For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Charleston, W.Va. - Today, the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, West Virginia's largest, active, grassroots gun rights organization, endorsed Republican Dan Greear for Kanawha County Circuit Judge in the November 2, 2010, general election.
WVCDL Treasurer, Legislative Director, and General Counsel Jim Mullins, a Beckley-based attorney, said that unlike legislative and executive branch races, candidates for judicial offices are prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct from stating their views on specific political issues and their views on specific legal issues that might come before a court. However, Mullins said that both Greear and Democrat Carrie Webster have recent experience, respectively, as a candidate for West Virginia Attorney General and Chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee of the West Virginia House of Delegates, that is highly relevant to concerned gun owners in Kanawha County.
WVCDL President Keith Morgan, a Charleston resident, said that Dan Greear, as a candidate for West Virginia Attorney General in 2008, expressed strong support for gun owners' rights in WVCDL's 2008 West Virginia Attorney General Candidate Survey. Morgan added that WVCDL endorsed Greear in his 2008 campaign for Attorney General, in which he carried Kanawha County. However, as Chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, Webster frequently stifled pro-gun legislation despite her attempts to portray herself as a pro-gun rights politician. Morgan added, "Carrie Webster has long been extremely dishonest with West Virginia gun owners about her true views. We cannot afford to have a circuit judge who was dishonest with the public while in the Legislature."
Mullins added, "In one of Carrie Webster's last votes as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, she was one of 4 delegates to vote against final passage of 2009 HB 3314, which relaxed restrictions on concealed handgun license reciprocity with other states. HB 3314, which passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House of Delegates 91-4, permitted West Virginia to establish reciprocity with more states and eliminated a restriction on the validity of reciprocal states' nonresident licenses in West Virginia that had prevented residents of states that do not have reciprocity with West Virginia from having any means of lawfully carrying a concealed handgun for self-defense while visiting West Virginia.
While evaluating both candidates in this race, Mullins said WVCDL was deeply troubled by Carrie Webster's attempts to portray herself as a "tough-on-crime" judge by alleging in her campaign materials that she has doubled the conviction rate in her courtroom. Mullins said, "As a practicing attorney, I am deeply troubled by the fact that a sitting judge, whose role is to preside over a fair trial without any bias or prejudice to either side, would publicly boast about how he or she has allegedly affected the outcome of cases in his or her courtroom. In jury trials, the judge is supposed to act as an impartial referee, letting legally-admissible evidence and testimony go to the jury and properly instructing the jury on the law as it exists and not as the judge might wish it to be. In bench trials where there is no jury, a judge is supposed to be fair and open-minded and rule fairly based upon existing law and the merits of that individual case. While a prosecuting attorney might be right to campaign on higher conviction rates when seeking reelection, there is simply no place in any courtroom in this country for a biased judge who would campaign on doubling conviction rates. We believe Dan Greear has demonstrated a genuine commitment to being a good judge who will preside over fair trials in which outcomes are determined by the law and the merits of each individual case."
Finally, WVCDL cited Dan Greear's stellar professional and academic records as additional reasons to support his candidacy over Webster. Dan Greear has been practicing law for over 17 years and is currently a partner with the Charleston law firm Kesner, Kesner & Bramble. Greear has successfully tried cases throughout the state of West Virginia in state and federal courts, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. "Unfortunately, Carrie Webster has chosen to produce dishonest attack ads that target not only Dan Greear but the clients he represents. In our legal system, everyone has a right to a lawyer. As a judge and practicing attorney for nearly a decade before, Carrie Webster has disgraced herself, her office, and our profession by attacking an honest lawyer for rendering honest legal services for the public. Dan Greear has never attacked Carrie Webster's law practice or her clients," Mullins said.
Dan Greear graduated Summa Cum Laude from Liberty University with a B.S. in Political Science in 1989 and obtained his law degree from the West Virginia University (WVU) College of Law in 1992 where he graduated 3rd in his class. While a student at the WVU College of Law, Greear was recognized as a member of highly prestigious Order of the Coif, received the St. George Tucker Brooke Fellowship and served as the Associate Manuscript Editor of the West Virginia Law Review.
WVCDL is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, all-volunteer, grassroots organization of concerned West Virginians who support our individual right to keep and bear arms for defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use, as protected by the state constitution and the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Since its inception in 2007, WVCDL has played a leading role in expanding more than tenfold the number of states with which West Virginia has concealed handgun license reciprocity and defeating legislation to expand areas where carrying firearms is prohibited, expand the categories of individuals prohibited from possessing firearms, and increase concealed handgun license fees. WVCDL is the largest, active, grassroots gun rights organization based in West Virginia.