Answering Crime With Justice
Kanawha County Circuit Judge
When she was 16 years old, Nitro native Tera Salango tragically lost her brother. “He was murdered when he was 25, and that shaped my career path and made me want to be a lawyer,” she says. Salango earned her J.D. at West Virginia University College of Law. She worked as an assistant prosecutor in Kanawha County, then practiced privately before becoming Kanawha County Circuit Judge in 2018. She drew national attention in July when she granted Women’s Health Center of West Virginia a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the state’s 1800s-era abortion ban.
Salango has a strong record of community service. She served on the board of the Charleston nonprofit PRO-Kids, Inc., and loved the opportunity there to enhance after-school care and tutoring programs; she has also served on the Susan G. Komen board. And she has participated in many events that raise awareness for crime victims, such as the crime victims’ walk/run and the annual angel tree lighting ceremony honoring Kanawha County murder victims—an event that she started as a prosecutor.
The most uplifting thing about being a circuit judge, Salango says, is making a direct positive impact on the lives of West Virginians—for example, abuse and neglect cases. “After hearing all those sad things that have happened in that child’s life,” she says, “getting to see them being adopted into a good home and getting to see that happy ending—those are probably some of the most memorable moments for me.”
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