Shipley seeks magisterial district judge post

Attorney Amber N. Shipley has announced her candidacy for the magisterial district judge position currently held by Wendy Dennis.

Shipley, of North Union Township, is currently employed by West Virginia University as its assistant director of the Office of Student Conduct. She also has a private legal practice.

Dennis has announced her retirement from the position she has held for 30 years.

Shipley, who will appear on both the Republican and Democratic ballot in the spring primary, said her background has prepared her to fill the position.

“As an attorney, I understand the tasks and skills needed to be an effective magisterial district judge,” she said. “From day one, I can be a full time magisterial district judge.”

Shipley is a Laurel Highlands High School graduate. In 2006 she received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Bucknell University and attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law for her jurist doctorate degree.

Shipley also received a master’s degree in higher education administration from West Virginia University in 2014

As a magisterial district judge, Shipley said she will focus her attention on veterans and those with mental health disorders that enter the courtroom to ensure they get the appropriate treatment.

“Veterans are very near and dear to my heart,” she said, noting the service of several family members and her husband. “There is a misconception about what veterans go through and how PTSD (Post­Traumatic Stress Disorder) manifests itself.

“On the magisterial level, I think we need to be more effective in identifying veterans and having those conversations with them about their service and ongoing treatment.

“We need to make sure they go through the (county) Veterans Court and not through the regular process.”

Similar attention, too, is needed for those suffering with mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse, Shipley added.

“Taking the time to understand the problems, and not just sending them to the Court of Common Pleas, will also reduce the caseload at that level,” she said.

Shipley said that if elected, as a magisterial district judge she will additionally focus on the ongoing opioid crisis, overcrowding at the Fayette County Prison and school truancy.

The municipal primary election is May 16.

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