Judge Thacker graduated magna cum laude in 1987 from Marshall University with a degree in business administration. In 1990, she graduated Order of the Coif from the West Virginia University College of Law where she served as a member of the West Virginia Law Review, and the editor of the coal issue of the West Virginia Law Review.


For the 20 plus years she practiced law, Judge Thacker worked both in the civil and criminal litigation arenas. She began her legal career as an associate with then Kirkpatrick & Lockhart’s Pittsburgh office. Ms. Thacker served as a federal prosecutor for 12 years, both at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and at the Department of Justice in the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. During her tenure with the United States Attorney’s Office, Judge Thacker served as part of the trial team in the first federal domestic violence prosecution in the country. She also coordinated a number of prosecution initiatives aimed at combating crimes of particular import in West Virginia, including domestic violence, child support, and federal coal mine safety violations. In addition to the obvious charges, these types of crimes included prosecutions for firearms violations, tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering. While with the Department of Justice, Judge Thacker rose through the ranks from trial attorney to Principal Deputy Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. During her time with the Department, Judge Thacker prosecuted and went to trial on cases in multiple jurisdictions, spearheaded several nationwide initiatives, and ultimately was awarded the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, she provided training both nationally and internationally on the prosecution of child sexual exploitation crimes.


Following her tenure with the Department of Justice, Judge Thacker was a member of the law firm of Guthrie & Thomas in Charleston, West Virginia where she engaged in litigation practice concentrating on complex litigation, environmental and toxic tort, and criminal defense. In September, 2011, Judge Thacker was nominated by President Obama to fill a vacancy on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 16, 2012.