West Virginia

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

Secret Courts | Feature | August 9, 1999
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
April 21, 1997

Reporter's privilege upheld in murder trial


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the state Supreme Court in mid-March overturned a Circuit Court judge's decision ordering two newspapers to turn over unpublished photographs to a defendant on trial for murder.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
June 17, 1996

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.

Judge quashes subpoenas issued by criminal defendant

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

Judge quashes subpoenas issued by criminal defendant


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.

1. Appraisals.

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5. Service of police or other administrative subpoenas

Although there are no cases directly discussing special criteria for issuance of an administrative subpoena to a journalist, generally speaking, there are special rules regarding the use and service of other administrative subpoenas. Regarding the use of such subpoenas, the subject or target of an administrative subpoena has an opportunity to challenge the subpoena before yielding that information. In the course of that resistance, privileges, privacy rights and the unreasonableness of an administrative subpoena are available defenses against enforcement of the subpoena. State ex rel.


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11. Other penalties.

Prior to the 1999 amendments, the Act required that upon conviction of the misdemeanor offense of willfully and knowingly violating the provisions of the Open Meetings Act, a member of a public or governmental body may be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than ten days, in addition to the fine. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6. That provision was removed from the Act in 1999.