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|Thirtieth Judicial Circuit, West Virginia|
|Succeeded by:||Miki J. Thompson|
|Past position:||Attorney in private practice|
|Past position 2:||Prosecutor, Mingo County|
|Past term 2:||1981-1983|
|Law School:||University of Kentucky|
Michael Thornsbury was a judge of the Thirtieth Judicial Circuit in West Virginia. He began serving in this position in January 1997. On October 2, 2013, he entered a plea of guilty to a federal criminal charge and resigned from office. He was sentenced on June 9, 2014, to 50 months in federal prison.
The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission interviewed candidates to replace Thornsbury and serve out the remaining three years of his term. The West Virginia Supreme Court named senior status judge John Cummings, of Cabell County, to serve on the court until a replacement is chosen.
- 1997-2013: Judge, Thirtieth Judicial Circuit
- 1983-1997: Attorney in private practice
- 1981-1983: Prosecutor, Mingo County 
Charged with conspiracy (2013)
Thornsbury was charged on August 13, 2013 with two counts of conspiracy for allegedly attempting to frame the husband of his secretary, and former mistress. Two days later, the West Virginia Supreme Court suspended him without pay and suspended his law license.
Thornsbury had an affair with his secretary, Kim Woodruff in early 2008, according to the indictment filed in federal court. When she ended the relationship, Thornsbury allegedly attempted to frame her husband, Robert Woodruff. The indictment listed the following charges against Judge Thornsbury, stating that they occurred in 2008, 2009 and 2012:
|“||[Judge Thornsbury] engaged in criminal conspiracies to violate the constitutional rights of victim R.W. . .Judge Thornsbury conspired to plant illegal drugs on R.W.'s pickup truck; to have R.W. arrested for thefts he did not commit; to commandeer a state grand jury and use it to oppress R.W. and his family; and, after an incident in which R.W. was the victim of an assault, to arrange for R.W., rather than the perpetrator, to receive an exceptionally harsh sentence.||”|
Thornsbury pleads not guilty
Thornsbury was arraigned on August 21, 2013. He entered a plea of not guilty to two federal charges of conspiracy for alleged attempts to frame the husband of his secretary and former mistress. A pre-trial hearing took place on September 26, 2013, and his trial was set for October 15, 2013.
Representatives from the West Virginia House of Delegates plan to introduce legislation to add a second circuit judge for Mingo County. They hope having two judges will increase accountability and allow the court to operate more efficiently.
Thornsbury accepts plea agreement
On October 2, 2013, Thornsbury entered a plea of guilty to a charge of conspiring to deprive R.W. of his constitutional rights. He entered into the plea agreement with federal prosecutors and resigned from office. He was scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Thomas Johnston of the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Federal Judge Thomas Johnston of the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia gave Michael Thornsbury 50 months behind bars, a steep penalty considering he was expecting 30 to 37 months. Judge Johnston, however, wanted the sentence to serve as a warning and a reminder to others in Mingo County, which is known for corruption. In addition to Thornsbury, a former county prosecutor and county commissioner were implicated in the conspiracy ring. The county sheriff, Eugene Crum, would have been as well, but he was shot and killed in his patrol car in April 2013.
Federal prosecutors agreed to drop charges against Thornsbury for violating another man's constitutional rights. This man, Robert Woodruff, is the husband of Thornsbury's former secretary, Kim. Thornsbury wished to strike up an affair with Kim and felt if he got Robert out of the picture, she would turn to him.
- WV Gazette.com, "Judge pleads guilty to federal charges," October 2, 2013
- State Journal, "UPDATE: Former Mingo County judge Michael Thornsbury given 50 months in prison," June 9, 2014
- WV Gazette.com, "Suspended Putnam Family Court judge to resign," November 12, 2013
- Martindale.com, "Judge Profile: Michael Thornsbury," accessed May 23, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Judge Michael Thornsbury Charged With Conspiracy, Allegedly Tried To Frame Lover's Husband," August 15, 2013
- NPR, "W.Va. Judge, County Official Face Federal Charges," August 15, 2013
- United States District Court for the District of West Virginia, "United States of America vs. Michael Thornsbury - Indictment," August 13, 2013
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- WOWKTV.com, "Mingo County Circuit Judge facing federal charges," August 15, 2013
- WSAZ News Channel 3, "Update: Mingo County judge and county commissioner plead not guilty," August 21, 2013
- West Virginia Record, "Mingo delegates to seek second county judge after Thornsbury suspended," August 19, 2013
- The Charleston Gazette, "Thornsbury sentencing delayed until April," December 24, 2013
- Williamson Daily News, "Former prosecutor’s sentencing postponed until June," April 22, 2014
- West Virginia Gazette, "Ex-Mingo judge gets 50 months in prison," June 9, 2014