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Ralph Fletcher seeks Hancock County magistrate post

(Editor’s note: Information on other candidates for Hancock County magistrate appeared in the May 29 edition.)

NEW CUMBERLAND — Ralph A. Fletcher, 68, of Weirton is running for the Second District magistrate seat in Hancock County.

He faces Steve Svokas of Weirton and David L. Robinson of New Cumberland in the June 9 primary.

Currently the county sheriff, Fletcher began his law enforcement career with the Weirton Police Department, where he spent 25 years working in all aspects of the profession, including 10 years in the detective division and culminating as police chief for four years. He then spent the next 10 years working as the special investigator for the prosecuting attorney of Hancock County and has been elected sheriff for the past two terms, ending in December.

A graduate of Weir High School, Fletcher attended West Liberty State College and earned numerous certificates relating to law enforcement, most dealing with investigations, such as child abuse.

He is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 84, Weirton Masonic Lodge 171, Northern Panhandle Shrine Club, West Virginia’ Sheriff’s Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Board of Directors of HBW Drug Task Force and Northern Panhandle Community Criminal Justice Board of Directors.

With over four decades of experience in law enforcement, Fletcher said he’s qualified for the magistrate position because of his familiarity with the justice system.

“Experience: 43 years in law enforcement where I was responsible in investigating all aspects of criminal activity. I developed criminal cases for prosecution and presented them to grand juries. I have testified in city court, grand juries, magistrate court, circuit court and federal court, many times being recognized as an expert,” he said. “These experiences have made me thoroughly familiar with the rules of the court, probable cause hearings, evidential hearings, knowledge of discovery and with the rights, afforded by law, to the accused. I also understand the assurances and help that victims of violence need in order to get through and survive a court appearance.”

Fletcher said he is seeking the magistrate position because he has a passion for serving his community and has the skill set to help Hancock County residents.

“The office of magistrate requires experience, knowledge, integrity and honesty with which I bring to the service of people,” he said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the citizens of Hancock County these past 43 years and have a strong motivation to continue to serve.”

Fletcher noted his experiences in the courtroom are stronger and more comprehensive than any of the other candidates seeking the position.

“I believe my past experience will afford me the knowledge that the rule of law will be applied, truth will prevail and justice will be served fairly and proportionally,” he said.

Fletcher has been married to Rebecca (Johnson) Fletcher since 1971. They have two children and three grandsons.

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