Greenbrier County Circuit Judge Joseph C. Pomponio, Jr. recently announced he plans to retire from office in February 2014. With two years yet to go on his 8-year term, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will have to appoint a new judge to the bench to serve out Pomponio’s term. Pomponio had originally set his retirement date for Jan. 31, 2014, but according to the West Virginia Daily News, “[the] trigger date …to hold a special election for an unexpired term is 84 days prior to the primary election, which is May 14, 2014.” So to avoid requiring a special election, Pomponio wrote a letter to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals reestablishing his retirement date as Feb. 28, 2014.
The governor is assisted by an 11-person WV Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission which recommends two to five names for consideration as judicial candidates to the governor. The commission has 90 days to get the names to the governor after the secretary of state gives notice that a judge’s seat will become vacant. The governor, never the less, has final say on the issue and can choose outside the list provided by the commission.
After receiving his law degree in 1988 from Nova Law School in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Pomponio moved to West Virginia in 1991 where he was employed as a child advocate attorney. He later served as a family law master for Greenbrier and Monroe counties from 1994 to 2002. In that same year, Gov. Bob Wise appointed Pomponio as a family court judge for the 15th Family Circuit and in 2007 Gov. Joe Manchin appointed him to the 11th Judicial Circuit for Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties.
Joseph Pomponio has served nearly 20 years as a judge in West Virginia. He and his wife, Betty, a native of Meadow Bridge, have been married for 31 years. They have four children.