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Rucki honored as Circuit Clerk of the Year

MOUNDSVILLE — Marshall County Circuit Clerk Joe Rucki was recognized as the premier circuit clerk in the state for his decades of work.

Rucki was named the West Virginia Circuit Clerk of the Year in late May, having been recognized by the West Virginia Association for Justice after nomination from a member and receiving the support of many, both from within and outside the association.

WVAJ Executive Director Beth White said Rucki was nominated by Wheeling attorney Clayton Fitzsimmons, and drew further acclaim from many who have worked with Rucki across the state.

“It was a nomination that was seconded by attorneys around the state who’ve tried cases in Marshall County and had worked with him,” White said. “I even had calls from attorneys who worked in the Legislature but who were not members of the Association, saying, ‘I heard this might happen – it’d be great if it does because of the great work he’s done in Marshall County.'”

Rucki has served in the Circuit Clerk’s Office since 1988, when he was appointed chief deputy by retired clerk David Ealy. He has worked more than 225 jury trials and 96 grand juries over his career, and served seven circuit judges in Marshall County, including two who went on to serve on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Rucki said he got emotional when notified of his win, having seen his job as his duty, rather than anything out of the ordinary.

“It hit me emotionally. I’ve been paid well to do the job, but no one owes you anything else,” he said. “… It meant a lot, honestly. It didn’t come from the circuit clerks, it came from the lawyers. … (White) said, Joe, we received letters from all across the state. I don’t know who those letters came from.”

Rucki described the job of the county clerk’s office as that of record keeper for the county, and said he was extremely proud of having never delayed court proceedings due to lack of jurors.

“I’m proud to say that in 34 years, with jury trials and grand juries, we never delayed the court system because we didn’t bring enough jurors in,” he said. “They have to call an answering service when they have a trial scheduled. … We follow up with a phone call, tell them about parking, security, and go through the whole thing.

“I’ll give that credit to the Marshall County jurors, too – they always show up, and there’s a bit of luck. This is a small community, … so a lot of people know a lot of people.”

Rucki thanked his staff who work tirelessly to keep the office running smoothly, as well.

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