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Magistrate resigns following suspension over education

September 19, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia magistrate has resigned after it was discovered that she never finished high school, officials said Thursday.

The resignation of former Ohio County Magistrate Janine Varner comes after the state Supreme Court of Appeals suspended her without pay Wednesday.

The court’s ruling did not give a reason for her suspension, saying only that she “has engaged or is currently engaged in a serious violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” The order came after a motion from the judicial disciplinary counsel earlier this week.

Varner’s attorney, Teresa C. Toriseva, on Thursday sent The Associated Press a statement that said Varner didn’t graduate from high school but instead completed a vocational program.

Toriseva said she believes Varner meets the state’s qualifications for magistrates but that Varner would take a GED test and wants to be reinstated when that process is complete.

“Ms. Varner expects to and hopes to have a long career in service to the residents of Ohio County by serving as an Ohio County Magistrate,” Toriseva’s statement said.

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court of Appeals shared a copy of Varner’s one sentence resignation letter with the news media Thursday afternoon.

Varner was appointed as magistrate last month after her predecessor, Harry A. Radcliffe, was sentenced to four months in prison for tax fraud.

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