Seal FPD SDWV Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of West Virginia


The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of West Virginia was established in 1975; local attorney Carl Duttine was appointed as the Federal Public Defender. Shortly after its creation, the office added a secretary and an Assistant FPD, Leon T. Copeland. Three years later, Mr. Duttine resigned and Mr. Copeland became the second FPD. For several years, the number of staff remained at three despite a continually growing case load across the district's five points of holding court (Bluefield, Beckley, Charleston, Huntington, and Parkersburg).

Following Mr. Copeland's resignation in 1987, Ira F. Kirkendoll, an AFPD from the Federal Public Defender's Office for the District of Kansas, was appointed as the district's third FPD. His appointment coincided with a significant increase in the U.S. Attorney's Office staffing and thus a sharp increase in prosecutions. During Mr. Kirkendoll's tenure, the FPDO staff grew significantly, requiring the acquisition of larger office quarters. In 1990, Mr. Kirkendoll resigned his position to become the FPD in the Northern District of Texas.

Mr. Kirkendoll's First Assistant FPD, Hunt Charach, became the fourth FPD, serving until his death in July 2000. During Mr. Charach's tenure, a dramatic uptick in the district's case load led to the office adding two AFPDs, a Legal Research and Writing Specialist, a Computer Systems Administrator, and other support staff positions throughout the 1990's.

Mary Lou Newberger became the district's fifth FPD in November 2000 and oversaw the addition of another new AFPD in 2004, the first new AFPD position in ten years. Ms. Newberger was not reappointed to a fourth term in 2013 but remained as an AFPD until July 2014. Brian Kornbrath, the FPD for the Northern District of West Virginia and a former AFPD in the SDWV, was named Acting FPD for the office in November 2013. Mr. Kornbrath remained in that position until former AFPD Christian Capece was appointed as the office's sixth FPD in November 2014. Mr. Capece did not seek reappointment, and Mr. Kornbrath was once again named Acting FPD for this office in November 2018. In July 2019, Wesley Page was sworn in as the district's seventh FPD and in July 2023 Mr. Page was reappointed to a second term.

The office currently has a staff of 16, with the FPD, a First Assistant FPD, and six AFPDs (including one Senior Litigator and one Appellate Counsel who was formerly a Legal Research and Writing Specialist), two Investigators, two Paralegals, a Secretary to the Federal Public Defender, a Computer Systems Administrator, an Administrative Officer, and a Case Management Assistant/Administrative Assistant. The office continues to maintain a single staffed headquarters located in the Robert C. Byrd Courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia, with unstaffed branch offices at the district's other points of holding court in Huntington, Beckley, and Bluefield.

Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse
300 Virginia Street, East, Suite 3400
Charleston, West Virginia 25301

Phone: 304-347-3350; Facsimile: 304-347-3356

Directions / Map