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the state Supreme Court in mid-March overturned a Circuit Court judge's decision ordering two newspapers to turn over unpublished photographs to a defendant on trial for murder.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

c. Source is an eyewitness to a crime

The situation where a member of the media has a source who is an eyewitness or participant in a crime, and the source's information is unobtainable from other available sources, is not a circumstance that has been addressed specifically by West Virginia courts. However, in Hudok v. Henry, the West Virginia Supreme Court did analyze the United States Supreme Court's holding in Branzburg, stating that the identity of such sources generally could be compelled in grand jury proceedings:

3. Contents of request for ruling.

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

3. Are certain records available for inspection but not copying?

Under the literal terms of the FOIA, any "public record" subject to inspection also may be copied. However, the statute recognizes a narrow exception that permits public agencies to deny all access to certain records that could be damaged by handling. W. Va. Code § 29B-1-4(6). It seems certain that if particular documents could be inspected, but not copied, without the threat of damage, the courts would permit this approach as the least restrictive alternative.

2. Special or emergency meetings.

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

1. Time limit.

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