CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State Supreme Court justices voted to suspend Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury without pay Thursday after a slew of charges against him were made public.
Justices also voted to suspend Thornsbury's law license, pending the outcome of the case.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin announced senior status Judge John L. Cummings of Cabell County would replace Thornsbury. Retired Supreme Court Justice Thomas McHugh will also help out where needed, according to a news release.
Both judges are able to start in their new roles at 9 a.m. Friday.
Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury filed a complaint against Thornsbury with the Judicial Investigation Commission Thursday after learning of the charges, according to a press release. The commission then recommended to justices that Thornsbury be suspended.
The charges range from tampering with a jury to trying to plant drugs on the husband of a co-worker with whom Thornsbury had an affair years earlier.
The office of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin unsealed the indictments Thursday, hours after unsealing other charges against Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden. He is accused of extorting a local company that did business with county government.
Thornsbury also has the option to resign. If he does, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is charged with appointing a successor. That person stays in office until the seat is up for re-election and must run a campaign if he or she wants to remain as judge, Canterbury said.
Thornsbury has not been convicted of any wrongdoing, as indictments are accusations of guilt, Canterbury said. Any illegal actions by one judge do not mean there are problems throughout the state judicial system, he said.
"The body is whole, the body is healthy and the black eye will heal," Canterbury said.