Elections, Government

Monongalia County Magistrates

Division 1

Ponch Reyes
Ponch Reyes runing for magistrate against Ron Bane 4320 rr

D. Ponch Reyes

Age:  73

Residence: Morgantown

Education: Doctorate of Jurisprudence, West Virginia University School of Law, 1993.

Political and civic experience:   I am a Viet-nam veteran. Served in the Marine Corps Second Battalion, Third Marine Regiment, Golf Company operating out of Khe Sanh. I also served 22 years with the U.S. Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of master sergeant. My last duty unit was the 2nd Battalion, 312 Regiment of the 174 Infantry Brigade.

Professional experience: I was a West Virginia State trooper for 21 years, retiring with the rank of corporal. I served 20 years as an assistant prosecutor for Monongalia County and have tried cases in both magistrate and circuit court.

Campaign statement: Through my service and dedication, I have the qualifications to serve this community with knowledge and wisdom. I have practiced law both as defense and prosecution. I have handled an extensive and diverse judicial court caseload. I can ensure that each individual is treated fairly, with courtesy and respect. I have 27 years of experience in the law field and I am asking for your vote.

Top priorities: My goal as magistrate will be to conduct court with confidence, integrity and impartiality.

Ron Bane Headshot
Ron Bane

Ron Bane 

Age: 54

Residence: Morgantown

Education: Ph.D., safety engineering,  Kennedy Western University;        
MBA, health/health care administration/management,  West Virginia University;        
M.S., safety engineering , WVU:
B.A., political science, WVU. 

Political and civic experience: Mountain Line Transit Authority, 2008-present;
current secretary, past treasurer, Mountaineer Lacrosse Officials Association, 2010-present; current president, Morgantown Utility Board, 2006-2020;
past vice chair, past treasurer, Morgantown City Council, 2001-2017, past deputy mayor; Morgantown Parking Authority;  
Morgantown Traffic Commission;
Morgantown-Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization;
Leadership West Virginia, 2009;        
Leadership Monongalia. 

Professional experience: West Virginia University, Mountainlair night operations manager, 2017-present;        
West Virginia University Hospitals, increasing roles of responsibility, including safety officer, 1994-2017;        
Carolina Food Processors, director of Safety & Environmental Health, 1993-1994;        
Sterling Faucet Plumbing Group, assistant to safety manager, 1992-1993. 

Campaign statement: Vote Ron Bane for fair and impartial justice in Division 1. I bring a fresh perspective and commonsense approach to the bench. As a citizen judge, I will honor the dignity of all those who come before me and extend respect to all who respect our court. I will discharge my duties and responsibilities with vim and vigor so that justice can be expeditiously pursued and the rule of law consistently upheld.

Top priorities: Steer at-risk youth toward help and support vulnerable citizens.
Employ varying strategies to lower repeat offender rates. Prioritize domestic violence and mental hygiene cases.        
Advocate for an effective and efficient justice system. Reduce regional jail trends and taxpayer costs.   Ensure sufficient court resources to match county growth. Minimize the need to use retired/special judges to handle caseloads. Collaborate with others on strategies to address community issues.            
Approach the mental health crisis with care and compassion. Champion recovery and sobriety in addiction and substance abuse cases.

Division 2

Phillip T. Gaujot

Phillip Todd Gaujot

Age: 51

Residence:  Cheat Lake

Education: John Marshall Law School, Atlanta,   doctor of jurisprudence; University of Colorado at Boulder,   B.A.  political science.

Political and civic experience: Condemnation commissioner.

Professional experience: 20-plus years in the oil and gas and telecommunications industries, the majority of which has been in the capacity of an independent contractor.

Campaign statement: My pledge is to be a fair and impartial jurist, setting aside ideologies and beliefs, to judge each issue on its own merit.

Top priorities: To work hard each day, to practice civility and to work well with the other magistrates to assure that the magistrate court system performs its duties.

Stephanie Nethken  headshot
Stephanie Nethken

Stephanie Nethken 

 Age:  35

Residence: Maidsville

Education: Morgantown High, 2003; WVU, 2007, Honors Scholar; WVU Law, 2014.

Political and civic experience:  I have no experience in politics. I am involved in the community. I am a certified Girls on the Run coach, Community Youth League cheer coach, The Dominion Post advisory board member for 2018-2019, volunteer with various organizations and Monongalia County Bar Association member.

Professional experience: I have been practicing law as an attorney for the past five years and am still practicing today. I have been in front of magistrates in Monongalia, Preston, Marion and Harrison counties on all different types of issues, including felony preliminaries, misdemeanors, evictions, protective orders and civil cases. I also represent clients in mental hygiene hearings. I am specifically trained on how to interpret and apply the laws.

Campaign statement: My campaign slogan is “Peace, Love and Justice for All.” There is so much hate in this world and I want to bring compassion back into the courts. So many people just go through the motions and do not really care about the people they are representing and treat every case the same. I believe that every case is different and people should be treated with respect. We all deserve basic human rights.

Top priorities: To follow the law and apply it correctly. Also to try to make sure hearings start on time. Also I would like to explore the possibilities of the court system working out some sort of partnership with drug treatment centers that would allow magistrates to send addicts straight to rehab. Some people that do jail time on a misdemeanor drug charge will sit in jail before a bed becomes available when it would be more beneficial for them to serve their time in a long-term treatment center.

Tim Pocius

Tim Pocius 

Age: 53 

Residence: Paradise Lake, Morgantown 

Education: Attended Fairmont State University, studied accounting; attended ACT 120 training at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; magistrate training with Supreme Court of Appeals in Charleston.

Political and civic experience: Appointed by Chief Judge Susan Tucker to Division 2 magistrate in March 2019; board member of Monongalia County Day Report Center; volunteer, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week RDVIC Walk a Mile in Their Shoes; sponsor of St.Jude Telethon.

Professional experience: March 2019 to present, magistrate Division 2 Monongalia County; 2008-2019, Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department bailiff/assistant court security administrator; 2004-2008, resource officer Intermediate Unit One Alternative School, Brownsville, Pa.

Campaign Statement: “Pocius for the People.” I am one of you. I am a hard-working citizen of Monongalia County. It is a privilege to serve you as magistrate. My opponents want the public to believe that a law degree is necessary to be a magistrate. The job requirements state otherwise. I have the ability to apply case law while injecting common sense. I am the jury of your peers. You will be represented by one of your own.

Top Priorities: Address the drug epidemic by working with prosecutors, arresting officers, Day Report, probation, defense attorneys and most importantly, the defendants and their victims. Focus on domestic violence and victims’ rights. Focus on truancy and educating parents on the importance of children staying in school. Focus on fiscal responsibility as it relates to courtroom efficiency by streamlining timeliness of conducting cases. Continue representing citizens of Monongalia County with common sense and compassion, and letting their voices be heard.

Division 4

Arlie Campbell

Arlie Campbell

Age: 64

Residence: Morgantown

Education: Attended St. Francis, Westover Junior High and a graduate of Morgantown High School,  1973. Completed two years of training in graphic arts, during this time I competed and won first and second place in job interview competition at the West Virginia State Leadership Contest in Ripley, advancing on to nationals held in Tulsa, Okla. Coaching certification. First aid trained. Completed municipal judge training in 2019.

Political and civic experience: Protested for fair property tax appraisals in Monongalia County, 2011; advocate for West Virginia Victims R Us; member of West Virginia Association of Municipal Judges, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Westover Rotary Club and National Rifle Association. Coached youth sports. Assisted in fostering from Children’s Home Society, community service provider, working with young adults in completing community service hours. Attended the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Fourth Circuit at the WVU College of Law.

Professional experience: Retired; Consol, mine foreman papers; UMWA Local 4043; Mylan, Laborers Local Union 379 AFI-CIO; ordained minister (present); and current farmer.

Campaign statement: I’m not a politician. I am for the people and their rights. I want to uphold the Constitution. Everyone should be treated fairly, with dignity and respect. It is the job of the magistrate to protect the best interest of all people. I believe that people are ready for a change and I am offering them a choice in this election. As the common blue collar worker, I will bring a different perspective to the courtroom.

Top priorities: I want to help change people’s lives by treating them fairly and with respect. My top priorities will be to be respectful of people and be a good listener in making fair and unbiased decisions based on the law and merits of the case. If elected, I promise to donate 10% of my wages to a different local non-profit organization every month.

Sandy Holepit

Sandy Holepit 

Age: 67 

Residence: Morgantown 

Education: WVU graduate, WVU post-graduate studies, West Virginia Supreme Court Continuous Education and National Writers Institute.

Political and civic experience: Governor’s Council to Implement Jobs through Education; designed Monongalia County’s classrooms to courtrooms; previous five-year board secretary for Mountain Line; recognition for West Virginia quarter design, American Federation of Teachers member; community fundraiser for local Scouts and cancer victims; promoted safe school laws and stronger juvenile penalties; past member of University Car Club; Ambassador for Progress; and West Virginia Magistrate Association.

Professional experience: Current Monongalia County magistrate with 

12 years experience, former certified West Virginia teacher, former licensed West Virginia auctioneer and prior award-winning insurance agent/owner.

Campaign statement: I have been honored for the past 12 years to serve Monongalia County as magistrate. Our county is the second busiest in the state and I have adjudicated over 20,000 cases and numerous other hearings. In order to ensure an efficient and excellent court, experience is critically important. I have shown to have the qualities it takes to be an effective and excellent magistrate and ask the citizens to rehire me for another term.

Top priorities: My priorities are to continue to serve the citizens of Monongalia County to the very best of my ability. I promise to always strive to keep them safe and dispatch fair and equal justice. I promise to continue to be relentless in the pursuit of making a difference in our county, and I promise, as before, not to break my promises.