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the state Supreme Court in mid-March overturned a Circuit Court judge's decision ordering two newspapers to turn over unpublished photographs to a defendant on trial for murder.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

G. Are there sanctions for noncompliance?

The West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act, specifically W.Va. Code § 6-9A-7 provides for both civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance. Subsection (a) provides that any person who is a member of a public or governmental body required to conduct open meetings under the Act who willfully and knowingly violates the Act's provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars. Second or subsequent offenses also constitute misdemeanors for which a minimum fine of not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand may be imposed.

4. Infectious disease and health epidemics.

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

d. Language

For the purposes of filing the motion to quash, there is no stock language necessary. Indeed, the motion itself can be quite brief, although it is often preferable to file a memorandum going into some detail about the contours of the privilege. It should be remembered that in West Virginia, trial judges are not accustomed to regularly addressing issues concerning the reporters' privilege and its First Amendment implication, and often a detailed but concise explanation of the application of the privilege will be helpful to the success of the motion.

C. Does the existence of information in electronic format affect its openness?

To date, there has been no distinction between information in electronic format and more traditional format and state agencies routinely provide information to FOIA requesters in electronic format.

(5). Other information required in notice.

The contents of the notice are left up to the governing body to determine when it promulgates its notice regulations. At a minimum, the Act requires the notice to state the date, time, place and agenda of regular meetings, and the time, place and purpose of special meetings. Every notice given by the governing bodies of the executive branch of the state must include the time, place and purpose of the meeting.