CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that he has appointed C. Haley Bunn, a native of Oceana, Wyoming County, to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Bunn is a descendant of generations of West Virginia coal miners and a former federal prosecutor with deep trial and appellate experience that she will bring to the state’s highest court.
“Haley Bunn is a wonderful West Virginia story,” said Governor Justice. “She’s a coal miner’s daughter and a daughter of southern West Virginia who’s committed her life to serving her state and her community. She’s from Wyoming County, where the opioid epidemic hit as hard as it has anywhere in America, and she decided to devote much of her career to fighting that epidemic. Haley’s also a seasoned courtroom veteran whose experience as an elite litigator will be invaluable on our Supreme Court of Appeals.”
A lifelong West Virginian, Bunn is an honors graduate of West Virginia University and the West Virginia University College of Law. She began her legal career in private practice at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC before serving seven years as a federal prosecutor. During her federal service, she prosecuted a series of public corruption cases in Mingo County that drew national attention and resulted in the convictions of four elected officials.
Bunn’s primary focus as a prosecutor, however, was southern West Virginia’s drug epidemic, particularly illegal opioids. In 2017, the United States Department of Justice selected her as one of 12 prosecutors in the country to serve in a newly created Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, where she took a leading role in combating the state’s opioid crisis. Bunn prosecuted numerous major drug cases, including those of a group of methamphetamine traffickers whose collective prison sentences totaled more than 90 years; a Wyoming County doctor who prescribed opioids to patients without examining them; a Charleston neurologist sentenced to more than five years for illegally prescribing opioids; multiple distributors of deadly illicit fentanyl; and an opioid dealer who was sentenced to seven years in prison after being arrested with more than 300 illegally obtained opioid pills and $570,000 in cash. She also played a key role in a parallel civil and criminal fraud investigation of one of the largest mental health care providers in the world, which resulted in a $17 million civil settlement.
After leaving the United States Attorney’s Office, Bunn rejoined Steptoe & Johnson, where she has worked closely with the business community, representing clients ranging from large corporations to family businesses, as well as law enforcement agencies.
Bunn brings to the bench a wealth of courtroom experience. Both as a prosecutor and in private practice, she has tried numerous cases to jury verdicts, and she has handled a host of appeals in both the federal and state courts. She has successfully argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the federal appellate court for West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas.
Bunn comes from a multigenerational family of West Virginia coal miners: two of her great-grandfathers, both her grandfathers, her father, and many other family members have been underground coal miners, and her husband’s family operated coal mines in West Virginia for decades. She and her husband reside in Charleston with their two children. They attend Bible Center Church, and Bunn serves on the board of Bible Center School. Active in her profession and community, Bunn is a member of the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia and has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America’s Legal Explorers Program.
“Haley will be a strong conservative voice on the court,” Gov. Justice continued. “She understands the importance of faith, traditional values, and law and order. Those things are the backbone of West Virginia. And she knows that for our economy to continue growing, employers and job creators have to be confident they can get a fair shake in our courts. She’ll apply the law fairly and impartially, and she’ll be a Supreme Court Justice that all West Virginians will be proud of.”
Bunn fills the seat vacated by former Justice Evan Jenkins, who resigned to return to the private practice of law in February.