite office," she said.

When on call, magistrates must come out at all hours for domestic violence petitions, issuance of search warrants, felony warrants and for someone to post bail. They also conduct mental hygiene hearings, when needed.

"I take my job seriously and believe the only way to have the trust of the people is to treat everyone fairly and respectfully without bias or prejudice," Kershner-Vanover said.

A magistrate is to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary. They are to evaluate all evidence presented, utilize the code of West Virginia and make rulings without fear of criticism. Magistrates are not part of any law enforcement agency.

Amendment 6 of the U S Constitution guarantees the right to a fair trial. It assures defendants the right to be confronted with the witnesses against them. If a defendant fails to appear for court upon receiving notice, a capias is issued for their arrest. If an officer fails to appear upon subpoena or provide requested discovery, the case must be dismissed by the court. A magistrate must remain impartial and cannot be biased or influenced by law enforcement.

"I follow the letter of the law," Kershner-Vanover said. "I am proud of the stance I take on the side of justice. Serving the citizens of Pocahontas County is a privilege I take seriously and perform to the best of my ability.

"I have 10 years of judicial experience and would greatly appreciate your continued support and respectfully ask for your consideration and vote on Nov. 6 to keep a fair and impartial magistrate."

Kershner-Vanover can be reached at



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