Kathleen Murphy

(Not Applicable)
Running For Circuit Court Judge

Election Day is May 14, 2024!
Kathleen B. Murphy asks for the chance to serve as your Circuit Judge, where she will be tough yet fair—and when called for, compassionate.

Kathleen B. Murphy is a native of West Virginia, where her mother was a teacher for 35 years, and her father was the director of the Charleston Light Opera Guild. She is the mother of a daughter, who is in turn mother to two beautiful girls. Kathleen’s son in law is a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, where he has diligently served his country for nearly 20 years. Her daughter is an alumnus of the University of Charleston and Marshall University earning a Bachelor of Science in environmental biology and a Master’s in environmental science respectively. Kathleen is a lover of the outdoors and an avid adventurer. When not in the courtroom you can find her hiking through the Gorge, paddling on Summersville Lake, biking or enjoying the Fayetteville food scene.

As a candidate for Judge, Kathleen brings considerable experience to the table both in law and life. She is a 1996 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law, and has practiced law in Southern West Virginia for the entirety of her 25+ year career. She was not, however, always an attorney. Like many of us, Kathleen has worn several hats. She worked as waitress, a bartender, a babysitter, a factory worker, a housekeeper, a retail manager and a farm hand. Kathleen is especially proud of the fact that she was the only person in her law school torts class that had ever worked a factory floor.

However, the work Kathleen is most proud of has been in law. She worked as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in three West Virginia Counties. She has prosecuted some of West Virginia’s most violent criminals, putting dozens behind bars—several who will stay there for the remainder of their lives. As your Judge, Kathleen B. Murphy will not be afraid to make tough decisions and put the safety of the community first where the law and the facts dictate.

In 2005 Kathleen became the Public Defender for Fayette County, where she managed the administrative affairs of the office and represented clients in misdemeanor, felony, abuse and neglect and juvenile cases. This is when her love affair with Fayette County began.

Currently, she serves as the Public Defender for Nicholas County. As Public Defender, she oversees the administrative functions within the office and supervises a small staff. She is a member of the Community Corrections Board and Treatment Court Team. She also supports our Teen Court and has acted as Teen Court Judge. In addition to her administrative responsibilities, she represent clients in Magistrate Court, Circuit Court and before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Kathleen is a supporter of Drug Courts and Family Treatment Courts. Today we face a drug epidemic the likes of which we have never seen before. She has been involved in the fight against addiction since the 90’s. She believes that helping people to fix themselves through treatment is far more likely to result in a reduction in crime than blindly imprisoning the young men and women of our state, which is why she also worked with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals as the statewide Treatment Court Coordinator.
Access to Justice
Many people overtly feel shut out of the judicial system, and understandably so. Time and again, Kathleen B. Murphy has watched wealthier, more connected defendants receive more favorable outcomes than those who are less fortunate. This is not the system of fairness our country’s founders had in mind. Kathleen supports the WV Supreme Court’s efforts to expand and encourage access to justice across the state.

Kathleen firmly believes everyone has the right to have their humanity acknowledged and respected in the courtroom. Her career choices have given her a unique perspective that she will bring to the bench. As a former prosecutor and defense attorney, Kathleen will approach all cases with a balanced vision and will seek to find justice in every situation. Kathleen’s core belief about the Court system stems from a quote that is chiseled above the main entrance to the Supreme Court of the United States: “EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW.” As our Circuit Court Judge she will do her best to provide exactly that for the citizens of Fayette County.

Addiction and Treatment Courts
Our County and our state have been suffering through a drug epidemic for more than 30 years. Many have lost sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, mothers and fathers to either prison or the grave. Over the past two decades, West Virginia has painstakingly learned that it cannot incarcerate its way out of an addiction problem. Drug Courts, Family Treatment Courts and Community Corrections Programs in cooperation with treatment facilities around the state, help to move people out of the cycle of drugs and crime and into productive lives. Treatment Courts keep families together and reduce recidivism.

In 2021, the State of West Virginia had one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. In 2024 West Virginia incarcerates 328 of every 100,000 people and is ranked 19th in the country. (The U.S. rate is 350 per 100,000 persons.) Kathleen believes can reduce incarceration rates by reducing recidivism rates—making our communities safer and more vibrant.


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