West Virginia

State high court upholds trial court's closure of juvenile court proceedings

Secret Courts | Feature | August 9, 1999
Feature
August 9, 1999

WEST VIRGINIA--In mid-July, the state Supreme Court of Appeals in Charleston, the state's highest court, unanimously upheld a trial court's order closing a case concerning the suspension of a student by the school board and sealing juvenile education records because it found a compelling public policy of protecting the confidentiality of juvenile information in all court proceedings exists in the state.

Reporter's privilege upheld in murder trial

Reporter's Privilege | Feature | April 21, 1997
Feature
April 21, 1997

Reporter's privilege upheld in murder trial

04/21/97

WEST VIRGINIA--Affirming that a qualified reporter's privilege does exist in West Virginia, the state Supreme Court in mid-March overturned a Circuit Court judge's decision ordering two newspapers to turn over unpublished photographs to a defendant on trial for murder.

Private session with school administrators violated meetings law

Freedom of Information | Feature | June 17, 1996
Feature
June 17, 1996

Private session with school administrators violated meetings law

06/17/96

WEST VIRGINIA--The state Supreme Court of Appeals in mid-May affirmed 5-0 a circuit court decision holding that the Fayette County School Board violated the Open Governmental Proceedings Act when four of its five members met privately with school system administrators the day before voting on the closing and consolidation of three schools.

Judge quashes subpoenas issued by criminal defendant

Reporter's Privilege | Feature | May 16, 1995
Feature
May 16, 1995

Judge quashes subpoenas issued by criminal defendant

05/16/95

WEST VIRGINIA--In early May, a trial judge quashed subpoenas issued to two newspaper reporters by a criminal defendant who was attempting to force the judge to recuse himself from the case.

5. Other.

The Open Meetings Act provides a practical limitation on challenges made to bond issues. If notice of the meeting at which the bond issue was finally considered was given at least ten days prior to the meeting by a Class I legal advertisement in a qualified newspaper having general circulation in the geographical area, then the bond issue will not be rendered void in a challenge by a citizen. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6.

C. Third-party subpoenas

West Virginia courts have not had occasion to address the circumstance where a media entity has an interest in fighting subpoenas issued to third parties in an effort to discover the media's source.

8. Other bodies to which governmental or public functions are delegated.

The public agency definition also is broad enough to cover other bodies to which governmental or public functions are delegated. As with most of these categories, any conclusion concerning the applicability of the Open Meetings Act depends upon the particular facts.

H. Media as a party

In West Virginia, the privilege is applied differently to libel cases (especially where a media entity is a party), and non-libel cases. The important distinction does not appear to be based solely on the reporter or media entity's status as a party-defendant, but is based on whether the claim made is one for libel. Presumably, where a reporter's published work has led to a libel claim, even where the reporter is not made a party-defendant to the lawsuit, a lower level of protection is applied.

2. Trustee records.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)