- Associated Press - Friday, August 22, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Judicial Hearing Board has recommended a less severe suspension than a special counsel sought for a Randolph County judge who acknowledged having an affair with a community corrections official.

The board Friday recommended a three-year suspension, censure and $20,000 fine for Circuit Judge Jaymie Wilfong.

The board determined Wilfong violated several canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, including maintaining the integrity of and public confidence in the judiciary and avoiding the impression of improper influence.

The board weighed the charges against Wilfong’s 12-year satisfactory service as a judge.

Attorneys for Wilfong and the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel have 30 days to file responses with the state Supreme Court, which has the final say.

Earlier this week, the Judicial Investigation Commission’s special counsel recommended a four-year suspension and censure for Wilfong. In response, Wilfong’s lawyers proposed a reprimand, saying there is no evidence to support most of the allegations.

According to the Judicial Hearing Board’s report, Wilfong performed sexual acts with former North Central Community Corrections director Travis Carter in her judicial chambers between court proceedings. Wilfong didn’t report the relationship until last October, two years after it started, and she indicated the relationship was terminated.

On May 2, West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis removed Wilfong from hearing cases involving the county prosecutor’s office. Davis said the disqualification was warranted to avoid an appearance of impropriety.