Greenbrier Circuit Judge candidate Ryan Blake aims to ‘bring a fresh perspective to the judiciary’

By Matthew Young, RealWV

“I have a desire to bring a fresh perspective to the judiciary – a new, frontline approach to adjudicating cases. I’ve had my boots on the ground serving the interests of the community through my prosecutorial position for almost 17 years now.”

That’s what candidate Ryan Blake told RealWV on Wednesday, regarding his decision to run for Circuit Court Judge in Division 1 of the 29th Judicial Circuit. Division 1 serves Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties. Blake will challenge incumbent Judge Robert Richardson on May 14. 

“My experience has helped me gain some extraordinary insight into issues of community concern,” Blake said. “Those are certainly concerns that impact the peace, safety, and welfare of our citizens. I intend to utilize that awareness and that experience, along with my temperament and demeanor, and dedication to upholding the law, to bring about that fresh perspective.”

Blake is a lifelong resident of Greenbrier County, and earned his degree from Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law after graduating from Greenbrier East High School. Blake spent the first several years of his career as a judicial law clerk before joining the Greenbrier County Prosecutor’s office, where he has served for the past 16 years as Assistant Prosecutor. 

Blake believes it is his extensive experience as a trial attorney that makes him uniquely qualified to bring that fresh perspective to the bench.

“I’ve been a litigator throughout my tenure with the Prosecutor’s Office,” Blake said. “I’ve tried dozens of cases before judge and jury – murders, arsons, sexual assaults, home invasions, crimes against children, various types of drug crimes. That type of experience and the work that I’ve undertaken with law enforcement and other supporting agencies on the front lines of our community provides me with a background of holding individuals accountable and providing justice for victims, while at the same time ensuring that the legal system operates with fairness.”

“I think that type of experience and background will afford the community with a judge that can understand what its values, needs, and sentiments are,” Blake added. 

The ongoing drug crisis, Blake says, is perhaps the largest concern the court system is currently facing. In his work as Assistant Prosecutor, Blake refers to the “use, abuse, and distribution” of illicit substances as a “plague” on the community.

“In seeing, over time, the evolution of this problem through the lens of a prosecutor, it will grant me a better perspective on how to deal with it from an accountability standpoint,” Blake explained. “I’ve been involved with the Southeastern Regional Drug Court program virtually since its inception. Through that, I’ve gained some insight, as a member of the treatment team, into how to best deal with holding individuals accountable while providing them with the type of structure, treatment, and services that would be beneficial towards assisting their recovery.”

From a procedural standpoint, Blake added, “There’s a docket that’s exploding, especially for a two-judge Circuit.”

“We’re under a considerable amount of stress,” Blake continued. “That stress hasn’t abated with the loss of our courtroom (due to ongoing courthouse renovations). We’re obviously going to have to become more efficient in our docket and time management here with our judicial system, given the number of matters that are before the court.”

“To that end, we need better templates to where you can get orders entered faster,” Blake noted, “Fewer hearings that do not assist with moving the cases along, and certainly a better understanding of how much time a particular case is going to take so that you don’t have litigants and attorneys waiting out in the hallway for long lengths of time for their matter to be heard. Those types of things are important.”

For more information about Ryan Blake’s campaign for Division 1 Circuit Court Judge in the 29th Judicial Circuit, visit ryanblake4judge.com, or find him on Facebook at Ryan Blake for Judge. 

Elections for all county judges in West Virginia will be held on Primary Election Day, Tuesday, May 14. It is not required for voters to be registered with a political party to vote in judicial elections. Ryan Blake will challenge incumbent Judge Robert Richardson in Division 1. Patrick Via is running unopposed for Circuit Court Judge in Division 2. 

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