“I’m the only conservative candidate”, says Kris Raynes, who’s running for the Supreme Court of Appeals Division 2, as she appears on The Richard Urban Show on May 14 for a special edition for West Virginia elections 2020.
Asked to introduce herself, Raynes said: “My name is Kris Raynes. I live in Putnam County, W.V, and that’s where I was born and raised. I went to Marshall University and the University of Akron School of Law. I started my career in Akron, Ohio, at the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office where I stayed for six and a half years and gained a ton of experience.”
“In 2008, I went to Putnam County and that’s where I’ve been for the last 12 years. I try exclusively felonies. I do most of the violent felonies, a lot of the murders but my main focus is on child predators, child sex abuse, and child abuse cases. Those cases are the most dear to my heart because those victims are the most vulnerable, they can’t always speak out for themselves, and so getting justice for them is the most gratifying for me.”
So could you tell us the three main reasons why you decided to run for the Supreme Court of Appeals”, Richard asked?
“So seeing what happened in 2018 with the court was a very surreal experience,” Raynes said. “Like I told you, I went to law school outside of the state, and of course, the court scandal went nationwide news. So I would have people calling me or texting me from law school saying What’s going on with your court and I’m like, “I don’t know, we’re trying to eliminate one branch of government, I guess. And so anyway, I followed that because I am a real believer in separation of powers and I’m a constitutional constructionist which means I believe that each branch of government should check and balance the other.”
“And so I was seeing constitutional law at work during that era, and so when the opportunity came up for an empty seat on the court, which was Margaret Workman was retiring, I thought, well, and that might be a good option for me. I’ve spent 20 years as a career prosecutor. I’ve always thought maybe I would move on to the judiciary at some time and I thought that that right now was my time, Raynes continued.
“I was looking more at the information about the 2018 impeachment hearings. How do you view that,” Richard asks.
“So the court I felt that its hands were tied because it was following the law, but I believe that the law was wrong because the law was putting too much power into the judiciary branch being able to oversee its own budget and purchasing and things. That is something that no other state agency has the chance to do,” explained Raynes.
“I think that the court decided correctly as to the law, that was available to them at that time, however, I think that democracy went into action after that, and the voters solved that problem by passing the constitutional amendment to have the Legislature oversee the budget of the court, so that definitely put the power back into the separation of powers, the checks and balances that definitely re-instituted that. And so I think we have to applaud the voters for actually putting that back into their hands and the intent of the framers whenever they set up this three-branch government.”
“You mentioned you were prosecuting child sexual abuse cases. Are there a lot of cases like that? Talk a little about that in West Virginia. What can be done about that, Richard queries?
Raynes answered: “I had a discussion with my mother one time where she said it seems like there are more of those types of cases these days than when she was growing up. And I said, “Mom I don’t think there are. I just think that more people are telling now, and obviously with the internet, that also increases the level of predators’ reach to children. So that may have increased it a little bit, but just that’s such a family secret that people have kept in their families for so long and again, victims are so reluctant to come forward because number one, they are scared that they won’t be believed. They’re scared that they’ll be just run through the mill as far as being called a liar and everything that they’ve ever done being out in the open for everyone to see, but also then sometimes they don’t have family support. In a lot of my cases the family sides with the abuser.
“Those cases are hard to prove, but not if you dig a lot of times, you’ll not have any signs of physical abuse because the abuse goes on for such a long time that the children have had time to heal or they’re just not going to show signs anymore. So you have to dig deep into their background and see how it’s affected them and who they’ve told and how consistent they’ve been with their disclosures. So these cases are intensive. It’s not like a case where somebody goes in and uses a stolen credit card and it’s on video, and I can take that to trial and play the video to the jury and say, there, I rest my case.”
“Something I’ve been working on with other people – the issue that in West Virginia we have this system where if your child has no vaccinations he or she is not allowed to go to school, Do you think that violates people’s first or fourth amendment rights, it seems most states have some kind of exemption. What do you think”, Richard asks?
“As a candidate for a judicial spot, we are also under the judicial ethics rules, which indicates that we cannot give opinions on any type of case that could come before the court. I’m sorry but I don’t want to judge the question. I just want to stay within the judicial ethics.”
Richard asks about current issues with all the lock downs, and stay at home orders. “Do you think these kind of cases, not just here, but throughout the nation, it seems like they may come up to the courts. Is that something you would expect?”
“Absolutely!” Raynes said. “I think that because the Supreme Court has also put in an emergency order for about the last four to six weeks. I can’t remember exactly when that went in, but for safety purposes, the courthouses have been open, but we’ve only been taking the most emergent cases, and we’ve only been doing those by video conferencing just trying to preserve everyone’s safety. So I think that we are going to see a giant backlog of cases, coming back whenever the courts open back up. So we’re going to have do our best to budget our time budgets or resources on that.”
Richard says, “I know you have three opponents in the division 2, so what makes you stand out? What would you like to share about that?”
“So it’s real easy to remember for me,” she responded. “I’m the sole conservative in this race I’ve been endorsed by the West Virginia State Republican party I’ve also been endorsed by West Virginians for Life, which is the Right to Life group and I’ve also been endorsed by the Associated Builders and Contractors.
“Would you like to share anything in conclusion for the viewers about your candidacy, or just anything you’d like to share to wrap things up, please, go right ahead”, Richard says.
“There are so many things I would like to share that I just can’t in interviews that I’m doing, short interviews. I would like to welcome people to check out our website, which is raynesforjustice.com. My Facebook page is Kris Raynes for WV Supreme Court,” Raynes concluded.