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The Latest: WVa magistrate resigns over education

September 19, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Latest on the resignation of a West Virginia magistrate (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

A West Virginia magistrate has resigned after it was discovered that she never finished high school.

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court of Appeals shared a copy of former Ohio County Magistrate Janine Varner’s one-sentence resignation letter with news outlets Thursday afternoon.

The state Supreme Court of Appeals suspended her without pay on Wednesday but did not give a reason other than saying she was violating the judicial code of conduct.

Varner’s attorney, Teresa C. Toriseva, on Thursday issued a statement to The Associated Press saying Varner would take a GED test to clear up any questions. She added that while Varner didn’t graduate high school, she instead completed a vocational program.

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

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10:30 a.m.

A lawyer for a West Virginia magistrate says the judge will take a GED test after being suspended for not finishing high school.

Attorney Teresa C. Toriseva issued a statement Thursday saying Ohio County Magistrate Janine Varner didn’t graduate high school but instead completed a vocational program.

The state Supreme Court of Appeals suspended Varner without pay Wednesday but did not give a reason other than saying she was violating the judicial code of conduct.

Toriseva says she believes Varner meets the state’s qualifications for magistrate judges but that Varner will take the GED test to remove all doubts.

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

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4:10 a.m.

A West Virginia magistrate judge has been suspended over a “serious violation” of the judicial code of conduct.

The state Supreme Court of Appeals on Wednesday suspended Ohio County Magistrate Janine Lea Varner without pay. The court’s ruling did not give details on what Varner is accused of but says her suspension came after a motion from the judicial disciplinary counsel earlier this week.

The order says there is probably cause that Varner “has engaged or is currently engaged in a serious violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

A spokeswoman for the court didn’t immediately return voicemail seeking more information. Phone numbers listed for Varner in public records rang unanswered Wednesday.

Varner has a right to request a hearing on her suspension.

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