MORGANTOWN — It was a celebratory atmosphere at the Monongalia County Justice Center Thursday as J. Timothy Pocius, Monongalia County’s newest magistrate, was sworn in.
“I am excited,” Pocius said. “Nervous? Yes. Excited? Absolutely.”
More than 50 people, including law enforcement, bailiffs, county commissioners and judges watched as Chief Circuit Judge Susan Tucker conducted the ceremony.
“Wow,” Tucker said when she entered the courtroom. “Wow, Tim, they must really like you.”
Tucker appointed Pocius on March 1 to replace Darius Summers, who retired after 14 years on the bench.
Pocius was the first bailiff to serve in Tucker’s courtroom when she started in 2009, she said. Over the years, she learned Pocius was a good man — one of the biggest qualifications she was looking for in her appointee.
“I knew Tim was a good person,” Tucker said. “He’s smart and I knew that he would make the right decision as best he could and that’s all you can hope for in a magistrate.”
Prior to being hired by Monongalia County Sheriff Joe Bartolo as a court security officer in 2008, Pocius was a police officer in Brownsville, Pa., a 45-minute commute by toll road or an hour without.
The 52-year-old Fairmont native moved to Monongalia County in 1989.
“This is where we’re going to raise our kids and this is where we’re going to retire,” Pocius said.
His 16-year-old son, Noah, is a sophomore at Morgantown High School, 19-year-old Jacob, is a sophomore at WVU, and Stacey, his wife, has worked at Ruby Memorial Hospital for more than 25 years, he said.
Magistrate Sandy Holepit said she thinks Pocius will be great magistrate. She said her advice to him is to keep an open mind, be fair, impartial, never make rash decisions and remember it’s a family and everyone helps each other out. She also mentioned the long hours he’ll need to be prepared to work.
Pocius said he’s fascinated by the court system and thinks he can help. Since being appointed, he’s spent a lot of time preparing to take the bench.
He spent a week in Charleston for a crash course in being a magistrate. The course covers arraignments, protective orders and more. Pocius said it was a lot of information at once, but he believes in being prepared.
“I’m a big believer in you can’t make a decision without being informed,” he said. “You have to research.”