West Virginia

A. Autopsy reports.

Autopsy reports and records of the state medical examiner probably could fall within the "personal information" exemption of the FOIA, and thus be subject to the Cline balancing test. Based upon other decisions, it is possible that the Supreme Court of Appeals might recognize some degree of privacy protection even for records of deceased persons. See Jeffery v. McHugh, 166 W. Va. 379, 273 S.E.2d 837 (1980) (upholding the confidentiality of juvenile court records, specifically exempt from disclosure under W. Va.

8. Other elements

No other elements.

b. Mandatory or discretionary closure.

The nine specific exceptions of the Open Meetings Act merely authorize a closed session at the discretion of the governing body; a majority vote is required to invoke the provisions permitting executive sessions. Note that in the case of the five exemptions directed toward protecting individual privacy, the individual involved may demand a public meeting.

1. Regular meetings.

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

3. Contents of a written request.

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

M. Personnel records.

Personnel records, including information contained in an individual's application and disciplinary records, generally would be subject to the balancing test required for disclosure of personal information under FOIA Exemption 2, discussed in the previous section.

b. Records of certain but not all functions.

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

b. Jail

In West Virginia, there is very little, if any history of reporters being jailed for failure to comply with a subpoena. There are no recent examples of reporters who have gone to jail for failure to disclose confidential sources or information. There is no statute or caselaw specifically addressing contempt proceedings where a reporter refuses to comply with a subpoena. However, West Virginia Code § 57-5-6 allows a court to sentence a person to remain in jail until "he shall give such evidence or produce such writing or document" as he was summoned and ordered to give.

J. Litigation; pending litigation or other attorney-client privileges.

The Open Meetings Act does not specifically exempt discussions of pending litigation, or any other attorney-client communications, from its scope. In the 1999 amendments, the following provisions were added: