Lawrence J. Smith

Accompanied by his wife, Paula, Donald H. Cookman, left, a retired Hampshire circuit judge is sworn-in as a state senator on Jan. 31, 2013 by Thomas H. Keadle, his brother-in-law, and a retired Upshur circuit judge.  Cookman recently replaced Keadle in filling Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell's vacancy while Farrell temporarily sits as a state Supreme Court justice. - Photo courtesy West Virginia Legislature 

By Lawrence J. Smith

        A retired Hampshire County judge will pick-up where his brother-in-law left off to fill-in for a Cabell County judge while he serves as a temporary justice.

Donald H. Cookman began substituting for Judge Paul T. Farrell, Jr. Tuesday, Sept 4.  Last month, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman appointed Farrell to serve in place of Allen H. Loughry II following his suspension in June on ethics charges brought by the Judicial Investigation Commission.

        Later that month, Loughry was indicted by a federal grand jury on fraud-related charges.

        The order also appointed Farrell as chief justice in the event the House of Delegates approved articles of impeachment against Workman, Loughry, Robin Jean Davis and Beth Walker.  In July, Menis E. Ketchum announced his retirement. 

        After the House approved articles of impeachment against the four remaining justices, Davis announced her retirement. 

        Prior to his retirement in 2012, Cookman, 73, was a judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit which includes Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton counties.  He retired after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to fill the unexpired term for Walt Helmick’s state Senate seat following Helmick’s election as agriculture commissioner. 

        In 2014, Cookman was defeated for election to a full term by Charles S. Trump IV, a Berkeley Springs attorney, and former delegate. 

        Before becoming a judge, Cookman served as Hampshire County’s prosecuting attorney.  His appointment to Farrell’s vacancy is through Sept. 30.

        Cookman, 73, takes over for Senior Status Judge Thomas H. Keadle, 80, who Workman appointed to fill Farrell’s vacancy from August 21-31. Prior to his retirement in 2013, Keadle was a judge in the 26th Judicial Circuit which includes Lewis and Upshur counties.

        Keadle is married to Cookman’s sister, Beverly.  After unsuccessfully running against Del. Ruth Rowan (R-Hampshire) in 2016, Beverly Keadle was elected mayor of Romney in last year’s municipal election. 

        The Court was scheduled to begin hearing cases for its 2018-19 term Wednesday.  However, following the House’s impeachment vote,  all cases on this month’s docket were moved to October.

        The move also resulted in the cancellation of the Court’s visit to Marshall University on Sept. 18 to hear cases as part of Constitution Week.

        The impeachment trial in the Senate for Loughry, Walker and Workman is scheduled to begin next week.