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Putnam Judge to Resign, Named to Federal Court

Chief Judge Thomas E. Johnston of United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia announced on Monday, May 20, that the court has selected Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Joseph K. Reeder to fill the vacancy that will be created when the retirement of Magistrate Judge Cheryl Eifert becomes effective on August 31.

The announcement came after a review of a report from the Merit Selection Panel. Judge Reeder’s appointment will become official once the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service submit required background reports. Reeder will be appointed to an eight-year term in the Southern District of West Virginia in Huntington.

Running as an unopposed incumbent, Judge Reeder was re-elected to an 8-year term in the May 14th Primary. Upon his resignation as Circuit Court Judge, Governor Jim Justice will appoint a replacement who shall serve until the next election. Circuit judges are required to reside in the circuit they serve and must be admitted to practice law in West Virginia for at least five years prior to taking office.
Judge Reeder currently serves as a state circuit court judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Putnam County. He was born in Parkersburg. Judge Reeder is a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics (Accounting) in 1987. He received his legal education at the West Virginia University College of Law. Judge Reeder graduated from law school with honors, as a member of the Order of the Coif, in May 1991. While in law school, he was active in the Lugar Trial Association and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.

Following law school, Judge Reeder practiced law as an associate and then partner in several Charleston law firms. In 2003, he founded his own firm in Hurricane, where he practiced until his election to the circuit court bench in November 2012. He was re-elected in 2016 and 2024. He is one of six state circuit court judges who serve as a Member of the Business Court Division.

As a state circuit court judge, he was particularly concerned with drug abuse issues and their effect on the community. He started the Putnam County Adult Drug Court and has been the presiding judge in that court since it was founded. In 2023, he founded the Putnam County Family Treatment Court. As a lawyer, Judge Reeder tried numerous cases and represented both individual and business clients in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia. He is a member of the American Bar Association Judicial Division and a member of All-Rise (formerly the National Association of Drug Court Professionals).

Judge Reeder is a member of the Pine Grove Church of Christ and the Putnam County Lions Club. He regularly speaks to new lawyers at the West Virginia State Bar’s Bridge the Gap seminar. In 2024 Judge Reeder was named “Mentor of the Year” by the West Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Division.

Judge Reeder resides in Hurricane with his wife, Linda, a retired Putnam County teacher, and their two sons.

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