By Rachel Baldwin
WILLIAMSON - Veteran attorney Robert Carlton, having served the people of Mingo County as magistrate, assistant prosecuting attorney and as a child advocate attorney, has now turned his attenton to a campaign for Mingo County Circuit judge.
Carlton graduated from the University Law School with the class of 1986. He has six college degrees and about 300 college and graduate school credit hours. He graduated eighth out of an initial class of more than 100 international students. He is a lifelong Democrat.
With permission from the West Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, he took and passed the bar exam before finishing law school. He also has a Master of Business Administration degree from West Virginia University and four other college degrees. He has practiced law for several decades and is licensed in Kentucky and North Carolina, as well as West Virginia
Carlton is admitted in federal and state courts and before the West Virginia Supreme Court. He received the American Jurisprudence Award in Insurance Law and the American Jurisprudence Award in Wills, Trusts, and Estates, and was a member of the Finals Trial Team at Oral Robert University. He has received recognition from the Kentucky Bar for completing more than 62 hours of continuing legal education in one of the two-year reporting periods. He is a member of the Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia bar associations.
Carlton ran for election to the positions of Mingo County Circuit Judge, Family Court Judge, and prosecuting attorney after law school, and for magistrate before law school. He is the son of Sam and Lorraine Carlton and his wife is Karen Carlton. They have two children: Kim Carlton Keesee and Katherine Elaine Carlton and three grandchildren: Ian, Sydney and Christopher.
He is a member of JFK Society of the West Virginia Democratic Party. He is a past president of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, current president of the Tug Valley Choral Society, and past president of the Christian Businessmen’s Fellowship.
If elected circuit judge, Carlton said that his platform will include an impartial legal system, avoiding any appearance of impropriety, the creation of a second circuit judge position, ensuring impartiality and efficiency in the administration of justice, prompt hearings at a designated time to reduce legal fees to litigants from lawyers waiting in court, and volunteer court advocate positions for children.
Carlton told the Daily News that while serving for two years as an assistant prosecutor, the position included the prosecution of a variety of criminal charges, including several murder cases.
The candidate worked privately as a criminal defense attorney. This included the defense of several murder cases, one of which ended in a not-guilty verdict, and another resulted in the return of a verdict of manslaughter as opposed to the first-degree murder charge that had been returned by the grand jury.
As magistrate, he issued the first domestic violence petition in Mingo County ever issued under a new law. Afterward, he served as adult probation officer for several years, implementing mandatory drug counseling, mandatory pursuit of a GED, and standardized rules for probationers, before going on to Oral Roberts University Law School in 1983.
“In conjunction with my private practice, I was the child advocate for both counties, with over 500 hearings per year, while also maintaining my private practice,” Carlton said. “This position included the establishment of paternity, and I established and enforced child support payments. I supervised six paralegals and other support staff that were housed in two offices, one located in each county in addition to my private practice.”
He is a member of the Jay Sekulow Christian Values Organization, the American Center for Law and Justice, which is often seen on the Christian Broadcasting Network, and the Daystar Network. He holds JD diplomas from ORU and Regent University at CBN in Virginia, the successor law school.
Carlton is a member of First Baptist Church of Williamson, where he designed , installed and implemented the “live” Internet Broadcast of church services. He also helped start the evening TV program that airs on the college Channel 17. He also created the church’s first website.
Over the years, Carlton has co-chaired Christian productions in the area supported by numerous churches such as: the Power Team Crusade and the Toy Maker’s Dream Crusade. During the two Toymaker’s Dream crusades and the Power Team Crusade, lasting nearly a week, more than 22,000 adults and children saw these presentations.
As a free public service to Mingo County and the cities of Delbarton, Gilbert, Kermit, Matewan and Williamson, Carlton created and maintains unofficial public service websites that are used as tourism marketing sites that receive several thousand visitors a month. In 2013, the websites he maintain received more than 68,000 visitors.