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.
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the state Supreme Court in mid-March overturned a Circuit Court judge's decision ordering two newspapers to turn over unpublished photographs to a defendant on trial for murder.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
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.
The use of prohibitive fees is an obvious, and favorite, tactic used by public agencies wishing to discourage requests. On one occasion, for example, West Virginia University initially demanded payment of over eight hundred dollars in search fees and 'overhead costs' for producing a document a few pages long. The fee was subsequently waived after objections were raised.
The Hudok court concluded that the qualified privilege articulated therein applied equally to both confidential and non-confidential information obtained by the reporter in his/her newsgathering role. The court also held that the privilege applies equally to published and unpublished information.