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the state Supreme Court in mid-March overturned a Circuit Court judge's decision ordering two newspapers to turn over unpublished photographs to a defendant on trial for murder.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.

A. Is there a right to participate in public meetings?

The Open Meetings Act does not address the issue of the public's right to comment at public meetings. Section 6-9A-3 provides that "persons who desire to address the governing body may not be required to register more than fifteen minutes prior to [the] time the scheduled meeting is to commence." The statute does not explicitly provide a public right to comment and there are no West Virginia cases addressing this issue.

E. Webcasting

Overview

West Virginia

E. Discovery materials

Overview

West Virginia

(2). Are minutes a public record?

The 1999 amendments indicate that the official minutes of the executive session need not be made available to the public. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-5. If an agency makes an informal written record of a discussion held in a closed executive session, these notes also probably are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. Op. Att'y Gen., July 17, 1986.

c. Timing

The filing of a motion to quash effectively stays the requirements of the subpoena. Although there is no specific time frame within which a motion to quash must be filed, in the case of a discovery subpoena, it is preferable to file the motion far enough in advance of the time of compliance directed by the subpoena so that the subpoenaing party does not suffer undue expense as a result.

8. Judicial remedies available.

The Freedom of Information Act specifically authorizes declaratory and injunctive relief. These same remedies are available if the records are sought under a common law right of access or the constitutional open courts mandate, and the complaint should invoke all applicable bases for relief.