West Virginia 1st Judicial Circuit Judge Martin Gaughan will begin a gradual return to the bench Monday, seven months after suffering a stroke.
Gaughan will be at the Brooke County Courthouse in Wellsburg during a 2 p.m. ceremony marking the opening of the the Northern Panhandle Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court, which is an expansion of the current mental health court.
The new program is designed to help nonviolent criminal offenders who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, like post traumatic stress disorder, so they can receive treatment in lieu of incarceration.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justices Robin Jean Davis, Brent Benjamin and Thomas E. McHugh also will be there to welcome Gaughan back to his post presiding over cases in Hancock, Brooke and Ohio counties.
Gaughan was assisting with the state's drug court program in Charleston when he suffered a stroke on Nov. 12.
He was admitted to Charleston General Hospital, where he underwent evaluation in the neuro-intensive care unit prior to being released.
A spokesman in Gaughan's office on Friday said he has remained in high spirits and is looking forward to his return.
Senior Status Judges Fred L. Fox II and Robert B. Stone have presided over Gaughan's docket since the first of the year.
His colleagues in the 1st Judicial Circuit filled in prior to that.